It’s theory time, boys and girls. Gather round.
Today, we bring you a video that explores the mystery surrounding the fate of Gerion Lannister, Tywin’s youngest brother and Tyrion’s favorite uncle. Gerion’s fate is not mentioned on the show (Tyrion may reference him obliquely in the scene where he free’s Dany’s dragons), but in the books we learn that Gerion vanished while on an expedition to the ruins of Valyria to look for Brightroar, House Lannister’s lost ancestral sword.
Like Ice or Longclaw, Brightroar was forged of Valyrian steel, making it extremely valuable. What was it doing in Valyria in the first place, and why would Tywin’s brother undertake a dangerous expedition to retrieve it? YouTuber and Game of Thrones fan Alt Shift X has some ideas. Let’s take a look.
To understand Gerion’s motivations, we have to understand the Lannister family dynamic. Tywin was the first born son of five children, and the eventual heir to the Lannister legacy. Tywin quickly established himself as the ruthless and capable leader, setting an example his brothers couldn’t live up to. Keven Lannister became Tywin’s loyal right hand. Tygett Lannister, who’s also not in the books, became a capable warrior, but later died of a pox. Which brings us to Gerion, who was dubbed “the Laughing Lion” for his jovial demeanor.
Although Gerion wasn’t outwardly bitter about Tywin’s renown, the two did clash. Gerion encouraged Tyrion’s love of books, and even taught him some tumbling tricks. (The idea that Tyrion has gymnastic ability was cut from the show…probably for the best.) None of this behavior sat well with Tywin.
Enter the quest to find Brightroar. The sword traveled to Valyria centuries ago, before Aegon’s conquest of Westeros. King Tommen II brought it with him while searching for plunder. Sailing to Valyria in search of a lost family sword may have seemed like a fun adventure for Gerion, particularly if the alternative was hanging around his dour big brother. So that’s what he did, eight years before the events of A Game of Thrones.
Tyrion and Jorah sail through Valyria on the show, and while the going isn’t easy, in the books Valyria is painted as a much more dangerous place. In fact, it’s considered so dangerous that when Gerion stopped in Volantis en route, half of his crew members deserted, and Gerion was forced to buy slaves in order to fill their spots. Gerion was never heard from again after this, though we are given several clues to his fate.
One of the few people to have sailed to Valyria and lived (so he claims) is Euron Greyjoy. Could he have run into Gerion at any point? Alt Shift X suggests that the new King of the Iron Islands may have brought back Gerion as part of the crew of his ship, Silence. (Each crew member has his tongue removed, so Gerion would be unable to communicate.) But the timelines don’t match up here, as Gerion sailed to Valyria five years before Euron. It seems unlikely that he could have survived that long.
Although Alt Shift X believes Gerion perished during his expedition, he has a rather ingenious theory about who Gerion left behind. In the novels, we are briefly introduced to a prostitute in Braavos known as the Sailor’s Wife. She was once married to a sailor who was tragically lost at sea, just like Gerion. The Sailor’s Wife also has a young daughter with golden hair named Lanna. (Notably, “Lanna” sounds a lot like “Lan the Clever,” from whom the Lannisters claim to be descended. Alt Shift X suggests that Gerion was the sailer, and that Lanna is his daughter.
The problem is that, in the books, Lanna is fourteen years old, which doesn’t match up with the time frame of Gerion’s expedition. However, Alt Shift X points out that when George R.R. Martin was first writing A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons (they were originally one novel), he intended to pick up the story five years after the end of A Storm of Swords. Martin spent an entire year writing the novels with this timeline in mind before abandoning it, as it only worked for some characters and not others. So he just picked up right after the end of Storm instead.
Alt Shift X proposes that, after Martin scraped plans for the five-year gap, he had to go back and change dates and ages, but that he may have missed something: Lanna’s age. If Lanna is supposed to be 9 rather than 14 immediately after A Storm of Swords, the timeline fits. Gerion could have stopped by Braavos on his way to Valyria and married the Sailor’s Wife before moving on and disappearing.
So does Tyrion have a little cousin running around Braavos? Or is this all just a bunch of coincidences? You decide.