In Game of Thrones season 7 episode 3, we see

the Lannister army

invade and defeat

house Tyrell in Highgarden.

In fact, the fight is so one-sided that the writers of the show intentionally decided not to show the actual battle and instead jumped directly to the aftermath of fight.

It's established in season 7 episode 1 that

the Lannister army

is running short of supplies and money, and

house Tyrell

is now the richest house in Westeros. How was it possible that the former so easily defeated the latter?

  • 2
    "So overall my question is are the Tyrells so weak that just the Lannister and Tarly's army can take them down?": Yes.
    – onewho
    Aug 1, 2017 at 17:24
  • 2
    You did see their main bannerman, Randyll Tarley, next to Jamie Lannister, leading the troops, right? If so, are you assuming that's the only one who aligned with the Lannisters? Aug 1, 2017 at 21:20
  • 2
    "Not a big house like the Tyrells" - any house is as big as the lesser houses who are pledged to them. Tyrells under attack are not still the Tyrells, they are Tyrells minus their biggest, most capable supporting house, so much less than they were before. Aug 1, 2017 at 21:23
  • 3
    @joshcaswell - Uh, the edit changed the title question into a spoiler now. Anyone following the show will understand that this is about Tyrells.
    – Davor
    Aug 2, 2017 at 14:10
  • 2
    The "edit" button is right below the post, @Davor.
    – jscs
    Aug 2, 2017 at 14:35

6 Answers 6


The biggest reason is that they weren't prepared for an attack. The Lannister army wasn't supposed to be there, but rather defending King's Landing and Casterly Rock. Lady Tyrell even goes on to say that fighting was never really the Tyrell's strong suit, so in-universe it wasn't a surprise that they fell so quickly.

Also, wealth doesn't equate to army size. Just because the Tyrell's have a lot of money doesn't mean that they have a huge army. In fact, house Lannister is in significant debt because of it's huge army and all of the fighting they've had to do over the last few years.

  • 41
    Also Jamie convinced Randyll Tarly to defect.
    – J Doe
    Aug 1, 2017 at 20:51
  • 9
    Randyll being Westeros' best military strategist, bar none, may help explain why that comment is so significant.
    – Möoz
    Aug 1, 2017 at 23:56
  • Wasn't part of the Tyrell's army onboard the ships going to King's Landing that were sunk by Euron Greyjoy? If so, this would also significantly reduce the number of defenders left behind. Aug 2, 2017 at 7:03
  • 2
    @josh: I believe that they were still en route to go pick up the Dornish forces. The main issue that Varys presents to Danaerys in ep3 is the destruction of the fleet, not the death of countless soldiers. Euron attacked the empty boats before they landed in Dorne (which can also explain why the battle was so one sided, little to no troops on Yara's boats)
    – Flater
    Aug 2, 2017 at 11:21
  • 6
    @josh: To be fair, the show makes little to no effort to separate Dornish characters. The entire Dorne story has been sadly underdeveloped, with the sole exception of Oberyn.
    – Flater
    Aug 2, 2017 at 12:27

Adding to @DForck42's answer, not only the Tyrells were unprepared, as Lady Olenna points out, they were never very good at the art of war.

They lack good commanders; Ser Randyll Tarly, the most competent of their banner-men, sided with Jaime, providing the Lannisters with men, as well with expertise and knowledge on how best to defeat the Tyrells.

  • 2
    It is not mentioned in the show, but it certainly is plausible that Tarly wasn't the only of the Tyrell bannermen to 'stay loyal to the crown'. If more followed, the Tyrells would be even more outnumbered.
    – JAD
    Aug 2, 2017 at 7:44
  • It was mentioned in the previous episode.
    – madmada
    Aug 2, 2017 at 8:02
  • The Tyrells had around 60 - 70k according to Renly. The combined Tyrell/Stormslands was 100k. Even a small fraction of that many manning High Garden would have held out for a huge amount of time.
    – Shiv
    Apr 4, 2019 at 4:04

Possibly Inside Help

Considering that High Garden is a castle, and High Garden was at least prepared enough that Lady Olenna watches them approach (without siege equipment) so we can surmise that the gate would be closed. I would posulate that either the Lannisters had someone on the inside to open the gate for them, or the directors and writers forgot that sieges take years and many, many, lives even of poorly fortified castles.

  • 1
    That's a really good point. I was so taken aback by the appearance of the Lannister army that neither the original question nor your objection occurred to me. Good to remember that there will be some loss of fidelity because out-of-universe the writers need to move the plot along.
    – chucksmash
    Aug 2, 2017 at 3:59
  • 4
    Yeah, I can buy the Lannisters defeating the Tyrells in battle, but walking into one of the strongest castles in Westeros? Without years of siege? Nah, hard to buy. Aug 2, 2017 at 12:28
  • "(without siege equipment)" I understand that you mean to imply that the Lannister army knew that it wouldn't need equipment (thus implying an inside man). However, what equiment do you need for a siege (i.e. waiting out the enemy)? Isn't that a matter of surrounding the castle and stopping traders, especially if you say it will take years? Without a man on the inside; I would expect them to only bring equipment when they specifically don't want to wait several years, e.g. towers, catapults, or battering rams.
    – Flater
    Aug 2, 2017 at 12:30
  • 1
    @Flater that just furthers the point that the victory happened too fast that if they wait it out and surround it would take years not hours.
    – ggiaquin16
    Aug 2, 2017 at 17:08
  • 1
    @Flater You'd usually keep some pressure on the enemy castle (using catapults etc.) and wait for an opening. Keeping an army in a siege is rather expensive, so a good general would want to avoid it at all costs (in medieval Europe, if you waited for the garrison to starve out, you only kept a small army around the castle - big enough to keep the enemy from resupplying or attacking you, while small enough to be supplied by the surrounding country). But it could still take a few weeks of "siege skirmishing" before you got a good opening for an assault (e.g. a breach in walls or gates).
    – Luaan
    Aug 3, 2017 at 11:10

The way that I remember this happening is that this house was one of the two that went to Daenerys and offered support. She then had them

send their army to King's Landing to lay siege. While their army was doing that, it wasn't at home, defending their castle.

Meanwhile, they thought

that the Lannister army was in Casterly Rock waiting for the Unsullied and the Dothraki. But instead, it was taking Highgarden. And they sent at least Jaime from King's Landing, as they relied on Euron Greyjoy to protect King's Landing by sinking the attacking fleet. I remain unclear on whether the Tyrell army was with the fleet or not. Maybe it's hanging out laying siege to King's Landing. Or maybe they're dead and on the bottom of the ocean.

  • 3
    I suppose that we will find out in the next few episodes, but I am under the impression that the show writers are trying to imply that Dorne and High Garden are finished as players, despite Dorne's army not being defeated, and High Garden's apparently being finished in a week. We will have to see though. Aug 2, 2017 at 13:50

All of the in-universe reasons have been given so here are some out-of-universe reasons to consider.

Story: Dany's Dothraki + Unsullied + Dorne + Reach + Yara-Theon Ironborn fleet should have steamrolled the Lannisters and Dany should be sat the Iron Throne. However, this would be rather linear and dull plot so D&D had to do something to even up the odds between Cersei and Dany. While the trap at Casterly Rock was no big surprise, the taking of Highgarden was.

Budget: A one sided slaughter is a bit boring. Having this off screen is a big money saver and can pay for more dragon CGI and Ice Zombie battles!

Time: With only this 7 eps season and one more season the story needs to be moved on. 2nd tier characters such as Olenna, Ellaria and the Sand Snakes need to be culled in order to make room for Jon, Dany, Arya and Sam plots.


Since it's fiction, I guess it's because HBO wanted to even the odds for House Lannister.

The biggest reason why House Tyrell lost is because the Lannisters somehow magically acquired all troop movements of Daenerys's forces but masked their own. I mean communication via ravens in GOT is pretty fast and I doubt Lannisters could invade Tyrell without hitting any spies or picket forces.

And magically ambushing the fleet? Really? Did they have aerial reconnaissance in middle ages?

With Varys and Olenna, the Targaryen forces should have equal if not better intelligence network.

So no, I don't think it was possible for things to happen this way other than author wanted it this way or the allies brushed aside all intelligence and said:

they love Casterly Rock, no way they are going to take High Gardens.

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