If you follow me on Twitter (and here I’d be remiss if I didn’t market my digital self), you know all about my affinity for the HBO show Game of Thrones.
I was never a fantasy fanatic, but there was something about this show that pulled me in. I’m willing to bet it was that Tyrion Lannister character.
Game of Thrones is a television show based on a collection of fantasy epics, A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin. Described as the American J.R.R. Tolkien, his novels read like The Lord of The Rings for adults, in that they deal with more mature subject matter than their English counterparts. Certainly, they are more violent and gory, but they also deal with incestuous circumstances and are much more sexually explicit.
Season one of the show deals with the first book of the series, from which the television series gets its name. It tells the story of many inhabitants of Westeros, spread out across seven – now unified – kingdoms. The “protagonist” of this tale is Eddard “Ned” Stark of Winterfell, a mild mannered warrior who seems to be the only honest man left on the show. He is married to Catelyn Tully, and is father to six children, one of whom, Jon Snow, is a bastard.
Ned’s best friend, Robert Baratheon, is now king of all the seven kingdoms. He is married to Cersei Lannister, a cold, manipulative queen and sister to Jamie “Kingslayer” Lannister (who helped place Robert as king when he killed the previous one, Aerys Targaryen) and the aforementioned Tyrion Lannister.
I don’t want this to turn into an article on the genealogy of the seven kingdoms (because, really, it would be extremely boring and long), so I’ll stop there.
This is where it gets good.
The first thing I should mention about my friend Tyrion is his size. He is a dwarf, an imp. What this man lacks in size, however, he makes up for in wit. The man has the gift of gab, and he is not afraid to show it – even if it means death.
As someone who has read the book as well as seen the show, I can tell you that Tyrion on the printed page is so much better than the one on screen. That is not a slight on Peter Dinklage’s performance as much as it is an appreciation of the character’s depth in the book. He steals the show – and the book. (He’s even more of a revelation in A Clash of Kings, the second book in the series, but that’s another story – one that will spoil the second season. As someone who wants you to watch the first season, I think it’s in my best interest not to mention that again.)
His presence on screen almost always leads to high comedy, and towards the end, when he meets Bronn, a mercenary who fights for him at a court preceding, they are comedy gold.
Reading my appreciation of Tyrion would probably lead you to believe that the show is a comedy of some sort. Far from it. A Game of Thrones is an epic series that is crawling with many characters, storylines, and settings. (I didn’t even mention my second favorite clan in Westeros, the Dothrakis and the most imposing figure in all of television, Khal Drago.) In fact, reading this piece probably has led you to the conclusion that its author is all over the place, jumping from one place to another, with seemingly no end in sight.
This is by design. You see, jumping from one storyline to another is sort of a staple of the show.
Welcome to Westeros.
- Ahmad Alowaish