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'Game of Thrones' Star Peter Dinklage Makes Emmy Awards History

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On Sunday, “Game of Thrones” actor Peter Dinklage made history by becoming the actor with the most wins in the same category: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. His win at the 71st Emmy Awards is his fourth, all earned for his role as Tyrion Lannister in “Game of Thrones.”

Dinklage, who has achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism, portrayed Tyrion for eight seasons in HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones.” During his run on the series, he played a pivotal role and ultimately came out on top as the Hand to the newly announced king, Bran. Tyrion’s disability isn’t ignored, and “Game of Thrones” fans see the discrimination he faces, including cruel nicknames like “Imp” and “Halfman.”

According to GLAAD, as of 2018, only 2.1% of regular primetime TV characters had a disability. And often, when TV shows or movies do include characters with a disability, they may be just a stereotype or reinforce negative disability attitudes. Karin Willison, The Mighty’s disability editor, pointed out how “Game of Thrones” gave its characters with disabilities power and agency, which still isn’t the norm for TV shows.

“In the first season, Tyrion says, ‘I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards and broken things.’ Despite all of its brutality and horror, ‘Game of Thrones’ ultimately does too,” Willison wrote, adding:

In Westeros, a ‘broken’ man with a spinal cord injury becomes King, an ‘imp’ with dwarfism becomes his most trusted advisor, and an abuse survivor with PTSD becomes Queen. The series proved that people with disabilities can be complex, multi-dimensional characters and that a disabled actor can become a star. Whatever you may think about the final season, one thing is clear: in ‘Game of Thrones,’ disabled people rule. And long may they reign.

While accepting his record-breaking fourth Emmy, Dinklage hinted he knew “Game of Thrones” took a different approach to disability compared to the rest of Hollywood.

“I count myself so fortunate to be a member of a community that is all about tolerance and diversity because nowhere else could I be standing on a stage like this,” Dinklage said at the awards ceremony.

During a press conference after this win, Dinklage also said he initially had some concerns about doing the series because roles for disabled people aren’t usually so empowering.

“Unfortunately, before this character, many times [roles for] people my size weren’t complicated enough for me to be interested in doing it,” Dinklage said.

Prior to Dinklage’s Emmy win this year, Aaron Paul held the record for most wins for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role in the series “Breaking Bad.” “Game of Thrones” earned 160 Emmy nominations in total throughout its run and won Outstanding Drama Series on Sunday.

Image via Creative Commons/Gage Skidmore

Originally published: September 23, 2019
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