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Fantasy saga returns after small actor's huge success

Over the years, you'll have seen Peter Dinklage in many a movie. From his debut as an actor shooting a dream sequence in 1995's Living In Oblivion through to his leading role in art-house favourite The Station Agent and his show-stealing turn as the children's novelist Miles Finch in Elf (both 2003), he has made his mark.

Which, given that he's 4ft 5", may not be all that surprising. Of course, you're going to remember that guy.

"From the start, the issue was, okay, as an actor, you use the tools you have," says Dinklage (42), "but you don't want to be limited by any of those tools either. So, if you're an overweight African-American, or a skinny Chinese blonde, or a flaming red-haired Irish girl, you want to go beyond people's initial prejudices or expectations.

"Starting off with that scene in Living In Oblivion was a good way to address that very simple issue. Don't judge a book by its cover. Even if you are dealing with Hollywood."

It's a battle cry that has served Dinklage well, and one that has led him to a new kind of fame, thanks to the hit HBO series Game Of Thrones.

Shot largely in Belfast and Mdina, Malta, the first season debuted last April in the US, where it quickly gathered a zealous fanbase.

By the end of summer 2011, Ireland too, was under its spell. Two days after its US debut, HBO commissioned a second series, which is headed our way in April.


Based on novelist George RR Martin's best-selling fantasy series A Song Of Ice And Fire, the action takes place in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, with a violent battle for control of the Iron Throne being waged by the noble families there. Dinklage plays Tyrion Lannister, the clever dwarf brother of one of the kings for which he has picked up both an Emmy and a Golden Globe. Last September, the New York Times included Dinklage in their cover story: 'Eight Actors Who Turn Television Into Art'. Nice.

"We'd love to just keep going with this. There are five novels, and two more planned. Whoever survives, whoever thrives, whoever dies, it's just liberating to know that the story continues.

"I'm a blissfully busy man," finishes Dinklage. "Which is something I didn't really expect, starting out. I've got scripts coming my way that are original and funny and challenging, and none of them involve me being a dwarf in someone's dream." >PAUL BYRNE

Game Of Thrones is out on DVD now. Season 2 hits Sky Atlantic on April 2, 9pm