Game of Thrones is renowned for its cruel deaths and brutal maimings, and if this new fan theory is true then we may be on the verge of witnessing the darkest crippling of a character yet. YouTuber Alt Shift X delves deep into the books and has dug up a lot of signs that Tyrion Lannister (played so well by Peter Dinklage on the HBO series) will lose his tongue before the series wraps up. Whether it will happen in the books or the show or both or neither is uncertain, but he makes a compelling case.
Let’s break down the major points. First off, taking peoples’ tongues is a fairly regular occurrence in the world of Game of Thrones. The Mad King Aerys took Ser Ilyn Payne’s tongue over a slight, Joffrey took a singer’s tongue over an insulting song, and Euron Greyjoy cuts out the tongues of every man he enslaves and forces to work on his ship, the Silence. Even Varys (who comes across as much less evil on the show) cuts out the tongues of his “little birds,” the children that live in the walls of the Red Keep and spy for him.
The thought of cutting out Tyrion’s tongue isn’t exactly rare, either. Multiple characters have thought about or threatened to do the deed. The list is headed by Cersei, who mentions the idea of cutting out this or that person’s tongue in half of her POV chapters in the books. But it’s not a stretch to imagine anyone Tyrion runs into deciding he’s being a little too witty for his own good.
The most compelling argument is also the most speculative, one related to the way George R.R. Martin has set up the character arcs for the Lannisters. Jaime Lannister was a brilliant warrior and swordsman … until he has his hand cut off. Cersei Lannister was known as one of the most beautiful women in the Seven Kingdoms … until she was symbolically dragged down into the mud by the High Septon during her walk of shame. Tyrion may not be strong or beautiful, but he’s witty and smart. So if Martin follows the theme he’s set for the other two Lannister children, he could lose his most powerful weapon: his ability to speak.
Alt Shift X shares a number of interesting possibilities for how this may play out, and we have two particular favorites. The first works only for the books, since it involves a plot line that has been completely removed from the show. In it, Tyrion suspects that a Targaryen prince Varys is trying to place on the throne isn’t a son of Rhaegar but a bastard Blackfyre Targaryen. That idea, or an accusation based on it made by Tyrion, could get his tongue removed.
On the show, you might think Cersei is the most likely candidate to cut out Tyrion’s tongue, but it could also be Euron Greyjoy. That Euron cuts out the tongues of his slave crew is well established in the books, and his brother Balon mentions those tongue-cutting habits moments before Euron throws him off a bridge. You can see it happening in the show when Euron attacks Yara’s fleet and captures her alongside the Sand Snakes.
Sure, those moments could just be a nod to the books and another way to show us how mad Euron is. But it could also be a Checkov’s gun situation: when you’ve got a tongue-removing madman introduced in an earlier act, chances are he’s going to remove someone important’s tongue in a later one. Given all the travel and battling both Euron and Tyrion will probably engage in for season eight, it wouldn’t be a surprise for them to run into each other. And now that you’ve read this theory, we’re sure you’re going to be extremely stressed if they do.