'Game of Thrones' returns — and it's spellbinding

What makes this one work are the characters. The face of the franchise is the tragic imp Tyrion Lannister, played by the great Peter Dinklage, who is loathed by his father and blamed for his mother's death at his birth.

"All dwarves are bastards in their father's eyes," the imp tells the bastard Jon Snow (just watch it) in the first season.

Dinklage, who won an Emmy for "Game of Thrones" in 2011, was also outstanding in "The Station Agent" (2003), a story of emotionally wounded strangers who meet at an abandoned railroad station. He could play just about anything, except perhaps a basketball player.

In "Game of Thrones," he has the meatiest role, and is the only one with an American accent in the group.

For the past two seasons now I've thought that if a film of the novel "The Dwarf" by Nobel laureate Par Lagerkvist is ever made — about a misanthropic Italian Renaissance prince — Dinklage would win an Oscar, opening with these lines.

"My bodily strength is considerable, particularly if I am annoyed. When the wrestling match was arranged between Jehoshaphat and myself, I forced him onto his back after 20 minutes and strangled him. Since then I have been the only dwarf at this court."

But let's hope he has a few more years at least as a Lannister.

America's other favorite characters include the Khaleesi (Emilia Clarke). She walks naked from a burning funeral pyre, emerging with nothing but baby dragons draped carefully over her milky white skin. She even looked OK while eating a raw horse's heart.

And an emerging favorite at this column is the gigantic female knight, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), a virtuous woman serving another virtuous woman.

Brienne is an expert swordswoman. At 6 feet 3 inches, she could knock a horse out with one punch. So why does Old School like her so much?

"She's a badass," he said.

Indeed.

It might be springtime, but we all know that winter is coming.

jskass@tribune.com Twitter @John_Kass

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