The rift between Tyrion and Daenerys has been growing for some time on Game of Thrones. After being made Hand of the Queen in Season 6, Tyrion tried his best to vouch for and serve with an eye towards removing Cersei from the Iron Throne. But as Seasons 7 and 8 have shown, Tyrion might be growing doubtful of Dany. After one crucial moment in Season 8, Episode 2, he may be ready to retire as Hand of the Queen and throw his support behind another Iron Throne candidate: Jon Snow.
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In a recent post, redditor u/MaRs1317 reminds us that Season 8 has been sowing some big seeds of discord between Tyrion and Dany, strengthening the feeling that Tyrion could ultimately betray her and switch teams before the finale. They point specifically to Tyrion’s mysterious conversation with Bran in Episode 2 (which we don’t actually get to observe) followed by Tyrion suddenly seeming to question Dany’s decisions while he’s in the crypts in Episode 3.
They continue by connecting those dots and ultimately theorizing:
“Bran told Tyrion who Jon actually is and it will be the driving force behind him switching sides. A lot of us couldn’t see Jon releasing the information on his own to get the throne. What if Tyrion tells the world that Jon is the true heir because he doubts Daenerys’ intentions or honor! This would force Jon into a situation of conflict.”
It’s true that in Episode 2, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” Tyrion and Bran have a fireside chat that we only see a brief moment of. During their exchange, the two reconnect after years apart. Looking to kill the time until the inevitable battle, Tyrion encourages Bran to catch him up on seven years worth of information. Bran obliges and tells him everything.
MaRs1317 presumes (and I’m inclined to think this, too) that during their conversation, Bran reveals the truth about Jon Snow’s identity, either by his own admission or by way of Tyrion’s probing. Tyrion is also repeatedly referred to as one of the cleverest men in Westeros, so even if Bran didn’t outright tell him, enough could have been revealed to let Tyrion connect the dots.
But crucially, let’s not pretend like Tyrion hasn’t been keeping an eye on Dany and Jon since their relationship began in earnest at the end of Season 7 as they sailed to Winterfell. Tyrion watched as Jon went into Dany’s room, and from there, it’s logical to think he’s been keeping tabs on how they’re doing. Their success or failure as a couple will affect him, too, and he’d want to know as much as possible about what their deal is (even if he doesn’t let on) so he can continue to make informed decisions about how to advise Daenerys.
If Tyrion does know Jon’s true identity, however, then it’s also the kind of essential knowledge that could push Tyrion closer to Jon as a supporter. Dany’s trust in Tyrion has been slowly evaporating since they arrived in Westeros, as Tyrion continues to make crucial mistake (the failed invasion as Casterly Rock) after crucial mistake (striking a truce with Cersei that clearly didn’t work out).
Dany ordering Tyrion to wait out the Battle of Winterfell was arguably as much a punitive measure as it was an insurance policy he would survive. It’s clear she is losing faith in him, which will only push Tyrion further away from her.
Similarly, Tyrion has seen glimpses of Dany’s tendency to lead from the heart rather than with a cool head. Tyrion likely knows there is a chance Dany could go full Mad Queen after seeing how she has treated Randyll and Dickon Tarly in Season 7. Dany’s brusqueness in combination with her rashness in decision-making no doubt worries Tyrion and would make him question whether she even deserves his support. Knowing she might not even have the rightful claim to the Iron Throne would be a great excuse for him to hop off the Dany train.
At any rate, no blatant clues have been dropped about Tyrion betraying Dany, but knowing Tyrion and the fact that he’s much more cautious and pragmatic than Dany currently is in Season 8, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up making the tough but logical choice to switch sides.
Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 4 airs Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.