When In Doubt, Remind Him He’s a Dwarf

Welcome again to Scene Study, where we break down dramatic scenes in recent popular entertainment as they might play out in DramaSystem.

In the Game of Thrones episode “The Night Lands” (Season Two, Episode 2) [stop here if you don’t want to know] Tyrion Lannister tries to assert his new authority as the king’s right hand over his contemptuous and headstrong sister Cersei, regent and mother to the young king. After a power play in which he banishes her chosen head of the city guard in favor of his own candidate, he renews his effort to school her in the politic realities of her tenuous position. Unfortunately, his default tactic, the deployment of withering wit, proves less than effective in this case. After a snide reference to her incestuous relationship with their brother Jamie, she furiously excoriates him—blaming him for their mother’s death giving birth to him, and once again reminding him that he’s a dwarf.

If Tyrion’s player is the scene caller, his intention is to extract a concession from Cersei, admitting that he deserves and is equipped to use the power their father has vested in him. Cersei refuses to grant his petition, so he gets a drama token as a consolation.

If Cersei’s player is the caller, her intention is to browbeat the upstart Tyrion, earning an apology and continuing free reign at court. Despite the virulence of her outburst, he blocks her as surely as she blocks him. In this framing, it is Cersei as refused petitioner who gets the drama token.

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