Literary Mixtape: Tyrion Lannister


If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: everyone’s favorite bloodthirsty dwarf, George R.R. Martin’s Tyrion Lannister.

In A Game of Thrones, Tyrion Lannister is the misshapen dwarf born to the wealthy and treacherous Lannister clan. Unlike his flaxen-haired siblings, he is ugly to behold, but wouldn’t be flattering himself too much to admit that he’s a good deal smarter than them — and everyone else. Though as brutal as required by his family’s stature and the nature of the world, and certainly not fighting for the same aims as the ‘good’ characters, Tyrion’s disfigurement gives him empathy towards others facing misfortune(at least one cripple and one bastard that we could mention), which winds up making him one of the best, fullest characters in the book. To avoid betraying anything to the innocent, this mixtape reflects the Tyrion Lannister of the first book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Game of Thrones. Tyrion is a thinking man’s dwarf, so no corny music for him. Instead, he’d listen to purposeful rock, hip-hop for grinding up on the ladies, and songs to make him throw his shoulders back. Here’s what we think he would whore, drink, and try to please his father to.

“A More Perfect Union” — Titus Andronicus

We think a literate, belligerent man such as Tyrion would be attracted to a band named after the bloodiest of Shakespeare’s plays. He’d have this track about disaffection and riding into suburban battle on repeat — chock full of allusions, bookended by speeches from leaders of men, what’s not to like?

“Carry Out” — Timbaland ft. Justin Timberlake

As far as we can tell, about 50% of Tyrion’s time is spent chatting up random wenches, so he’d definitely rock out to this sexy, self-congratulatory pick up song. And honestly, we can totally see him cooing “is it full of myself to want you full of me?” into the ear of some buxom barmaid. She wouldn’t know he got it from JT’s lips. Just a suggestion, George.

“Fuckin’ With My Head”– Beck

He talks a big game, but deep down Tyrion’s still clinging to the first girl that deceived him. Plus, as a man of letters, we think he would like Beck’s verbosity and abstract lyrics.

“Girls” — Beastie Boys

Well, he’s a simple man at heart.

“Heads Will Roll” — Yeah Yeah Yeahs

This song is the perfect mix of violence and pleasure for someone like Tyrion. We can see him partying late into the night to this track, surrounded by four or five scantily clad women, who half love him and half fear that their heads will be next. Not to worry ladies: true, he’s not messing around, but he’s also a fair man.

“Gold Digger” — Kanye West

Some guys are so rich that they don’t even care if their girl is a gold digger. Plus, let’s not forget, Tyrion’s girlfriend is a prostitute. You can be sure she ain’t messing with no broke dudes.

“Killing in the Name” — Rage Against the Machine

Sure, we all know what name he’s killing for, but we think he’s got more than a little dissension in that tiny body of his. Plus, it’s battle music to be sure, and every war dwarf’s got to have something to pump him up.

“A/B Machines” — Sleigh Bells

All else aside, in the world of Game of Thrones, Tyrion’s a relatively hip guy, and he spends enough time with (er, certain members of) the populace to know what’s happening. We think he’d dig these jams.

“What Gods Are These” — My Federation

No one seems to know. This song would appeal to Tyrion’s more jocular side, even in the face of battle. After all, he needs to keep that chin up as high as possible.

“Short People” — Randy Newman

Okay, we couldn’t help ourselves. Tyrion would probably hate this song, of course, but you can better believe he’d be aware of it, and maybe even have it on a playlist or two just to show he was game. He’d probably even listen to it once in a while to remind himself about the cruelty of other people. Or just to enjoy Newman’s tongue-in-cheek jabs.