Back in April, Peter Dinklage told the world that he didn't consider his television series Game of Thrones to be fantasy. After watching the first episode, with its White Walkers and wights, we had to conclude that Dinklage was embarrassed by the F-word. Now we know the reason for his prejudice.
It turns out there's a reason Dinklage never liked fantasy. As he told The Playlist, "I never really was attracted to fantasy because of how most writers depict people my size."
Dwarves in fantasy are frequently portrayed as "alcohol-swilling, Elf-hating, ax-swinging, stout, long-bearded, stolid and unimaginative," in other words, a caricature rather than a character.
... [I]t is a bit narrow-minded sometimes, where if they have a dwarf character, the shoes have to curl up at the end, he has this inherent wisdom, he isn't sexual, all of that. You look at something like 'Snow White,' and each of the dwarves is just one thing—this one sneezes, this one is angry, this one is tired. And that's sometimes still true for modern-day stories. But it's not just for dwarves, that could be the case for anybody, for women, for people of color. Right now it's Middle Eastern people who are all playing terrorists. It's short-sighted. But life is too short—no pun intended—to be interested in roles that haven't got any meat to them.
That may be changing, thanks to Dinklage himself, who plays Tyrion Lannister and steals every scene he's in with the perfect balance of sarcasm, intellect and regret.
The good news is, Dinklage says that Game of Thrones has given him a "deeper appreciation" for fantasy.
It's a good thing, too, because he'll be going to Fantasy Island in a way; he's portraying Hervé Villechaize in the upcoming indie film My Dinner with Hervé.