updated 09/03/2015 AT 7:49 PM ET
•originally published 08/22/2014 AT 4:35 PM ET
How do you stand out among the dozens of cast members on Game of Thrones (fully two-thirds of whom seem to be gruff, bearded men)? As Tyrion Lannister, the wise-cracking dwarf played by Peter Dinklage, proves, it helps to not take things too seriously.
While the HBO fantasy series’ assorted lords and ladies backstab their way to courtly domination, Tyrion is one of the the few characters who sees the game of thrones as the cosmic joke that is it – even as he remains one of its best players.
Dinklage, 45, who’s nominated for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series, is the audience stand-in, and his withering wit helps bring a show full of dragons and ice zombies down to a human level.
Season 4 saw Tyrion at his lowest; he spent most of the episodes locked in a jail cell, accused of a murder he didn’t commit. But his scenes never felt claustrophobic. As in the monologue above, Dinklage was able to create entire worlds, just with the power of his voice.
Also, we’re obligated to note that his name fits perfectly inside the Game of Thrones theme song.
The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards air Monday on NBC at 8 p.m. ET