author C.C.Cole's blog

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On the New Favorite Dark Fantasy Character

"The Imp" from "Game of Thrones"

After mentioning “The Imp” in every review I posted of the series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R. Martin, and following the well-done extrapolated “Blackwater” episode of the cable series “Game of Thrones” the name “Tyrion Lannister” is almost a household name.  When I read in an article today by a well-known political writer about how he watched the series and he was disappointed that there wasn’t enough of Tyrion, I suspect Martin’s “half-man” is truly reaching new heights with attention in a part of the media usually disassociated with fiction, especially Dark Fantasy.

For the non- “Game of Thrones” informed, to give a brief summary of Tyrion:  He is a physical dwarf, whose mother died giving birth to him.  As part of the rich and powerful Lannister family, his older incestuous twins Jaime and Cersei and his father Tywin blame him for the death of his mother, and disrespect him for his imperfect physical form.  Tyrion is intelligent, well read, and spends his generous sums of gold on prostitutes, food, and wine; he understands the brutal world he lives in.  He knows truth is carried through lies, and life is carried by avoiding death; not by the generosity of others.  His biggest flaw is looking for love in all the wrong places; as a Lannister he can buy loyalty from sellswords easier than love.  He is cunning, quick-witted, and humorous.  Obviously, because of his dwarfism, his nickname that he dislikes is “The Imp.”

How did we get so “Imp-crazy?” We former gamers know “Dwarves” as in LOTR, but a real physical dwarf used in this kind of story is quite innovative and a knock-it-out-of-the-park creation, to be fair to Martin.  To give this character strength with wit and wisdom hits us in our “root for the underdog” instincts.  We like beautiful heroines and handsome heroes, but it’s a great takeaway from Dark Fantasy clichés (criticisms aside about this over-extended epic). 

Last, but not least, is the life that actor Peter Dinklage brilliantly brought to “The Imp.”  I saw the first season of the cable series before I read the books, and it’s as if Tyrion stepped out of the pages.  As a skeptic of Dark Fantasy translation from books into films, this is one of the best character transitions I’ve ever seen. 

Is the series “Game of Thrones” for everyone?  No.  Are the books for everyone?  No.  But for the readers and viewers, that do like it, will everyone like Tyrion?  Yes. 


  1. Just a little nitpick (they didn't spend enough time with the two of them in the show but the scenes they have should be enough to understand what i'm about to say).
    Jaime doesn't blame Tyrion for their mother's death, he doesn't blame him for anything, in fact, they geniunely love each other (not in a Jaime-Cersei kind of way)

  2. Hi. Agree about Jaime, he's one of the most shallow characters I've read in fiction, and that makes him a great character. Over time he evolves and changes his take on life. Thanks for commenting.