I recently started reading A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Which is certainly quite a book. So good in fact, they made a hit TV series out of it, which I also haven’t watched. Now, I am only about halfway through this book, but I’ve enjoyed it so much thus far that I wanted to share some of my thoughts about it with you. I wanted to look specifically at Tyrion Lannister.
Now, I’ve seen all the Tyrion memes, and I am well aware of the fact that people have fallen deeply in love with Peter Dinklage as a character. But I specifically wanted to talk about how the book notes him early on as being a brilliant mind. Something not just formidable, but also quick to finding an efficient route to victory. Though he has never seemed ruthless to me, which I hear may be something that changes as I read further. For those of you that don’t know (I know, how could anyone not know?), Tyrion is the son of a great lord, and a member of the Lannister house. They are a powerhouse (pun intended) of the storyline. Wife of the king, a member of the Kingsguard with the name “Kingslayer,” and so on. Tyrion is often looked down on as the outsider of the house, though house pride keeps him from complete exile. However, his inability to match foes in battle due to dwarfed legs and so on has caused him to focus more keenly on his mental prowess. He notes this early on, saying that he reads constantly to sharpen his mind, like a whetstone sharpens a blade.
That being said, his brilliance is shown in practice when he creates a saddle for a recently crippled child that allows him to ride a horse again—ironically showing a compassionate angle that I would not have expected out of a character in the book. Anyway, this is then juxtaposed when he gets captured by Catelyn Stark, another character, and he is shown as nearly helpless. In fact, his decision to call out Catelyn Stark (which is the reason she had to take him prisoner, lest she be discovered), can be seen as a very rash and somewhat idiotic
So to relate this back to reality, why do we make mistakes? Most of us are brilliant people, capable of seeing plots, and analyzing situations. Certainly, we aren’t necessarily all as cunning as Tyrion is, but I think that’s the point, and why he’s such a great character. In fiction, it’s especially easy to fall into archetypes. Tyrion is the brilliant mind that rarely if ever get’s outwitted. Except he’s not. He gets beaten and then has to find his way out somehow. And in some ways that is even more commendable. It’s more realistic. Which is dynamic in a relatable way. Back to mistakes though. People make them, and it’s not always intentional. There are so many thousands of factors that go into any day that it’s hard to see when our joke will offend even our closest friends, or make them laugh. The same goes for strangers. Maybe that’s what makes A Game of Thrones so fantastic. Does that sound like what you’d enjoy in a book? Let me know!