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Disability in Game of Thrones

Disability in Game of Thrones. Tyrion Lannister
Samyak Lalit
Samyak Lalit | May 17, 2019 (Last update: November 12, 2021)

Samyak Lalit is an author and disability rights activist. He is a polio survivor and the founder of projects like Kavita Kosh, Gadya Kosh, TechWelkin, WeCapable, Dashamlav and Viklangta Dot Com. Website: www.lalitkumar.in

There is not an iota of doubt that Game of Thrones (popularly known as GOT) is one of the most popular TV serial ever made. It is nothing short of a global phenomenon. The show is based on the series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, written by George R. R. Martin. It is set in a fantasy world where men live along with fire breathing dragons, sword blazing sorcerers, shape and face shifters, and well — the walking dead bodies too! As Game of Thrones is being discussed from many angles; today we will see how this popular show has treated the disabled and disability.

You may not realize it at first but when you think of it, disability is widely present in the show. A number of major characters have one or the other type of disabilities. The great thing about Game of Thrones is that disability is treated as a normal part of human existence. As the name suggests, Game of Thrones deals with struggle to grab power. So, obviously, any type of disability puts one at a significant disadvantage — but the writers of the show have ensured that the disabled characters are not shown with pity or uselessness. This is the reasons many of us fail to see much of disability in Game of Thrones at first. Not that jokes aren’t made in the show on disabled people targeting their disability. Even disabled characters make jokes on other disabled characters in the show. But the usefulness of disabled characters has been kept very central to the show. Let’s take a look at some of these characters.

Characters with Disabilities in the Game of Thrones

Tyrion Lannister

The very first character that comes to our mind is Tyrion Lannister. Peter Dinklage has played this very important and central character of a dwarf man. Peter’s portrayal of Tyrion and writers’ treatment of the character is so superb that we don’t really give much thought to Tyrion’s disability. Tyrion is a man of 4ft 5in height born in the Lannister family. He is very intelligent — and displays ambiguous morality in the beginning. But by the end of the show, he begins to come across as a good man. Tyrion is often joked about due to his lower than average height — but that does not belittles his importance in the entire story.

Disability in Game of Thrones. Tyrion Lannister

Bran Stark

Isaac Hempstead Wright played the character of Bran Stark — the youngest son of Ned Stark. Bran was thrown out of the window of a tower causing him to be paraplegic. Towards the end of the show, Bran begins to use a primitive wooden wheelchair and he turns into a seer. He could see all that happened in the past and all that’s happening in the present. With his ability to see the invisible — he played an important role, especially in the Battle of Winterfell where the Night King was killed.

Disability in Game of Thrones. Bran Stark

Lord Varys

Some people may debate whether castration should be considered a disability. By the definition of disability, it should be. Lord Varys was born as a slave and a sorcerer bought him. The sorcerer castrated him while performing a blood magic. After the ritual was over, the salve was thrown on to the streets. This slave eventually rose to become Lord Varys — the Master of Whispers (spymaster) to the Kings of the Seven Kingdom. Conleth Hill played this character.

Disability in Game of Thrones. Lord Varys

Jaime Lannister

Played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the character of Jaime Lannister is a handsome military leader who was involved in illicit relationship with his twin sister Cersei Lannister. Jaime lost his sword hand in a battle and after that he struggled to find his lost glory and identity. Initially Jaime was morally wrong and cruel man — but after losing his hand, he became more humanized. Jaime’s character remained relevant right until the end of the saga.

Disability in Game of Thrones. Jaime Lannister

A video on Disability in Game of Thrones in Hindi language.

Sandor “The Hound” Clegane

Regarded as one of the most skillful fighter in the Westros, Sandor Clegane’s character was protrayed by Rory McCann. When Sandor was a child, his brother pushed his head into fire. As a result Sandor’s face bore burn scars.

Disability in Game of Thrones. Sandor Clegane

Jorah Mormont

Ser Jorah Mormont contracted Grayscale Plague while saving Tyrion Lannister. Grayscale Plague is a fictitious disease which look similar to leprosy. Jorah was cured by Samwell Tarly and he died fighting for his beloved Queen Daenerys Targaryen.

Disability in Game Thrones: Jorah Mormont

These are some of the major characters with disability in Game of Thrones. If you have watched the series — do let us know what you think about disability shown in this famous TV series.

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