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This is the fourth piece in a series comparing historical figures to characters in A Song Of Ice and Fire.

Illustration for article titled Kingmakers: Tywin Lannister and Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick

Previous incarnations include Sandor Clegane and Bertrand Du Guesclin, Cersei Lannister and Margaret of Anjou, and Sansa Stark and Elizabeth of York. The next chapter in this series will focus on Tywin Lannister, whose influence shaped the realm of Westeros.



As I've stated previously, it's well known that Martin draws from historical events as catalysts to events in his novels. The chaos in Westeros is reminiscent of the tumultuous events of the War of the Rose. One of the figures from that conflict shares a startling number of similarities with Tywin Lannister: Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick. Neville is often known by his moniker, "The Kingmaker."

Both Tywin and Richard had a knack of bringing their houses wealth and prominence, surpassing both of their fathers. Richard rose because of a favorable marriage, and inheritance. Richard became one of the wealthiest men in England, much like Tywin being among the wealthy (if not the most wealthy) man in Westeros. Tywin's rise is much more interesting.

Tywin's father, Tytos, nearly brought the Lannister house to ruin. He was free with coin, loaning money, and never asking for repayment. Tytos betrothed his daughter, Genna, Emmon Frey, the second son of Walder Frey (heh), simply because he wanted to appease Walder (Tywin spoke out vocally against the match). At some point in his reign, Tytos imprisoned Lord Tarbeck for disloyalty. In retaliation, Lady Tarbeck seized and held three Lannisters, including the brother of Tywin's betrothed, Joanna. Tywin suggested sending Lord Tarbeck back to his wife in three pieces, one for every Lannister taken. Tytos refused, and exchanged hostages instead, returning Lord Tarbeck unharmed. After this glaring sign of weakness, the Reyne-Tarbeck Rebellion began in the Westerlands. Tywin took it upon himself to lead Lannister forces, crushing the rebellion, and extinguishing the Houses of Tarbeck and Reyne. In fact, in regards to House Reyne, now the rains weep o'er his hall, and not a soul to hear. The success of Tywin in crushing the rebellion also gained the attention of King Aerys II, who then named Tywin the Hand of the King. Tywin became the head of the household in 267AC, upon the death of Tytos.

Neville and Tywin also both held the love of the people at some points during the height of both of their political careers. Neville became a favorite of the people due to his victory at naval victories Calais. The people of the Westerland's cheered louder for Tywin at the Tourney for Aerys II than they did for the actual King.

Much like Westeros, England was in the throes of civil war when Richard Neville had a large sphere of influence. At first, Neville was a staunch supporter of the York cause. After a victory of the Battle at St. Albans, Neville was appointed the Captain of Calais, an English owned possession on the French Coast, which had been appointed to many, but held by few. (There is a direct correlation between Calais and Harrenhal for this reason-Tywin is one of few to actual successfully hold the castle and the surrounding territory) Unlike Harrenhal, the holds of Calais were not charred by dragon-fire. From Calais, Neville crossed into England and defeated a captured Henry VI at at Northampton. The Yorks eventually usurped the dynasty of Henry VI, and took the throne. Things changed drastically after three years of Yorks reigning on the throne. Neville wanted to marry Edward, the York King, to a French noblewoman, in order to gain France as an ally. Instead, Edward married Elizabeth Woodville. Tensions mounted between Warwick and Edward soon after that. After currying the favor of George, The Duke of Clarence, (Edward's brother) Neville seized King Edward, in addition to executing Woodville's Father and one of her Brothers. A revolt engineered by Neville broke out in the North of England in 1470. Edward, after his release, turned on Neville and his brother, after successfully quelling the revolt. Neville and George promptly fled across the sea to France, teamed up with Margaret of Anjou, and returned to England in September 1470. Neville then drove Edward into exile, and put Henry VI on the throne. Neville enjoyed his position as one of the most powerful men in England once more. That being said, Edward returned in March of 1471, and in April of that year, Neville was killed during the Battle of Barnet. Because he assisted in placing not one, but two, regents on the throne, Warwick obtained the nickname "Kingmaker."


The rapid switch of allegiance because of soiled marriage plans is reminiscent of Tywin's actions during Robert's Rebellion (or the War of the Usurper). Prior to the rebellion, Tywin had meticulously planned the betrothal of his daughter, Cersei, to Aerys' son, Rhaegar. Aerys' spurned the offer of Cersei's hand, and instead had his son married to Elia Martell of Dorne. Furious, Tywin left King's Landing, and ignored Aerys' calls for aid. After a decisive victory for Robert Baratheon at The Battle of The Trident, Tywin's forces rode towards King's Landing. Thinking that they were coming to his aid, Aerys' ordered the gates to be opened. The Lannister forces then sacked the city. In addition, two knights sworn to Tywin, Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch, slew Elia and (allegedly, as readers come to find out in regards to Aegon) her two infant children. Their bodies were wrapped in Lannister crimson cloaks, to conceal the blood, and presented to the new King Robert to prove Tywin's fealty. By the slaughter of Elia, and her children, Tywin also secured Robert's dynasty- making Tywin a "Kingmaker" as well. Although Tywin was proven be ruthless, he also was an able and astute ruler, giving the realm great prosperity during his tenure as Aerys' Hand. Tywin does not perish in battle. Instead, he is slain by his son, Tyrion, on the privy, after repeatedly denying that Tyrion's first wife, Tysha, was anything but a whore (this is false, and is probably why Tyrion pulled the trigger on the crossbow). Ironically, Tyrion's former consort, Shea, was naked in Tywin's bed, and was also slain by Tyrion's hands. Literally, his hands. The last quote that we see about Tywin in A Storm Of Swords is:

"But the stink that filled the privy gave ample evidence that the oft-repeated jape about his father was just another lie. Lord Tywin Lannister did not, in the end, shit gold."
-Chapter 30, A Storm Of Swords

Calculating, intelligent, ruthless, and politically astute, Tywin Lannister and Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick both had remarkable careers, which culminated with them placing a King on the throne, and concluded with Tywin and Richard being placed in their graves.

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