Game of Thrones: Why Shae Betrayed Tyrion For Tywin

In Game of Thrones Shae was thought to have loved Tyrion Lannister until she betrayed him for his manipulative father, Tywin. But why did Shae betray Tyrion? Shae served as Sansa Stark’s handmaiden while living in King’s Landing, but her connection to Sansa only added to her paranoia when it came to trusting Tyrion. Tywin caught wind of Tyrion and Shae’s relationship, complicating matters by forcing his youngest son into a marriage with Sansa. Tyrion had no choice but to follow through with the arrangement, despite having no romantic feelings toward Sansa. A Shae Game of Thrones assassination looked increasingly likely, so Tyrion decided it was best to send the love of his life away. To ensure she left, Tyrion labeled Shae a “whore” before ensuring that she boarded a ship to leave.

Shortly after Shae’s departure, Tyrion was put on trial for the murder of his nephew, Joffrey Baratheon. To his surprise, in Game of Thrones Shae appeared as the final witness for the crown, claiming that Tyrion kidnapped her and forced her to become his mistress. Shae then falsely accused Tyrion and Sansa of secretly plotting Joffrey’s murder. While it was clear that Tywin and the rest of the Lannisters made a deal with the Game of Thrones Shae character, she didn’t expect Tyrion to order a trial by combat. By the end of season 4, Tyrion broke free from captivity with the intent of confronting his father. Upon his arrival at Tywin’s chambers, Tyrion found his love in the man’s bed. The two had a scuffle before Tyrion strangled Shae. While Game of Thrones’ Shae’s servitude as a prostitute was always known, her betrayal went deeper when it came to the two Lannister men. So, why did Shae betray Tyrion?

Shae’s Trust Issues Brought Upon Her Downfall In Game Of Thrones

The Tyrion and Shae Game of Thrones showed how deeply and genuinely he loved her, but he was aware that it would take a lot for her to agree to leave King’s Landing. To keep her safe, he cut deep, calling her a “whore” because he knew it would upset her. In reality, he fractured the relationship in the hope that she would leave. The plan worked, but unfortunately, Shae never fully understood Tyrion’s intent. Her hurt feelings eventually transformed into anger, which made it easy for the Lannisters to bargain for her return to serve as a fake witness. Rather than confront Tyrion directly, she retaliated by joining Tywin’s side, knowing that it would greatly affect Tyrion’s mindset.

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There was also Game of Thrones’ Shae’s enormous amount of jealousy when it came to Tyrion Lannister and Winterfell’s Sansa. Though Tyrion made it clear that his relationship with Sansa was strictly platonic, Shae struggled with the notion of their marriage. There was no doubt that Tyrion and Sansa had a unique bond, but Shae couldn’t overcome the arrangement. With the increasing trust issues and obvious insecurities, Shae knew that by aligning with the rest of the family, she would crush Tyrion. Having an affair with Tywin was just the cherry on top of the horror that Tyrion faced. Shae’s Game of Thrones betrayal, of course, ended up setting off a chain of events that ultimately led to Tywin’s death and Tyrion’s separation from House Lannister.

Did Shae Love Tyrion?

In Game of Thrones Shae really did love Tyrion, despite his belief to the contrary in the end. If she didn’t have any romantic feelings toward Tyrion, Shae wouldn’t have become jealous of his relationship with Sansa. She also wouldn’t have been so hurt after he called her a whore and tried to send her away from King’s Landing if Tyrion’s love for her wasn’t reciprocal. In many ways, Shae was trapped between a rock and a hard place, but there was no doubt of the passion, love, and adoration she felt for Tyrion before everything went south. Shae’s love for Tyrion, and vice versa, is why the Game of Thrones season 4 finale is so difficult to watch.

Why Shae Was Working For Tywin

Shae wanted to hurt Tyrion after what he did. If Tyrion told her the truth about why he wanted her to leave King’s Landing, it’s possible the accusations against him and his trial could have been avoided. Like Tyrion, Shae was ultimately looking out for her own interests and trying to survive in a world where she had little influence. From her perspective, that meant betraying Tyrion for, from her perspective, forcing her out of King’s Landing to flee the 7 Kingdoms when she didn’t want to go. What’s more, Tywin had his hands in all things, and Shae knew how much Tyrion hated his father. What better way to get back at her former lover than to strike a deal with Tywin? Shae was put in a situation that made it hard for her future; she also didn’t want to give up the meager privileges she had amassed during her time in King’s Landing. Allying with Tywin was perhaps the only way forward for her in Game of Thrones, especially if she could no longer be with Tyrion due to his arrangement with the future Queen in the North, Sansa.

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Shae Books Vs. Show: The Main Difference Explained

Like all characters in Game of Thrones, Shae in the HBO show is different than Shae in George R.R. Martin’s novels, with the key difference between the two being their true feelings towards Tyrion Lannister. Shae in TV’s Game of Thrones clearly has some kind of feelings for Tyrion. She loves him (or gets as close to loving him as is possible in a show like Game of Thrones), and her ending up with Tywin is an act of spite and jealousy. It’s not callous or cold; it’s done with deliberate intent. The line between love and hate is thin, after all, and Shae going to such lengths to hurt Tyrion so deeply suggests that, at one point, her affection was genuine.

This isn’t the case with Shae in the Game of Thrones novels. On the night of her death in A Storm of Swords, Shae is disappointed more than anything else when Tyrion finds her in bed with Tywin. She claims that she had been overpowered by Tywin and blackmailed by Cersei, but the astute and observant Tyrion doesn’t believe it and strangles her with a gold chain (one he’d previously worn while the Hand of the King, the only thing Shae had been wearing). Shae in the books is portrayed as opportunistic and ultimately self-serving, with the book-Tyrion’s doubts about their relationship a theme throughout her time with him. This is starkly different than their relationship in Game of Thrones, in which Shae is a source of genuine fulfillment for Tyrion and her betrayal/death powerfully symbolizes the ultimate futility of aspiring for happiness while seeing out life as a resident of Westeros.

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Game Of Thrones Didn’t Know How To Handle Shae

The Shae Game of Thrones character almost felt as if she was being handled by different directors, because her arc was all over the place. Throughout her short time on the show, it was often difficult to understand what Shae’s motivations were and how she truly felt about Tyrion. The argument could be made that this is because she’s a complex and complicated character. However, this doesn’t really seem to be the case, given how shocking her betrayal was. Shae suddenly appearing on Tywin Lannisters side to testify against her former lover, lying through her teeth about how she was kidnapped, felt so unlike Shae that the moment was notably criticized by viewers at the time.

No one saw Shae’s betrayal coming, and is in part because of how Game of Thrones handled the character. If Shae had been portrayed as her character actually was in the books, her betrayal would’ve made much more sense since she’s supposed to be cold and self-serving. However, Game of Thrones decided not to go that route, making Shae’s betrayal one of the many shocking twists of the series. When Shae first appeared she was caring and insightful — as well as Tyrion’s intellectual match when it came to understanding how people tick. The fact she didn’t see Tyrion’s true intentions, and that she went to such lengths to wrong him in kind for his “betrayal”, don’t feel like they aligned with the Shae Game of Thrones introduced viewers to in season 1.

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