Recently, I’ve been watching Game of Thrones. I avoided it for a while because I just didn’t have the time to devote to another TV show. I still haven’t got the time now, but I got sucked into it and now I can’t escape.
The show is successful for a lot of reasons. It’s beautiful, well crafted, the world building and pacing are impeccable. And it’s got a cast of really fantastic actors and actresses. I’ve been a fan of Lena Headey’s since The Sarah Connor Chronicles. However, I was most impressed by Peter Dinklage’s portrayal of Tyrion Lannister.
Tyrion is a character that could have become little more than comic relief, but Dinklage elevates him, gives him depth. His scenes are usually my favorite. It’s a large cast, so many of the characters can tend to be a bit one dimensional, and it’s refreshing to watch a character who is so wonderfully nuanced.
Except…I hate Dinklage’s accent. It’s gotten better as the show has progressed, but he often seems to be channeling his inner high school drama geek when he speaks. At first, it was difficult to listen to. But Dinklage overcame his accent by simply embodying the character. In fact, if he dropped it altogether, I’d still buy him as Tyrion Lannister.
And that got me thinking about the importance we place on craft. Especially as writers. Sometimes I hear about books that are plainly written, or even somewhat awkwardly written. Books that sell a million copies despite not being the best written books out there. It’s easy to poo-poo books like that. It’s easy to point at the deficiencies of a book like Twilight and sneer down our literary noses at it. Michael Crichton’s prose may be bland and his books full of clichés and tropes, but the man knows know to tell a story. In spite of those shortcomings, the authors of such books have clearly done something right.
Much like Peter Dinklage.
I’m not saying that good writing isn’t important. Every author should strive to be the very best they can be. But sometimes, we can overlook a bad accent if everything else is right.