In A Song of Ice and Fire, there are many Stark perspectives we follow hither and yon around Westeros. Likewise, since the very beginning of the story, we follow Daenerys' point of view around Essos, learning about the continent from her perspective.
But there's only one Lannister point of view we have cared about since the very beginning. He's the only character other than Arya who has traveled across the continents, and back again: Tyrion Lannister.
Tyrion has changed dramatically since the Game of Thrones pilot in Season 1. Back then, the show attempted to dye his hair bright blonde to match Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's mop (and co-star Lena Headey's wigs). Actor Peter Dinklage refused to wear a beard -- it was actually written into his first contract -- lest he is considered a dwarf stereotype in a fantasy series.
Let's see how far he's come, and what he's seen over these last six seasons that got him to where he is today.
Season 1: Tyrion Goes North
(No, that gif doesn't have anything to do with this header specifically... but admit it, you like watching it, too.)
When we first meet Tyrion back in the very first episode, he's using his family name and connection to travel north with his family and the King, as well as visit their brothels. Though he clearly loves wine and women, he's really on this journey so he can explore parts of Westeros he's never seen -- and his plan is to go all the way to the Wall.
It's a choice that affects him for the rest of the series. Unlike anyone else down south, his visit to the Wall in these early episodes gives him a sense of respect for those serving at the "top of the world".
He may also be more inclined to believe their tales of wights when the time comes. At least, that's what we hope.
Season 1: Kidnapped By Tullys
On his way back down south, Tyrion has an unlucky moment of wrong place, wrong time, wrong Inn at the Crossroads. Catelyn Stark, who had been convinced by her sister the Lannisters are responsible for trying to kill Bran, also was staying there. The moment she sees a Lannister for the taking, *bam,* she seizes the day and the dwarf.
It's a moment that begins to tip the balance in Westeros towards war. But it also turns out to be a good moment for Tyrion, despite his ensuing trip to the Sky Cells. He gains a champion in Bronn the Sellsword, and (for a time) a friend. Yeah, he has to pay Bron to protect him from ever letting that happen again, but money as a Lannister is something plentiful and cheap anyway.
Season 2: Temporary Hand Appointment
In Season 2, Tyrion is sent to King's Landing, post-Ned beheading, with a message from their father Tywin to Cersei. Tyrion will be temporarily acting as "Hand of the King" to Joffrey, until Tywin returns, as Cersei clearly can't keep control of anything. She is, naturally, furious.
Tyrion takes his role seriously as the Hand. Not only in trying to handle Joffrey, which is a nearly impossible task, Tyrion also tries his hand as governing King's Landing, firing Pycelle from the Small Council, and replacing corrupt gold cloaks like Janos Slynt.
It's a disaster from all sides. But it teaches him the value of political appearance, it's just too bad it's a lesson he learns too late.
Season 2: Battle Of The Blackwater
Season 2 featured the first single-location episode of the show, Episode 9's naval battle at Blackwater Bay. Stannis Baratheon attacks King's Landing via the Bay, in an attempt to be named King of the Seven Kingdoms now that Robert is dead.
But Tyrion has a plan ready and waiting with wildfire. He just has to rally the troops first -- and survive the assassin Joffrey sends in hopes of having Tyrion killed off in battle as well.
Tyrion lives and should be considered the hero of the day, defeating Stannis' army as well as his Navy. But only a few know the truth. Since the population hates him anyway, Tywin is all too happy to take the credit instead.
Season 3: Marriage to Sansa
Season 3 finds Tyrion at loose ends. He's no longer Hand, and he's treated like dirt by his family. But a misplaced sense of loyalty keeps him in King's Landing, despite having to hide the love of his life, the former prostitute Shae, from his family.
In return, he finds himself married off to Sansa Stark, which for most would be a great prize. But Tyrion's too tenderhearted to take advantage of the girl. And she's too messed up by the murder of her entire family at his father's orders to appreciate it. They could have been lovers or at least friends, but chose not to be.
Season 4: Framed For Joffrey's Murder
This outtake gif from Tyrion's trial does not reflect the seriousness of the charges against him. He's not only changed with being a Kingslayer in killing Joffrey but a kin slayer as well.
Tyrion is innocent, let's be clear on that. Joffrey's murder was all a setup by Olenna and Littlefinger, with Sansa as a pawn, and Tyrion as the fall guy. And on some level, Tywin knows Tyrion didn't do it. But he doesn't care, and he doesn't want to find out who really did it. (After all, Joffrey was a monster, and the kingdom is best rid of him anyway. Tommen is far more pliable and better all around for him.)
Tywin has always hated his dwarf son for being a dwarf, for being the childbirth that his beloved wife Johanna died in, and for having the gall to live while she died. And since the population hates Tyrion anyway due to Season 2, and Cersei is screaming for blood, it's a popular decision to put him on trial and have him executed.
Season 4: Trial By Combat
What Tywin didn't expect was Tyrion would demand a trial by combat; nor did he expect visiting Dornishman Oberyn Martell to step up and be his son's champion.
But it didn't matter because Oberyn wasn't combating for Tyrion anyway. He was doing it for himself and his ego and his dead sister's memory. So when Oberyn got carried away and got himself killed, it wasn't that big a surprise. Same outcome, just a slightly different path, figured Tywin. Poor Tyrion. How is he going to get out of this one?
Season 4: Double Murder
Tywin didn't take one other thing into account: Jaime. Jaime loved his brother Tyrion as much as Cersei hated him. He couldn't bear to see his little brother go down like this. At the last minute, Jaime snuck down to the dungeons to set Tyrion free to escape King's Landing, never to return.
But Jaime also didn't take one thing into account: Tyrion had been pushed to the limit by the trial. He went to his father's chambers to demand answers. Why the farce, why? It was a bad decision. Tyrion walked in, only to discover Shae, who he believed loved him for real, was just the whore everyone insisted she was, lolling about in his father's bed, calling him "her lion" instead of Tyrion.
Lost in a haze of rage, Tyrion murdered her in the bed where they had once slept together, in the Hand's chambers.
Then he went down to the loo and did dear old dad in too.
Season 5: Kidnapped By Mormont
As one can imagine, Tyrion wasn't really himself for a while after that. He spent the first half of Season 5 drunk as a skunk, on the road with Varys to meet some dragon lady. Sure, why not, nothing better to do, you know?
The problem was, in his haze, Tyrion wasn't on high alert when they stopped off in Volantis. He found himself kidnapped by the now exiled Jorah Mormont, who was desperate to bring Dany a present to get back into her good graces once again.
Season 5: Joining Team Targ
A present! That's what Tyrion Lannister was meant to be, brought by Jorah. But things didn't go as planned. (nothing in Essos ever seems to.) First, they were attacked by Stone Men and Jorah contracted greyscale. Then they were caught by slavers and sold. Finally, they were presented in front of Daenerys as fighters for her Meereenese entertainment.
At least Tyrion was quick on his feet the moment he was given the opportunity. While Jorah futilely tried to get her attention, Tyrion presented himself as his own gift -- one who would fill that small council seat Ser Barristan's death had so recently left vacant.
Season 6: Left To Run Meereen
But she didn't stay long.
By the end of Season 5, Daenerys has flown the coop on the back of Drogon, leaving her husband Hizzy dead, and no one to run Meereen in her absence. Tyrion was forced to step up and try and run a city he knew nothing about. He even attempted to make friends with the dragons she left behind, too.
This time he tried to take those lessons of King's Landing into account, and make sure his "deals" were as politically outward facing as they were beneficial. Unfortunately, he was dealing with slavers, which wasn't really his forte. When they backstabbed him, he wasn't really ready for it.
Season 6: Named Hand of The Queen
Luckily, just as Meereen might have fallen to the Masters, Dany arrived home. She and Tyrion devised a plan, and defeated all her enemies in one fell swoop, restoring freedom to all of Slaver's Bay. (Now renamed Dragon's Bay.)
But Daenerys wasn't here to sit in Meereen. After six seasons, she was ready to return to Westeros, and take Tyrion with her. Not as her advisor, but as her Hand. Finally, after working so hard, Tyrion had earned his place at the right hand of a ruler he could truly believe in.
How will things go for Tyrion went he returns to Westeros? Will he be Dany's right-hand man? Will they be outgunned, outmanned, outnumbered, and out planned? Will he survive? Or will he be executed as a kin-slayer and a Kingslayer by the woman who beat Dany to the title of First Queen of the Andals?
Game of Thrones Season 7 will land in Westeros on July 16, on HBO at 9 p.m. ET.