- "By the end, she had so much silver that the coins were slipping from her fingers and rolling onto the floor."
- ―Tyrion Lannister.
Tysha is the former wife of Tyrion Lannister.
When Tyrion Lannister was sixteen years old, he met an orphaned wheelwright's daughter on the road, apparently the victim of an attempted rape. While his brother, Jaime, rode off after the attackers, Tyrion helped Tysha recover from the ordeal, and they became lovers. They found a drunk septon willing to marry them in exchange for a bribe and briefly, they lived as husband and wife for two weeks, until Tyrion's father Lord Tywin learned what had happened when the septon told him after he had sobered up. Jaime confessed that he organized the incident to do something nice for his little brother, and Tysha was actually a prostitute. Jaime thought it was time that Tyrion had sex with a girl, and paid Tysha and the would-be rapers to pretend it was real so Tyrion would think a girl genuinely wanted to have sex with him without having to pay for it. However, Jaime did not anticipate that Tyrion would marry the girl, nor what their father's reaction would be to that. In a fury that his son would dare to marry a commoner, Tywin had his guards gang-rape Tysha while Tyrion was forced to watch. Tywin sarcastically had the guards pay Tysha by dropping a silver coin in her hand for each man who took her. By the end, there were so many silver coins that the pile was slipping out of her hand and coins were rolling along the floor. She was then sent on her way, and Tyrion never heard of her again.
Since this incident, Tyrion has disdained love and romance in favor of liaisons (with prostitutes for money).
At the Lannister battle camp, prior to the Battle of the Green Fork, Tyrion Lannister is playing a drinking game with Bronn and Shae, when Bronn mentions that he overheard while playing dice with some Lannister guardsmen that Tyrion was married once. Tyrion then explains the story of his marriage to Tysha. Bronn comments "I would have killed the man who did that to me".
Prior to the Battle of the Blackwater, Tyrion's sister Cersei intends to take petty revenge on Tyrion, by capturing the new whore that he has fallen in love with and taken to King's Landing with him. For a moment Tyrion thinks that she has captured his lover Shae, though it is quickly revealed that she captured the wrong whore, mistaking that Ros was his lover. Cersei gloats at Tyrion, referencing the past incident with Tysha.
Tywin forced Tyrion into an arranged marriage with the young Sansa Stark, remarking that it is past time that Tyrion was married. Tyrion angrily snaps back that he was married once, unless Tywin has forgotten. Tywin coldly says that he has not.
Later, when Tyrion is commiserating about his situation with Bronn, the sellsword advises him that it is not the worst situation. Tyrion says that Shae - a whore who became his lover and secretly brought to the capital - will not be happy about his marriage to Sansa. Bronn sarcastically reminds Tyrion what happened the first time he married a whore, prompting Tyrion to lament telling him about that.
After the Battle of Winterfell, Brienne, Jaime, and Tyrion play the same drinking game in the great hall of Winterfell. Brienne asks if Tyrion was married "before Sansa", which provokes Tyrion to ask Brienne if she is a virgin.
- "I would have killed the man who did that to me."
- ―Bronn's immediate, stunned response after Tyrion finishes revealing the story of his former wife Tysha.
- Shae: "You should have known she was a whore."
- Tyrion Lannister: "Really? I was sixteen, drunk and in love..."
- Shae: "A girl who was almost raped doesn't invite another man into her bed two hours later."
- Tyrion Lannister: "As I said, I was young and stupid."
- Shae: "You are still young and stupid."
- — Shae's keen observation on Tyrion and Tysha.[src]
- "Tell me, have you married this one yet? No? Good, Father will be so pleased!"
- ―Cersei refers to Tysha as she spars with Tyrion.
- Tywin Lannister: "And it is past time you were wed."
- Tyrion Lannister: "I was wed! Or don't you remember?"
- Tywin Lannister: "Only too well."
- — Tyrion angrily reminds his father about Tysha, which in turn angers Tywin.[src]
- Bronn: "How did marrying a whore work out for you the first time?"
- Tyrion: "I should never have told you about that."
- — Bronn reminds Tyrion about Tysha.[src]
Behind the scenes
Bryan Cogman stated in his Twitter account that originally, in Season 1's "Baelor", the showrunners never intended to include the scene in which Tyrion explains his backstory with Tysha in Season 1 - keeping in mind that at the time, they thought they would be lucky to get renewed for a second season, so they didn't want to waste time introducing many plot elements that would only pay off in the future if they had no guarantee they'd even get another season. At the time, they did plan on giving the backstory about Tysha in Season 2, in the event that the show was renewed. As it happened, because the runtime of Season 1 came up short, they realized it was a great scene to put back in (also because it was a small, intimate scene only involving a few characters and wouldn't take much more time to set up). Cogman is also convinced that Dinklage's emotional performance in this Tysha backstory scene is what won him his Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Season 1.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Tysha is the orphaned daughter of a crofter, not a wheelwright's daughter. Tyrion recounts the story in a very similar manner to the series. He does not tell the story to Bronn and Shae together, but to each of them separately on two different occasions. However, in the series he omits the detail that he was forced to join in the gang rape on pain of his father's wrath to complete his own humiliation. It is also implied he couldn't avoid becoming aroused. Tyrion does not mention Tysha's name when telling the story, only when he muses about her.
In the first book, in the Lannisters' camp, when Tywin says that Joffrey is acting stupid by executing Ned Stark and retiring Barristan Selmy, Tyrion says that he also made some stupid things when he was approximately his age. Tywin says, that he should be glad therefore that Joffrey didn't yet marry a whore, thus referring to Tysha.
On the night of Tyrion and Sansa's wedding, he tells her briefly about his first marriage to Tysha, omitting what led to that marriage and what happened afterwards, only that was a very short marriage. He bitterly refers to Tysha as "Lady Tysha of House Silverfist. Their arms have one gold coin and a hundred silver, upon a bloody sheet".
A slight difference is that, due to some characters being aged-up in the TV series, Tyrion was 13 years old when he encountered Tysha in the books, but in the TV series he states that he was 16 years old.
While Sansa is on the run, she hears from Ser Dontos that Tyrion was arrested. Later Littlefinger tells her how he and Olenna Tyrell came up with the plan to murder Joffrey. Realizing that Tyrion is innocent, she protests it is unfair. Littlefinger tells her that Tyrion indeed did not kill Joffrey, but he is not clean-handed: he had a wife once, and when he grew bored with her, he made a gift of her to his father's guardsmen, and might have done the same to Sansa, in time. It is unclear whether Littlefinger knew what really was done with Tysha, but in view of his treacherous nature - it is likely he knew and deliberately lied to Sansa, in order to prevent her from taking any actions that may help Tyrion.
Tysha and Tyrion's murder of his father
Tyrion's backstory with Tysha was prominently explained in Season 1, and referred to several times in Seasons 2 and 3 (though not by name again). For unknown reasons, no mention of Tysha was made in Season 4, particularly in the climactic events which led to Tyrion killing his own father.
In the books, as Jaime is helping Tyrion escape from the dungeons of the Red Keep, fearing he will never see Tyrion again and overcome by guilt, he finally reveals to him the truth: Tysha was not really a whore, and the entire incident with the rapers was entirely true. After Tywin found out that Tyrion had married a commoner, he was furious - in part because Tywin's own father Tytos Lannister, after Tywin's mother died, took a live-in mistress who was a commoner, only a step above a common whore. Tytos treated the woman as Lady of Casterly Rock in all but name, and gave her his late wife's jewelry. When Tywin learned that Tyrion married a commoner, his reasoning was that no one could ever love Tyrion, and Tysha must only be after his wealth - just as Tytos's mistress was after his wealth - and because she was presumably only having sex with him for money, that essentially made her a "whore". In truth, she truly was just an innocent crofter's daughter who was attacked by rapers, but saved by Tyrion and Jaime on the road.
Tywin threatened and forced Jaime to tell Tyrion that it was all an act he set up, just to show Tyrion a good time with his first woman. Apparently, Tywin did this so Tyrion would never go looking after the girl, but possibly also the basic cruelty of robbing Tyrion of even the memory of her love by convincing him that it wasn't real. Jaime, however, thought his father simply wanted to annul the marriage, and had no idea what his father was planning to do. Simply annulling the marriage may have been cruel but it would have been within Tywin's rights as Tyrion's father, given that as the son of a noble family he could use Tyrion to create a marriage-alliance with another noble family at some point in the future (Tyrion would not have been the first young lord who drunkenly eloped then had the union annulled).
Tywin, however, fueled by anger at the memory of his own father, decided that he needed to teach Tyrion a lesson, also about daring to go behind his back like this. Thus when Tywin gave Tysha to his guards she truly loved Tyrion, and because their marriage was mutually consensual, in the sight of the gods she was in fact his wife (even if his father had it annulled). Moreover, she was not a whore who was (admittedly without real consent) simply given over to Tywin's guards: she was an innocent and terrified farm girl who Tywin truly had his guards gang-rape (she didn't struggle, but only because Tywin had secretly said he'd kill her if she resisted at all).
When Tyrion learns what really happened after so many years, bearing in mind how Tysha was gang-raped by the guards and by himself at Tywin's command, he is utterly consumed by deep rage. Jaime assures him he had no idea their father intended to have Tysha gang-raped, but Tyrion is not appeased. He strikes Jaime, then says he actually killed Joffrey (a lie, simply meant to hurt Jaime) - then accurately reveals that Cersei has not been faithful to him, as she has been having sex with their cousin Lancel, sellswords she needed to sway to her allegiance, and possibly the court fool Moon Boy for all Tyrion knows. Then he sets out to find Tywin. Arguably he might not have wanted to actually kill his father, but he wanted to interrogate him about where Tysha was.
While following Varys through the secret passages, they come to a spot below the Tower of the Hand. Tyrion notices a ladder that will take him up to his former bedchamber (now his father's) and asks Varys how many rungs he has to climb. Varys guesses what Tyrion has in mind, and begs him not to do something so foolish and dangerous (to both of them) when he is so near to freedom. Tyrion, who normally would have realized that Varys is right, is caught in such rage that he refuses to listen to reason. He tells Varys bluntly "Varys, the only thing I value less than my life just now is yours" and climbs the ladder. Luckily for him, the guards are too sloppy to notice him.
When Tyrion arrives at the Tower of the Hand he hears a woman's voice and discovers Shae naked in his father's bed. Though Shae insists she lied at the trial out of fear of Cersei and Tywin (which in A Feast for Crows is revealed to be a lie: Cersei bribed Shae into testifying), Tyrion strangles her to death as she pleads for mercy. After killing Shae, Tyrion takes a crossbow from the wall and catches Tywin on his privy. At first, Tywin cannot even remember who Tysha is - or pretends he doesn't, as an additional insult. After more threats from Tyrion he thinks on it, and says she was his first whore - to which Tyrion says that the next time Tywin says the word "whore" he will kill him. Tywin calmly insists that he never killed Tysha: after Tyrion's "lesson" was done there was nothing more to do with the girl, so he simply sent her on her way.
Tyrion asks where Tysha went, and Tywin challenges Tyrion by responding, "Wherever whores go." -- at which Tyrion promptly shoots him. Tyrion only shoots Tywin with one crossbow bolt: it impales him above the groin, most likely rupturing his intestines. With his dying breath Tywin says that Tyrion is no son of his, to which Tyrion counters that he is; he is Tywin "writ small". Tywin dies quickly and then voids his bowels. Tyrion walks away noting that the oft repeated jape about his father was a another lie: Tywin Lannister, in the end, did not shit gold. It is at this point where Tyrion's story in A Storm of Swords finishes, and it is left unrevealed if he escaped Westeros or not.
In A Dance with Dragons, numerous times, Tyrion asks several characters, "Where do whores go?", obviously clinging onto the faint hope of being reunited with Tysha someday - although he has no reason to believe that Tysha has left Westeros.
So far in the novels, it is unknown what has become of Tysha, and whether or not she is still alive.
When asked at SDCC 2014 why Tysha was not mentioned as the main reason that Tyrion kills his father, Benioff and Weiss briefly and vaguely replied that there simply wasn't enough time to fit every subplot from the books into the adaptation - this despite the fact that they mentioned her at least once in every previous season. It isn't clear if they meant not enough time in Season 4, or perhaps, that they grew afraid that casual viewers might not remember the previous mentions of Tysha in past seasons, so they changed their minds at the last minute and simply cut her out (this despite the fact that a scene between Tyrion and Jaime discussing Orson Lannister and his beetles was invented for "The Mountain and the Viper" which lasted four full minutes).