I agree, and I expect more from people who take the time to analyze the text from a critical perspective when it comes to other characters/issues.
One of the things that annoys me most about the “Tyrion as secret Targ” theories is that many people in the fandom seem to use them as a way to justify or excuse Tywin’s abuse of Tyrion—“oh, of course he hates Tyrion—he’s a bastard, after all, and Tywin’s just taking out as frustration.”
First of all, no. Even if someone isn’t your biological child—even if there’s no pretense of them being your child in any sense—you still don’t tell them that you wish they were dead, that they are subhuman, that only you and your wealth afford them any dignity, that you wish you had smashed their head across the rocks as an infant. You still don’t make them watch their wife get brutally gang raped and then force them to join in. Those are terrible, terrible things, even if someone isn’t actual your flesh and blood. They are in no way, shape, or form sympathetic or understandable actions, regardless of the circumstances.
Second, this line of thinking erasing what I think is a very important aspect of Tyrion’s character—how his family treats him, especially in the context of his disability. In real life, people with disabilities experience significantly higher rates of abuse and violence (all forms) than the general population and a notable amount of that abuse comes from family members. It’s not a modal experience for people with disabilities (IOW, most people with disabilities aren’t abused by their families), but it’s still depressingly common and a serious issue—and one I think has been explored well with Tyrion’s character. Tyrion’s dehumanization runs just as strongly, if not more strongly, in his family than among strangers. Tywin makes it incredibly clear that his hatred of Tyrion is directly tied to his dwarfism, and he uses Tyrion’s dwarfism as a way to control, diminish, and harm Tyrion. Likewise, Cersei states outright that she hated Tyrion as a child not only because their mother died during his birth but his mother died while giving birth to her defective, disabled brother. Much of how Tyrion’s family treats him is because they see him as subhuman and often openly treat him that way. That’s an important thing to explore, and it’s explored well and explicitly. To ignore the fact that Tyrion’s abuse and disenfrancement from his family is directly and explicitly related to his disability is to ignore an important part of Tyrion’s history and character.
Assuming that Tywin’s abuse of him comes because Tyrion is a “secret Targ” (when the text repeatedly calls him Tywin’s son, to boot) is comes across as purposefully misreading the text out of discomfort with what’s in it, honestly.
Sansa stirred in her seat. “What sword is that?”
Tyrion’s eyes still stung from the wine. He blinked and looked again. Ser Ilyn’s greatsword was as long and wide as Ice, but it was too silvery-bright; Valyrian steel had a darkness to it, a smokiness in its soul. Sansa clutched his arm. “What has Ser Ilyn done with my father’s sword?”
Sansa/Tyrion Appreciation Week - Day 2 - Touch
One of the things that annoys me about “feminist” critiques of Tyrion is that they often insist on downplaying his heroic actions. Everything good he does is only “decent” and he supposedly has this disproportionate view of himself as deserving of recognition.
But here’s the thing. Westoros is a society that is built on chivalry, and GRRM does a lot to deconstruct the romanticization of chivalry, because the thing about chivalry is that it’s not only sexist, it’s also ableist (and racist, and heterosexist, and pretty much every other -ist you can think of). And I find it pretty hard to fault Tyrion for wishing to embody a masculine role that is explicitly denied to him, as a disabled person, by society.
Tyrion often compares himself to Jaime, and to other knights, and we see him trying to embody this role several times throughout the series, most notably during Blackwater and with Sansa. Jaime says that Tyrion “has these fits of gallantry from time to time”.
Tyrion tells Sansa on their wedding night that “in the dark I am the Knight of Flowers”, which also has another layer of meaning because, as the reader knows, the Knight of Flowers himself isn’t exactly the traditional example of chivalry.
Tyrion’s heroic efforts during the Battle of the Blackwater are dismissed. His actions to protect Sansa from the bedding ceremony on their wedding night must be passed off as a joke. His actions to protect Alayaya and Sansa are ultimately used against him when he is wrongfully tried for Joffrey’s death. His efforts to do justice in King’s Landing win him the nickname “demon monkey”.
Of course I’m not saying this excuses the bad things Tyrion does, I just can’t fault him for wanting to be seen as a hero (even a romantic hero) when society sees him as a monster. It makes me sad.
Lena Headey on the set of Game of Thrones
Many things have been said about all the different kinds of pairings in the world of ASoIaF. One of the most discussed issues is age; age difference between the two characters being shipped and the blurry end of childhood, namely for girls.
This [horribly long] post was inspired by the lovely donewithwoodenteeth and her insightful responses about age difference and ships, with a focus on Gendry and Arya. I would like to blabber about a few aspects of age in relation to romantic love, sex, and crushes. There will be mentions about child abuse and other uncomfortable issues, though I will try to keep them to a minimum.
I just want to add, about Tyrion and Sansa and the pedophilia debate, that his considering Sansa a child was one of the reasons he objected to the marriage. He is sexually attracted to her, yes, but as you said, it’s stated that Sansa’s body had developed. Given the amount of sexual attention Sansa gets in the books I get the impression she looks fairly old for her age. Tyrion’s attracted to her, but not because she’s a child. Whereas pedophilia is being attracted to children. When he asks Sansa if she’s frightened by his attraction to her and she says yes, he says “me as well”.
I think it’s also worth noting that Tyrion does not think about Sansa in that way at all until after they’re married. I think he’s more attracted to the idea of her as his wife than anything.
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I said so once to your father’s face, and he would not speak to me for half a year.
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I should not be dreaming wolf dreams, the girl told herself. I am a cat now, not a wolf. I am Cat of the Canals. The wolf dreams belonged to Arya of House Stark. Try as she might, though, she could not rid herself of Arya. It made no difference whether she slept beneath the temple or in the little room beneath the eaves with Brusco’s daughters, the wolf dreams still haunted her by night.