There are a number of quotes from Tyrion Lannister that show that he should have been the one to rule Westeros.
In House of the Dragon, as in Game of Thrones, there is fierce competition for who shall sit on the Iron Throne. And, as always, viewers have lots of options to choose from, depending on whom they think should have the power to rule.
A similar dynamic motivated its predecessor series, and one of the most skilled and intelligent characters was Tyrion Lannister. Though he ultimately was denied the chance to become a ruler in his own right, it has to be said that there are quite a few quotes which demonstrate just how he was truly the best choice to rule Westeros.
Whatever the flaws of the eighth season–and there are many reasons it is the worst ranked season of the series–it does give Tyrion some good lines. With this particular quote, he reveals just how much he understands about the nature of compromise and why it is so essential to the ruling of a kingdom.
In noting how no one should be entirely happy with what results, he shows the value of consensus. In a kingdom like Westeros, where conflict can erupt at any moment, knowing the value of such a thing is a valuable asset in a king.
In some ways, this is one of the best speeches in Game of Thrones. To some, it might sound a bit cliched, but it reveals a fundamental truth that Tyrion recognizes. People need something to believe in, something that will help them to look past their differences and frustrations and anger.
It might, in fact, be a bit cynical, but Tyrion is right. His only mistake here is in not realizing that his own story would have made him just as viable a claimant to the Iron Throne.
Like all of the other best HBO shows, Game of Thrones is never shy about engaging with philosophy. In this particular instance, Tyrion shows once again his keen knowledge of how power works in a world like Westeros.
Yes, battles are important, but just as, if not more, influential are the conversations that take place in the halls and corridors of power. Tyrion would most definitely be able to use this to his advantage as he is shown throughout the show to be a skilled politician but, given his commitment to the realm at large, he would instead use it to benefit all of Westeros.
In some ways, Tyrion was the most wholesome character in Game of Thrones. Unlike many others, he seemed to truly care about the well-being of others, including the commonfolk of the kingdom. This quote, in particular, illustrates this aspect of his personality, and it also exemplifies why he would make such a good king.
Unlike so many others, including his own nephew, he would actually look out for the well-being of the realm. Under his leadership, Westeros might become a place that people actually want to live, rather than a hotbed of war and continued political strife.
Westeros has known some evil kings, and this is something of which Tyrion is very well aware. With these words, he reveals yet another reason why he would make such a good ruler. Rather than assuming military might is the only way to inspire others to follow–something even Daenerys, for all of her supposed morals, seems to believe–he understands the truth.
A rule that is based on fear is one that is inherently weak and unstable. Were he fortunate enough to sit on the Iron Throne, he would be able to bring this philosophy to his rulership, with benefits for everyone.
Though it is very much a series about politics, Game of Thrones is also about philosophy. While many in this series are obsessed with death–particularly with visiting it upon others–Tyrion sees so many rich possibilities in life itself. This is the characteristic that a ruler of Westeros would be very wise and blessed to have.
Among other things, it would allow him to be more optimistic in the way that he approaches being ruler, rather than cynical. To that end, as this quote demonstrates, Tyrion would emphasize bringing out the many potentialities among those that he ruled.
There are many reasons Tyrion is one of the smartest characters in this series. Among other things, he has the ability to see beyond the fictions that others create to see the brutal reality beneath. Part of what makes him such a good choice to sit on the Iron Throne is his recognition of the corrosive power that comes from this position.
Unlike so many others in the series, who only see the potential in the throne, he knows just how dangerous it can be, particularly in the case of when Joffrey is placed on the throne. Few dared oppose him as Tyrion did, despite his own warning. Such a moderating influence would be a very good thing to have in a king of Westeros.
Time and again, Tyrion is the type of person who is willing to speak truth to power. More to the point, he is also someone who can see the world in a rational way.
This would make him a truly exemplary ruler for Westeros, especially since the realm has so often been governed by those who confuse what they want for the good of the people and the kingdom as a whole. If someone were to give Tyrion the right to sit on the Iron Throne, he would no doubt be able to use this rational approach to ruling, much to everyone’s benefit.
The bond between Jon and Tyrion is in many ways one of the most wholesome friendships in the series. Each of them finds something in the other that they can appreciate. Tyrion’s words here also reveal an amount of self-awareness that is often very lacking in those who sit on the Iron Throne.
Unlike so many other kings of the realm, however, Tyrion would be able to look clearly at himself, rather than indulging in delusions, as he follows this line with the advice "wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you" showing he understands it works as some protection against those who would try to manipulate him.
This is the very best of Tyrion’s quotes. It sums up his entire personality but, more than that, it also shows why he would make such a good ruler for Westeros. He doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to looking at himself in the mirror.
Just as importantly, there is a great deal of power in knowing things. As he repeatedly shows throughout the series, but most clearly when he is the Hand of the King, this kind of knowledge can often mean the difference between victory and absolute defeat.
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Thomas J. West III earned a PhD in film and screen studies from Syracuse University in 2018. His writing on film, TV, and popular culture has appeared in Screenology, FanFare, Primetimer, Cinemania, and in a number of scholarly journals and edited collections. He co-hosts the Queens of the B’s podcast with Mark Muster and writes a regular newsletter, Omnivorous, on Substack.