While reading A Storm of Swords and A Clash of Kings I got to thinking of how Tyrion in many ways reminds me of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan. And I noted that the patriarchal and martial-minded society of Westeros wasn’t too far off from the harsh and militaristic society of Bujold’s Barrayar. Tyrion’s mother is often hinted at being one of the few people to get through Tywin’s hard outer shell much like how Cordelia Naismith was in some ways a softening influence on Aral Vorkosigan.
Miles and Tyrion are both quick-witted and intelligent and looked down upon by societies that value physical prowess over mental acuity. Both overcome their infirmities and manage to participate in battles of various kinds (Miles as Admiral Naismith, Tyrion in the defense of Kings Landing) and both suffer a debilitating secondary injury that increases their physical frailty and/or deformity (Tyrion in the defense of Kings Landing and Miles is almost killed and suffers from seizures as a result of his cryofreezing).
Both characters offer up interesting examinations of the nature versus nurture discussion but I think in both cases either side of the argument might prove viable. As my brain drew the links between these characters I had to wonder that if Joanna Lannister had survived his son’s birth who or what her son Tyrion might become. Tywin is an interesting character in and of himself and several characters comment on his feelings regarding his wife over the course of the series and you might wonder at the kind of father he might have been with his wife at his side. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been all sunshine and roses, this is George R. R. Martin we’re talking about here, but it is an interesting thought. I think both Tyrion and Miles are products of their environments both in regards to the world they inhabit and the people that surround them.
They aren’t quite two sides to the same coin but they are about as close two characters in different genres can be.