As we have seen so far in Game of Thrones, Tywin Laninster played hidden roles behind all major activities in the seven kingdoms. He was a mastermind of war techniques and politics.

He had selected to become a hand of the king. But the major question is why he never tried to become a king. He was very ambitious regarding power.

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    Well, you need some valid claim based on heritage and blood-lines to claim yourself a rightful king to begin with.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 18:50
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    But Lannister blood doesn't make him a king, Baratheon blood does. Joffrey wasn't king because of the Lannister side of the family, but because of his (so to be officially believed) father Robert Baratheon.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 18:54
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    @CrowTRobot Granted. Yet I guess it served Tywin much better to easily steer the kingdom with his grandson as puppet, rather than spending huge expenses into a war that others already fight among themselves. (Do I sense an answer here?)
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 18:55
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    My guess is he believes/realizes that the most power and least responsibility to waste time on courtly duties is actually held by people on the king's council, probably the hand most of all. Put another way: he is probably too smart to think that being the king is a good thing. Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 19:06
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    Claiming the thrown would mean overthrowing his grandson wouldn't it (and that would make family dinners quite hard wouldn't it)? Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 11:39

3 Answers 3


Now first of all, Tywin Lannister did not actually have a valid claim for the throne at all. The throne is based on heritage and blood-lines. While Tywin is a nobleman from one of the major houses, he's not from the house that currently provides the kings of Westeros, which is House Baratheon. Joffrey is not king because of the Lannister side of the family, but because of his (so to be officially believed) father, Robert Baratheon.

If you compare, all the other attendees in the fight for the throne base their claim on that blood heritage in some way or aren't actually interested in the throne either. The Baratheon brothers claim that Joffrey is a Lannister bastard of Jaime and thus that they are the true inheritors, as brothers of the last king. And the Starks don't fight for the throne, but for the North's independence from the king.

Now what you could argue is that Tywin could just seize the throne by violent measures, like Robert Baratheon actually did. However, that's not a great idea for a variety of reasons:

  • There are already many different parties fighting against each other for the Iron Throne and the Lannisters would have to fight all of them to seize the throne. This would cost him quite a bit. It's much better to just see all the other houses expense themselves over a useless war.

  • In contrast to all the other parties, they don't even have the slightest part of a valid claim, they would simply be violent invaders to the throne without any reason. This could be viewed very strangely by the overall population. When Robert seized the throne from the Mad King, he still freed the people from, well, a mad king afterall.

  • Last but not least, he doesn't need the throne at all. He already is Hand of the King and can practically rule the country easily through the willing dumb puppet Joffrey (or Tommen for that matter). You notice that it is actually him (or his daughter Cersei) who is behind most of the major decisions executed by the Kingdom anyway. Actually being king is just a vanity gain that Tywin has no interest in at all. It's pretty much the council that controls Westeros and not the King.

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    It might be good to point out the King Robert asserted his claim to the throne on the basis that his relative (grandmother?) was a Taergaryan. Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 2:46
  • A big enough army has long been considered a valid claim to any throne, and the size of your army is directly proportional to the size of your coffers.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 15:27
  • "When Robert killed the Mad King..." Aerys was killed by Jaime Lannister, and Tywin then took King's Landing. Tywin chose to step aside and present the throne to Robert (most specifically, to Robert's army, led by Ned Stark, who I believe arrived before Robert). There's a lot more going on there than simply Robert leading the rebellion against Aerys.
    – recognizer
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 17:03
  • Granted. The essence of the answer stays the same, though.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 17:05

There are two reasons:

  1. He was never in the line of succession.

At no point during the series is Tywin ever in a position to inherit. The throne was initially held by the Targaryen line until Robert took it, after which it was held by the Baratheon line. By all accounts, Westeros follows the same basic kind of inheritance laws as medieval Europe, meaning that the line of succession passes through the King's family, but never into the Queen's.

  1. He preferred to be the "power behind the throne".

Succession laws aside, there were likely opportunities for Tywin to claim the throne if he really wanted it. His position during Robert's Rebellion probably gave him the opportunity, as did his military power during the War of the Five Kings (especially after Joffrey's death).

However, it seems pretty clear from his actions that he doesn't want to be king. He wants someone on the throne that he can control -- ideally his grandchildren, if he can help it. But even when Robert and Aerys were on the throne, Tywin's military and economic influence meant they could not afford to ignore him and his family. He was even a key reason why Robert's Rebellion succeeded in the first place.

At one point, I believe he even makes this point directly to Joffrey: Joffrey's job is to be the King. Tywin's job is to keep him there. By sitting back and guiding the King's action indirectly, Tywin can maintain his position regardless of who is in power, while not having to deal with any of the problems that come with the position itself.


Jeez.. Guys definitely nothing to do with a line of succession. Its the seven 'kingdoms' each leader of the leading faction of each realm could already be considered a king. Baratheon at this point is only a second generation King lineage. And the Baratheon's obtained their kingship through civil war... Tywin could have the throne if he wanted, he dosnt want the position though.. Just the power and he dosnt need to be King to have that.

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