Wednesday, 13 June 2012
A very small man can cast a very large shadow!
"Let me give you some advice, Bastard. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like an armor, so it can never be used to hurt you!"
He has definitely sounded wittier, snider, less forthcoming, more sensitive, less kinder, and more vulnerable than the lines - my personal favorite - that I chose to quote and introduce His (not-so) Highness with.
But here's what. Tyrion Lannister, the infamous Imp, the physical Halfman, the secondary prodigal, the unfortunately legitimate clansman, the unflattering brother, the bothersome brainiac who allegedly reads more than he drinks and drinks more than he reads, the disarming runt who has reputation of seeking company and comfort in brothels over "honor-homes" - is best summed up in those words of his own from the early encounter with Jon Snow.
Because beyond the unchangeable given - his dwarf packaging - what makes this Lannister the man that he is, has to be dogmatic adherence to that unsolicited advice he imparts. Impudent but well-intended.
He's no man of honor, but one of lessons.
Shrewd but not vile.
Thoughtful but not benign.
And more often than not, he will get his way with both the first word, and the last laugh.
Tyrion inspires a wariness, true to the attributes of a Lannister. But it's different. It's not suspicion of ill intention that conceives this wariness, but an ambiguity about his potential. As an ally, as much as an opponent. A wariness that is born of the constant surprise he proves to be, especially to those who take him less than seriously. He is prompt to dispel all presumptuous underestimations with regards to himself with a flourish that stumps, making mockery look like a rather shabby and futile counter. He professes no power except that in his name, even while making no secret of the disappointment he's held for bearing upon the same.
He is a diplomat - shady and sharp.
Darkly romantic, but rarely reciprocated.
Cynical, but realistic than bitter.
This-abled, than disabled.
Life teaches him, no easy way, to not crave attentions he cannot have. He makes up for the lack, buying that which can be bought, and earning that which can be earned. With no pretty Lannister doll-face to bail him out of spots, Tyrion becomes a thinker to survive. A survivor to save. A savior to serve. And a server to command.
He might have cut himself the image of the proverbial rat who's first to flee a ship wreck. More than once. But Tyrion Lannister shows a quirky knack for loyalty, compassion and bravado beneath that face of I, me, myself. Loyalty towards a family that all but discards him. Compassion sans sympathy, for the compromised or lacking which makes for an eclectic bunch of his beneficiaries. A cripple. A bastard. A eunuch. A hostage princess. A foreign whore-mistress. A vagabond sellsword. Bravado in the intuitive manner with which he wields his unfailing spontaneity to rescue, against enemies who would be formidable to greater forces with lesser minds.
Perhaps the most curious thing about Tyrion Lannister however, is the fact that he's the only primary character in the series who is not vying for a prize crown. Out of no ethical compunctions either.
Tyrion could have easily been the rarest kind of unambitious Lannisters - perhaps the only one, unless one considers the outcast ancestor in the Knights Guard - if life had caught him a break. It is easy to imagine him having lived off the lavishes and comforts of his family name, with a satisfaction that is foreign, even unbecoming of a Lannister. On which note also occurs to me the interesting irony of how many Lannisters in fact get away rather luxuriously, doing nothing with their lives, bearing little resistance and no scruples.
But not digressing. What is it exactly then that makes Tyrion Lannister roll?
One could think of fates and their ploy putting him repeatedly on the spot until he learned to fend for himself and became cognizant of the greater things he seems accomplished and intended for. But honestly, I believe there is a less heroic and more regular reason at play. Personally I'd put money on an idea he constantly lives in denial of, to the extent that even he, Tyrion Lannister, is vaguely oblivious about its role in his life and actions. The need to prove himself as being better than a disappointment. It would seem at least mildly far fetched for someone as evidently self assured and resolved as Tyrion to strive for a purpose of impressions - but it obviously runs deeper than that. While he is someone who has taught himself to be beyond the opinions of a populace that can never critically match up to half the Halfman that he is, the wound of being unwanted and a disgrace has festered unhealed. He has learned to lick it by wasting life on what he assumes to be largely his own terms - but truth of the matter is, he has always given a damn. Enough, to stick around with a fidelity his kinsmen are unworthy of, to exercise principles that would appeal as unwise to his better mind.
Tyrion wears "Lannister" as a badge of disgrace and purpose at once. Without (as it seems) an explicit idea about this driving motivation to prove himself, even lesser idea about who he strives to prove a point to, his means to this end are uncharacteristically selfless! He doesn't hope for titles or thrones for himself, with which to reign and prove his mettle. Instead he picks up the pieces left for him, and makes of them which few, if any, others could. And at some subconscious level, he hopes for a day when perhaps his contribution will be recognized - just for what it is worth... A recognition which will be a reward unto itself in the redemption it will offer him for a failure that he has borne for an unfair cross all his life!
Without meaning so much to be, Tyrion Lannister, Hand of the King of Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, is a singular force to reckon with, in floating the boat of thrones!
ps: Just on a Tyrion high, I didn't wait to finish up with the remaining 3 episodes of Season 2 (including the unanimously applauded Blackwater). In case of fact-corruption on that account, excuse my impatience!
pps: Belated Happy Birthday Peter Dinklage! You breathe Tyrion Lannister into existence...
ppps: Title quotes the character of Lord Varys, Game of Thrones. Avatar (above) (c) of N. =)