Dinklage wasn’t interested in a fantasy role, and considering some of the roles little people have been offered in fantasy projects, it makes sense. Dinklage explained his feelings in a 2019 featurette about the series on the “Game of Thrones” YouTube channel. He said:
“When I first heard they were interested in me for a fantasy show, I went, ‘Ugh. No.’ Especially being my size and […] I’m not really interested in portraying a fantasy of a person. I’m an actor; I like to portray real people. And sometimes, in the world of fantasy, that gets lost.
“This was the opposite because of the relationships between these characters, because of who Tyrion is, how flesh-and-blood he is. It’s the most realistic show that I’ve ever done that also happens to have dragons and dead people walking around in it. I think a lot of fantasy is heavy on the dragon and light on the character. We’re the opposite.”
Opposite indeed. Tyrion got love scenes, which is something we rarely see little people get to do on film. He had deeply conflicting feelings about the family that treated him so badly, clearly hoping against hope that they’d turn around, even as he knew intellectually that they wouldn’t. The bonds he made went deep, like his enduring friendship with Varys (Conleth Hill) and his close relationship with his brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Even in the scenes with his cruel sister Cersei (Lena Headey), you could see how desperately Tyrion wanted her to just see him. It’s some of my favorite acting work on TV, period. The dragons were great, sure, but it was the people who really made this show what it was, particularly Dinklage.
“Game of Thrones” is currently streaming on Max.