Tyrion was not a Lannister when he designed the saddle for Bran. He was a bastard, the result of something we would perceive as a fault of nature, a physical brokenness beyond repair.
Tyrion was not a Lannister when he confronted Theon Greyjoy. His harsh words to Theon were not those of a man conniving to gain ascendency over House Stark through House Greyjoy. Tyrion had entirely different objectives in this interaction.
When Tyrion addressed Theon Greyjoy, he was confronting the man Tyrion might have become, a man whose physical brokenness is reflected in broken spirit and submissive will. He might have become the court jester, the irrelevant little dwarf whose only connection to society was through laughter at one who was less than a human being. He might have become the impish object of derision and contempt. Instead, Tyrion sharpened his mind like a sword to a whetstone, training himself to become master of virtually any conceivable situation.
Theon Greyjoy, in Tyrion’s eyes, is the worst kind of bastard. His is a bastardy of choice. No one can force a person to surrender her dignity, to become broken in spirit. Theon Greyjoy, heir to one of the greatest houses of Westeros, relinquished his honour and the essence of his dignity not because Ned Stark demanded any such thing, but because Theon is weak when he might instead have made himself strong. As in the case of the fatherly and brotherly advice he has dispensed to Jon Snow, Tyrion here was giving Theon an important truth to think on. His biting words to Theon were no less an act of kindness than the saddle design he gave Bran.
- Pearson Moore (via joannalannister)