For Tyrion Lannister, Death Is the Most Beautiful 'Game of Thrones' Ending


When Jamie Lannister pushed Bran Stark from a tower window all the way back in the Game of Thrones pilot, Cersei Lannister remarked that it would have been more merciful for the boy to die rather than live as a cripple. "I have to disagree," their brother Tyrion replied. "Death is so final, yet life is full of possibilities." That was of course, long before Tyrion caught sight of what lies beyond The Wall, and learned that death is nowhere near as final as he once thought.

At the beginning of this show, audiences saw Tyrion the way the people of Westeros saw him—a cynical, irreverent man who preferred boozing and prostitutes to any actual duties for a man of his stature. We assumed, like the realm, that he was just as crooked as the rest of his family, which is why Catelyn Stark was quick to accuse him of attempted murder of her son. Our perception of Tyrion rapidly changed, though, as we got to know him as a highly intelligent man, who masked the pain of his outsider status with pessimism. As we grew to love Tyrion, so grew the looming threat of his death, which has always been lurking not far away, whether it be in tense trials by combat, battle, or imprisonment. And now, going into Game of Thrones Season Eight, death will finally come for Tyrion Lannister.

No one believes this with more certainty than Peter Dinklage himself. The actor has made statements in two interviews that suggest that Tyrion’s future may not be so bright. "I think he was given a very good conclusion," he told Vulture. "No matter what that is—death can be a great way out." To Entertainment Tonight, Dinklage declared that things end "beautifully for my character whether it be tragic or not." That sure sounds like Tyrion gets a tear-jerker of a death scene.


Then there’s the case of a little slip of the tongue from the show’s special effects team. Backstage after wins at this year's Creative Arts Emmys, producer Steve Kullback was caught on tape warning that he couldn't tell the press "what episode Tyrion dies…or doesn’t." It could all have definitely been a gag, but still. Check out the moment for yourself below:

It makes sense for Tyrion's story to be nearing its close, as he seems to have achieved one of his major goals. He's always craved the acceptance of a loving family, one that chose him for who he truly is instead of being bonded to him by a shared last name. Remember Tysha, Tyrion's first love? They eloped when Tyrion was still a teenager at Casterly Rock, only for Jaime to reveal that Tysha was a sex worker he'd paid to feign interest in his little brother. (In the books, Jamie later admits that he'd lied and that Tysha genuinely loved Tyrion, but that scene never made it into the show.) The domestic bliss he enjoyed with Tysha marked one of the happiest periods in his life, and he's pursued that kind of acceptance ever since.

And amid the motley bunch that have flocked to Daenerys' side, Tyrion is carving out something that more closely resembles a family than anything he's had before. Dany and Jon respect his wisdom and seem to have genuine affection for him. It all feels very much like the end of his story, and if he's struck down while fighting against the White Walkers or trying to secure Dany's throne, his would be an honorable and satisfying death.

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Then there's the possibility that Tyrion is in love with Dany—something old GoT scripts seem to hint at. We've never seen a sign from Daenerys that such love might be reciprocated, and Jon and Dany certainly seem poised to continue to pursue the romance in Season Eight. It's hard to imagine Tyrion remaining at Daenerys' side as a rejected third wheel, and if given the chance he could definitely choose to sacrifice himself for his queen somehow.

Tyrion's come a long way from the pampered heir he once was, and has learned that there's a lot more to life than carousing in brothels. What would be a better way to demonstrate that he now knows death isn't as final nor as fearsome as he once imagined than to confront it bravely, knowing that he's sacrificing himself to help save humanity in the battle against the White Walkers? Remember, Dinklage promised Tyrion's ending would be beautiful—what could be more beautiful than that?


This story originally appeared on Esquire.comMinor edits have been made by the editors.

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Gabrielle Bruney
Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture. She's based (and born and raised) in Brooklyn, New York.
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