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Olenna Tyrell

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Olenna Tyrell: "Loras is young and very good at knocking men off horses with a stick. That does not make him wise. As for your fathead father..."
Margaery Tyrell: "Grandmother! What will Sansa think of us?"
Olenna Tyrell: "She might think we have some wits about us, one of us at any rate."
— Margaery Tyrell introduces her grandmother Olenna to Sansa Stark.[src]

Olenna Tyrell, née Redwyne, is a recurring character in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth seasons. She is played by Dame Diana Rigg.

The elderly matriarch of House Tyrell, Lady Olenna has been a master of court politics and intrigue par excellence throughout her life. She's also known for her wit and sarcasm. As a result, Lady Olenna is popularly nicknamed the the Queen of Thorns, in reference to her House's sigil and her cutting barbs. In many ways she is the de facto head of House Tyrell at the time of the War of the Five Kings and appears to hold a great deal of influence over the Reach.



Olenna Tyrell is the widow of Lord Luthor Tyrell and the mother of Mace Tyrell, the current Lord of Highgarden, Warden of the South, Lord Paramount of the Reach, and head of House Tyrell. She is the grandmother of his children Loras and Margaery. She was born into House Redwyne, one of the most prominent and powerful vassals of House Tyrell.[1][2]

In her youth, Olenna Redwyne was engaged to a member of House Targaryen, as it was "all the rage" at the time; it was her sister Viola whom Luthor Tyrell was expected to marry. The night before Luthor was to propose to Viola, Olenna snuck into his chamber and seduced him, leaving him "unable to walk downstairs" the next day to propose to Viola. Olenna did this because the thought of marrying a Targaryen and his "ludicrous silver hair" did not appeal to her.[3]

Although Olenna consistently referred to Luthor as an oaf,[4] she was genuinely fond of him, and confided to Margaery that she had some difficulty accepting his death after his body was delivered to her.[5]

Season 3Edit


Olenna and her grandaughter Margaery lunch with Sansa Stark.

At some point following her granddaughter's engagement to Joffrey Baratheon, Lady Olenna moved to King's Landing, most likely to work behind the scenes to cement the Tyrells' position. Reasoning that Sansa Stark is the best person to ask about Joffrey, Olenna invites her to a lunch of lemon cakes (Sansa's favorite) and cheese (her own favorite). Sansa is initially too scared to speak, but after much prodding, Sansa blurts out that he is a monster. Lady Olenna is disappointed but unsurprised at the revelation.[6]

Season 3 Ep 4 Varys Olenna

Varys and Olenna discuss Sansa.

A few days later, Lady Olenna is sought out by Varys, who finds her chastising her handmaidens over their unimaginative veneration of House Tyrell's unimaginative sigil. Olenna throws a mild barb or two at him before demanding his reasons for seeking her, aware of the Spider's reputation. They discuss Sansa and Littlefinger's interest in her. Varys warns her just how dangerous Littlefinger really is, and Olenna agrees that Sansa must be kept away from him. When Varys is about to offer a solution, Olenna dismisses him, saying that the solution is rather obvious. [7]

Olenna Podrick Kissed by Fire

Olenna meets with Tyrion Lannister.

Hoping to mitigate the potential costs of an extravagant royal wedding, Tyrion Lannister meets with Lady Olenna. She lectures him on the importance of an extravagant royal wedding, particularly if it, along with the large amounts of grain and livestock brought to King's Landing from the Reach, prevents the Smallfolk from ripping the nobles apart. Lady Olenna also reminds Tyrion of the thousands of Tyrell troops now assisting the Lannisters in the current war, and that the royal house traditionally pays for a royal wedding. Nonetheless, she agrees to pay half the costs of the wedding itself provided the celebrations are not cut short. Lady Olenna expresses disappointment in Tyrion's character– she had hoped to encounter the lecherous, mischievous imp of legend, and not a "browbeaten bookkeeper"– and in Podrick Payne's serving abilities before departing.[8]

Tywin-and-Olenna s3

Olenna rejects Tywin Lannister's offers.

After he finds out about the plan to wed Loras to Sansa, Tywin Lannister, determined to thwart this plan, which would hand control of the North to the Tyrells, meets with Lady Olenna. He instead offers to marry Loras to Cersei (both of them pretend that there is no outstanding plot). Olenna, claiming herself an expert on the subject, declares Cersei too old, and will soon be undergoing "the change". Tywin counters by mentioning Loras's homosexuality. Olenna bluntly confirms that her grandson is a "sword swallower", and cheekily asks whether Tywin ever experimented in his youth, a suggestion the Hand adamantly refutes. Olenna makes light of what amounts to "a discreet bit of buggery", and hints at the rumors of incest between Cersei and Jaime, which, she notes, currently have Westeros at war. Tywin says that neither he nor Olenna care what other people think of them (an assertion she refutes). He proceeds to call her bluff by threatening to name Loras to the Kingsguard, thereby exchanging the uncertainty of Cersei's childbearing status for the certainty of House Tyrell's extinction. Olenna snaps Tywin's quill in half and graciously concedes defeat. [9]


Olenna during Tyrion and Sansa's wedding feast.

Lady Olenna attends the wedding of Tyrion Lannister in the Great Sept of Baelor. She stands near the feet of the Mother's statue with her grandchildren and is not amused when Joffrey embarrasses Tyrion by removing his footstool. At the wedding feast, Olenna muses on now-extremely complicated in-law relationships between Margaery, Loras, Cersei, and Tyrion, prompting Loras to storm out and Margaery to give her a withering look. Later on, she regards Tywin and Tyrion's latest argument with amusement.[10]

Season 4Edit


Olenna prepares Margaery for her wedding to Joffrey.

Olenna assists Margaery in picking out a necklace for her upcoming wedding. She selects the finest of those on offer, noting affectionately that it is similar to one she received from her husband on her 51st name day. Olenna chucks the piece over the rampart and into Blackwater Bay and orders the Tyrell handmaidens to canvass every jeweler in King's Landing; the girl who brings her the best necklace can keep the next best for herself. After they are left alone, Margaery sardonically suggests letting Joffrey pick out the necklace which, knowing him, will likely consist of severed sparrow's heads. Olenna cautions Margaery to mind what she says, even with her. They are shortly interrupted by Brienne of Tarth, whose appearance prompts a rather melodramatic reaction from Olenna.[11]

Olenna and Sansa 2

Olenna consoles Sansa.

At Joffrey's wedding, Olenna speaks with Sansa, expressing her condolences for the fate of her family and inviting her and Tyrion to visit Highgarden. She toys with Sansa's hair in a grandmotherly fashion during the exchange. She chides Tywin Lannister that the Tyrells are paying half of the cost of the extravagant wedding, and that the Lannisters may need to turn to the Tyrells for financial support again, due to the crown's increasing war debts, particularly to the Iron Bank of Braavos. She later witnesses the poisoning of King Joffrey, and is the first among those who call for help.[12]

When Margaery questions as to whether or not she is actually the queen now since she is also a widow, Olenna advises her not to press the issue for a while. Olenna is optimistic that she is closer to being Queen now than she ever was when she was with Renly Baratheon. She is also relieved that Margaery is now free from Joffrey's torture and opines that Tommen Baratheon will be a better match – one the Lannisters can't afford not to make.[13]


Olenna hints at her involvement in Joffrey's murder.

Some time later, Olenna and Margaery discuss Olenna's impending departure, and whether the Lannisters will consent to Margaery's match with Tommen. Olenna tells her how she seduced Luthor, and says Margaery she must do the same with Tommen, or else Cersei will turn the boy against her. Luckily for Margaery, Cersei is distracted by Joffrey's recent death and accusing her innocent brother of the crime. Margaery states that Olenna cannot know Tyrion's innocence for sure, to which Olenna claims she can. Olenna explains to a shocked Margaery that she could not bear to leave her granddaughter in the hands of "that beast", leading Margaery to realize that it was Olenna who poisoned Joffrey.[14]

Olenna departs King's Landing some time soon after Joffrey's funeral, but conveniently before Tommen's coronation. She claims that she has grown to hate the long walks through the Red Keep's gardens that seem to take up much of her time in the capital.[15]

Season 5Edit

Feeling outmaneuvered and unsupported, Margaery hastens to write to Olenna in the wake of Loras's arrest by the Faith Militant.[16]

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken 02

Olenna confronts Cersei Lannister upon her return to the capital.

Olenna arrives at the Red Keep some time later and immediately sees Cersei, who is pretending to be quite busy running the realm, something Olenna calls her out on. This leads to Cersei mocking Olenna's infamous tart-tongue. The Queen of Thorns responds in turn calling Cersei "the famous tart". Cersei continues to feign ignorance about Loras's arrest. Olenna explains that while she and Tywin didn't like each other, they both understood the need for rivals to work together, particularly given that the Reach is needed to supply most of the capital's food. Cersei ignores everything Olenna says, only saying that House Lannister has no rivals. She then invites Olenna to the inquest into the charges about Loras (as there isn't yet enough evidence for a trial). Olenna watches as her grandchildren refute Loras's sexuality, but things take a turn for the worse when Olyvar's testimony damns them both. As Loras and Margaery are arrested, Olenna looks threateningly at Cersei.[17]

Olenna goes to the Sept of Baelor and finds the High Sparrow washing the floors. She first tries to bribe him to release her grandchildren before repeating her previous threat to Cersei that House Tyrell will stop feeding the capital if she doesn't get Margaery and Loras back. The High Sparrow is not impressed and asks her if anyone in her House has ever harvested any of the food they own. When Olenna fails to answer, he tells her that he speaks for the many and they are learning to stop fearing the few. After she leaves the Sept, a messenger gives her a message from Petyr Baelish.


Olenna receives a message from Littlefinger.

She goes to Baelish's ravaged brothel, where they trade barbs before Olenna accuses him of helping Cersei bring down Loras. Although Baelish denies it, she warns him that, should House Tyrell fall, she will no longer have anything to lose and she will reveal their joint involvement in Joffrey's murder. She also warns him that, should she meet a premature end, he will meet an unfortunate end as well. Conceding the point, Baelish reveals that Cersei summoned him to King's Landing for "a piece of information he had", his prostitute Olyvar, and he tells Olenna that he will give her the same thing he gave Cersei: "a handsome young man" —implied, in this instance, to be Lancel. Subsequently Lancel reveals the adulterous affair he had with Cersei to the High Sparrow, who has her arrested.[18]

Season 6Edit

Book of the Stranger 04

Olenna joins to Small Council at Ser Kevan's invitation.

Ser Kevan Lannister, the new Hand of the King, has invited Olenna to sit on the Small Council – which officially now consists of Kevan, Grand Maester Pycelle, and Mace – at least to deal with the situation of Margaery and Loras's imprisonment. Barging into a Council meeting, Cersei expresses irritation that Olenna was invited while she was not, to which Olenna counters that Cersei is not the queen anymore – Margaery is, being married to the current king. Kevan refuses to deal with Cersei and, conceding that he can't force her to leave thanks to the reanimated Gregor Clegane, has the Councilors, including Olenna, leave instead.[19]

At another "meeting" of the Small Council, Olenna and Kevan are surprised when Cersei and Jaime actually come to parlay. Cersei explains that she and Olenna played right into the High Sparrow's hands by continuing to squabble instead of presenting a united front, and now the High Sparrow is planning to have Margaery do the Walk of atonement just like she did. The Lannister twins explain their plan: Olenna will have Tyrell troops liberate Margaery and Loras, and turn them over to the Crown's Justice (in this case, Kevan), for a civil trial. Kevan, in turn, will keep royal and Lannister troops away from the incident, in keeping with Tommen's orders not to antagonize the Faith. Olenna opines that it isn't a particularly good plan, but agrees that at this point, it's their only option, and if blood is spilt, better it be the Sparrows' and not theirs. [20]

Olenna accompanies Mace and his his column of Tyrell troops to the Great Sept to watch the proceedings herself. She and Jaime exchange worried glances when the realize that the High Sparrow is up to something. She moves closer to Jaime and Mace when Tommen appears and announces the new alliance between the Crown and the Faith. When Mace asks her what just happened, Olenna gruffly replies that they've been beaten.[21]


Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa
Season Four appearances
Two Swords The Lion and the Rose Breaker of Chains Oathkeeper First of His Name
The Laws of Gods and Men Mockingbird The Mountain and the Viper The Watchers on the Wall The Children
Season Five appearances
The Wars to Come The House of Black and White High Sparrow Sons of the Harpy Kill the Boy
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken The Gift Hardhome The Dance of Dragons Mother’s Mercy
Season Six appearances
The Red Woman Home Oathbreaker Book of the Stranger The Door
Blood of My Blood The Broken Man No One Battle of the Bastards The Winds of Winter

Family treeEdit

Luthor Tyrell
Family tree Olenna
Olenna Tyrell
née Redwyne Redwyne shield icon
Mace tree
Mace Tyrell
Alerie Tyrell
née Hightower
Joffrey tree
Joffrey Baratheon KL Baratheon shield icon
Margaery's 2nd husband
Margaery Tree
Margaery Tyrell
Renly Tree
Renly Baratheon Renly shield icon
Loras's lover
Margaery's 1st husband
Loras Tree
Loras Tyrell
Tommen Baratheon family tree
Tommen Baratheon KL Baratheon shield icon
Joffrey's younger brother
Margaery's 3rd husband


Olenna Tyrell: "Loras is young and very good at knocking men off horses with a stick. That does not make him wise. As to your fathead father..."
Margaery Tyrell: "Grandmother! What will Sansa think of us?"
Olenna Tyrell: "She might think we have some wits about us, one of us at any rate."
— Margaery Tyrell introduces her grandmother Olenna to Sansa Stark[src]
""Growing Strong". Ha! The dullest words of any house! "Winter is Coming"! Now, that's memorable. "We Do Not Sow"! Strong! Strong, those houses, you watch out for them! Direwolves and Krakens, fierce beasts. But a golden rose, growing strong? Oh, yes, that strikes fear in the heart!"
―Olenna Tyrell to Tyrell lady[src]
"I was told you were drunk, impertinent and thoroughly debauched. You can imagine my disappointment at finding nothing but a browbeaten bookkeeper."
―Olenna Tyrell to Tyrion Lannister[src]
Tyrion Lannister: "We're at war, Lady Olenna."
Olenna Tyrell: "Oh, I'd nearly forgotten."
Tyrion Lannister: "Yes, and maintaining supply lines..."
Olenna Tyrell: "I can't think how it slipped my mind. What is it, 12,000 infantrymen the Tyrell family has supplied? 1,800 mounted lances. 2,000 in support. Provisions so this city might survive the winter. A million bushels of wheat. Half a million bushels each of barley, oats, and rye. 20,000 head of cattle. 50,000 sheep. You don't have to lecture me about wartime expenses. I'm quite familiar with them."
— Olenna Tyrell lectures Tyrion Lannister when he thinks of siphoning money from the royal wedding to maintain the war effort.[src]
Cersei Lannister: "Ah yes, the famously tart-tongued Queen of Thorns."
Olenna Tyrell: "And the famous tart, Queen Cersei."
— Olenna spars with Cersei.[src]
Olenna Tyrell: "You've always been rather impressed with yourself, haven't you?"
Littlefinger: "The past is the past. The future is all that's worth discussing. The future of House Tyrell."
Olenna Tyrell: "Don't pretend to have any concern for my House, my grandchildren, or me. I should have known you'd return to the capital as soon as things started to go wrong."
Littlefinger: "I promise you..."
Olenna Tyrell: "I promise you, Lord Baelish, that our fates are joined. Together, we murdered a King. If my House should fall, I will have nothing to hide. And if I should meet with some 'accident' here at your broken little flesh-market, they'll never even find what's left of you."
— Lady Olenna warns Littlefinger.[src]
"Many will die no matter what we do. Better them than us."
―Olenna to the Lannisters.[src]

In the booksEdit

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, her family remains the same. She was born Olenna Redwyne, daughter of Lord Runceford Redwyne. She is described as a wizened, cunning old woman with a wicked wit and a sharp tongue. She is known as the "Queen of Thorns" for her sarcasm and the rose thorns in the sigil of House Tyrell. In many ways, the cunning Olenna is the true leader of House Tyrell, masterminding political intrigues which her son, Lord Mace Tyrell, then follows. Despite this she has a loving relationship with her family, including her grandchildren. Olenna is particularly close with her granddaughter Margaery Tyrell, whom she has mentored in the skills of court intrigue.

Olenna is older than Hoster Tully, who was in his mid-sixties when he died, but remains in good health (though she has lost her teeth). While she walks with a cane, several characters believe that she feigns to be more frail than she actually is, in order to lull her enemies into thinking she is harmless. Members of House Redwyne tend to have bright orange hair. Olenna's hair has turned completely white due to old age, but it hasn't been established what her hair color was in her youth.

In her youth she almost married Daeron Targaryen, the son of King Aegon V Targaryen, but Daeron refused to marry after his brothers successfully convinced their father to let them marry who they wanted and he let Daeron forgo his marriage to Olenna. Olenna also did everything she could to make sure it never came to fruition. Daeron was actually homosexual, and did not want to marry a woman at all. Aegon V was succeeded by Daeron's older brother Jaehaerys II, who was the father of Aerys II the Mad King. However, Jaehaerys II has been officially cut from the TV continuity - which would imply that his entire generation of siblings doesn't exist either. One of the "ripple effects" of this change may be that Olenna's backstory is officially different in the TV continuity. Olenna actually has no sister named "Viola" in the novels, who was originally going to marry Luthor Tyrell. Instead, it was actually Daeron's sister who was supposed to marry Luthor, Shaera Targaryen. Luthor didn't need to be seduced away from her, because Shaera actually didn't want to marry him either - instead wanting to marry her brother Jaehaerys II, as per incestuous Targaryen marriage customs. Olenna did not need to seduce Luthor away from someone else - though once both marriage betrothals were broken and Luthor was available again, it isn't said how Olenna then managed to secure a marriage betrothal with him, so she could plausibly have had to seduce him.

In the books, Olenna remains in King's Landing until after Tommen's coronation, as she hadn't yet finished thrashing out the details of his marriage to Margaery. Although she is of course nowhere near the proceedings, she is still in the Red Keep during Tywin's murder. She goes back to Highgarden after Tommen and Margaery's wedding and has not as of yet reappeared, since it is her son Mace and not her who comes back to the capital to free Margaery.

According to George R.R. Martin, Olenna and her son Mace are aware of Loras's sexuality,[22] a detail preserved in the TV series with Olenna's usual bluntness.

Like Margaery, Olenna's role in the TV series has been greatly expanded from her appearances in the novels - though simply because none of the Tyrells are POV characters in the books, and thus most of their actions and internal discussions (such as between Olenna and Margaery) occur "off-screen". Olenna also serves as a foil for Tywin – indeed, Charles Dance himself referred to Olenna as "the anti-Tywin Lannister" in a promotional interview for Season 3.

See alsoEdit


v  d  e
Lord: Lord Mace Tyrell Heir: Ser Loras Tyrell
Seat: Highgarden Lands: The Reach
Title(s): Lord Paramount of the Reach · Lord of Highgarden · Warden of the South
Ancestors:Garth Gardener · Harlen Tyrell · Lyonel Tyrell
Current members:Olenna Tyrell · Alerie Tyrell · Margaery Tyrell · Tyrell lady
Deceased members:Luthor Tyrell
Household:Mira Forrester · Sera Durwell
Overlord:House Baratheon of King's Landing
v  d  e
Lord: Lord Paxter Redwyne Heir:
Seat: The Arbor Lands: The Reach
Title(s): Lord of the Arbor
Current members:Olenna Redwyne · Bethany Redwyne · Viola Redwyne
Overlord:House Tyrell

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