In interviews, Martin has mentioned that Tyrion Lannister is his favorite character, and it’s hard not to be captivated by Tyrion’s witty comebacks, intelligence, and sense of justice. A dwarf with mismatched eyes, Tyrion is regularly mocked, even by his own family. To compensate, he jokes about his height and appearance, but he never forgets the way others perceive him. In fact, he often uses the prejudice he encounters to his advantage, allowing people to underestimate him while he clevely outmaneuvers them. Over the course of the novel, he also proves himself to be brave in battle and an astute and shrewd military commander, surprising even himself. Tyrion, accordingly, is among the most complex characters in the novel. He can be callous toward those he sees as enemies, but he also demonstrates that he is thoughtful, regulalry showing concern for people he sees suffering.

Even as Tyrion tries to behave justly, he also fully belongs to his family, the power-hungry House Lannister. Tyrion wants to both ensure that the kingdom is well run and promote his family’s interests, and the two goals do not always coincide. He also frequently finds himself battling his sister, Cersei, who dislikes and distrusts Tyrion. Tyrion's struggle to wrest power from Cersei while still doing right by the kingdom and doing what's best for his family forms much of the political and psychological drama of his story.