Sunday, September 6, 2015

Who is the Sailor's Wife?

We are so focused on the primary GoT characters we love -- Jon, Arya, Dany, Tyrion -- that we seem to have forgotten about one potentially important character: The Sailor's Wife.

The Sailor's Wife by Jules-Joseph Lefebvre

Why is the briefly mentioned Sailor's Wife, well, worth mentioning? She may lie at the core of one of our beloved primary character's life stories.


Image: HBO

After Tywin's dying confession, Tyrion struggles with the emotional tangle that is Tysha: Where is she? Is she still alive? Did she really ever love him? At the end of A Dance of Dragons, readers are left with the same exact questions. Will we ever see Tyrion reunite with his first wife and true love?

The odds aren't looking that great that we will ever see a joyful reunion between Tyrion and Tysha. For one, GRRM has so much to cover in the books that a happy ending to a minor subplot for Tyrion doesn't seem likely. For two, a "happy ending" wouldn't fit in either the televised show or the books. Death, destruction, and a series of episodic events characterize both; a tearful reunion would stand out too much. Besides, how could GRRM bridge the distance between Tyrion in Slaver's Bay and Tysha in Braavos?

That's right. The Sailor's Wife fan theory holds that Tyrion's beloved Tysha is in Braavos, and she is none other than the Sailor's Wife.

Having trouble remembering the Sailor's Wife? I don't blame you if the Sailor's Wife doesn't just jump to the forefront of your mind; she is only cursorily mentioned throughout ASOIAF, and fans have had to piece many clues together to determine whether or not she is actually Tysha.

Let me refresh your memory: The Sailor's Wife is a wealthy prostitute in Braavos, renowned because of her reputation for making men marry her before she will sleep with them.

So, what are the clues that equate The Sailor's Wife to Tyrion's first wife, Tysha?

1. The source of the Sailor's Wife's renown.

When Tywin Lannister found out his son, Tyrion, had wedded and bedded a crofter's daughter, he used his influence over Tyrion's brother, Jaime, to end the newlyweds' marital bliss. Tywin convinced Jaime to lie to Tyrion, claiming to have hired the "whore" Tysha to take Tyrion's virginity and make him a "man." As an affirmation of this lie, Tywin made Tyrion watch as fifty (FIFTY) of his guards raped Tysha, each paying her a golden dragon. The icing on this shit storm? Tywin forced Tyrion to have sex with Tysha before sending her off.

How does this make any connection to the Sailor's Wife? Fans believe the Sailor's Wife makes me marry her before bedding them as an homage to her experience with Tyrion and his father's guards.

2. The Sailor's Wife is fluent in the Common Tongue.

Being a crofter's daughter from Lannisport, the Common Tongue would have been Tysha's mother tongue. This could just be a coincidence, given that, as a prostitute in a port city, the Sailor's Wife may know many languages. However, the fact that she is described as being "fluent" is compelling support to the Sailor's Wife being of Westerosi origins.

3. "Wherever whores go."

Tywin, in the privy, revealing the truth about Tysha. Image: HBO

As he watchs his father slowly bleed out, Tyrion asks Tywin where Tysha had gone. Tywin's response is  "Wherever whores go." Still not wanting to tarnish the Lannister family name (and have Tyrion possibly reconnect with his common wife/prostitute), Tywin answered Tyrion's question with a riddle that held the simple truth: Tysha had gone to a brothel. Just enough of the truth to serve as an honest response, and just enough secrecy to keep the true location of Tysha from Tyrion.

4. Lanna, the golden-haired daughter of the Sailor's Wife.

Myrcella Lannister, Tyrion's "golden-haired" niece. Image: HBO.

The Sailor's Wife is purported to have a golden-haired daughter, who is of such an age that she could very well be Tyrion's daughter. The allusion to the girl's hair color as being specifically "golden" -- an adjective often associated with the Lannister's and Lannister "gold" -- as well as the girl's name -- "Lanna" can be seen as a clear derivative of "Lannister" -- many fans believe Lanna is too perfect to merely be coincidence.

What do you think of the Sailor's Wife theory? Share below!

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