George R. R. Martin and the Two Dwarfs

Authored by: Mia Harrison

The Routledge Companion to Disability and Media

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138884588
eBook ISBN: 9781315716008
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter analyzes the literary dwarf in George’s R. R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire from a critical disability studies perspective. It focuses in particular on Tyrion Lannister, a highly intelligent and charming man with dwarfism, and Penny, a performer whose primary concern is pleasing the “big people” around her. Though Penny’s flaws highlight the cultural bigotry Tyrion has had to work to overcome, they are also a reminder of the lack of intersectional disability representation in literature. Through an analysis of these two characters, this chapter investigates how Martin’s work is representative of both the weaknesses of fantasy literature, and its potential as a champion of strong disability representation.

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