This is my take on Tyrion’s Cyvasse ‘game’. (Originally posted as a Reddit comment).
He gives two pieces of advice to Aegon – (1) Through words, go to Westeros ASAP because this is the right time to strike (2) Through the game, keep your dragon close. These two pieces are contradictory, because Aegon can’t keep his dragon (Dany) close and go to Westeros soon – it has to be one or the other.
At the time of the game, Tyrion does not know Dany was wed, or that she intend to stay at Meereen – any Westerosi will expect her to return West. Tyrion has no idea about Jorah, and he does not expect to be parted from the Shy Maid crew. So in hindsight, it would appear as if Tyrion wanted to make a quick return to Westeros, and defeat Cersei. After all, everything he said about Cersei’s ineptitude and the chaos in Westeros became real in AFFC. It does look like Aegon will have a successful campaign for at least some duration following his landing in Westeros.
Only, Tyrion Lannister is not a green boy eager for victories, nor is he as desperate as Jon Connington (exiled though both are). Even if we ignore his self-destructive mindset throughout the first-half of Dance, he is obsessed with dragons – enough to keep reading about them long after the last of them were dead, and before even Dany had hatched her three dragons. He will never turn away from the prospect of seeing real dragons (even after escaping death by lions at Daznak’s Pit, he is disappointed that he could not see the dragon taking flight), especially if these dragons are in the care of someone who would want to overpower his sister Cersei.
So why advise Aegon to turn away from dragons? Because he knew they would not be able to turn West, even if Aegon himself was convinced it was the right course. From Tyrion’s viewpoint, Jon Connington would not take such a ‘foolish course’ of discarding their best advantage, a marriage alliance with the dragon queen, just to take advantage of politics. They have waited long enough, they could wait a bit more. (I believe JonCon would have waited, if not for the grayscale and Dany staying East).
Effectively, Tyrion was planting an idea in Aegon’s mind that things could be smoother and quicker if they only reached Westeros in the right time. Here is what I think Tyrion expected to happen:
- Aegon is eager to demonstrate his talent, probably discusses the prospect of turning West with JonCon
- Jon Con disagrees, they continue their course East. Aegon is unhappy with Jon Con, wonders how much more JonCon will control him once they win the throne
- They reach Dany, and Aegon ‘finds’ that she is exactly as Tyrion described her (it was an intelligent guess from his part, and even if Dany was different, Tyrion already planted a first impression stencil in Aegon’s mind so it would be difficult for him to form a drastically different opinion).
- Dany is not over-the-moon about Aegon (not unexpectedly), and even if she is, Aegon doubts if that is enough. Tyrion has enough factual details (the Dothraki, Unsullied support of Dany) to guess that she has earned more support and more followers than Aegon, this causes Aegon to feel inferior (more so than he would have felt, if not for Tyrion’s view on the matter).
- Aegon begins to wonder what would have happened if only he followed Tyrion’s advice.. Heard melodies are sweet, those unheard are sweeter, so Aegon will think things would have been better for him if he had listened to Tyrion instead of Jon Connington, Illyrio or Varys. Voila! There goes puppetmasters’ plan to groom their perfect prince. In all likeliness, the prince would be more prone to listening to Tyrion now, or at least think twice before following what JonCon, Varys or Illyrio tells him to do.
Considering Tyrion’s mindset at the time of the game, I think he was just trying to cause chaos, almost in the fashion of Littlefinger’s usual MO. He was being asked to dress like a clown, he was being kept under the dark, and he was feeling suicidal after the Tysha reminder from Jaime. JonCon reminded him of Tywin, and Tyrion was never a big fan of Varys to begin with. What Tyrion really wanted Aegon to do was this: Trust no one.
Not your chainless maester, not your false father, not the gallant Duck nor the lovely Lemore nor these other fine friends who grew you from a bean. Above all, trust not the cheesemonger, nor the Spider, nor this little dragon queen you mean to marry.
If Tyrion was more his pre-ADWD self, I’d have guessed he had plans to play for Dany’s trust while distancing Aegon and his team from her – after all, Tyrion is going to have a hard time achieving the position of influence under king Aegon, with Varys, Illyrio (from behind the curtain) and Jon Connington already having brought him up. Dany on the other hand have no one with political acumen (Illyrio or Varys does say this to Tyrion) on her side. It’s not surprising that Tyrion would try to seize the opportunity. However, I think he was more in destructive mindset than an ambitious one at the time of the game.