Casting cannot work (and neither can movies or TV) unless personal prejudice is brought into play. You can scream all you like about equality in the workplace but the magnificent Peter Dinklage is never going to get to play an elf in Middle Earth. As a scheming, politically savvy and put upon small person in Game Of Thrones, he is absolutely believable, all we ever ask of any actor.
Dinklage shines in Thrones for several reasons. Obviously, he’s significantly shorter than everyone else and so was cast according to the physical attributes of the character. He is supremely adept at presenting many facets of Tyrion and although on the surface he is disreputable, carnal, political, murderous and rude, there beats a heart inside that body that the audience can recognise as a moral centre. In short (sorry), he knows what’s right from what’s horrific and his life is lived by a code of sorts, self-serving perhaps, but it’s a code we can respect. So, for my money, the aspect that elevates Dinklage’s popularity in the series is that, despite his debauchery, he is ‘us’ – or the closest thing to ‘us’ that Martin’s world contains.
SPOILER ALERT – Don’t read on if you’re not up to date (end of 4th season as of this writing):
Tyrion’s actions in the last episode of the season essentially make him an outcast. I am not tempted to read the books to find out how he fares simply because I adore having many rugs pulled from beneath me on screen. Thrones has more narrative shocks and surprises in a single season than most shows have over their entire run. Now Tyrion is regrettably absent from the heart of his dreadful family. I wonder how the story-tellers are going to keep his character relevant. He can’t be consigned to a weak sub-plot. He’s much too important for that. Long live Tyrion Lannister!
“I am a vile man, I confess it. My crimes and sins are beyond counting. I have lied and cheated, gambled and whored. I’m not particularly good at violence, but I’m good at convincing others to do violence for me.” Tyrion Lannister