Susan's Blog

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tyrion Lannister, the role model

Night after night we are watching Game of Thrones, Season I. (I say “Season I” because I have not yet seen Season II so do NOT spoil it for me!)  The character and situations of Tyrion fascinates me, in terms of his disability. Tyrion Lannister, played by the outstanding Peter Dinklage, is a dwarf born to a wealthy and powerful family. He is well-educated, well-dressed, and highly sophisticated in his outlook on life and his self-expression. He is not trained in weaponry, but he is very brave. If he heard me say he was “very brave,” however, he would probably slice me up with sharp sarcasm. You don’t patronize this guy. People learn this quickly with Tyrion. When one character asks him why he reads so much, Tyrion replies, “Look at me,” and points out the obvious: that he is a dwarf that no one would care about or respect or fall in love with.  But he tells the other guy that he loves living and therefore does what he can to enjoy himself.  He blatantly pays for his love and sex, he bribes his way out of any diffficult situation; he even gets another character to fight as his proxy in a duel to the death.

There is much to admire in Tyrion. Probably the best thing about him is his outre character, his unabashed participation in everything around him. He doesn’t shrink from the public, even though people call him “Dwarf,” and “Half Man,” and worse. His skin is like rock; nothing like that bothers him.  He knows who he is and the attitudes of others toward him mean nothing. Tyrion is a great example of inclusiveness — the family treats him almost like an equal, but not really, though even this is more than I’d expect from people living in a Medieval-like era. They don’t lock him away, or kick him out on the streets to beg for his food. The way he is just a hair beneath them (no pun intended) makes sense because these are not supposed to be modern times. What I love the best about the portrayal of Tyrion is that people’s treatment of him does not stop him from getting what he wants and living a fun life (such as it is in such a brutal culture and era). He never corrects people or asks for Person-First language.  It got me thinking about how much more sensitive our society is to the use of words and the need to accommodate — which is very much the way it should be — however there is something stunningly admirable to see a character like Tyrion fighting everything and everyone just for his dignity. No one loves him like an equal; and yet more than once Tyrion says how much he loves life. Watching and listening to him, it is easy to see that this is true.

To go out in public with such an obvious difference from everyone else — this just takes my breath away. If you read this blog you know that I have always had a problem with going out in public with Nat, though less so these days, because of the way people stare at him when he does his self-talking. The anger and sadness I feel when I see that is like an iron ring around my neck. But if I could be like Tyrion, and just focus on the love of life and my dear son, nothing else would matter.



I love Tyrion. He is smart and scrappy. Sophisticated and hedonistic. In the book series he is even more of the self he portrays on the TV show. I also love that he won an Emmy for best supporting actor in a dram for this work.

— added by Erica on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm

I’m a huge fan of Tyrion too; he’s the most fascinating and complex character in the series. In addition to watching on HBO, I’ve been listening to the book on tape when I’m in the car — it’s perfect for long car trips.

— added by Liane on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm