Only Peter Dinklage could make an episode of GOT more enjoyable than the exquisite and long awaited death of King Joffrey. Tyrion Lannister was the highlight of the latest Game of Thrones episode. And highlight that turned into a full on firework in the final minutes.
In an otherwise “meh” episode, Peter Dinklage’s performance at the end of the “The Laws of Gods and Men”, which focus on Tyrion’s trial, was stellar and breathtaking. Successively sassy, downhearted, heartbroken, unrelenting, he put every actor in the episode to shame.
Dinklage was simply astounding. In his first appearance, as Jamie comes to pick him up from his cell, he was his usual tongue-in-cheek, cocky self. But as the guards put him irons around the wrists and he looks up to Jaime you could see the anger flare behind the disbelief. An anger that was still very much present when he entered the Throne Room. Rebellious in demeanor he would have thrown a thousand daggers with his eyes and nailed his father, the ever despicable Tywin Lannister, to the wall, had he been able to. Yet when Tommen speaks, Tyrion’s face softens considerably and he gives a faint smile as his nephew concludes his speech. A smile that looked like a silent forgiveness to Tommen.
From time to time, Dinklage looked like a brooding child, tired of being told off by his parents. Which was perfect for the situation. Indeed, Tyrion has always been the lesser child in the household and, once again, his father is taking Cersei’s voice more seriously than his. Though he said through and through he had nothing to do with Joffrey’s death, Tywin chose to stand by Cersei’s side. The grudges he nurtured during his childhood come back rushing once again as his life is threatened on his sister’s whims and his father does not even flinch about it.
So many emotions, so little time.
As Varys comes to testify against Tyrion, sadness is all over the accused’s face. And when he addresses the spider his expression is a mix of anger and sorrow. A oh-so-subtle performance that is perhaps as profound as the disappointment Tyrion feels towards the eunuch.
But wait for it, the word riveting was created to describe Dinklage’s performance in the final minutes of the episode. He has literally outdone everything he has ever done in the show. The mere expression on Tyrion’s face as Shae comes to testify would be enough to melt the heart of the hardest man. It is almost as if you could see pain rushing over me like waves, crushing him a little more with every movement. While Tywin’s face is painted in a foul smug face, Tyrion looks shrunken and like he might be physically sick as Shae recalls their first meeting. Though he remains silent you can feel his pain so it is ever most crushing when he speaks to implore her.
Her words though are what take him to the next level. Consumed by anger and his father’s cruelty (Tywin’s seems quite happy to torture his son with his failed attempts at love), Tyrion opens the flood gates of his anger just as Dinklage shows the extent of his talent. Rage, pain, calm, disbelief, bewilderment, hatred, defiance, resolution and content, Dinklage’s performance encompasses almost every human emotion that we know. Yet there is one that is absent: fear, cause his acting is ever fearless.
Dinklage’s acting is as exciting as the actual plot and for a show like Game of Thrones, that is something ! Bring in the next one.
If Tyrion totally slayed the MVP title for this week, I’ll give bonus points to Jaime for melting my heart. Yes I am a softie and my heart melts for no reason but his sadness was overwhelming. For once he is stuck between duty and Tyrion, not between Cersei and Tyrion, and that makes all the difference to me. Besides, I think he has clearly been fooled by Tywin and anyone who can have faith in Tywin deserves a little bit of sympathy.
As for the ladies, kuddos to Margaery / Nathalie Dormer for all the subtle facial expressions of distress. I especially loved the teary eye as Shae said that Tyrion had plotted with Sansa to kill Joffrey or the subtle relief when Tyrion demanded a trial by combat. Well played Miss Dormer !
Cersei, though, will have to try another time to make me weep for her. Even when she recalled all teary-eyed how Tyrion said to her “A day will come when you think yourself safe and happy, and suddenly your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you’ll know the debt is paid”, I could not sympathise. Maybe I never will.