Book Review: The Wit and Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister (George R.R. Martin)

Book Review: The Wit and Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister (George R.R. Martin)

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion Lannister is many things in A Song of Ice and Fire (or the show version – Game of Thrones [played by Peter Dinklage]). For better or for worse he is known as a dwarf, a drunkard, a “whore chaser”, cocky, scoundrel, a Lannister, a reader, a smart ass, but for all these things he is typically best known for his one liners and wit. A pseudo – placement character for the author himself (George R.R. Martin), in a kind of twisted version of a Gary Stu; Tyrion Lannister despite his deficiencies and horrors that happen to him, often comes off looking the best.

This is not to say he’s a “good guy”, but this is also the world – Westeros – where nobody is truly a “good guy”. (The Starks are the closest we get to all around good guys…. and look what happens to all of them.) But, despite being morally grey, he usually comes off looking better than most other characters with his actions, and especially with his wit and wisdom and his acerbic tongue.

One of his biggest quotes that you’ll most likely see on at least one t-shirt at every brewfest is:

I drink and I know things.

Tyrion Lannister

Its usually one of those tongue in cheek quotes you hear (or read) over and over from people who think they are probably far smarter than they are, and also love to drink. Its similar to all of the unironic Joker quotes you see your ‘bro’ friends post on Facebook. Or you’ll probably encounter this quote in some jumbled up fashion as a team name on trivia night at your local brewpub.

The Appeal of the Character of Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion Lannister from the Wikipedia of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. The photo’s description from their site: Tyrion Lannister, on his way to the Wall – by Aleksander Karcz. © Fantasy Flight Games (FFG)
Cropped image of the [My Mind Is My Weapon] card. Part of A Game of Thrones collectible card game.

So that makes me wonder, why exactly is Tyrion Lannister such a favorite? Is it his character? Or is it his wit and one liners? Or is it who and what he is or how he’s written? Is it his dirty potty mouth (the horrors!)? Or is there something more?

I first started this section as ‘The Character of Tyrion Lannister’ and after writing the previous paragraph changed it to ‘The Appeal of the Character of Tyrion Lannister’ because I think that matters most – especially considering this precise little volume. Since there is no ‘The Wit and Wisdom of Ned Stark’ or ‘The Wit and Wisdom of Reek’ or ‘The Wit and Wisdom of Littlefinger’. There could just as easily be one for Varys with all of his great quotes and sage like advice and pseudo – revolutionary and pseudo – deep thought or pseudo – pop – philosophy comments. But there isn’t (yet?). And I think this comes down to the appeal of Tyrion.

It is interesting just how much people have glomed onto the character of Tyrion. I believe a fair portion of that appeal is his ‘underdog status’. Hated by his own father for being a dwarf, and being blamed for the death of his mother at his birth, he is immediately someone we can have sympathy for. Couple this with his empathy for the other ‘lowlier’ characters like fan favorite bastard Jon Snow, and you can get a better more full spectrum of the character. He endures hardships, even by characters that we classically in other fictions would like, and we further empathize with him ourselves. And of course, add to this his whoring, his drinking, and his acerbic quick wit, and its very easy to see why he’s a fan favorite.

Book Review

GoodRead’s Blurb:

The perfect gift for fans of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels and HBO’s Game of Thrones: a collection of wicked one-liners from the incomparable Imp of Casterly Rock, fully illustrated by Jonty Clark!
“My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind . . . and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge.”
The jealous masses of the Seven Kingdoms may call him Halfman, but none have ever accused Tyrion Lannister of being a halfwit. His golden tongue has saved his skin slightly more often than it has landed him in mortal peril. Now, this special illustrated volume preserves his most essential knowledge for future generations, featuring time-tested guidance on such varied subjects as . . .
The art of persuasion
“The best lies are seasoned with a bit of truth.”
Fine dining
“A little honest loathing can be refreshing, like a tart wine after too much sweet.”
The fair sex
“The young ones smell much better, but the old ones know more tricks.”
Royal politics
“Crowns do queer things to the heads beneath them.”
Common ailments
“A sword through the bowels. A sure cure for constipation.”
At once charming, insightful, and ruthlessly irreverent, The Wit & Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister is short on pretense and overflowing with finely crafted gems—just like the man himself.

GoodReads: The Wit and Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister

So…. this is certainly something I would never ever have paid full price for. Back cover price lists it as 16$ American. It is 177 pages with several middling illustrated images – in a cartoony and uninteresting way – of Tyrion Lannister. There is several chapter break pages and a few other blank pages. The quotes themselves are just one page for each quote. So all in all, this should take less then forty minutes at most to read, and that’s counting in the time to pour yourself a beer, and to take sips, and to answer a text or two.

I was able to get this far cheaper (I forget if I got it from the Hershey Public Library book sale, or the Hummelstown Library sale, or from AbeBooks – but I know I didn’t spend more than 2$ on it), otherwise I would never have gotten it.

Firstly, if you like Tyrion Lannister, which is something I would suppose anyone who is reading this book would be; then you should already be well acquainted with at least the majority of the quotes in the book. There shouldn’t really be much in the way of ‘surprising’ content for you, more like memory jogs of things you had read previously, or quotes you remember from the show – depending on your level of involvement with the Westeros universe.

It honestly screams ‘cash grab’ and its small size and smaller reading structure reads as a “neat little gift book” to give someone for Christmas or their birthday. But at its price, it’ll most likely come from someone who knows “oh hey, my buddy loves Game of Thrones, he talks about it all the time, this looks like a fun book for him” type of gift, rather than someone who also knows the material well and is gifting it to their also knowledgeable friend. Its in the vein of the knick-knack gifts you get from friends and family who know that you love Star Wars and get you some esoteric thing just because it has the Star Wars logo on it.

And for that, obvious cash grabs are always kind of an annoyance to me. Especially in the literary world. It just always “makes me sus” right out the gate on something, and this is no different. Its also interesting to point out that this was published in 2013, and at this point George R.R. Martin had (and still has) only released five of the books. And as for Game of Thrones the show, the finale didn’t end up airing until May 2019. Seems odd to release this book in 2013 before the written series isn’t done, and the television series isn’t done… unless you wanted to capitalize on the new found fame of it all for the sake of money, and to have a hold over until George R.R. Martin is able to finish the series – spoiler alert – he still hasn’t finished even the next book of the series by March 2022.

Are the quotes good and entertaining? Sure… but is it worth an entire book for them? No. And is it worth 16$? Certainly not! Especially given that you get roughly 116 quotes (if my counting was correct from a quick leaf through of the work). With each quote being a single sentence or two at most, you are spending 16$ for at most 232 sentences of text. Seems an absurd cost.

My GoodReads Rating: **
My LibraryThing Rating: *.5
Global Average GoodReads Rating: 3.56 (as of 3.12.22).

More Information

For more information on Tyrion Lannister I suggest checking out the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ Wikipedia:

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister from HBO’s Game of Thrones


Thanks For Reading

Hope everyone is enjoying the lovely off and on good and bad weather we’re having here in Central PA (lovely SMARCH weather – Homer Simpsons). At least it gives me a chance to catch up on my “to read” pile, and to hit the library and get more books that I’ll start and hopefully finish before their due back. I am trying to keep up with reading and doing book reviews as soon as I get done. Hope you are all enjoying the book reviews on top of the beer reviews, and hike reviews, and other beer related articles here on the blog.

Also, be sure to check out the March Madness tournament that’s going on. You can find that here: March Madness (2022) – Bigger, Badder, Bolder.


Well, thanks for reading all! And remember to drink and to know things! Cheers!

-B. Kline


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