‘Game of Thrones’: Why Peter Dinklage Wanted to Turn Down Tyrion Lannister Role

There are many reasons why fans love Game of Thrones, and they include things like dragons, zombies, and tons of family drama. However, while Game of Thrones has become a show for everyone, something it did very well was politics.

Politics are usually boring, but Game of Thrones made it interesting by having some great actors play some great characters who had some really powerful lines. One of those political characters was Tyrion Lannister, who was played by Peter Dinklage. Thanks to the success of Game of Thrones, Dinklage is now a very successful actor, but he actually almost turned down the role.

The politics of ‘Game of Thrones’

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At its core, the show has always been about the question of who will become the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. There are many families in the show who want to get their son or daughter onto the throne, and Tyrion’s family, the Lannisters, were pretty successful in that regard.

That said, the show and the books used the Lannisters’ success at becoming kings and queens to show how terrible at governing some people are.

For the majority of the show, a Lannister sits on the throne, but they are either a terrible ruler or an ineffective one. Tyrion’s job for much of the show is to basically get stuff done while the actual ruler sits around doing nothing positive. This has made him a fan-favorite character, as Tyrion is usually the guy who’s actually being smart, practical, and nice, and this combination is rare to find in a single character on Game of Thrones.

Who is Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion aims a crossbow, looking directly into the camera
Tyrion aims his crossbow in “The Children” | HBO

That said, like every other character in the show or books, Tyrion is more complicated than that. He’s the son of Tywin Lannister, and unlike his brother, Jaime, and his sister, Cersei, Tyrion is a dwarf.

This is a major character trait since almost everyone in the show and the books will make fun of him for his appearance. It also doesn’t help that, after a battle, Tyrion suffered a major injury on his face which made him look even worse. 

But despite that lot in life, Tyrion used his intelligence and his wit to survive in the rough world of Westeros. He’s not a perfect person, as he’s done some bad things, so not many actors could play Tyrion with the depth that the show needed. Dinklage was one of them, and after taking the role, he’s become very successful in Hollywood, as he’s had roles in other major franchises, such as in the Marvel movies.

Why Peter Dinklage almost turned the role down

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That said, this perfect match of an actor with a character almost didn’t happen, according to Mental Floss. Dinklage was curious about the project since he enjoyed the writing of one of the showrunners on the show.

But, the fact that the show was a fantasy show spooked him a bit. As he said in his Reddit AMA: “I told him I didn’t want a really long beard and pointy shoes, and they assured me this character and this world wasn’t that.”

Dinklage, who’s a little person in real life, is very wary of the fantasy genre because of how it treats people who look like him. He told The New York Times that, when he learned that the show was a fantasy show: “Dwarves in these genres always have this look. My guard was up.”

But of course, the showrunners assured him that Tyrion wasn’t a stereotypical fantasy dwarf. Tyrion was a complex character who was smart but was also a regular human being who drank wine and loved others. That was all the convincing that Dinklage needed, and after that, he’s won three Emmys for his work on the show.