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Season 2 of Game of Thrones premiered on HBO last night, which means that Peter Dinklage can bring back sunshine to our lives. Even if the actor were half as charming, his Tyrion would still steal the show by virtue of his ability to cut through its pervasive bleakness and get to the driest of dry comic relief.

Game of Thrones is kind of miserable, and intentionally so. It's packed with starched performances from actors delivering pages of exposition. You kind of understand why every line counts, why it's all delivered with such gravitas, since they're cramming hundreds of pages into 10-hour seasons, and yet last night's three-minute Season 1 recap that preceded the episode did a hilariously good job of summing up so much ado. Tyrion's around to call people on their bullshit. On an unrelentingly complicated show during which I can't even eat chips for fear of missing something, his presence is cathartic.