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Hero overview
I'd hate to die like your son. Clawing at my neck, foam and bile spilling from my mouth, eyes blood red, skin purple. Must have been horrible for you, as a Kingsguard, as a father. It was horrible enough for me. A shocking scene. Not at all what I intended. You see, I had never seen the poison work before. Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.
~ Olenna to Jaime Lannister on the death of Joffrey Baratheon, in Game of Thrones.
Night falls for all of us in the end, and too soon for some. You would know that more than most, poor child. You've had your share of grief, I know. We are sorry for your losses.
~ Olenna Tyrell to Sansa Stark, in A Song of Ice and Fire.

Lady Olenna Tyrell (neé Redwyne) is a main character in the HBO television series, Game of Thrones, and a supporting character in George R.R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.

In Game of Thrones, Olenna Tyrell was the elderly matriarch of and the last known head of House Tyrell. She was best known for her wit and sarcasm and, as a result, Lady Olenna was popularly nicknamed the Queen of Thorns, in reference to the Tyrell sigil - a rose - and her cutting, barbed comments. She later conspired to kill the former king, Joffrey Baratheon, with the help of Petyr Baelish, using stored poison in Sansa Stark’s necklace. After the death of her grandchildren and son, Olenna joins Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes to remove Cersei Lannister from power, as an act of revenge for killing her remaining family. She later sides with Daenerys Targaryen to better sure the chances of Cersei getting what she deserves. 

In A Song of Ice and Fire, Olenna Tyrell is the widow of Lord Luthor Tyrell and the mother of Mace Tyrell, the Lord of Highgarden. Born into House Redwyne of the Arbor, she is commonly known as the Queen of Thorns because of her sharp tongue. She is also the grandmother of Margaery, Loras, Garlan, and Willas Tyrell.

Olenna Tyrell was portrayed by Dame Diana Rigg.

In the Show [1]

Background

Olenna Tyrell was the widow of Lord Luthor Tyrelland the mother of Mace Tyrell, the former Lord of Highgarden, Warden of the South, Lord Paramount of the Reach, and head of House Tyrell. She was 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.

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 to whom Luthor Tyrell was betrothed. However, Olenna instantly dismissed the idea upon clapping eyes on her "ludicrously silver-haired" fiancée and instead set her sights on Luthor. The night before the proposal, Olenna purportedly got lost on her way back from her embroidery lesson, stumbled upon the room in which Luthor was staying and proceeded to seduce him, so thoroughly in fact that the poor boy never did propose to Viola because he couldn't walk down the stairs to do it and all he could think about was what Olenna had shown him. Viola's reaction to this change was unrecorded.

Although Olenna consistently referred to Luthor as an oaf, 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.

Season 3

Olenna Lemon Cakes

Olenna and Margaery question Sansa Stark.

Following her granddaughter's engagement to Joffrey Baratheon, Lady Olenna moves to King's Landing, working behind the scenes to cement the Tyrells' position, along with an entourage of Tyrell maidens and servants whom she finds exceedingly boring and irritating, deriding the former as a "foolish flock of hens". 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). Initially too scared to speak, Sansa breaks down after much prodding from Olenna and confesses that Joffrey is "a monster". Olenna is disappointed but unsurprised at the revelation.

A few days later, Lady Olenna is in the company of some other granddaughters, one of whom shows her some embroidery depicting House Tyrell's sigil and motto and asks if she likes it. Olenna proceeds to chastise the poor girl for her veneration of such a dull sigil, instead telling her to pick something more impressive and strong sounding like House Stark or House Greyjoy with their direwolf and kraken sigils. Her attention is quickly caught by the appearance of Varys, referring to him by his title of the Spider and shoos away her relatives to speak with him privately.

Olenna walks with Varys

Olenna walks though a garden with Lord Varys, the Master of Whisperers.

Olenna throws a mild barb or two at him, proving herself one of the few able to hold her own against Varys's honeyed silver-tongue 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.

Olenna & Podrick

Olenna talks with Tyrion Lannister as Podrick Payne assists.

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 if it brings a bit of change to their dull lives. 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.

Olenna & Tywin

Olenna talks with Tywin Lannister.

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 & Tywin (2)

Olenna prepares to snap Tywin Lannister’s quill, whilst agreeing to Cersei and Loras’ marriage.

Olenna then 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, noting with approval that Tywin really does live up to his ruthless reputation.

Olenna (at Tyrion’s wedding)

Olenna talks with her grandchildren at Sansa and Tyrion’s wedding.

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 the 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.

Season 4

Olenna and Margaery

Olenna prepares Margaery for her wedding.

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 before offhandedly chucking the piece over her shoulder 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, who is nonetheless genuinely ecstatic to see the rumored warrior-woman; Brienne, having never received anything but scorn from other woman regarding her appearance, is clearly moved by Olenna's reaction.

Olenna and Sansa

Olenna removes hidden poison from Sansa’s necklace.

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 whilst also surreptitiously removing one of the crystals on the girl's necklace that contains the strangler poison.

Olenna poisons Joffrey

Olenna watches as Joffrey drinks poisoned wine.

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 (in actually, she was the one who poisoned him), and is the first among those who call for help, sheltering Margaery from the sight of the dying boy.

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.

Olenna confesses (Part 1)

Olenna vaguely takes credit for Joffrey’s murder, while telling Margaery.

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.

Olenna leaves

Olenna tells Margaery to “do what needs to be done.”

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.

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, preferring to throw herself from the cliffs than endure one more leisurely stroll through them.

Season 5

Olenna with Margaery

Olenna returns to King’s Landing in regard to Margaery‘s letter and her imprisoned grandson, Loras.

Feeling outmaneuvered and unsupported, Margaery hastens to write to Olenna in the wake of Loras's arrest by the Faith Militant. Upon receiving Margaery's letter Olenna immediately sets off from Highgarden in a carriage and with a full escort of soldiers, reaching King's Landing several days later. On approach, the carriage halts some distance from the city for some reason, prompting Olenna to open the window to see if they've arrived. She quickly slams it shut again, since she can "smell the shit from five miles away" and orders her coachmen to continue on. She arrives at the Red Keep, promising Margaery that she will resolve the situation.

Olenna rages

Olenna rants at Cersei Lannister.

Some time later she meets with 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, not missing a beat, fires back with "and the famous tart, Queen Cersei". 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 and if that ceases, the smallfolk will not be happy.

Olenna upset with Cersei

Olenna watches as her grandchildren are imprisoned, mainly due to Cersei Lannister.

Cersei ignores everything Olenna says, only saying that House Lannister has no rivals. She then reiterates to Olenna that the Crown is not holding Loras, and that the High Sparrow will inevitably release him. 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.

Olenna at the Sept

Olenna visits the High Sparrow at the Great Sept of Baelor.

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, signaling the downfall of the Westerosi nobility and the rise of the common people.

Olenna and Petyr

Olenna threatens and warns Petyr Baelish.

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 Olenna confronts Lancel about the adulterous affair, and he is forced to give up Cersei to the High Sparrow, who has her arrested, combined with the charges of incest with Jaime and the murder of Robert (which Lancel also revealed in conversation with the High Sparrow).

Season 6

Olenna (Small council)

Olenna is given a seat on the small council.

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.

Olenna & Kevan

Olenna is informed her granddaughter Margaery will make the walk of atonement.

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 doesn't think it's a particularly good plan, but agrees that at this point it's their only option, and if blood is spilled, better it be the Sparrows' and not theirs.

Olenna prepares to breach

Olenna prepares for Margaery’s atonement.

Olenna accompanies Mace and his column of Tyrell troops to the Great Sept to watch the proceedings herself. She and Jaime exchange worried glances when they realize that the High Sparrow is up to something. As the High Sparrow announces there would be no Walk of Atonement for Margaery, Olenna signals to her son for the Tyrell Army to stand down. 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.

Olenna leaves (again)

Margaery warns her mother to leave King’s Landing before it’s too late.

Following the alliance between the Iron Throne and the Faith Militant and the conversion of King Tommen Baratheon and Queen Margaery Tyrell, Olenna meets with Margaery, pressuring her to turn away and stand against the Faith Militant. She reminds Margaery that they have her brother Loras, though in the presence of Septa Unella, Margaery says he must atone for his sins. Olenna is not impressed by the admittedly imposing septa, asking in a derogatory fashion if "it" speaks at all and threatens to have her men give her a good bashing. Before leaving with Unella, Margaery discretely slips Olenna a folded note. Realizing that Margaery might not actually be brainwashed, Olenna puts on a show but leaves quickly.

Olenna and Rose

Olenna unfolds Margaery‘s note, only to find a sketched Rose, the Tyrell sigil.

As soon as she is alone, she unfolds the note. It contains a drawing of a rose, the House Tyrell sigil, which leads Olenna to smile: Margaery is still a Tyrell at heart, and has wrapped the Sparrows around her finger.

Cersei and Olenna

Cersei pressures Lady Olenna Tyrell to stay in King’s Landing for a little longer.

Later, Olenna is visited by Cersei Lannister, who urges her to fight against the Faith Militant, but Olenna says that she is leaving for Highgarden, before "that shoeless zealot" gets the idea to throw her in a cell as well. Trying to convince Olenna, Cersei tells her they have a common enemy, and that they should unite and defeat him. Olenna, however, reminds Cersei that the rise of the Faith Militant, the imprisonment of her grandchildren and the compromised future of both the Lannisters and the Tyrells are all due to Cersei's stupidity. Cersei tries to win Olenna over by comparing her love for Tommen with Olenna's love for her grandchildren, to which Olenna reminds her of the smug look she gave her when Loras and Margaery were dragged away by the Faith Militant, pondering that Cersei is possibly the worst person she has ever met. Olenna bluntly tells Cersei the truth of the matter: Cersei has no friends and is surrounded by enemies with absolutely no support. She then adds that her only joy comes from the fact that Cersei has truly lost.

Olenna and Ellaria Sand-0

Olenna speaks with Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes and forms an alliance with Dorne.

This joy is shattered, however, with the deaths of her son and grandchildren, orchestrated by Cersei. Left as the sole ruler of House Tyrell, Olenna declares war on Cersei, and accepts an invitation to Dorneto meet with Ellaria Sand. Wreathed in black as a sign of mourning and quite clearly struggling to control her emotions at the loss of her beloved family, Olenna listens to Ellaria's offer of an alliance between Dorne and the Reach in the interest of survival. After making plain her disgust at Ellaria and the Sand Snakes for their action to seize power in Dorne, Olenna flatly tells Ellaria that she no longer cares about survival.

Ellaria alters her offer to "vengeance and justice", and summons someone from the shadows. Olenna turns to see Varys, who clarifies the offer further: "Fire and Blood". Some time later, the fleet of the Reach can be seen among the rest of Daenerys Targaryen's fleet, as she begins her voyage home to Westeros, though it is not clarified if Lady Olenna is among Daenerys' retinue – she may have remained in the Reach to coordinate the Dragon Queen's arrival.

Season 7

Dragon Queen Alliance

Olenna meets with Daenerys, Theon, Yara, Missandei, Varys, Tyrion, Grey Worm, and Ellaria.

Not long after Daenerys retakes the island, Lady Olenna travels to Dragonstone to attend a council meeting with Daenerys and her advisers. Olenna warns Daenerys about what happened to her granddaughter, Margaery, saying that despite the people's love for her she was ultimately killed and that in order to maintain the loyalty of the masses, Daenerys must be feared as well as loved. Olenna also voices her disagreement with Tyrion's plan to use the Greyjoy fleet to ferry the Dornish army up to King's Landing, but ultimately agrees to cooperate.

“Be a Dragon!”

Olenna tells Queen Daenerys Targaryen to “be a Dragon.”

After the meeting, Daenerys, concerned that Olenna is only fighting for her out of hatred for Cersei, talks to her in private and assures her that Cersei will pay for what she's done and that peace will be restored to Westeros. Olenna scoffs at that last assertion, believing that peace in Westeros will never last, but also gives Daenerys some shrewd advice: Olenna tells her that she has met many clever lords in her life, such as Tyrion, but advises that the lords of Westeros are "sheep" and that to keep the sheep in line, Daenerys must be a dragon.

Fall of Highgarden

Olenna watches as the Lannister and Tarly armies invade Highgarden.

Olenna returns to Highgarden which is soon attacked by the Lannister army lead by Jaime Lannister and Randyll Tarly, the former bannerman of House Tyrell. After Highgarden is swiftly taken by the Lannister forces, Jaime meets with Olenna in her private chambers. The two discuss the attack on Casterly Rock: Olenna notes that Daenerys and Tyrion were sure the Lannisters would defend it, but Jaime notes that with its gold mines dry, the Rock is no more value than a symbol. However, it provided a useful distraction to lure Daenerys's army away, while the bulk of the Lannister army marched on Highgarden, a lesson he learned from Robb Stark at the Whispering Wood.

Olenna wonders why Tywin Lannister, a man vocal about the importance of gold, had not taken Highgarden long ago when the Lannister’s own mines ran dry, but muses she can soon ask him - realizing her death is imminent, Olenna asks Jaime how he plans to kill her, pointing out that he is wielding Joffrey’s sword, not that Joffrey ever used it. She asks after the name he gave it; Jaime tells her: Widow's Wail. She sighs that Joffrey "really was a cunt, wasn't he?"; Jaime's expression showing no disagreement with her assessment of his son. Olenna explains to Jaime that any unspeakable wrong she has played a part in was always for the good of House Tyrell, remarking that her true failure was underestimating Cersei’s monstrous imagination, and her inability to foresee or even imagine just how far Cersei was willing to go remain in power and obtain her personal vengeance against those who wronged her, with her referring to the destructive destruction of the Sept of Baelor via Wildfire caused by Cersei. Jaime concedes that while Cersei may currently appear to be a monster to others, they will be grateful once she has restored peace to the Seven Kingdoms. Understanding the love Jaime holds for his sister, Olenna pities and tells him she will be his end. She calls Cersei a disease and a monster and further stated that she regrets her role in spreading it and Jaime will too.

Cersei and Jaime

Olenna speaks to Jaime Lannister, mainly regarding Joffrey Baratheon.

Having grown tired of Olenna’s shaming of himself and Cersei, Jaime moves to end the meeting. Accepting her death, Olenna asks Jaime how she will die. Jaime replies that Cersei wanted to have her whipped through the streets of King’s Landing and beheaded in front of the Red Keep, or flayed alive and hung from the city walls but he had talked her out of her brutal ideas in favor of a merciful death. Jaime reveals a vial of poison and pours it into Olenna’s wine. Jaime assures Olenna that there will be no pain.

“Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me

Olenna confesses to the murder of Joffrey Baratheon after poisoning herself. She then tells Jaime to “tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.”

After graciously accepting her death and drinking the poison, Olenna touches on Joffrey, who had also been killed using poisoned wine at the Purple Wedding. She remarks that she would hate to die in the same way, describing in great detail what Joffrey looked like as she witnessed him choke to death. She states that it was not her intention to cause such pain as she had never seen the poison in action. Realizing Olenna was the true mastermind behind Joffrey’s assassination, Jaime stares at her in disbelief. Wanting to torment Cersei even further, Olenna urges Jaime to tell Cersei that she was responsible for their son’s death, a last spiteful gift from House Tyrell.

With Olenna Tyrell dead, Joffrey’s death during the Purple Wedding is somewhat avenged. However, not entirely, as Olenna still won her own death.

With Lady Olenna’s death, House Tyrell becomes officially extinct. Highgarden’s gold stores, crops, and livestock are ruthlessly plundered by the Lannister army and shipped to King’s Landing for Cersei to ensure an alliance with the Iron Bank of Braavos. The Reach is given to Randyll Tarly of House Tarly as a reward for betraying House Tyrell. After the gold is confirmed to have arrived at King’s Landing, Dickon Tarly broods to Jaime and Bronn over the guilt he holds for betraying House Tyrell. Jaime notes that had House Tyrell not betrayed the crown to support Daenerys’s invasion, they would not have been on opposite sides, ignoring the fact that Cersei murdered the Tyrell heirs and seized the throne for which the Tyrells would obviously have wanted revenge. After word of Highgarden's sacking and Olenna's death reaches Dragonstone, Daenerys takes Olenna’s final piece of advice and ambushes the Lannister forces with the Dothraki and Drogon.

The Lannister army is decimated by Daenerys and the remaining survivors bend the knee to her with the exception of Randyll and Dickon, who Daenerys has burnt to death, exacting a bit of justice for their betrayal of Olenna's house. Having narrowly escaped the battle, Jaime returns to King’s Landing to meet with Cersei. As Cersei attempts to shame Tyrion by blaming him for the increasing power of Daenerys, Jaime tells Cersei that Olenna was the one who poisoned Joffrey. Cersei at first refuses to believe the revelation, until Jaime argues that Margaery Tyrell would have had better control over Tommen than Joffrey, effectively making Olenna the true ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Cersei furiously scolds Jaime for letting him talk her out of giving the Queen of Thorns a far crueler death, angry that Olenna went to her grave laughing instead of screaming.

Olenna's words to Jaime do eventually come back to haunt him: He finds out that Cersei, rather than honoring the public agreement she made with Daenerys at the Dragonpit Summit, intends to betray her and leave her and Jon Snow to fight against the army of the dead whilst she uses the Golden Company to solidify her rule over Westeros. When she angrily accuses him of being a traitor and threatens to have him killed for meeting with Tyrion - despite Jaime's not knowing who he was going to be meeting with - and for trying to honor his pledge to help the North fight off the White Walkers, their accord is broken. Jaime finally realizes that Olenna was right in calling Cersei a monster, and leaves her permanently. Later, just as she predicted, Cersei was indeed the death of him, as he died in a futile attempt to save her life during the Battle of King's Landing.

After Petyr Baelish is sentenced to death at Winterfell, he bleeds out from being cut in the throat by Arya Stark. With the death of Littlefinger, everyone who had taken part in Joffrey’s murder (including Lady Olenna Tyrell) is now deceased.

Season 8

With the death of Cersei Lannister during the Battle of King‘s Landing, Olenna‘s goal to remove Cersei from power and to avenge her family (who were killed by Cersei) has been achieved. With Jaime dead alongside his sister, Olenna’s death is also avenged.

In the Books [2]

Background

Olenna was betrothed to Prince Daeron Targaryen when they were both nine, but she claims she did everything she could to make sure it never came to fruition. According to maesters it was Daeron who broke the betrothal when they were eighteen in 246 AC, but Olenna speaks contemptuously of the oddness of House Targaryen.

Olenna liked her husband Luthor Tyrell well enough, as he was kind and not unskilled in bed, but she still considered him an oaf. She regrets that she did not have a chance to beat her son Mace more often when he was a child, as that would have made him more ready to heed her advice when he became an adult.

Olenna is the aunt of Paxter Redwyne, Lord of the Arbor. She has twin guardsmen named Erryk and Arryk, whom she refers to as "Left and Right" because she cannot tell them apart.

A Clash of Kings

After the death of King Renly Baratheon, Lord Petyr Baelish is sent to Bitterbridge and Highgarden to negotiate an alliance between House Lannister and House Tyrell, including a marriage between King Joffrey I Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell, Renly's widow and Olenna's granddaughter. During the negotiations, Lady Olenna asks Petyr pointed questions about Joffrey's nature. Petyr praises Joffrey to the skies, but secretly uses some of his escorts to plant disturbing rumors about the king among the servants at Highgarden, thereby creating doubts about the truth of his official statements.

A Storm of Swords

Lady Olenna comes to King's Landing to attend the wedding of Margaery to Joffrey. Olenna and Lady Alerie Hightower arrive in a wheelhouse decorated with gilded carvings of roses.

During a supper with Margaery and a number of noble ladies of houses sworn to the Tyrells, Olenna sharply questions Sansa Stark about Joffrey's nature. She refuses to listen to Sansa's evasions and half truths about Joffrey and gets Sansa to speak the truth about Joffrey's cruelty and the beatings he gave her. To prevent any potential spy from listening to Sansa, Olenna orders her jester, Butterbumps, to sing loudly. She also compares her son, Lord Mace, to a puff fish of the Summer Isles.

Olenna plots with Margaery to marry Sansa to her grandson Willaswithout letting Lord Mace know about it. However, Sansa unwisely tells Dontos Hollard about the plan, and Dontos presumably shares the information with Petyr. Lord Baelish foils the plot by telling Lord Tywin Lannister about it, who quickly marries Sansa to his own son, Tyrion.

In turn, Olenna sabotages Tywin's plan to marry his widowed daughter, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, to Willas, the heir to Highgarden. Although Mace is originally inclined to accept the offer, Olenna belabors her son and talks him out of it, arguing that Cersei is too old and too used for Willas. Tywin learns about this from Lord Varys and shares the information with Tyrion. Tywin orders Tyrion not to tell Cersei about the reason and rather act as if the offer has never been made.

Olenna seems to share the general aversion of the Tyrells against House Martell. During an ugly confrontation in the yard of the Red Keep, she calls Oberyn Martell's paramour, Ellaria Sand, "the serpent's whore".

Olenna is present at the wedding of her granddaughter Margaery and King Joffrey at the Great Sept of Baelor. In the wedding procession after the ceremony, Ser Kevan Lannister escorts her out of the sept. Olenna wears a heavy cloth-of-gold gown. Before the wedding feast in the throne room, Olenna approaches Sansa and expresses her condolences over the deaths of her brother, King Robb Stark, and mother, Lady Catelyn Stark, at the Red Wedding. While she talks with her, Olenna puts Sansa's messy hair in order and straightens the silver hair net that Sansa had received from Dontos and which he told her to wear at the wedding. Later, Olenna makes a snide remark about how often "The Rains of Castamere" is being performed during the wedding feast. When Joffrey begins to choke after drinking from his wedding chalice and eating pigeon pie, Olenna calls for help and comforts Margaery. Cersei accuses Tyrion of having poisoned her son after Joffrey dies.

While later revealing his part in planning Joffrey's death, Petyr implies to Sansa that Olenna poisoned the king, with some help from himself and the people he used, especially Dontos. He refers to Olenna straightening Sansa's hair net, implying that this was the moment the old woman took a black amethyst (actually a crystallized form of the strangler), which she used to poison Joffrey. Petyr suggests that Olenna killed Joffrey to spare her granddaughter Margaery from the same cruelty the boy showed Sansa and to prevent her hot-tempered grandson, Ser Loras, from becoming a kingslayer in case he, while serving in the Kingsguard, had to witness the king mistreating his sister. Petyr also shares how he planted disturbing rumors about Joffrey's character while he was at Highgarden, prompting Olenna's questioning Sansa when they first met. According to Petyr, Olenna knew Mace dreamed of his daughter Margaery becoming queen and for that they needed a king, but they did not need Joffrey, as Margaery could also marry his brother, Prince Tommen Baratheon.

A Feast for Crows

Following Tyrion Lannister's escape after the murder of his father, Tywin Lannister, Qyburn informs Queen Regent Cersei Lannister that a gold coin dating from the time of House Gardener has been found in the quarters of an undergaoler named Rugen (actually an alias of Varys), who vanished at the time Tyrion did. From Lady Taena Merryweather, Cersei also learns that Olenna keeps a large chest of gold from before Aegon's Conquest in her wheelhouse. In the event that unwary tradespeople offend her, she pays them in the old gold coins of the Reach, which are only half the weight of newly minted gold dragons. Both pieces of information make Cersei suspect that the Tyrells were involved in the escape of Tyrion and in the assassination of Lord Tywin.

Lady Olenna attends the wake for Tywin with her family. Cersei informs Lord Mace Tyrell that she has appointed Lord Gyles Rosby as master of coin instead of Mace's uncle Garth, although the position had been promised to the Tyrellsby Tywin. When Mace tries to protest, Olenna eases the tension, but not without making some inappropriate remarks about both Gyles and Garth. She also alludes to the smell emanating from Tywin's corpse, making Cersei angry. When Cersei suggests that Olenna would want to return to Highgarden soon, she replies that she cannot leave King's Landing before the wedding of Margaery and King Tommen I Baratheon. She mentions that she had been discussing a date for the wedding with Tywin at the time of his death and proposes to talk about this with Cersei soon.

In the negotiations with Cersei on the marriage between Tommen and Margaery, Olenna drives a hard bargain. She insists on an immediate wedding, much to Cersei's dismay, and she also throws out Cersei's suggestion that Tommen should wed his bride with a cloak in Lannister instead of Baratheon colors. Olenna, vouching for her granddaughter still being a maiden, also proposes that Tommen and Margaery share their bed as soon as they are married. Cersei, horrified by the suggestion, refuses this. However, Olenna is adamant that the royal couple should at least spend the wedding night together, as anything else would mean ill luck for the marriage. Cersei relents on this point, but she later regrets her concession and arranges for her brother, Ser Jaime Lannister, to make certain that nothing happens between Tommen and Margaery that night.

During the wedding feast, Olenna complains mockingly that "The Rains of Castamere" is not being sung. The nasty smile of the Queen of Thorns makes Cersei, who is increasingly wary of all Tyrells, think of Maggy the Frog, although the two hardly look alike. Later that night, Olenna suggests to break up the feast and send king and queen to bed together. The day after the wedding, Olenna returns to Highgarden with her grandson, Ser Garlan the Gallant.

Tommen later chooses the name Lady Olenna for one of the new dromonds being built for the royal fleet.

Personality

TV show

Olenna's most prominent traits are her sharp wit, high cunning and intelligence. A politically astute woman, Olenna has been a master of court politics and intrigue her entire life. Olenna's strength and competence in politics has made her the de facto head of House Tyrell and, by extension, the Reach itself. An outspoken woman with little patience for inconvenience, she is unafraid of using her power as head of House Tyrell to threaten her enemies. Olenna never shies from stating her opinion (unless it is more advantageous to mask it) and truly hates Cersei Lannister for her cruelty, incompetence, and deep selfishness. She also admits that she finds Sansa Stark rather dull and is interested in her political potential and not her personality. Olenna stated that she did not trust Tywin Lannister, nor did she especially like him as a person, but she did respect him for his steadfast diligence, ambition and intellect - she almost praised him for the fact that he actually lived up to his reputation. Tywin apparently felt the same way about Olenna, as she was one of the few people he ever treated as an equal – notably, when dealing with her, Tywin actually gave her his full attention and even poured her a drink, rather than continuing with his paperwork as he did when almost everyone else – including his own children – came to speak with him.

Olenna is incredibly intelligent, as well as wise enough to understand that sometimes people must work with their enemies rather than constantly compete against them, which also explains why she respected Lord Tywin. On the darker side, Olenna has no problem harming children - such as when she poisons Joffrey, leading to his death in his mother's arms - proving she can be just as ruthless as Tywin or Littlefinger when necessary. However, this was not entirely without reason, as she did it in order to protect Margaery from the monster that Joffrey truly was, describing the tyrant as a "cunt". She also mentioned to have done or had done unspeakable things for the safety of her house and family and never regretted them since she deemed them necessary.

She appears to have a very dark sense of humor and likes to mock those around her, including her own family. Despite this, Olenna clearly loves her family dearly, especially her grandchildren. Furthermore, she reveals to her granddaughter that even though she considered her husband Lord Luthor Tyrell an oaf, she genuinely loved him and struggled to accept his death. Olenna clearly is a staunch supporter of House Tyrell, despite being born and raised a Redwyne (but the Redwynes are also known as strong supporters and loyal bannermen to House Tyrell). In this regard, she is very similar to Tywin Lannister, who also places the power and prestige of his House above all else. Olenna, however, is wise to not be as ruthless or as cold as he was. She strikes a much healthier balance between loyalty to her House and affection for her family than Tywin ever did: whereas all three of his children grew to bitterly resent him, Olenna's grandchildren dote on her, and even her exasperation for Mace's oafishness is affectionate. When she shoots down Mace's attempt to speak to her and Tywin, he doesn't show offense but smiles indulgently, showing that he too dotes on her and is quite content to be under her.

Following the death of her family, Olenna's tongue grew even sharper. Instead of showcasing her cunning wit, her jagged barbs now stem from anger and pain. Olenna has not grown reckless or despondent, however: she is ready and willing to seek revenge, and remains strategic and pragmatic about doing so. She also makes it clear that since her entire future has been robbed from her, she doesn't care about survival; she is perfectly willing to die, and exhaust the considerable resources at her disposal, if it means she can bring Cersei to justice. In her final moments, Olenna blackly banters with Jaime despite him representing her hated enemy; she admonished Joffrey for being 'a cunt', Jaime for being a deluded fool and Cersei for being a diseased monster. Furthermore, when facing death she is perfectly calm and willingly drinks the offered poison after ensuring it won't be painful; before she goes, however, she reveals her part in Joffrey's death and requests that Cersei be told, a last bit of vengeance for and from House Tyrell.

Appearances

TV Show

Season 3

  • Ep. 2 “Dark Wings, Dark Words
  • Ep. 4 “And Now His Watch Is Ended
  • Ep. 5 “Kissed by Fire
  • Ep. 6 “The Climb
  • Ep. 8 “Second Sons

Season 4

  • Ep. 1 “Two Swords
  • Ep. 2 “The Lion and the Rose
  • Ep. 3 “Breaker of Chains
  • Ep. 4 “Oathkeeper

Season 5

  • Ep. 6 “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
  • Ep. 7 “The Gift

Season 6

  • Ep. 3 “Oathbreaker
  • Ep. 4 “Book of the Stranger
  • Ep. 6 “Blood of My Blood
  • Ep. 7 “The Broken Man
  • Ep. 10 “The Winds of Winter

Season 7

  • Ep. 2 “Stormborn
  • Ep. 3 “The Queen’s Justice”

Books

  • A Storm of Swords
  • A Feast for Crows

Quotes

Quotes are from only the television series, Game of Thrones.

I Wonder If You’re The Worst Person I’ve Ever Met? At A Certain Age, It’s Hard To Recall. But The Truly Vile Do Stand Out Through The Years.
~ Olenna Tyrell to Cersei Lannister.
"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! Direwolves and krakens, fierce beasts. But a golden rose, growing strong? Oh, yes, that strikes fear in the heart!
~ Olenna to one of her servants.
Is that your usual line, Lord Varys? Are you here to seduce me? Seduce away, it’s been so long!
~ Olenna joking with Varys.
Loras rots in a cell because of you. The High Sparrow rules this city because of you. Our two ancient houses face collapse because of you and your stupidity!
~ Olenna Tyrell ranting at Cersei Lannister.
That's very nice to hear. Of course I can't remember a queen that was better loved than my granddaughter. The common people loved her, the nobles loved her and what is left of her now? Ashes. Commoners, nobles, they're all just children really. The won't obey you, unless they fear you.
~ Olenna gives council to Daenerys Targaryen.
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 lectures the late Hand of the King, Tyrion Lannister.
Peace? Do you think that's what we had under your father, or his father, or his? Peace never lasts my dear. Will you take a bit of advise from an old woman? He's a clever man, your Hand. I've known a great many clever men. I've outlived them all. Do you know why? I ignored them. The lords of Westeros are sheep. Are you a sheep? No. You're a dragon. Be a dragon.
~ Olenna gives her last advice to Daenerys.
And the famous tart, Queen Cersei.
~ Olenna replying to Cersei’s comment.
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.
~ Olenna warns Lord Petyr Baelish.
Many will die no matter what we do. Better them than us.
~ Olenna to the Lannister’s.
I was told you were drunk, impertinent and thoroughly debauched. You can imagine my disappointment at finding nothing but a browbeaten bookkeeper.
~ Olenna to Tyrion Lannister.

Trivia

  • Olenna is the third Tyrell in the TV series to appear in the show, the first two being Loras and Margaery.

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References

  1. "Olenna on Game of Thrones Wiki"
  2. "Olenna on the A Song of Ice and Fire Westeros Website"
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