None better a statement can be made about Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf son of arguably the most powerful family in the HBO series “Game of Thrones” (GOT). While Tyrion (portrayed majestically by Peter Dinklage) is just one of many focal characters in GOT, he rises to the forefront of every scene he’s featured in due to his intelligence, resilience and witty candor. More on Tyrion after the jump.
Tyrion is first introduced at the beginning of season one. He is both the youngest child of Tywin Lannister, a rich and powerful lord in Westeros, and also the brother of Queen Cersei. Tyrion initially comes off as a wine-loving womanizer whose candid nature makes him appear tactless and arrogant. Quickly, however, we learn that his cynical demeanor stems from a life spent being mocked and berated by everyone around him, including most of his family. One of my favorite lines from the first season is when Tyrion is speaking to John Snow (another key character in GOT):
“Let me tell you something, bastard. Never forget what you are, the rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.”
Wise words from a man born with dwarfism. Not only has Tyrion been branded with condescending nicknames all his life like “imp” and “halfman”, he also carries the guilt of his mother having died while giving birth to him (a fact that both his father and sister resent him for and never let him forget).
Throughout the second season, Tyrion’s character is given room to grow, displaying talents for both politics and leadership. He masters the art of being the ‘King’s Hand’ (an assignment his father surprisingly bestows upon him) while doing his best to prevent Joffrey, his nephew and the newly crowned King of Westeros, from committing too many monstrous deeds. After Tyrion masterminds the defense of King’s Landing (a brilliant effort that ultimately falls short of stopping their enemy), he demonstrates an impressive act of bravery as he leads the King’s soldiers into battle.
Although Tyrion’s sharp wit and clever mind are essential pieces to his character, the one attribute that truly makes Tyrion Lannister a “scene stealer” is his heart. At first glance, Tyrion’s appetite for female company appears insatiable and shallow. We soon discover, however, that he’s actually quite the romantic. Near the end of season one, Tyrion falls in love with a concubine, Shae, who he does everything in his power to protect (while also remaining faithful). This leads to some very genuine, heartfelt exchanges between the two lovers and provides for one of the best love stories in the series.
In addition to his love for Shae, Tyrion also exhibits a great deal of compassion toward Joffrey’s ‘throw away’ bride, Sansa Stark. The daughter of a supposed ‘traitor to the crown’, Sansa is vulnerable to many potentially cruel fates from which Tyrion does his best to shield her from.
Tyrion is the kind of ‘everyday hero’ that’s fun to root for. He’s smart and brave, and always finds himself as the proverbial underdog in every situation. And, in true GOT fashion, seldom do we get to see our underdogs prevail…much like, I suppose, in real life. As long as Tyrion stays alive though, I’ll keep pulling for him.
“Game of Thrones” is now beginning its fourth season on HBO. If you’re a fan of sword wielding knights, gorgeous women who keep dragons as pets, and good old fashioned adult-themed entertainment (sex and violence aplenty), I highly recommend the series.