‘Game of Thrones': Watch Tyrion Lannister take lion’s share of best lines

May 12, 2014 | 9:08 p.m.
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Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Hound (Rory McCann) meet some unexpected travelers. (Helen Sloan/HBO)

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Meera (Ellie Kendrick), Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) on their way to the sacred tree. (Helen Sloan/HBO)

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A scene from "The Watchers on the Wall," the ninth episode of Season 4 of HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan/HBO)

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A scene from "The Watchers on the Wall," the ninth episode of Season 4 of HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan/HBO)

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A scene from "The Watchers on the Wall," the ninth episode of Season 4 of HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan/HBO)

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Rose Leslie as Ygritte and Kit Harington as Jon Snow in HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan/HBO)

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Oberyn (Pedro Pascal) and the Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) in battle. (Macall B. Polay / HBO)

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Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) speaks harshly to her once-trusted adviser Jorah (Iain Glen) while Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) looks on. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) rewards his bastard son Ramsay (Iwan Rheon). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) sits on the Iron Throne as judge at Tyrion's trial. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) advises his brother (Peter Dinklage). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) is crowned king by the High Septon (Paul Bentley). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Arya (Maisie Williams) shows the Hound (Rory McCann) her sword-fighting moves. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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The lead mutineer (Burn Gorman) threatens Bran's friends (Ellie Kendrick and Thomas Brodie-Sangster). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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The Lannisters pay their respects to the fallen King Joffrey. With Lena Headey, Dean-Charles Chapman, Jack Gleeson and Charles Dance. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) to the supposed rescue of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) gives Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) a lesson on his power. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Natalie Dormer in Sunday's episode of "Game of Thrones," "The Lion and the Rose," written by George R.R. Martin.

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Natalie Dormer and Gwendoline Christie in a scene from "Game of Thrones." (Macall B. Polay / HBO)

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Jacob Anderson and Nathalie Emmanuel in a scene from "Game of Thrones." (Macall B. Polay / HBO)

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Michiel Huisman, Nathalie Emmanuel and Emilia Clarke in a scene from "Game of Thrones." (Macall B. Polay / HBO)

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage in a scene from "Game of Thrones." (Neil Davidson / HBO)

The bravest lion in the Seven Kingdoms has roared.

Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones,” titled “The Laws of Gods and Men,” saw Peter Dinklage, the esteemed actor who plays Tyrion Lannister, the cunning black sheep of Westeros’ ruling family, deliver his most showstopping, awards-worthy speech yet. (He already has an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his work in the series.)

HBO’s top-rated fantasy series surprised TV audiences earlier this season by killing off sadistic King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), who was poisoned at his own wedding feast. Despite protesting his innocence, his uncle Tyrion was accused of the crime and banished to a cell to await a trial, overseen in part by his own father Tywin (Charles Dance) — who has long held his dwarf son in open contempt.

(Those not current with the show might be advised to stop reading now.)

In “The Laws of Gods and Men,” Tyrion objected to his unjust trial with his usual barbed witticisms. But when Shae (Sibel Kekilli), his former lover, takes the stand and betrays him with one lie after another, he finally snapped, shouting, “Yes, father, I’m guilty, guilty. Is that what you want to hear?”

When Tywin asked if he’s confessing to Joffrey’s murder, Tyrion said no. “I’m guilty of a far more monstrous crime. I’m guilty of being a dwarf. I’ve been on trial for that my entire life… I did not kill Joffrey but I wish that I had.”

Turning to his sister Cersei (Lena Headey), he said, “Watching your vicious bastard die gave me more relief than a thousand lying whores.”

And then, to the audience of townspeople who had been cheering on his demise, he said: “I wish I was the monster you think that I am. I wish I had enough poison for the whole pack of you. I would gladly give my life to watch you all swallow it. I will not give my life for Joffrey’s murder, and I know I’ll get no justice here. So I will let the gods decide my fate: I demand a trial by combat.”

Before you assume Tyrion has signed his own death warrant, let’s remember the wily maneuvers the Master of Coin has employed to get out of other hairy situations. He’s not afraid to school a fool (Joffrey) and he’s not above setting traps for back-stabbing spies and scoundrels. He’s got a soft spot for women — a real rarity in this harsh landscape — and a secret capacity for mercy. And when his life is not on the line, Tyrion is usually good for a laugh.

So with that in mind, here’s a rundown of some of Tyrion’s most exalted moments of wit, political strategy and wine-slurping.

Some of the clips, linked below, feature strong language and violence, as is the way for “Game of Thrones.”

“The Kingsroad” (Season 1): In the second episode of the show’s first season, Tyrion gives one of his many dressing-downs to his insolent nephew Joffrey who refuses to say a few sympathetic words to Lord and Lady Stark about their injured son Bran (who, of course, was injured by Tyrion’s own brother Jaime, after the boy caught him in an incestuous tryst with his twin sister Cersei). Watch here.

In the same episode, Jon Snow asks Tyrion why he reads so much. What follows is a defacto PSA for the power of books (New York Public Library, use this in a campaign, please), and a way of life for a man who knows that his mind is his best asset. Watch here

“A Golden Crown” (Season 1): Tyrion’s been on trial for his life before. The imp, as he’s known, is accused by Lysa Arryn and Catelyn Stark at the Vale of having killed the late hand of King Robert Baratheon, Jon Arryn, in addition to plotting to murder Bran. Dinklage’s clever Lion makes a mockery out of their demands for a confession. Watch here (the clip features naughty innuendos, to say the least).

“Baelor” (Season 1): Nothing like a little drinking game to stir up old memories. At the prompting of Shae and Bron, Tyrion tells the story of his doomed marriage. Watch here

“Garden of Bones” (Season 2): Joffrey, after aiming his crossbow at Sansa Stark, directs Ser Meryn Trant to beat his bride-to-be to send a message to Robb Stark, but Tyrion steps in just in time. This chivalrous move came back to haunt Tyrion later when Trant testified against him at the trial for Joffrey’s murder. Watch here.

“Blackwater” (Season 2): When Joffrey abandons the Blackwater battlefield at the behest of his mother, Tyrion reinvigorates the soldiers’ morale with a passionate speech. He leads the attack, until he’s wounded on the battlefield. Watch here (but please be advised the clip features some profanity).

“The Old Gods and the New” (Season 2): After a vengeful Joffrey orders the townspeople who assaulted him to be killed, Tyrion states bluntly: “We’ve had vicious kings and we’ve had idiot kings but I don’t know if we’ve ever been cursed with a vicious idiot boy king.” Watch here.

“The Lion and the Rose” (Season 4): Tyrion tells his sister Cersei that he will get revenge for her capturing the whore Ros (who Cersei thinks is Shae). Quotable line: “A day will come when you think you’re safe and happy and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth.” Watch here.

— Margaret Wappler | @MargaretWappler

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