Amber Merideth
7 min readMar 5, 2019

A Personality Theory on Tyrion Lannister:

Coffee shop talk with Adler, Freud, Jung and Rogers

Setting: Small coffee shop mid-morning, the hustle and bustle has settled down and now there are a few people scattered about on various couches and chairs throughout the establishment.

Amber: (Picks up her coffee and heads to sit down at a table next to a gathering of four men. She opens her newspaper to read but cannot focus because she gets distracted by the interesting conversation these four men are having).

Alfred Adler: Have you seen the series Game of Thrones? It is by far the best show I have seen in ages!

Sigmund Freud: Yes, I love all of the characters.

Carl Jung: Oh, yes! It is quite the psychological thriller, each character is so in depth in character, it makes you wonder about how their personalities developed.

Carl Rogers: My favorite character is Tyrion Lannister, I think his character is so deep and enjoyable to watch. The writers do a great job of making it fun to watch him go from a party boy to a semi-respected, power hungry war veteran.

Freud: I concur Carl. I think one of the main points of his character is his love for women and his overzealous attempts at trying to settle down. In my studies I have found that children go through what I call the “Oedipal Complex” Tyrion never got to fully experience this because his mother died in child birth. Now his unconscious drives him to any women whom will give him attention regardless of what is deemed socially acceptable. This is why he doesn’t care that Shae is a prostitute.

Adler: I beg to differ Sigmund, I think that Tyrion’s size is the largest contributing factor to his personality. The fact that he is a “dwarf” gives him an inferiority complex. I think that his feelings of inferiority are what drove him to develop such a witty personality. I think that his love of women is a coping mechanism, much like his drinking.

Jung: Sigmund I agree that there are some subconscious drives at play when it comes to Tyrion Lannister, but I think that his personality development goes beyond that. I am sure that him not having a mother and his father resenting him for “killing” his mother during childbirth definitely plays a role. But I think that he ultimately seeks acceptance in the present and that is what he is trying to get from women. What do you think Mr. Rogers?

Rogers: I think that people generally try to develop in a positive direction. I think that my theory is somewhat proven as you watch Tyrion grow throughout the series. He is first introduced as a drunk “half-man” who spends his family money on partying and prostitutes, but as the series progresses you see him develop into a better person. He meets Shae and she brings the best out of him, he seems happy to finally have someone who wants to take care of him and give him the love and acceptance he so longs for. I do believe however, that not having a mother to give him acceptance plays a role in why he wants to surround himself with so many women.

Freud: Excuse my interruption Mr. Rogers but I have to agree with Alfred, I think that Tyrion feels inferior and suffers from anxiety. What I want to know is why has no one brought up castration anxiety? Obviously his subconscious is the driving force to make him to take part in war and to gain as much power as possible, these qualities are a direct reflection of castration anxiety.

Jung: Sigmund, why is everything with you centered around sexualized energy and sexual organs? I coincide with your acceptance of Alfred’s inferiority complex but I do not feel as though castration anxiety is what fuels Tyrion’s development. If anyone changed due to castration anxiety it would be the eunuch Varys and Theon Greyjoy who is castrated in one of the seasons.

Freud: Obviously, they no longer have castration anxiety, this is why Theon is now Reek. No matter though, that is a conversation for another time. For now back to Tyrion.

Adler: Mr. Rogers, I think your theory is interesting. You seem to think that people move toward or develop positively. What is your take on Tyrion killing his own father? Do you not think that that was a step backwards for him?

Rogers: Please do not assume that I think people only move in positive directions. Obviously, there are setbacks and short comings that an individual faces. Which ties in my next theory, I believe that there is a self and an ideal self. I think that Tyrion kills his father in an effort to reach his “ideal self” which is free from his father’s ridicule. Tyrion wants very much to be secure in who he is and he finally reaches that point with Shae’s help only to find out that Shae has also been sleeping with his father who is Lord Tywin. He learns that neither Tywin nor Shae truly love him. In that episode Tyrion seems to lose all forward progress he has made and enters into what you Mr. Alder define as the inferiority complex. While in this inferior state he attempts to reclaim his ideal self by taking vengeance in the form of murder. This allows him to escape Lord Tywin’s constant ridicule which helps to free himself from feelings of inferiority.

Jung: I think that Tyrion’s vengeance is evidence that we struggle with opposing forces within ourselves. Tyrion is not known to be particularly violent or mean, instead he is known for over-indulgence and his love of prostitutes. I think this show does a wonderful job of showcasing my theory on the archetype of persona. We know as an outside viewer how sensitive Tyrion is, but in the show what he presents himself as to other people in the realm is definitely a different person entirely. He instead presents himself as a quick-witted, comical, and aloof. I am sure on some level he is all of these things with the exception of being aloof. But the struggle to balance the mask he presents to others and his personal self is evident.

Freud: This is all very interesting but I am afraid that I believe that Tyrion’s personality reflection in that episode shows what happens when you operate primarily with your id instead of your superego. I think that Tyrion acts like a spoiled child most of the time and is a slave to his id, needlessly over-indulging in all things. He meets Shae and she helps him adjust and learn to utilize his ego properly. Then when he finally allows the superego to help him adapt to societal standards, he finds out his father has been sleeping with the woman he loves. He regresses and acts upon his id impulses and seeks vengeance as a way of immediately seeking satisfaction.

Adler: Personally, I just thought it was about Tyrion’s struggle for power but listening to all of these theories really makes me think.

Rogers: Please elaborate on what you mean about a struggle for power?

Jung: Yes, please do. Are you speaking of this power struggle in generalized terms or just about the act of vengeance itself?

Adler: Well I think overall Tyrion is in a struggle for power. He is the second born son of Tywin and is blamed for killing his mother during delivery. He is made aware that his father despises him for not only killing his mother but for being a dwarf. Throughout the series you see how he is treated and how he is constantly compared to his older siblings. His sister Cersei is queen and his brother Jaime is a brave knight who is known as the “King-slayer”. My theory is that Tyrion is constantly in a power struggle both within himself and with others. While watching the series unfold you see Tyrion gain power as the hand of the king only to have it stripped away by his father. Then he attempts to lead an army at King’s landing only to have his glory stripped away again by his father. I think that killing his father was just as much an act of vengeance as it was a show of power on his part, I do not believe that he himself thought he was capable of doing it. You even see Tyrion’s hesitation all the way up to the final moment before he shoots his father. Tywin is sitting on the pot and insulting Tyrion as he hold the bow in his hand. He continuously tells him he doesn’t have the guts to shoot him and finally Tyrion does thus taking back power of his life.

Freud: Well this has been quite a conversation!

Jung: I have to agree with you Sigmund! We have discussed so many different theories. You have shared your take of Tyrion’s oedipal complex and his slavery to his id. And Alfred was nice enough to share his thoughts about birth order and Tyrion’s struggle for power because of his inferiority complex.

Adler: My pleasure! I have enjoyed this debate very much, I particularly enjoyed listening about your archetype of persona.

Rogers: This has been an interesting talk. I would like to thank all of you for the invite. I appreciate you all sharing your theories with me, after all if it weren’t for Freud’s foundation of psychological theories we probably wouldn’t have much to add. If you decide to re-watch the series, I hope you contemplate on my theory on self vs the ideal self.

Freud: I am sure we most certainly will. Have a good day gentlemen.

Adler, Jung, Rogers (in unison): You too!

Amber: (audibly sighs) Wow! (Opens her newspaper and starts reading)


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