The Tyrion Lannister Guide to Winning
While we wait to see if Tyrion can survive another trial by fire, take a look at the strategies that have allowed him to survive for so long.

June 2, 2014

Tyrion should have died already. He has faced trial, where the guilty verdict would result in death penalty. He has fought in battles and survived, despite the fact that he’s not a renowned swordsman. His own family hates him, yet somehow the George R.R. Martin and HBO series character is still alive.

Why is the short man able to survive in a world where far stronger men have already fallen?

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched Season 4 of Game of Thrones yet, then stop reading. If you’ve read all the books and feel like adding spoilers in the comment section, may a dumbbell fall on your toe.

People Underestimate Him

Tyrion speaking to Sansa Stark:

“My lady, people have been laughing at me far longer than they’ve been laughing at you. I’m the Half-Man, the Demon-Monkey, the Imp.” 

Tyrion speaking to Jon Snow:

Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armour, and it can never be used to hurt you.” 

Being Tyrion means being the underdog, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It simply means that, if you’re not Goliath, don’t follow a Goliath like strategy.

Your Move – Think Creatively

Arguably, one of Tyrion’s biggest strengths is his ability to think outside the box. In season one, when faced with losing a trial and consequently dying at the Eyrie, he demanded a trial by combat. On face value, the move seemed to be crazy.

Tyrion is not a renowned fighter and would surely die. Tyrion believed that the sellsword Bronn might step up and represent him, Bronn did allowing them both to, escape the Eyre with their lives.

“You can’t beat Goliath if you play by his rules. A shepherd would get pummelled if he engaged a giant warrior in hand-to-hand combat,” according to Men’s Health writer Andrew Hankinson, in his review of the book David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, by Malcom Gladwell (Kalahari R 246.40).

“People who have nothing to lose follow extreme strategies. If you feel like nothing else works for you, then an unexpected strategy becomes a legitimate choice,” according to Gladwell.

On the road from the Eyrie, Tyrion and Bronn were surrounded at night by bandits from the mountain clans. The usual response would be to try and fight their way out – and consequently die. Instead Tyrion used an unexpected strategy and bribed the bandits with the promise of land turning them into his allies.

If you can’t change the rules, then ignore them, according to Peter Diamandisco, founder of the X PRIZE Foundation and author of the New York Times bestseller Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think.

He should know, the X PRIZE Foundation, among other things, sought to award $10 million to the creators of the first private passenger carrying spacecraft. An area that until a few years ago, was thought of as the domain of government institutions such as NASA.

Creativity might be easier to speak about than to practice, but a simple step may be to just go for a walk.

A recent study has shown that your creativity improves when you go for a walk. Mark Zuckerberg does walking meetings, why shouldn’t you? Meditation may also help, studies have shown that it boosts creativity.

Downside – Tyrion speaks his mind

Game of Thrones’ fans love Tyrion because he speaks truth to power. But power seldom likes truth and as seen in the latest season, Tyrion’s words have made it easier for his enemies to paint him as the villain in his latest trial. Some of his most dangerous words have been:

Joffrey Baratheon: Everyone is mine to torment! You’d do well to remember that, you little monster.

Tyrion Lannister: Oh, “monster”. Perhaps you should speak to me more softly then. Monsters are dangerous and, just now, kings are dying like flies.

As well as this infamous quote:

Tyrion Lannister: [to Cersei] I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you’re safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth.

Your Move – Speak Out Selectively

Consider holding your mouth, according to the Men’s Health article: How to Sync Up With Your Corporate Culture.

“Nobody ever landed in trouble for being too thoughtful and reserved at an open meeting. For the most part, everyone respects a man who projects a willingness to learn the ropes in attentive silence. You need to speak when it’s appropriate to do so, of course. But stifle your tendency to blather intelligently, even if you think it makes you sound good.”

-Leigh Schaller