Spoiler Alert: For those who haven’t seen the series, read at your own peril!
A true inspiration: The guy is a dwarf in a time where physical prowess is preferred any day over intellectual prowess. But this does not handicap him. Rather, he accepts his impairment and makes his wit and intellect a shield against it. Isn’t that the mantra of life, to get over all of one’s shortcomings? To identify your weakness and to turn it into your strength. This is what he exactly does. And that’s why his character is so endearing.
Overcome any adversity: He had a very troubled childhood and clearly has suffered ridicule and humiliation from every corner, even his own father. His father holds him responsible for his mother’s death, and his sister greeted him with abuse instead of compassion. This has made him one tough nut to crack. He seems to have the ability to get himself out of any insanely challenging situation he is put in, even if it is an impossible battle to win, like getting out of the sky cells of Eyrie.
Tolerance beyond comprehension: He has faced torture unknown to normal men and he was of noble blood. I can’t even imagine how it would feel to see your siblings live the life you deserve, but instead you are condemned to your father’s hatred. He has been called an “Imp” or “Half man” all of his life. When his father found out he had married Tysha, he had her raped by his guardsmen and finally by Tyrion himself to teach them a lesson. This would have driven most men to insanity. But Tyrion was made of tougher substance. It took some time, but he got over it and fell in love again only to have it again taken from him. He has been thrown in dungeons, thoroughly humiliated, mentally scarred, cut in half, and almost always misunderstood. But he has taken it all as a man and continues to be one of the most flamboyant characters in the series.
Ethics and compassion: Although he is born into a family who doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass for ethical values, he follows his own code of ethics and never seems to oversee the greater good. He is capable of cruelty to his enemies, but also has great sympathy for fellow outcasts and the mistreated. He is the only Lannister, I feel, who displays some compassion for everyone and seems to be the most humane of the lot. Although the Lannister family seems to cling tightly to the motto, “A Lannister always pays his debts,” he is the only one who has followed it to the letter.
Unrivaled wit: Listen to any line he delivers, and you will realize that he (as played by Peter Dinklage) has made some dialogues immortal. Not to mention his ability to emerge from every conversation, irrespective of the shit he is in, with the last laugh. And he does that purely thanks to his presence of mind and unparalleled wit. His caustic wit tinged with humor is best reflected in the following.
(After he slaps Joffrey)
Sandor “The Hound” Clegane: The Prince will remember that, little Lord.
Tyrion Lannister: I hope so. If he forgets, be a good dog and remind him.
“The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants his enemies drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious c*nts? Where is the god of t*ts and wine?”
A line that will for ever stay etched in the minds of GOT fans:
Tyrion Lannister: Let me give you some advice, bastard: never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.
Jon Snow: What the hell do you know about being a bastard?
Tyrion: All dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes.
Answer by Vasudha Bakshi, bibliophile:
In her youth, Dany was a meek, timid girl with little confidence or self-esteem. She knew no life other than one of exile, dependent and in constant fear of her brother
Her marriage towas a turning point for her; adapting to life in a Dothraki was difficult, but it allowed her to begin to achieve independence from her abusive brother, and she emerged from the experience as a strong, confident, courageous woman. Nevertheless, she has not forgotten what it was like to be a victimized child, and her experiences have left her with a compassion that is unusual in a would-be conqueror. She is determined to bring justice through her reign and has made ending a particular priority. Despite her strong moral compass, however, she is capable of dealing ruthlessly with her enemies.
Her followers generally regard her with great respect and love, and she is often compared to her deceased brother
Answer by Faye Wang:
I’d say Little Finger.
Here’s my reason (Heavy spoiler alert! read at your own risk!):
- Petyr has no background and no backing. He has nothing to fall back on and he fights alone. Tyrion has his family that he often uses as leverage; when he doesn’t have his family to back him up, his life sucks. Varys has his mysterious foreign patron, from whom he obviously receives intel, networking, and finance support. Petyr has nothing. He has no family, no mysterious patron, he doesn’t even have that much money (sure he owns some shady establishments, but compared to Casterly Rock and a Pentos billionaire … it’s nothing).
- Petyr sees through people, and he never lets his emotions get in the way. All three of them have extremely good judgement on character. But Tyrion was betrayed by Shea, he has some serious father issue with Tywin. He manipulates people, but always have some reserve. Varys was wrong about Joffery (who end up killing Eddard and messed up everything). The book doesn’t really tell us how Varys manipulates people, he’s taking more of a passive role. Petyr knows everyone’s weak spot and sets them up to destroy each other.
- Petyr masterfully created the illusion of harmlessness. While people come and go, honored or killed, Petyr is always there. Everyone finds him useful, yet virtually no one feels threatened by him. While Varys generates fear and suspicion and Tyrion generates loathing and ridicule, Petyr generates nothing. Even Cersei (who hates almost everyone) find it hard not to rely on him. In this kind of power struggle, survival is the key and the best way to do it is to make yourself harmless.
- Petyr plays everyone. While other people simply react to what’s happened to them, Petyr actively creates chaos, stirs up the dirt, purposefully sabotages relationships, creates suspicion, frames innocent people … when everyone is fighting each other for reasons they don’t even fully understand, he was laughing in his head. Yet, we’re never quite sure about his exact goal. It seems he’s doing this out of pure hatred and loathing for the aristocrats who despise and loathed him when he was little. That makes him extremely unpredictable and dangerous. In many ways, Petyr is the Joker in Westeros. He just wants to see the world burn.
- Tywin is a smart, cruel, great strategist, knows almost everything, can manipulate people like no other, can see the bigger picture, yet is still willing to get his hands dirty. He would make a great king if he could sit on the Iron Throne. However, we have to recognize his manipulation was largely based on fear and intimidation. He used his wealth and influence to buy/force people into doing things they might not like to do otherwise. That’s less skillful compare to how Little Finger manipulates people. Because buying and threatening people will create resentment, you set yourself as the target. While Little Finger used persuasion and deception, he set up traps waiting for people to walk into them, he subtly nudged people towards the direction he designed. That needs a lot more planning, a lot more intelligence, and skill. On top of that, Tywin had one single fatal weakness: arrogance. Because he’s so smart, everything goes as he planned, he dismisses any sign, any suggestion, any feedback that’s different from what he had in mind. Most of the time, he’s right (and that further confirmed his arrogance). But when he’s wrong, the consequences are often disastrous. He misjudged his own son Tyrion, and he underestimated Little Finger. He was played, while he plays others. He’s also a piece in Little Finger’s game. (I should clarify, I actually like Tywin a lot. He’s probably one of my favorite characters in the book. And I really don’t like how he died, there’re also some weird inconsistency in his character. But still, his arrogance blinded him to danger right next to him).
I wonder what Petyr ends up doing with Sansa. If anyone can be “the” Queen, it’s Sansa. (No, not Dany, I like the girl, but Petyr could play her like a violin.)
More questions on Game of Thrones (TV series):
- What is a feminist’s take on the relationship between Khal Drogo and Daenerys Stormborn?
- What were the major differences between the Game of Thrones TV show and book?
- Who is the most ethical character in A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones?