Magazine article The Spectator

Television: James Delingpole

Magazine article The Spectator

Television: James Delingpole

Article excerpt

Blimey, there has been so much good stuff to watch on telly of late: the Grand National, the Boat Race and the Masters; The Island with Bear Grylls; the final of University Challenge (bravura performance from Caius's Loveday, though how the winning Cambridge team's hearts must have sunk when they realised that the public intellectual chosen to present this year's prize was that literary equivalent of a Dalí melting clock poster on a pretentious fifth former's bedroom wall -- Will Self); and, of course, the first episode of the new season's Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic, Monday).

I'm assuming you're all on board with Thrones , now, and that it doesn't need any introduction. Last season (the fourth) it overtook The Sopranos as the most watched series on HBO, so I imagine that by series 12 or 13 (presuming George R.R. Martin lives to write that many books and doesn't get eaten in a tragic wolf accident) there will be no one left in the world who hasn't at some time said to themselves: 'I am Tyrion Lannister.'

Tyrion -- played by the coolest, sex-iest dwarf in history, Peter Dinklage -- is, of course, the character everyone wants to be because he's about the only person in the entire series with a glimmer of human warmth. When you identify with Tyrion, what you're saying to the world is: 'Yeah, and if I'd been in Amsterdam in 1942 I'd have been the one who sheltered Anne Frank.'

Louche, witty, vulnerable, charming -- and only ruthless (plot spoiler alert!) when he has no other option, as for example, when he's forced to strangle his mistress and shoot his father with a crossbow -- Tyrion is our one moral touchstone in an otherwise pitiless universe where weakness, kindness or decency are almost invariably punished by hideous death.

It's one of the qualities that makes the series so utterly transfixing: as with Zoé Oldenbourg's Crusades-era classic The World is Not Enough , you're transported to a realm where all the usual cosy fictive conventions have been suspended. Anyone can die at any time -- and quite often does (Thrones averages 14 deaths per episode) -- and the correlation between good behaviour and happy endings is depressingly but exhilaratingly inverse. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.