Peter Dinklage has frequently criticized the ways actors with dwarfism have been pigeonholed by Hollywood into playing elves, leprechauns, and other cutesy fantasy creatures. According to a profile in The New York Times, he was initially skeptical about being cast in “Game of Thrones” due to these negative associations with fantasy roles for little people. However, he soon realized that Tyrion Lannister isn’t part of some magical race but an actual human being with achondroplasia (the same condition as Dinklage), who has as many flaws and complexities as anyone else in the dark epic series.
The brilliant, underestimated strategist of House Lannister ended up becoming Dinklage’s most iconic role, beloved by fans, critics, and awards voters alike. Tyrion is author George R.R. Martin’s personal favorite character, and it’s easy to understand why: his struggles as a disabled man challenging those who hate him for who he is made for some of the series’ most emotionally compelling drama. Dinklage’s performance as Tyrion was nominated for the best supporting actor Emmy for all eight seasons of “Game of Thrones,” and he won for half of those years. Even if an underwhelming ending has tainted the show’s legacy to some extent, it’s without question that Dinklage’s performance will remain celebrated as among the best in TV history.