I’d Like to Thank the Little People (An Idiosyncratic Lit List)

February 7, 2014 Idiosyncratic Lit List 11

Happy Friday, Bookworms!

It’s award show season, and those acceptance speeches have got me to thinking about the “little people.” Of course, celebrity types mean their entourages of non famous people, but the way my stream of consciousness rolls, I start thinking about actual little people. Once my brain train leaves the station, it usually ends up in lit-land. It’s not until you meet a character as amazing as, say, Tyrion Lannister, that you realize just how under-represented little people are in literature. (I’m talking about real medically recognized dwarfism, of course, not fantasy-type dwarfs. There are plenty of those.) I could only come up with a few characters for this list, but since they are so full of awesome, I’m going for it!


1. Trudi Montag from Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi: This book! It’s set in Germany during WWII. Trudi is a dwarf, and as such, she has always been set apart in society. It’s disturbing to watch through Trudi’s eyes the changes in society that take place as a result of the rise of the Nazi party. Luckily, there are also moments of tenderness and human redemption. Trudi may be small in stature, but not in spirit.

2. Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin: Oh Tyrion. The brain, the bookworm, the dwarf. If he doesn’t end up reigning on the iron throne, I might throw a tantrum. Tyrion has the best lines. His dwarfism won him the disdain of his father, but this guy. He’s too awesome to let his family drama bring him down. There are wars and whores and chaos and icicle zombies, but Tyrion takes it all in stride. He is, quite simply, the baddest of asses.

Peter Dinklage won a Golden Globe for his role as Tyrion. Meta, no? (source)

Peter Dinklage won a Golden Globe for his role as Tyrion. And we’ve come full circle. (source)

3. Henri-Christian Fraser from An Echo in the Bone (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon: Yes. I KNOW that at this point in the series, Henri-Christian is still a kid. But he’s a feisty kid! Heck, he’s already survived plenty. His parents, Fergus of the rakish hook hand and Marsali do their best to protect their little one, but it’s not easy. Fergus has a major meltdown/breakthrough moment in coming to terms with his son’s dwarfism. If you’ve watched anything on TLC in the past 10 years, you’ll know that it can be tough enough to be small in the here and now. Imagine trying to get around and do all the things back in the day. I’m rooting for this kid!

 What say you, Bookworms? Is there a group of people you find under represented in the books you read?

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11 Responses to “I’d Like to Thank the Little People (An Idiosyncratic Lit List)”

  1. Jennine G.

    Oh, how I loved Stones From the River! Ursula Hegi is one of my longest held favorite authors. A friend recommended that book in college and I’ve read everything since!

  2. lisa g

    And of course there is the time Henri-Christian almost was killed. Poor kiddo. I can’t think of any other examples for this list, I’d never noticed, but…wow!

  3. Megan M.

    “He is, quite simply, the baddest of asses.” Yes he is! I love Tyrion so, so much, and Peter Dinklage is the bomb.

    Disabled people are under-represented. Mixed-race kids like Park. Gay men in roles other than “sassy gay friend” to the heroine. Truly overweight people who do not either lose the weight or constantly obsess about it. Basically everyone except beautiful white people are under-represented.

  4. Elizabeth @ Don't Take My Books Away

    You can also add Owen Meany (from A Prayer for Owen Meany) to your list of little people in literature. It has been a million years since I read that book, but he was the first person I thought of when I saw this list (besides Tyrion Lannister, OF COURSE).

  5. Angie @Angela's Anxious Life

    This is a great post. One thing that bothers me (a little off topic) is the movies. For example… the Hobbit/LOTR really little people couldn’t be cast to be in the movie. They had to use camera tricks. This has always bothered me.

    • Words For Worms

      I never thought about that, but yeah, that was all camera trickery. For the actual Hobbits, I can kind of see why, because they’re supposed to be small, but specifically not dwarflike in proportion, if that makes sense. But the actual dwarfs? I read that for The Hobbit movies that the average height actors had to study the way little people moved and mimic that. Why not just cut out the middle man and hire some kickass little person actors?

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