I can remember when the first book in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series first came out. I remember, not because I read it, but because a favorite web-comic writer of mine did, and he subsequently ranted to the world about how George R.R. Martin is an evil creature who spends hundreds of pages building up a character, making you love them with all your heart and soul, before mercilessly murdering them as though they were the absolute least important of characters. These days, what with the hit HBO show, the fact that Mr. Martin is a vicious heart-breaker who likes to torture his readers unrelentingly is pretty common knowledge. But, at the time I remember thinking, “Well then…I guess I’ll stay away from those books because it sounds like the author is a bit of an arse.”
And I did – stay away from the books that is – for well over a decade. The first book came out in 1996 and I didn’t go anywhere near the series until somewhere in the area of 2010. I’d watched, every so often, as my web-comic writer fav cried over the books, praising them in one sentence and damning them in another, but I never jumped on the books myself until the HBO show was announced. Even then it wasn’t of my own will; my husband had read about the upcoming show and thought the books sounded like something I might enjoy, and so he gifted me the set of four novels that were available at the time.
Of the five books that I’ve now read, I’ve loved four (I’m sorry, Mr. Martin, but I had to really force myself through “A Feast for Crows”), and of the three seasons of the HBO show that have aired thus far I’ve loved every second, but if I’m totally honest neither the books nor the show would be even half as great if it weren’t for the character they call “the Imp”, Tyrion Lannister. His quick wit, cunning, and flair for being a mouthy little creature make him an absolute joy to read about or watch (and come on, does Peter Dinklage not portray the character flawlessly?), and he’s the excellent sort of character that pulls you back and forth and in a dozen different directions. Throughout the story you can never quite decide if he’s a good guy or a bad guy, or a good guy who does bad things, or a bad guy who happens to have a few morals. All you know is that while there are characters you love and characters you hate, in the entire world that George R.R. Martin has created, this is the character who you are constantly rooting for. Trust me on this one.