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Eugene*Grant @MrEugeneGrant
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Thread: just finished the 2nd book in George RR Martin's Game of Thrones series and I am keen to return to the problematic depiction of Tyrion.

Let's begin...

1/
Overall, I love Tyrion. He's smart, charismatic, well-read, equipped with razor sharp retort, and brave.

As a white male with #dwarfism, I see him and I think "Yes!"

I wish I'd read these 15 years ago.

BUT...

2/
My gosh does GRRM's writing about him (and other #dwarf people) make me frequently feel uncomfortable and, at times, a little sad.

Let's look at some examples...

3/
Tyrion is described as having a "pushed-in face", looking "grotesque", "still the ugliest man [Sansa] had ever chanced to look upon".

Yes, yes. I get this is supposed to be how other people see him but, damn man, *every* character seems to loathe the sight of a #dwarf body.

4/
Tyrion isn't the only #dwarf person whom GRRM portrays as ugly.

Daenerys is served by a dwarf servant who is described as having a "pinched, pointed, and snoutish" face.

5/
Later, she sees four dwarf men with "rattish pointed faces" having sex with a woman

(this scene is totally gratuitous, btw. Pure fetishisation. It is there to repulse Daenerys and the reader)

6/
That's faces, now let's move on to bodies.

The way GRRM describes Tyrion walking is unsettling.

"His stunted legs might make him a comic grotesque at a harvest ball."

"His body swaying heavily from side to side with every step, like something from a grotesquerie."

7/
GRRM's clearly trying to describe the movement of short bowed legs (common to Achondroplasia).

Sometimes, when running or climbing stairs our legs swing out to the side a little and then out to the front.

GRRM calls this "waddling".

You know what *we* call it? WALKING.

8/
Let's not forget: GRRM is a professional writer. Words are his craft. He comes up with lines like

"A joyless laughter, the sort of laughter that can turn into sobbing in half a heartbeat"

Yet when it comes to Tyrion's legs, it's all waddle, waddle, waddle.

It's lazy.

9/
One of the better moments in the book is when Tyrion briefly remembers his first love, Tysha, who clearly loved him and found him genuinely attractive - in body and mind - and sexual.

But it is a fleeting moment, and then it's gone...

10/
Tyrion clearly has a deep-rooted, negative view of his appearance and #dwarf body.

But there are flashes of pride, too.

"Mighty but short, somewhat like me", he says.

Elsewhere...

Cersei: "You have always been cunning."

Tyrion: "In my own small way."

11/
I looked forward to when he leads soldiers into battle.

But even then he presents himself as less than. He doesn't shout CHARGE but

"'They say I'm half a man. What does that make the lot of you?' If I fight, they must do the same, or they are less than dwarfs he thinks."

12/
A key defence put forward is GRRM is depicting Tyrion's own internalised oppression - experienced from birth & his mother's death, through to his father and sister's years of hatred of him, to how he is treated by everyone else (save Jaime, really).

Let's talk about this.

13/
Tyrion is clearly the smartest, most independent-minded character*...

so it seems odd to me - as a reader and a #dwarf person - that he can't make up his own mind about his #dwarfism and instead so readily internalizes others' negative views of himself.

14/
I've said it before and I'll say it again:

we are giving WAY too much credit to the abilities of an average height man, GRRM, to depict internalised oppression built over years of living in a body. he. doesn't. have. and. doesn't. know.

15/
GRRM's authority with which to depict internalized oppression, in all its nuance and messiness, of a body he doesn't have and a community he doesn't belong to, is not self-justifying.

It needs to be scrutinised, questioned and challenged.

I worry readers won't do this.

16/
Does it get better? Maybe. I'll read the other books and find out.

But I've already read 1600 pages and I'm still wanting.

I love Tyrion. I just wish he loved himself a bit more. He defies everyone in all other aspects - save this one.

End.

PS: * Arya comes a close second.
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