Tyrion Lannister, the biggest lad Westeros has seen while standing at less than four-and-a-half feet, deserves your unflinching support as HBO’s Game Of Thrones closes its final chapter.
But why put your trust in a man who has played for pretty much every side to date? Well, because he has played for pretty much every side to date… He hasn’t done so through lack of loyalty, but a commitment to what he judges correct and ethical.
Admittedly the ethics of Westerosi life are murky at best – but I’m going to trust the judgment of a guy with ‘a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things’, and who understands the bigger picture.
Tyrion has seen it all, from The Wall to King’s Landing, beyond the Narrow Sea into Essos. He’s fought on the front lines, doled out justice where necessary, saved entire cities, outsmarted some of the tale’s sharpest minds, helped those thought helpless, RELEASED THE DRAGONS, and loves the sesh.
Oh, and he brought Bronn into our lives – you’re welcome.
I feel an easy point in the Imp’s favour is that he’s actively working against the Lannisters. He has been for a long time.
Tyrion has done so in escalating degrees, and I’d wager as a viewer you’ve enjoyed most of them.
From slapping some sense into Joffrey at any available moment to putting arrows in Tywin, and eventually offering his encyclopaedic knowledge of Westeros’ political landscape to the service of Daenerys Targaryen, so her claim to that haemorrhoid inducing chair benefit from some inside knowledge.
I get it, not everyone wants to see the Targaryen dynasty restored. Using dragons isn’t a universally popular tactic, but I presume these are the same people who’d rather Liverpool win the Premier League than Man City – ‘they bought success’, ‘well they should win with the assets they’ve got’ – yeah they should, and if you happen to be in a war to rule a fantasy kingdom while possessing dragons you should probably be using them.
Even if Daenerys isn’t top of your list, she’s got to be higher than Tyrion’s family of birth, right?
While being born into House Lannister – knowingly or otherwise – offers a great financial leg up, it also seems to simultaneously curse your existence up to the point you either die, jump into bed with a relative, or turn to a religious cult for guidance – some Lannisters even have the pleasure of ticking several of those boxes.
Tyrion’s misfortune came at birth, not that he was born a dwarf, but that he lost his mother and was held accountable for that by his sister and father in particular.
“I’m guilty of a far more monstrous crime. I’m guilty of being a dwarf”, Tyrion tells the court at his trial over Joffrey’s death.
Tywin kept him alive and used his youngest son’s talents when it suited him, probably surprised by his successes – and yet still determined to make him atone for a supposed crime which no child should be made to answer for.
Twice in the story Tywin tortures his son through the woman he loves – first Tysha, who is mentioned but never seen on the show, and then Shae, who famously won’t abandon Tyrion before famously abandoning him and heading to bed with his father having been spurned.
The guy deserves a break, a shot at happiness that isn’t just behind closed doors.
The character has offered some of the greatest wisdom available to viewers. I’d go so far as to say that his words on accepting who he is are in fact one of the few lessons viewers can actively take into their own lives.
The character says:
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.
I don’t see Cersei’s approach to ‘modern family life’ selling any self-help books anytime soon.
Obviously, we will never see Tyrion atop the Throne. You’re three sheets to the wind if that’s your desire. What claim does he have? Perhaps more pertinently, what means would he have of achieving power in his own name?
No, while Tyrion is likely to be significant in how the game plays out, he is also someone we may lose. Again, it’s Game of Thrones. If you win or die, then we ought to get used to the idea that Tyrion will either be stood next to the victor, or lost along the way.
Alas, ‘the actor isn’t letting anything away’ is a sentence you’ve probably read time and time again of late. But rightly so, this is Game of Thrones not The Avengers starring Mark Ruffalo. Being hit with the unexpected has become an intrinsic part of the show’s appeal. Seldom is a middle ground offered.
Nevertheless, there is at least solace in the fact Peter Dinklage approves of how Tyrion fares.
The 49-year-old actor told Entertainment Weekly:
I had all these ideas in my head and a version of one of them is how it ends up [for Tyrion]. David and Dan have a brilliant version of what I had.
If I use any adjectives it will give it away. But I love how it ended up. And how it ends up for everybody. They had a beautiful gentle touch with some and a hard touch with others.
We’re so used to the standard formula of bad guys dying and good guys living…What David and Dan have done with all this is beautiful, painful, and lovely. It takes the show somewhere that’s dangerous and contemporary with what’s going on in the world.
The time to despise and want Tyrion undermined was season one, when his character was reminiscent of a trustafarian who kept getting the drinks in on Daddy’s card – but that passed quickly. He paid his debts as promised. Now is the time to support the only character with a moral compass and a genuine knack of how to play the game.
He drinks and he knows things. He’s a complex little shit with the show’s sharpest wit and a rare sense of fun, he ought to be appreciated until the last because there is no replacing him.
And, if nothing else, you must crave to know ‘what the madam says’ at last. I can’t take any more sleepless nights wondering what happened when he entered that brothel with a honeycomb and a jackass.
Game Of Thrones returns Sunday, April 14 in the US, while hitting UK screens in the early hours of April 15 via Sky Atlantic.
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