The Tyrion Test, Updated

The word "CULTURE" surrounded by a word cloud of related words

Earlier today, someone unearthed and tweeted my old blog post about what I called the Tyrion Test, a disability version of the Bechtel Test. I named it the Tyrion Test after Tyrion Lannister from Game Of Thrones, one of the best disabled characters I have ever seen. After reviewing my version, I decided it’s time to try again, and offer a simpler test of disability depictions in popular culture, one that is a closer parallel with the original.

The Bechdel Test is a semi-famous “test” to evaluate how women are depicted in popular culture … TV shows, movies, books, and the like. To recap, a piece of culture “passes” the Bechtel Test if it:

1) Features at least two women, who
2) Talk to each other,
3) About something other than a man.

So, although I still endorse my original formula, I’d like to offer a simpler one:

A disability depiction passes the Tyrion Test if it:

1) Features two or more disabled characters, who
2) Talk to each other,
3) About something other than their disabilities.

I still think it also matters whether disabled characters have real agency, whether or not they are fully developed, and what kind of role they play in their stories. I also think it’s good when writers avoid leaning on a few tired disability tropes and stereotypes. But maybe this simpler test is enough. It's certainly easier to remember and apply.

What do you think? Are there other criteria you use to evaluate disabled characters and disability-based stories in popular culture? How do disabled characters in pop culture stand up to this test or others? Let me know in the comments!