The Wit And Wisdom Of Tyrion Lannister, by George R. R. Martin
Rare is the sort of book that accomplishes the difficult, if not particularly desirable, achievement that this one does. This is a book that takes the thoughts of a character that is commonly viewed as among the most wise, witty, and entertaining characters in the sprawling epic that is George R.R. Martin’s Song Of Ice And Fire saga and turns him into a somewhat boring and repetitive character who repeats the same few lines over and over again to diminishing returns about limited subjects. What is it that accounts for the gulf between the way that we think of Tyrion as such a sparkling character and the reality of his cynicism that masquerades but is not the genuine article of wit and wisdom? With all apologies to his size, it is likely due to the fact that Tyrion appears in the book series in somewhat small doses, and we do not have a concentrated reduction of what he actually says. He appears witty in the context of the story, when dealing with those who have no more sharper wits than a butter knife, but in the context of a book that provides his bon mots as wit, his insights appear decidedly more threadbare and less insightful than they are in that larger context of Martin’s work as a whole.
This book is a bit less than 200 pages but it feels a lot shorter than that, and would have been far better served to be still smaller than that. If this book had eliminated redundant quotes that merely sound tedious and tiresome when repeated after each other, it would be a short book indeed, perhaps even too short to have justified being printed, but it would have been better in providing the scope of what Tyrion Lannister talks about without beating the dead horses that are the few subjects on his mind. Among those few subjects are those that the book helpful divides the quotes into to hammer the narrowness of Tyrion’s mind home to the reader, including what it means to be a dwarf, the power of words, Tyrion’s cynical thoughts on romance, his twisted family values, his grim perspective on the human condition, his thoughts on music, his odes to food and drink, his views on kingship and politics as well as the art of war, his views of cowardice and lying, and his thoughts on dragons and other myths as well as religion. Each page consists of, at most, a single quote from the book that typically closely resembles the one before or the one after it, along with some well-done drawings or the occasional blank page at the end of chapters.