I can't credit where I first heard the above casting suggestion, because I honestly can't remember.
It was a fleeting thing, so it was probably on Twitter some time just before Peter Capaldi's casting was announced. Either way, if you're the kind soul who dropped the idea into my churning consciousness then all I can offer is hearty thanks, because it's absolute genius.
For years now, Peter Dinklage has managed to maintain his enviable position of being the single best reason to watch Game of Thrones. Considering that he's up against awesome battle sequences, dizzyingly complex-yet-satisfying plotting, dragons, nudity and bloodshed, that's no mean feat. The idea of him piloting the TARDIS fills me with nothing but joy, even though I'm a sufficiently die-hard fan to approach any change in my beloved show with a mixture of suspicion and fear.
I suspect, however, that the final run of Game of Thrones may be occupying my favourite Lannister's schedule and make this vision an impossibility even if all the other stars aligned. Which leaves us with an oddly familiar mix of 'bookies favourites' from the last time we danced this dance. Ben Whishaw? Idris Elba? We've definitely had this conversation before.
Emma Watson and Rupert Grint are both popping up on some 'maybe' lists, too, although there seem to be less rumours surrounding Daniel Radcliffe this time around. There's an attraction to any of these names, of course, and the possibility of wooing back some of the younger audience who might not have stuck around for the duration of Capaldi's sometimes darker tenure. Doctor Who needs kids in the fan base, perhaps more than any of the other demographics that it appeals to.
Regenerations are a special thing in Doctor Who, of course. The first one I saw on TV was Peter Davison changing into Colin Baker, accompanied by visions of past foes and companions urging him to either survive or perish during the change. It was a fairly bewildering thing to witness, despite the fact I was aware that the character had such an ability (I'd tried to get into the show several times during Tom Baker's tenure, but was always scuppered by the fact that I was usually only able to watch a single episode or so before something would crop up that would scare the living piss out of me). Seeing my Doctor change into a stranger was something else, though. Exciting, sure, but very very strange.
I can clearly remember standing at the exit of the Doctor Who exhibition in Blackpool as a kid, (at which I took the photo below), watching that regeneration on a loop on the little TV that sat near the exit. This would have been between the end of Davison's last series and the beginning of Baker's first, and as I watched the sequence over and over again I can remember feeling a sense of disbelief that I'd never see my beloved 5th Doctor in the role again. Of course, I had no way of knowing about the existence of Time Crash (and *cough* Dimensions in Time) in the Doctor's then far-off future. It just felt so goddamn FINAL.
I guess every generation feels like that. There'll be 11-year-olds out there who have only ever really seen Peter Capaldi in the role (granted, DVD and on-demand services mean they're more likely to have caught up with earlier stuff too, but the point remains) and when Christmas rolls around those kids are going to see his brilliantly scowly face erupt in orange fire and change into...
Well, presumably a less scowly face.
Whether that face is more familiar from Westeros, Hogwarts or Q branch, however, only time will tell.