So, the more I watch Game of Thrones and think about the books, the more I realize something that I can't believe never occurred to me before: the Tyrells are meant to be a reflection of the Lannisters, what the Lannisters would be if they weren't so horrifically, irredeemably evil.

Lady Olenna and Tywin are obvious counterparts โ€” both are brilliant, cunning, and willing to do what it takes to ensure their family's primacy...only Lady Olenna possesses none of Tywin's spitefulness and seems to actually enjoy doing the right thing (like plotting to have Sansa married into the Tyrells and spirited off to Highgarden, where she'll be safe and happy). I realize that action coincides with her own interests, but that doesn't make it any less the right thing to do. The difference between Tywin and Olenna is that Tywin seeks a more douche-y way to do everything, whereas Olenna seeks out the way to do the right thing, but if she's unable to do so, she's still willing to poison someone.

Margaery, meanwhile, is one of the most pure good characters in the series, and is meant to be a reflection of Cersei, if Cersei was a) as smart as she thinks she is, b) as good at manipulating people as she thinks she is, and c) actually had a moral compass and wanted to rule for the right reasons. I covered this in another comment, but my opinion of Margaery is STRONGLY that she is both good at playing the game AND a decent human being.

It goes even further when you compare Loras and Jaime โ€” both are highly skilled knights seen as paragons of perfection, both have sexual secrets to hide, and at the start, both are fairly arrogant. Loras, though, seems to possess a moral compass from the start โ€” I can't imagine Loras murdering his own cousin just to escape from a cell the way Jaime does (something that didn't happen in the books, and that I thought was just weird and unnecessary in the show).

Honestly, I think even Joffrey has a counterpart in Mace Tyrell. Think about it: despite their age differences, both are nominally in charge of their Houses (but not really โ€” Tywin and Olenna are the ones truly calling the shots), both are seen as largely incompetent and not fit for their offices. Mace, though, is just a harmless buffoon who means well and has plenty of redeeming qualities, compared to Joffrey's sadistic psychopath who craves power and respect (and has no redeeming qualities whatsoever).

The books go even further, as I posit the crippled Willas Tyrell is a counterpoint to Tyrion โ€” only because the Tyrells aren't douchebags, they have great respect for Willas' keen mind rather than discarding him. Even though he, like Tyrion, is not the "beautiful, perfect ideal," they clearly regard Willas as the one who should be leading House Tyrell after Mace dies.

What does everyone think?