Jon: Why do you read so much?
Tyrion: Look at me and tell me what you see.
Jon: Is this a trick?
Tyrion: What you see is a dwarf. If I had been born a peasant, they might have left me out in the woods to die. Alas, I was born a Lannister of Casterly Rock. Things are expected of me. My father was the Hand of the King for 20 years.
Jon: Until your brother killed that [k]ing.
Tyrion: Yes, until my brother killed him. Life is full of these little ironies. My sister married the new [k]ing, and my repulsive nephew will be king after him. I must do my part for the honor of my house, wouldn’t you agree? But how? Well, my brother has a sword, and I have my mind. And a mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone. That’s why I read so much, Jon Snow.
That was the moment I fell for Tyrion Lannister/Peter Dinklage and he became one of my favorite Game of Thrones characters, alongside Arya Stark. Although I’ve been given “the look” when admitting to my crush, I’m not alone in it.
On April Fools Day, HBO posted a fake announcement that Dinklage wasn’t returning to GoT; that he would effectively be replaced by Warwick Davis who would bring more comedic elements to the Tyrion character. The article was studded with clues that gave it away as an April Fools joke (the first clue being that it was April Fools Day), but my rage momentarily blinded me and I came to only when my computer screen was millimeters from my knee. At least I wasn’t numbered among the many outraged fans who memorialized their rage-ignorance in the comments thread.
What is it about that diabolical combination of wit and sarcasm that makes a character so desirable and worthy of fandom? Are smart-ass underdogs the champions of our generation?
Well, Daria was my and many other girls’ role model throughout those awkward change-y pubescent years, and angst and introspection hung over the 90’s like a soupy Seattle fog, so I’d say there’s a good chance a chunk of us in our late twenties and early thirties were suckled at sarcasm’s teat.
Daria is a good example of why deliciously sassy sarcasm can be so valuable in a character. While she often spoke harsh truths about youth culture, parenting, etc., the commentary had a dry comedic finish. And Tyrion’s baldfaced, often insulting honesty breaks up what could otherwise be an oppressively heavy drama. I wouldn’t call Tyrion comedic relief but he does have the ability to present us with the worst kinds of truths, and those truths that must be exposed in order to aid story development, in a palatable form that provides relief from the ungodly horrors taking place or building up around almost every other character.
It’s a promising sign that so many frothed at the mouth at the idea of turning an intelligent (yes, also lascivious and foul-mouthed) character into the court jester. Sarcasm and wit require intelligence and an analytical mind. If we are a generation that throws its panties at sarcasm and raises high the smart-ass, we’re also a generation that values smarts. So, I’ll say it again: I ♥ Tyrion. (Have you seen that jawline?)
P.S. And while Olenna Tyrell may not have my panties, she certainly has my vote for best new character of the season.