Just started reading Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut and found it interesting that Newton, the youngest of 3 children, of "one of the so-called 'fathers' of the first atomic bomb", Dr. Felix Hoenikker, was a "midget" whose mother died when he was born.

Any possibility that Mr. Martin was connecting these or just a coincidence?

  • 6
    Pregnancy can be hell on the body. Death of the mother isn't rare, even today. Dig a little; it's probably far from the only story like that.
    – Radhil
    Oct 17, 2016 at 18:49

2 Answers 2


No that is just a coincidence.

GRRM sort of created the character in 1981 while he was collaborating with Lisa Tuttle on a trio of novellas that would be published as the novel Windhaven.

This is how he described it:

Well… In 1981 I wrote a novel with Lisa Tuttle called Windhaven. In fact, we wrote three different short stories with the same main character, Maris, and once we had them written we decided to put them all into one book with three different parts. So while we were writing the books we thought about a dwarf who would have been the Lord of one of the islands. He had to be the ugliest person in the world but the most intelligent too. I kept that idea in my mind and it reappeared to me when I was starting to write Game of Thrones. So…That’s Tyrion Lannister.

So as you can see, Cat's Cradle isn't an inspiration for Tyrion because otherwise George would have said so.


GRRM probably read Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Vonnegut and many other authors and without doubt is familiar with the archetypal character of a grotesque male, usually with small statue but with big impact on the plot.

We have no lack of those in world lit. There is the evil genius iii. Richard, the noble and pure Gwynplaine, who lost his commoner love Dea - she was chased away when the hero's aristocratic lineage was revealed, there is also Emperor Claudius as described by Graves, a brilliant strategist shunned by his family for being a cripple, Miles Vorkosigan, whom Tyrion reminds me of most (and it's apperently not just me) and there are loads of smartass and angsty characters both in history and lit, who were ridiculed by their milieu because they were cripples / had a medical condition like dwarfism.

GRRM himself didn't share with us what gave him the inspiration for Tyrion, but it's unlikely he was modelled after a single character. Tyrion has elements of the grotesque, the deprved dwarf and many other tropes... and after all, the author is influenced by his culture, environment and so on. Likely that the author couldn't pinpoint what influenced him even if he wanted to tell us.

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