You don’t need Lady Olenna to tell you this: there are SPOILERS everywhere if you’re not up to date on Game of Thrones or A Song of Ice and Fire.
It’s time to explore the Tyrell backstory in Game of Thrones. There’s a reason why the second wealthiest family in all of the Seven Kingdoms is throne-thirsty. They may rule the Reach, but they have never ruled as kings. Many noble houses have always felt slighted that these high-ranking servants-turned-stewards became their masters in the South when they didn’t descend directly from Garth Greenhand. These jelly nobles clamor for a chance to snatch Highgarden from these non-bloodline usurpers. House Tyrell could use some royal blood about now.
That certainly explains why Margaery Tyrell was willing to marry and voluntarily touch Joffrey. But it was not meant to be. For the longest time, it was one of those Olenna Tyrell theories, but later the Queen of Thorns tells Margaery that she poisoned the king because he was just the worst. She couldn’t subject her granddaughter or House Tyrell to that. And she wasn’t about to spend the holidays with that evil jerk.
An emerging Queen Margaery Game of Thrones theory suggests that not only will this thick-skinned beauty survive the High Sparrow’s judgment, she'll also live to rule. Maybe this whole Iron Throne thing needs to be replaced with an Oakenseat. It would be much more comfortable and there’s wine from the arbors of the Reach. Also, she's playing the High Sparrow. She has to be.
Because the Tyrells come from stewards and castellans, they have generations of wisdom on how the highborn behave. As much as they are the ruling class now, the Tyrells somehow still manage to sit outside of society in order to observe it. This is why Lady Olenna is a semi-trusted adviser to Littlefinger and Varys - they are all outsiders with their own ambitions.
Most Tyrell theories stem from their dedication to family. The Reach may be known for chivalry, but the Tyrells will murder in the name of their own kin - you just won’t know they did. There’s no way they’ll let each other be debased or imprisoned if it can be helped.
As we head toward the end of Season 6, there's a theory to end all Loras Tyrell theories... what if the Sparrows break him and he ends up giving up Lady Olenna in Joffrey’s murder? That could set off an entire chain reaction, pitting the Tyrell army against the people. Will Cersei finally outmaneuver the Queen of Thrones? Will she murder Olenna Tyrell with her bare hands? We’ll probably find out very soon.Let’s look at some history, character profiles, and Tyrell theories, and spend some time with the sassy rulers of Highgarden.
A Brief History of House Tyrell
House Tyrell of Highgarden ruled as stewards in the Reach, intermarrying with higher ranking houses. The great house began as a cadet branch or extension of House Gardener of Highgarden, that originated with the First Men and was founded by Garth Greenhand. The Tyrells are descendants of Garth the Gardener (through the female line), who ruled during the Age of Heroes, the years following The Pact between the First Men and the Children of the Forest. An Andal knight, Ser Aelster Tyrell founded the house. Today’s Tyrells are descended from the learned Gareth Tyrell, a High Steward.The Tyrells have survived many rulers of the Iron Throne for several reasons: They have a large and fertile region to supply whatever king may need supplying during any given war. They have learned how to politically outmaneuver (or at least attempt to outmaneuver) whomever sits the Iron Throne while also appearing accessible. They also tend to back the horse favored to win. Their loyalty is reserved for family.
The second largest kingdom in the realm (behind the North) has a high population and vast fertile fields, gardens, and groves. The Reach is one of the top food baskets of the realm. It is bounded by the Sunset Sea to the west, the westerlands to the northwest, and the Blackwater Rush of the riverlands to the north. The biggest fresh water source is the Mander. House Tyrell rules the Reach from Highgarden castle. Knighthood is valued, tournament rules are strict, and chivalry is held most high.
The Reach at War
The Tyrells are liege lords of the Reach and can build some of the strongest armies. The Reach is the second largest holder of wealth in the Seven Kingdoms. They also have the Redwyne Fleet and coastal lords at their disposal and can quickly raise a navy. The Tyrells are nearly as wealthy as the Lannisters, maybe by a lot these days, thanks to the Lannister debts to the Iron Bank. House Tyrell has declared itself Defenders of the Marches and High Marshals of the Reach.
The seat of House Tyrell and the regional capital of the Reach, the castle may have been built by Garth the Gardener. The Mander flows below and the castle is dotted with groves, courtyards, and fountains. Highgarden boasts a sept equal to the Sept of Baelor. Lord Mace Tyrell is the head of House Tyrell. But his mother, Lady Olenna Tyrell, aka the Queen of Thorns, really rules the roost.