My apologies to Josh Charles, who I previously picked for Emmy glory before, but Peter Dinklage has pretty much sewn the Best Actor in a Drama category sewn up. In fact, they might as well just Fedex him the statuette in advance and save Emmy voters the trouble.
On last night’s episode of Game of Thrones “The Laws of Gods and Men”, Tyrion Lannister was put on trial for the murder of King Joffrey (why people aren’t cheering this man, I don’t know). Tyrion was humiliated left and right, a number of previous incidents being thrown in his face as evidence of his nonexistent crime. The nail in the coffin, though, came in the form of Shae, the love of Tyrion’s life, coming back to testify against him. The poor dwarf was put through the ringer as she exposed their secret affair and outright lied about a conspiracy between him and Sansa Stark to kill the King.
Peter Dinklage has always been a source of delight and humor and reason in this show of utter insanity. Tonight, he was allowed to drop into the muck with the rest of Westeros, and it was searing. After Shae’s betrayal, Tyrion delivered a blistering diatribe against all of King’s Landing, proclaiming his innocence while expressing fierce regret for not killing “the bastard”. He also regretted saving the city’s “worthless lives” from Stannis’s attack at Blackwater Bay (how quickly they all forget, huh) and wished he had enough poison to off the lot of them. Tyrion went in on everybody, especially his monstrous father Tywin, before demanding a trial by combat. The final moment of the episode was a fierce staredown between father and son, as they, and everyone else, realized the tables have been turned.
Dinklage’s performance was not only the highlight of the night, but one of the series’s most epic moments thus far. He flawlessly conveyed a broken man who still managed to be the strongest (morally, at least) in the entire room. His eyes shifted from pain, heartbreak, rage and steely resolve all within two minutes without missing a single narrative beat. His voice was even better, maintaining a measure even as he damned the court to hell. It’s the darkest, most dramatic moment Tyrion has had so far, but Dinklage never lets loose the reins. Keeping just a modicum of composure makes the final moments even more satisfying, a phoenix-like rebirth in a matter of minutes. Dinklage has his own “Dracarys” moment (the most epic moment this series has delivered) with this episode, except he was the one breathing fire.
If you haven’t seen this magnificent scene, check it out below, and start putting bets on Peter Dinklage taking home another Emmy come September.