‘Game of Thrones’ 101: Explaining the Tyrion Targaryen Fan Theory

After he tamed Daenerys’ dragons on last night’s “Game of Thrones,” a theory emerges that Tyrion is actually Daenerys’ brother

Tyrion Lannister has done a lot of spectacular things over the course of “Game of Thrones.” On a show where death is the only constant, he has managed to elude the Grim Reaper more times than anyone can count. He has used his wit and intellect to work his way into several seats of power. Oh, and he slapped Joffrey. That was fun.

On last night’s episode, Tyrion added another remarkable feat to his list, and it is one that has rekindled one of the most popular fan theories surrounding the series. With Daenerys Targaryen missing after flying off with her dragon at the end of last season, Tyrion has been chosen to run Meereen in her place.

In his first move as acting governor, Tyrion made a bold suggestion: Daenerys still had two other dragons chained in the dungeons, and Tyrion decided that he would go down and free them.

As some unfortunate souls have learned over the course of the series, dragons are quick to flame-broil and devour anyone who looks at them funny. Even Daenerys can’t really tame them. She can only show them where to fly and maybe they’ll listen to her. But as it turns out, Tyrion’s silver tongue is much more powerful than anyone first thought.

With a few jokes and a little chit-chat, Tyrion managed to get the dragons to trust him and let him unchain them without snapping. He even told them a story about how he wanted a dragon as a birthday gift when he was a kid, and they seemed to be listening to him.

Daenerys is the only one up to this point that has been able to calm the dragons the way Tyrion has, making Sunday’s episode the biggest piece of evidence for some fans that believe Tyrion is not a full-blooded Lannister. According to the theory, Tyrion’s father is not Tywin Lannister. It’s Aerys Targaryen.

Some believe that on the wedding night of Tywin and Joanna Lannister, the power-drunk Aerys used his status as king to claim first bedding rights to Joanna. Through either seduction or blackmail, he kept up a secret relationship with Joanna for years, which eventually led to Tyrion’s birth.

As fans know, Joanna died giving birth to Tyrion. Tywin always hated the Imp for bringing about the death of the only person in Westeros he ever truly loved, but that hatred might have been doubled if he knew who Tyrion’s father really was. Or so the theory goes.

But while Tywin would make sure that Tyrion would never be his heir, he raised him instead of letting him die like most people in Westeros would do with dwarf children. Fans who believe in the theory think that Tywin did this either to preserve the honor of his house or because he could never bring himself to kill Joanna’s child, regardless of the circumstances.

The theory would also explain the motives behind Tywin’s words and actions. The affair with Joanna would have been enough to get Tywin to join the Baratheon rebellion, and it would give deeper meaning to his final declaration to Tyrion that he was never his son — just before Tyrion killed him.

The Tyrion Targaryen theory also ties in to the prophecy of the three-headed dragon that Daenerys hears in the House of the Undying. Some believe that the prophecy means that there will be three Targaryens who will restore order to Westeros, and that Tyrion and Jon Snow will be the two heads of the dragon alongside Daenerys.

The three have some shared moments in their respective stories. Their mothers all died giving birth to them. They each killed someone they loved, with Jon indirectly killing Ygritte, Tyrion killing Shae, and Daenerys mercy killing Khal Drogo. Also, from a narrative perspective, it explains why they have survived up to this point, and have remained key characters on the show.

This theory has been heavily debated for many years now, but Tyrion’s expertise on dragons and his adept taming abilities are the first bits of concrete evidence that it may be right. If it is right, then the battle for the Iron Throne is about to be turned on its head. Daenerys will have to come to terms with no longer being the last Targaryen and decide whether that’s a good or bad thing. She would have a true family again.

But as her older half-brother, Tyrion may have a claim on the throne, depending on whether people would overlook the fact that he’s not only a dwarf, but a bastard as well. The Queen of Dragons has spent a great deal of time building up her power across the water, but when she finally arrives in Westeros, her greatest threat may not be from a Lannister or a White Walker, but from a fellow dragon.

Not every theory is as strong as the Tyrion Targaryen theory. Check out some dumb and debunked “GoT” theories below.