Joanna Lannister

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House Lannister.png
Joanna Lannister
House Lannister.png
'Joanna Lannister' by marthajefferson
'Joanna Lannister' by marthajefferson

Title Lady of Casterly Rock
Allegiance House Lannister
Born In or between 245 AC and 250 AC[1], at Casterly Rock
Died In 273 AC[1]
Spouse Tywin Lannister
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (appendix)
A Clash of Kings (mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)
Not to be confused with Johanna Lannister, the wife of Jason Lannister.

Lady Joanna Lannister was a Lady of Casterly Rock, the wife of Lord Tywin Lannister, and the mother of Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion.[2] She died giving birth to Tyrion years before the beginning of the series.[3]


See also: Images of Joanna Lannister

Early life

Joanna was born into a branch of House Lannister. Her father Jason was the younger brother of Lord Tytos Lannister. She had one older sibling, Damon, a son from her father's first marriage, and five younger siblings (three brothers, two sisters), the eldest of which was Stafford. She also had an older bastard sister, Lynora.[4][5]

Joanna went to King's Landing in 259 AC, for the coronation of King Jaehaerys II Targaryen, and would remain as a lady-in-waiting for the future queen, Princess Rhaella Targaryen. There are rumours that Joanna had given her maidenhead to Prince Aerys the night of Jaehaerys' coronation, and briefly became Aerys' paramour after he ascended the throne himself. However, Grand Maester Pycelle insists these tales are baseless, as Tywin would not have married Joanna if they were true, "for he was ever a proud man and not one accustomed to feasting on another man's leavings."[6]

Married life

Joanna married her first cousin, Tywin, in 263 AC in a lavish ceremony in the Great Sept of Baelor.[7] On their wedding day, Tywin smiled, a very rare occurrence.[8] However at the wedding feast, Aerys drunkenly japed about how it was a pity the first night tradition was banned, and he took certain "unwonted liberties" with Joanna in the bedding ritual when the men at the feast had to disrobe the bride.[9][6]

Not long thereafter, Joanna was dismissed by Queen Rhaella from her service in King's Landing. While Queen Rhaella turned a blind eye towards most of her husband's infidelities, she did not approve when it concerned one of her own "ladies." (Joanna was one of many ladies to be sent away from court.) She departed for Casterly Rock at once, and seldom visited King's Landing afterwards.[6]

Joanna's marriage to Tywin was reportedly a happy one. Joanna became Tywin's trusted counselor and companion. Her influence on her husband was such that people would say that Tywin ruled the Seven Kingdoms as Hand of the King,[3] "but was ruled at home by his lady wife."[10]

A pregnant Joanna with her children Cersei and Jaime, by naomi-makes-art73
In 266 AC, Joanna gave birth to Cersei and Jaime, with Tywin present. King Aerys ordered Tywin to bring Joanna and the children to King's Landing when the children were old enough to travel, but Lord Tytos Lannister died before this could occur. Instead, Tywin, Aerys, Prince Rhaegar, and half the court went to the Westerlands in 267 AC, where they would remain for most of next year.[6]

Joanna did attend the anniversary tourney in King's Landing in 272 AC, held to celebrate King Aerys' tenth year on the throne. There, King Aerys insulted Joanna, by asking her if nursing her children had ruined her breasts. Tywin, who was also present, was angered, and tried to resign as Hand of the King the next day, but King Aerys refused.[6]

At some point within the next year, Joanna's servant caught Jaime and Cersei together, engaged in some kind of sexual activity. Joanna sent the maid away, moved Jaime's chamber to the other side of the castle, and put a guard outside of Cersei's chamber. She then warned her twins that they must never do such a thing again, or else she would be forced to tell their father. But it was not long thereafter, in 273 AC, that Joanna died giving birth to Tyrion.[11][12][6][7]

During her time as Queen Rhaella's lady-in-waiting, Joanna had befriended the Princess of Dorne, another member of the court.[10] The Dornish Princess had two children, Oberyn and Elia Martell, who were not yet promised in marriage, so the two women planned to have their children be wed to each other. Unfortunately, Joanna died birthing her youngest son while the Martells were on their way to Casterly Rock. Once confronted on the subject, Lord Tywin bluntly refused all the offers (Jaime wed to Elia, Cersei wed to Oberyn, or both), and instead offered newborn Tyrion for Princess Elia, an offer meant to be insulting.[10]

Recollections about Joanna

Tywin seldom spoke of his wife but was much saddened by her death. He never remarried. According to his brother, Gerion Lannister, "the best part of Tywin died with her."[3] Another brother, Kevan, later took over Joanna's role as Tywin's most trusted counselor.[13]

When Aerys's daughter Daenerys asks Ser Barristan Selmy about her father and whether there was a woman he loved better than his queen, Ser Barristan replies,

“Not loved. Mayhaps wanted is a better word, was only kitchen gossip, the whispers of washerwomen and stableboys..."
According to Barristan, King Aerys II lusted for Joanna Lannister, something that caused friction between the King and his Hand. Ser Barristan, choosing his words with care, goes on to tell Dany of her father's behaviour during the wedding feast of Tywin and Joanna and during the bedding.[9]

During the Siege of Riverrun, Jaime dreams and sees a woman he barely recognizes. At first, he believes her to be Cersei, but then realizes it is his mother. She asks if he will forget his father like he has forgotten her. She talks about the future that Tywin had wanted for his children: his son a knight and his daughter a queen. She cries when Jaime replies that they have indeed become that.[14]


2 sons
2 daughters


Prince Aerys ... as a youth, he was taken with a certain lady of Casterly Rock, a cousin of Tywin Lannister.[9]

- Barristan Selmy to Daenerys Targaryen

Only Lady Joanna truly knows the man beneath the armor, and all his smiles belong to her and her alone. I do avow that I have even observed her make him laugh, not once, but on three separate occasions![6]

- Grand Maester Pycelle, reporting to the Citadel

With her death, Grand Maester Pycelle observes, the joy went out of Tywin Lannister, yet still he persisted in his duty.[7]

- Maester Yandel in The World of Ice and Fire

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 See the Joanna Lannister calculation.
  2. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  4. The World of Ice and Fire, Appendix: Lannister Lineage.
  5. A Storm of Swords, Appendix.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The World of Ice and Fire, The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons.
  8. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 32, Cersei VII.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 70, Tyrion X.
  11. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 3, Cersei I.
  12. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 21, Jaime III.
  13. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  14. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.

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