The History Behind ‘Game of Thrones’ Queen of Thorns, Olenna Tyrell

She’s one of the wittiest characters in Westeros, cutting down lords and ladies alike with her quick retorts, protected by her age and status. But how much do you really know about Olenna Tyrell?

, Olenna is now the only known remaining member of House Tyrell, a position she is now intent on using to gain her revenge over the Lannister family. However, before you prepare to watch the glamourous matriarch join forces with Daenerys Targaryen to wreck some fire and blood havoc in Season 7, take a look through the history of Olenna Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns.

Island beginnings

Sigil of House Redwyne
Sigil of House Redwyne

Olenna was born into House Redwyne, a house that holds fealty to House Tyrell of Highgarden. We don’t know too much about House Redwyne except that their lands are location on the island of The Arbor, which is the southwest of Highgarden. The Arbor produces very fine wine, renowned throughout the Seven Kingdoms, and their sigil is a bunch of grapes on a white background (or blue background in the book series). Due to their island location, The Arbor requires a strong fleet of ships to protect it, and the Redwyne fleet is one of the largest in the realm.

Targaryen ties

The sigils of Houses Targaryen and Tyrell

The sigils of Houses Targaryen and Tyrell

When she was younger, Olenna was actually engaged to a member of House Targaryen (Daeron Targaryen) and it was her sister, Viola, who was to be married to Luthor Tyrell. However, the night before Luthor was to propose to Viola, Olenna snuck into his bedchambers and seduced him, apparently leaving him “unable to walk downstairs” the next day to propose.

Despite Olenna seducing Luthor, she did so not because she was in love with him, but so she could avoid marriage to a Targaryen (describing her fiancĂ© at the time as having a ” twitchy little ferret’s face and ludicrous silver hair”). However after the pair married, she did form a bond with him, and told her granddaughter Margaery that she found his death (Luthor died riding off a cliff after being distracted while hawking) hard to deal with when his body was returned to her.

Marriage and children

Olenna's son Mace and grandchildren Loras & Margaery

Olenna’s son Mace and grandchildren Loras & Margaery

In the book series Olenna has three children (Mina, Mace and Janna), however in the TV series we’re only aware of one, her son Mace. Olenna describes Mace much as she described her husband, as an oaf. However, he did marry Alerie Hightower, and Olenna clearly cares deeply for the pair’s children, Loras and Margaery.

Time in King’s Landing

After Margaery’s engagement to Joffrey, Olenna moves to King’s Landing, and established herself as a force to be reckoned with at the court. During her time at the court she proved a worth adversary for Cersei, and great ally to her grandchildren, even going as far as to poison Joffrey so Margaery could instead marry the much more gentle Tommen.

Ultimately though, her son and grandchildren were all killed in the destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor, and Olenna, now the last remaining Tyrell, made her way to Dorne at the invitation of Ellaria Sand. There she was presented with the possibility of an alliance with Dorne, and also Daenerys Targaryen, which she seems to accept, indicated by the presence of the fleet of the Reach (the region of the Seven Kingdoms ruled by House Tyrell) in the great fleet of Daenerys in the closing moments of the Season 6 finale.

House Tyrell's fleet joins Daenerys [HBO]
House Tyrell’s fleet joins Daenerys [HBO]

Season 7 is set to bring some absolutely chaos to King’s Landing, and with nothing to lose, and the backing of Daenerys fleet, Olenna and House Tyrell might just manage to triumph over Cersei and house Lannister once and for all.

Is Olenna Tyrell one of your favorite supporting characters?



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