Thursday, August 1, 2013

Favorite Characters Part 2- Jaime and Tyrion Lannister

(just ignore the guy on the right)

It was inevitable, if I was going to put together a list of favorite characters, I had to include at least one contender for the iron throne. Well, instead you have two, so deal with it. These two are brothers who have been brought up in privelege being raised by the richest and arguably the most powerful man in the kingdom. Despite having similar upbringing these two brothers could not be more different. Jaime was a born warrior who had a sword put into his hand on day one and has been trained to become one of the finest swordfighters in the country. Tyrion was born as a dwarf and has had to fight society's and his father's perception of him to succeed in life. Not only that, but he has the hatred of his father for having killed his mother as he was being born. This transforms all three men into tragic figures in their own right.

Jaime- He was the sworn bodyguard of a tyrannical king who was rebelled against before the events of Game of Thrones and earned the nickname "Kingslayer" because he killed the king that he had sworn to protect, thereby ending the war and the reign of the Targaryen family. For this act that should have won him the respect and admiration of the people but instead earned him the disdain of all the lives he ended up saving, and the particular hatred of Lord Eddard Stark, the first book's protagonist, who never saw Jaime as anything more than a breaker of his oath. And I know what you're thinking "That asshole that looks like Prince Charming from Shrek?" Yes, I am talking about that guy. Don't get me wrong, I wanted nothing more than to see him get killed in horrible ways at the end of the first book/season. From throwing a small child out of a window, to attacking Ned in the streets of the capital, I never thought I would find myself finding this guy anything above despicable. But as the story progressed and we learned more about him, his actions become much more sympathetic and the only reason why he acted like such a prick before is because he had long given up on trying to change people's image of him, they would never see him as more than just an oathbreaker now matter how many honorable deeds he did. And keep in mind that when he attacked Eddard in the street, it first began as a questioning of Tyrion's whereabouts. It only turned violent after Ned confessed to having ordered him be arrested based on circumstantial evidence. Towards the end of the second book, he gets chastised yet again for being a Kingslayer, and in turn he recites the oath that he was forced to take when he first became a knight and how when you are serving a king like the one he did, it's impossible to keep all of your vows "Protect the king, obey the king... defend the innocent... Obey your father. But what if your father despises the king? What if the king preys on the weak and the innocent. No matter what you do, you're forsaking one vow for another" Well, when you put it like that... Later on, it's revealed that the king was attempting to burn down the capital city with himself and all of its citizens in it in order to keep it from being siezed by the rebels. At that point, Jaime decided that enough was enough and slit the king's throat before he could see the order carried out. In that way, Jaime becomes the most honorable character in the whole series. Sure, he still has some sins to answer for, like the bedding of his sister and having three kids with her. But unlike her, he legitimately cares for her and has not been with any other woman, unlike his sister, who sleeps around in his absence. If you read further in the books, Jaime's course of actions continue to show his transformation and how he has been trying to turn over a new leaf. His long quest for redemption is far from over, but when you see him doing things like jumping into a pit to save a woman from a grizzly bear, it's easy to throw your support behind him.

Tyrion- Tyrion is by far and away the best character in this show. If there are three things that all Game of Thrones fans can agree on it's this: 1. Joffrey needs to fucking die 2. Ned Stark's execution was a bummer 3. Tyrion is the man. He puts the imp in pimp. The great thing about both of these brothers is that they sum themselves up in one sentence. Jaime with his oaths and Tyrion with his views on his status as a dwarf "Never forget what you are, the world surely won't. Wear it like armor and it can never be used against you". He is the ultimate example of someone we should strive to be like. Something that bugs me about people who say that they don't care what other people think, is that they parade that they are different. Don't believe me? Look at the most pretentious friends that you have on Facebook. Tyrion is the one that has it figured out. When someone laughs at him for being a dwarf, he just shrugs it off. What he doesn't have in physique. he makes up for with his wit and by being the only truly admirable person in the show. He comes from a family of schemers who believe that in order to be successful, you are going to have to throw people to the wolves. He too has this line of thought, but rahter than screwing over people that get into his way, he screws over the people that deserve it. His devotion to his family only goes as far as to have the same last name as these people. If he didn't have that one thing in common with these people, he'd be throwing them to the wolves the same way that he threw the murderer or multiple innocent babies and sent him to join the Night's Watch... Look if I'm using a lot of terms and names that you've never heard of, don't worry, it just means you don't watch the show, and you therefore suck. But I digress. It's hard to buy the idea of somebody being so manipulative while also being so noble, but Tyrion is just that. And of course, the fact that he is underestimated and dismissed by so many people early on just makes it that much more satisfying and awesome to watch. Now that's not to say that he is perfect. Much like Jaime, we meet him while he is still very flawed. He is a drinker, a gambler and is addicted to whores at the start (his first scene is of him getting serviced by a prostitue). But as his story continues to put him into situations where he is forced to make difficult decisions, we truly get to see a man who steps up to the plate and is always willing to swallow his pride, even when his position gives him the opportunity to do what he does best (if you know what I mean) with his new bride (a teenage girl who he is being forced to marry for political gain). But he refuses to even share the bed with her until she feels comfortable with him. When she asks what if she never wants him to, he merely shrugs and says "And so my watch begins" (considering this is the oath of the Night's Watch, it really comes across as sweet rather than creepy).

Now for both of these characters, a lot of what I like comes from the performances of both Nikolaj Coster Walder as Jaime and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion. As someone who has read 3 of the books and has long been following the show, I can say that both of these actors fit my image of them perfectly. Dinklage especially owns the character in the second season while Walder just commands the screen during the third. If you aren't into the show, I'd really recommend it, just be prepared to have your hearts ripped out when you aren't ready for it.

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