Lupita Nyong’o, Game of Thrones and the Diversity Question

Source: Vogue

Source: Vogue

In a recent interview with Vogue, Lupita Nyong’o was asked what show she’d love to cameo in. Her answer: “Game of Thrones.”

To be clear, Nyong’o is not demanding or campaigning for a role on Game of Thrones. This was her answer to one of 73 questions that also included who her favorite Disney character is (Pocahontas) and Luke Skywalker vs. Obi Wan Kenobi (Obi Wan).

Nonetheless, her answer draws attention to the much criticized lack of diversity in both Game of Thrones and ASOIAF. After all, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff would have to do some serious race bending or character expansion in order for Nyong’o to have a speaking role with a name.


We’re five books and five seasons in, and Summer Islanders remain mere side characters. Dorne’s chapters in the books do give characters inspired by Spanish Moors agency and autonomy (though their storyline was significantly less well handled in the show), but these characters still have a small presence in a predominantly white world.

Then there’s the matter of depiction as well as inclusion.

Earlier this year, The Telegraph interviewed Nathalie Emmanuel and asked for her thoughts on Daenerys’ storyline, which many argue has colonial or, at best, white savior undertones.

Crowdsurfing

The Targaryen’s burden?

“I understand people’s feelings on the issue,” Emmanuel said, “But, at the same time I think the show is really good at creating characters of all races and color that have power and education. It’s not just a stereotype of ‘white powerful person’ and ‘enslaved non-white person’ – I think it’s a bit more complicated than that.”

It’s a fair point. Daenerys’ fixation on toppling slaveholding cities isn’t fueled by a Cecil Rhodes complex but by her own experience being sold by her brother to the Dothraki. That said, in-universe explanations can’t strip scenes of their real-world context. The image of a white woman crowd surfing on an ocean of adoring dark-skinned people dredges up a long tradition of white writers framing white heroes as welcomed saviors to benighted races.

Source: Oh My Disney

Disney subverted this better than you, GOT (Source: Oh My Disney)

Missandei and Grey Worm, frankly, rescue the show’s Slaver’s Bay storyline from being completely inexcusable. They’re interesting characters who are loyal to Daenerys yet share a romantic subplot and thus have wants and needs outside of their service to their queen.

Still, they are only two characters in a cast of thousands and the lack of representation in both the show and the books continues to leave many fans wanting.

Last year, George R.R. Martin responded to a fan’s criticism on his blog that characters of color have all been “servants, guards or charlatans” (this correspondence took place before the Sand Snakes appeared in season 5 … though they weren’t exactly hailed as champions of representation either). He acknowledged that Westeros isn’t a terribly diverse place to begin with and promised that characters of color will have “somewhat larger roles” in Winds of Winter but conceded that they will still be secondary and tertiary characters.

GRRM

It’s almost apologetic the way Martin admits that none of the characters of color will be main players in his story, as if he lacks control over his own world. The thing is (and I try to use this excuse as rarely as possible): Westeros is a fictional setting. 300 AC Westeros can be as diverse as Martin wants it to be. Basing his story largely on medieval English history doesn’t mean the characters all have to look Anglo-Saxon.

Westeros and Essos are lands fraught with injustice but unlike systemic sexism, (another oft criticized aspect of his work for which historical inspiration has been evoked as justification) racism isn’t addressed as a problem. Characters don’t discuss it nor are characters of color shown to have been shaped by it. There is distressing subtext in the way people of color in Westeros and Essos are written but it isn’t acknowledged … which leads me to suspect that Martin put it in unintentionally. It’s a situation vaguely comparable to Tolkien’s depiction of men from the Eastlands of Middle Earth. Except, unlike Tolkien, Martin is writing in the 21st century and really, really should know better.

What do you think? And if Lupita Nyong’o does appear on Game of Thrones, who would you like her to play?

404 responses

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    1. What bugged me is that in the books the slaves in Slavers bay were from all races. Kidnapped by slave ships and Dothraki from all corners of the world.

      I don’t get why the show made them all brown-skinned.

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    2. More PC hysterics, wonderful…. Salladhor Saan is a pirate, captain of his ship, and they chose to cast a black actor even tho he’s not black in the books. Did the person that made the comment towards GRRM take that into account at all

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    3. George is white, and will hence most likely write for white characters, it’s not a controversial thing really.
      Yes Westeros is a fictional world but it’s heavily influenced by European history, I obviously don’t speak on his behalf but from what I gather George grew up on European history and folklore so that is the world that he’s most likely to portray.

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    4. I’m very clear on this. Artistic freedom. That’s it. If you want diversity, aim for it in the *creators*. Because the more diverse the pool of talent – which has become a patronising obsession for middle class white people – the more diversity on screen.

      But I will not accept a situation in which we are forcing artists to create characters merely to appease cringeworthy brats.

      Basically, what I’m saying is that we’re all bored of these ‘thought pieces’ on ‘diversity’.

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    5. Assuming Serella Sand is cut I don’t see any role in the 5 books as right for Lupita, but perhaps something in the future books would fit…
      No clue.

      As for the race issues, it is completely and utterly a non-issue to me. I am continually bewildered and annoyed every time the topic is brought up, not surprisingly, usually by the same people.

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    6. I don’t think there will be an important black character for Lupita to play in the remaining seasons. And neither D&D nor Martin should develop their stories trying to satisfy people’s thoughts on this matter, IMO.

      OT: still no filming news? Mcshane character, at least?

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    7. I feel pretty strongly that diversity and representation are important in today’s media, and GoT disappoints me in this regard. Thanks for this post.

      Lupita could make a great Sarella, but (unfortunately imo) I doubt they will be expanding the Sand Snakes after their reception last season. A younger member of the dosh khaleen? A red priestess? A less sexist/racist version of the dusky woman hanging out with Euron instead of Victarion? There are opportunities if D&D wanted to make room for her. Not that I think they WILL, but it would be cool!

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    8. We’re five books and five seasons in, and Summer Islanders remain mere side characters.

      So do Myrish, Lysene, Ibbenese and Qohoric people. What’s your point?

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    9. “A less sexist/racist version of the dusky woman hanging out with Euron instead of Victarion? ”

      Oh, God. Could you imagine if they started softening the edges of Martin’s work to avoid triggering the hysterics among us? Imagine that’s what art became? Appeasing the big babies who can’t face being confronted with ‘problematic’ character portrayals?

      Shudder.

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    10. racism isn’t addressed as a problem.

      Actually, racism against the Dornish was pretty much the reason for the Blackfyre Rebellion.

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    11. I feel like it’s hard for people to appreciate the amount of effort that goes into world-building for a series like this. When GRRM sets out to describe the cultures and people in a fantasy world like this, he sets out to say things like “these people come from this land, and most of them look a certain way, with a certain color of skin.”

      With Westeros’ level of technology and cultural integration, it’s not quite the melting pot of races that we see in the modern day. Light skinned people have kingdoms ruling over other light skinned people, and dark skinned people have their own lands they rule, much farther away. There are some characters that will cross over from one land to another, and look very foreign, but it shouldn’t mean GRRM will suddenly insert piles of non-Westerosi characters in a story ABOUT Westeros. If this was a story about the Summer Isles or Asshai, I wouldn’t expect to see more than a very small handful of Westerosi side characters.

      The scenes of Dany being adored by slaves are definitely evocative of certain images to viewers who live in the time that we do, so I will admit that he could have tried better to not fall into that trope. However, it makes sense with the way he built his world. And don’t forget that despite Dany being the ‘white savior’ character, it’s likely that in the end Slaver’s Bay will return to the status quo sooner than later. She was a pretty poor savior, and maybe GRRM is trying to make a point. He seems to be criticizing the trope itself by demonstrating exactly what’s wrong with it. A key plot point in the Meereen story is that these people need a good ruler of their own culture, not someone foreign to come and liberate them, as we’ve seen fail.

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    12. Master of Keys:
      God of tits and wine,

      PC hysterics indeed.

      Westeros is a continent set in medieval times. It does not have to be of whatever racial quota we deem acceptable nowadays.

      Nothing wrong with that.Stop bugging them.

      These people won’t be happy until all media, regardless of its setting or origin, is representative of modern day America.

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    13. Harald: George is white, and will hence most likely write for white characters, it’s not a controversial thing really.

      That is actually a pretty controversial thing.

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    14. Tywin of the Hill,

      So what Myrish, Lysene(altough we got Saan here, who is black, while in the books they are white.), what Ibbenese, characters are there in the books? What is their contribution to the story? What do the Qohoric do?(got Hotoh from there, who is also black, while in the books white)

      So I’m sorry, but I don’t get your point? Even in the books, they are non-existant, only added as fluff, so I don’t see why the show should bother to add them.

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    15. Also i’m sure this lady is a nice woman and fine actress but just because she said she would like to appear in the show doesn’t mean they are obliged to cast her just because of some liberal agenda that the author of this article seems to want .

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    16. Brooklyn Ann,
      They’re Morocco, and they put out a call for 800 extras. They hired the people who turned up. Extras don’t get paid very much. At most it’s like $40 a day. You’re not going to fly in 100 Irishman just to balance the racial background. With the money they’d need for that they might as well make another episode.

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    17. God of tits and wine,

      Whoops, i guess the guy was referring to GRRMs book characters which would make my point moot. However HBO aimed for diversity by casting a black guy for salladhor Saan so they get points for that

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    18. Marcus,

      I know snoop dogg loves GoT and said he would love appearing in it on his YouTube show, I say what the hell bring’em in for an audition

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    19. Mihnea,
      I wasn’t saying they should add them. I was only criticising the author’s claim that Summer Islanders should be more important than other nationalities.

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    20. Marcus:
      Also i’m sure this lady is a nice woman and fine actress but just because she said she would like to appear in the show doesn’t mean they are obliged to cast her just because of some liberal agenda that the author of this article seems to want .

      Agree with your point, but just stress that this sort of shaming/bullying technique isn’t liberal. Many liberals, myself included, pull our hair out when witnessing call out culture in action, whiffs of which permeate this article.

      This is more akin to a very specific type of progressivism, that masquerades under the *guise* of ‘social justice’. Basically, it’s just critical theory.

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    21. Mihnea,

      I know my comment didn’t sound well but what i mean is that i don’t want the show producers to invent one character out of convienence just so they can say hey look at us we are so diverse like SO many movies and shows are doing it at the moment. You can’t tell me that you don’t see this happening pretty often in Hollywood today,the same with gay characters introduced just for the sake of saying that they have them,it has to feel natural not forced .

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    22. Tywin of the Hill:
      Brooklyn Ann,
      They’re Morocco, and they put out a call for 800 extras. They hired the people who turned up. Extras don’t get paid very much. At most it’s like $40 a day. You’re not going to fly in 100 Irishman just to balance the racial background. With the money they’d need for that they might as well make another episode.

      And just think of the shitstorm that would have raised! Filming one of the world’s biggest shows in Morocco and then snubbing the locals to fly in a bunch of white extras. Yeah, that would have been seen as completely non-racist.

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    23. Thank you for this article… I think it’s important.

      I understand what some people here are saying, that Martin is influenced by European history and that his story is set in Europe. And that’s fine. If everyone on the show was white, I’d be fine with that.

      But the fact that there are brown people on the show, but they’re all, as mentioned earlier, servants, guards, charlatans, thieves, or ignorant slaves, is problematic. If you’re going to only portray brown people as subservient to the white people, inferior to the white people, or “barbaric” compared to the white people, then please don’t put them in at all. Because these kind of portrayals perpetuate negative stereotypes. And they are offensive and inexcusable in this day and age.

      Frankly, I think that people who don’t see it as a problem are privileged white people who don’t know what it feels like to see themselves incessantly portrayed as inferior.

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    24. I would say the show has injected more racial/ethnic diversity into the story than the books. In fact, there were some whining about just that: they were casting people who were more ethnically diverse than their book-counterparts (“why are Salladhor, Xaro, and Areo black. They aren’t in the books. Why is Nymeria partially of Asian descent? She isn’t in the books.” Blah, blah, blah.). That, I think, is a problem. I don’t think, however, how the show has chosen to cast characters is a problem.

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    25. Mihnea,

      Oh,ok sorry,but my point still stands for people who might have interpreted my comment as racist,it’s not,in fact i hate all types of bigots but i can’t close my eyes and pretend that some hidden agenda isn’t going on in Hollywood at the moment .

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    26. What really bothers me is that they haven’t showed my favourite black characters from the books. Brown Ben Plumm and Moqorro the Black Flame.

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    27. Saarah:
      I understand what some people here are saying, that Martin is influenced by European history and that his story is set in Europe. And that’s fine. If everyone on the show as white, I’d be fine with that.

      But the fact that there are brown people on the show, but they’re all, as mentioned earlier, servants, guards, or charlatans, or indeed slaves, is problematic. If you’re going to only portray brown people as subservient, inferior to white people, or “barbaric” compared to the white people, then please don’t put them in at all. Because these kind of portrayals perpetuate negative stereotypes. And as a Canadian woman of south asian origin, I do find them offensive.

      You find it offensive? And?

      I find that to be a totally pointless statement.

      Now, here’s the question for you. Do you think the creators are intentionally casting minority actors in subservient roles because they think lesser of people of different races?

      If the answer to this is ‘no’, what are you even moaning about?

      You brazenly assert that Game of Thrones is perpetuating negative stereotypes. Where is your evidence for that? Where is the proof? Give me a peer reviewed study which substantiates your fairly serious allegation.

      My suggestion is that you’re actually just hypersensitive and focus far too much on the race of a character and far too little to the *character* of the character.

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    28. Simeon,

      Why film in Morocco if you know that that is what is going to happen? Why film in a country that is populated by “brown” people at all? Why can’t the slaves be white?

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    29. Saarah,

      But why do they need to be white exactly ? Because somehow they might offend someone so they need to have slaves of every kind just so they can be safe and sure that no one is offended ?

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    30. Thank you for this thoughtful post.

      The only thing that I will defend the show on in your post was the white savior shot of Dany at the end of Season 3. Personally, I think someone from one culture coming in to rescue a large group of people from another cultural institution should have uncomfortable undertones. The idea that the storyline wouldn’t be problematic at all if the slaves were more diverse I think misses the point. Daenerys thinking that she can come in and make thousands of people’s lives better, and deserve their adoration for that reason, is an uncomfortable idea no matter how diverse the people are that she’s rescuing. The way it was shot just emphasized that in that shot. It perfectly communicated how Dany sees herself in relation to these people…before really pulling at the foundations of that fantasy in subsequent seasons.

      But the problem is representation. If those slaves waiting to be rescued are the only persons of color on the show, that’s a problem. And while there are some significant characters who are persons of color in the show, it is a very small handful in one of the largest television ensembles ever. I mean, has there ever been a person of color whose name showed up in the main title sequence? If there are, it’s probably only one or two, and that’s really astounding for a cast this large at this time. And there’s really no excuse for it, since the world itself is fictional, and can be as diverse as GRRM wants it to be.

      Enjoyed reading this, ignore the haters.

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    31. Two things:
      1. GRRM’s work for ASOIAF is based on a great deal of historical accuracy.
      2. Can we (as-in the world) stop picking apart every single thing that doesn’t include every race and gender and just enjoy the art.

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    32. Spare me the PC thinkpieces on diversity, BUT at the same time, I’d love to see Lupita cast as Sarella Sand. She’s a great actress. Sarella is an interesting character that should not be cut from the show (unfortunately, that’s probably the case).

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    33. Brooklyn Ann:
      What bugged me is that in the books the slaves in Slavers bay were from all races. Kidnapped by slave ships and Dothraki from all corners of the world.

      I don’t get why the show made them all brown-skinned.

      I’ve seen many Europid type slaves in the show and dark skinned masters too. I’m all for inclusion and diversity in media (One of the reasons I really don’t like lotr) but it never bothered me in GOT, perhaps because it doesn’t paint a certain demographic like pure and heroic and excludes others or hints at them as “evil” (again lotr did this). The show has a pretty realistic way of portraying characters and western medieval society in general.

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    34. She’d be a fine Chataya.

      For some reason I always envisioned Melisandre as black/mixed race when reading the books. Of course, Carice evaporated that image right away after she was cast.

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    35. IMO fantasy/sci-fi shows/movies in general aren’t really racially diverse. Most have white male heroes and if they’re female heroes, they’re still white. Star Trek is the only one that really included a diverse cast and it was still white leaders in all the main shows/movies.

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    36. Sue the Fury,

      So it is controversial if during my critique group meeting yesterday a black writer brought in a new story she is starting and all five of the characters are black? The setting isn’t even a cliched-typical black setting such as Harlem, pockets in the south, etc. as we see so often.

      If people want to complain about it so much then they should start writing, editing, and publishing their own stories or stop reading the ones that “offend” them.

      I’m offended people are offended.

      By the way, I am adding this now to make it clear this was a general comment and not one directed at anyone, including Sue.

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    37. I’ll also add that, realistically, the transportation system required to have immigration on the scale that we do now was not widely available in the time that ASOIAF is based on, so homogeneity isn’t particularly unexpected.
      (I’m aware that it’s awkward to argue for realism in a fantasy series)

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    38. I don’t feel that GOT lacks in diversity. And I am not a privileged white person like someone above mentioned, I am of a minority race.
      The fictional show of GOT is kind of a parallel of ancient European history. So they write and cast for the show to mirror, as much as they can, ancient history. I don’t feel like the creators should change things around to please anyone.
      I don’t understand why people take things out of context and start these meaningless debates.
      Anyway, I love Lupita, she is a great actress, and I solely think she made this comment because she loves the show, but of course, its blown out of proportion
      I haven’t read the books, so I don’t know who else she could play!

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    39. I think I’ve expressed everything I wish to about this, but I’d like to say one last thing.

      I’m so heartened by the comments here. It’s very clear that almost everyone is absolutely sick of this censorious, cultural authoritian art policing.

      You can want diversity without wanting artists to be neutered. And that seems to be the general consensus of this comment section. Props everybody.

      The worst thing about these PC types of people is that they actually have the sheer audacity to act as if they speak *for* black people, speak *for* gay people, speak *for* women. When really, they’re actually shouting over a lot of minorities. Minorities who disagree with them.

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    40. Judibatt,

      And Sue, that statement was not directed at you, I realized how it sounded as I hit the Post Comment button. It was meant in general.
      Just want to be clear that I did not mean any harm 🙂

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    41. Saarah:
      Simeon,

      Why film in Morocco if you know that that is what is going to happen? Why film in a country that is populated by “brown” people at all? Why can’t the slaves be white?

      Certainly, avoiding entirely those “tanned countries” and staying where the white people live is a less racist approach. (?)

      (Not to mention that, in that picture upthread with Daenerys, the majority of the people behind her ARE white.)

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    42. Flora Linden,

      We have an Academy- Award winning actress who’d like to be on the show but there’s not really any roles for her because GoT casts very narrowly. Maybe Sarella? One part. When we see a non-white actress pop up in a casting post, you know instantly she’s part of the Essos/Dany storyline. The Sand Snakes were a rare exception and everyone attacks them constantly. That’s worth thinking about for a minute. It’s not “crap.” The term “PC” however is.

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    43. I wonder, if it was the other way round, and the show was mainly consisting of dark skinned characters with only white people as extras in lesser roles, would we be having the same conversation……..

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    44. Chriss:
      I’m very clear on this. Artistic freedom. That’s it. If you want diversity, aim for it in the *creators*. Because the more diverse the pool of talent – which has become a patronising obsession for middle class white people – the more diversity on screen.

      But I will not accept a situation in which we are forcing artists to create characters merely to appease cringeworthy brats.

      Basically, what I’m saying is that we’re all bored of these ‘thought pieces’ on ‘diversity’.

      Sure, they have freedom to tell whatever story they want. But we have a right to criticize it, don’t we?

      And really think about the logic there. I suppose if GRRM didn’t have any major female characters in his books, we shouldn’t criticize that, because, after all, he’s a man, how can we expect him to write female characters? This is such a silly way of dodging the issue. No matter what the talent pool is, no matter what the race, ethnicity or gender of the writer, it shouldn’t be a barrier to including characters who are different than they are. Art would be pretty boring if artists only wrote characters like them experiencing things only they have experienced.

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    45. Saarah: Why film in Morocco if you know that that is what is going to happen? Why film in a country that is populated by “brown” people at all?

      Saarah,

      Are you actually suggesting they should not film in countries where the residents may have darker skin? “Oh, hey, we can’t film in whatever country because it is populated by “brown” people…we need to film in countries populated by white people!” I’m sorry, that makes no sense, and, while I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, sounds…well, I’ll just say not right.

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    46. Oh and also,say they were to introduce the characters of Chataya and Alayaya,the producers were going to be acused of racism because they cast black actresses to portray whores,so you can’t win with these people .

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    47. Hodor Targaryen: Sure, they have freedom to tell whatever story they want. But we have a right to criticize it, don’t we?

      And really think about the logic there. I suppose if GRRM didn’t have any major female characters in his books, we shouldn’t criticize that, because, after all, he’s a man, how can we expect him to write female characters? This is such a silly way of dodging the issue. No matter what the talent pool is, no matter what the race, ethnicity or gender of the writer, it shouldn’t be a barrier to including characters who are different than they are. Art would be pretty boring if artists only wrote characters like them experiencing things only they have experienced.

      Why tag me in if you’re simply going to make up straw men to argue with?

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    48. Chriss: Basically, what I’m saying is that we’re all bored of these ‘thought pieces’ on ‘diversity’.

      Quick fix: don’t read them. I don’t mind.

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    49. Bob Warren:
      Chriss,

      There, fixed it for you.

      I love that you just assume I’m not a minority. Good job on erasing me. Is that what you call social justice?

      That’s an example of what I was talking about. These people want to talk *over* me whilst *using* me to add credence to their stupid arguments.

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    50. The books dont have characters wrestle or be shaped by racial issues to the extent that they are by gender ones because racism as we know it is a completely modern phenomenon that has its roots in European colonialism, a historical foundation the world of the books lacks. Of course the characters disdain foreignness and different cultures and people always have and always will. But that is distinct from racism.

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    51. Chriss,

      This is another way of framing the issue so that people don’t have to address it. As long as the creators mean well, as long as they aren’t intentionally racist, then you shouldn’t criticize them for not having a diverse group of characters. I don’t think we have that standard for any other criticism made. When an episode contains a bit of bad writing, no one thinks “Boy, they must have wanted to write something that sucked.” Most criticims of art or criticisms of things that were unintentional. I respect GRRM and D&D very much, I certainly don’t think they’re actively racist. But their work should include more people of color.

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    52. Chriss: You find it offensive? And?

      I find that to be a totally pointless statement.

      Now, here’s the question for you. Do you think the creators are intentionally casting minority actors in subservient roles because they think lesser of people of different races?

      If the answer to this is ‘no’, what are you even moaning about?

      You brazenly assert that Game of Thrones is perpetuating negative stereotypes. Where is your evidence for that? Where is the proof? Give me a peer reviewed study which substantiates your fairly serious allegation.

      My suggestion is that you’re actually just hypersensitive and focus far too much on the race of a character and far too little to the *character* of the character.

      Setting aside that your post is condescending, I will answer it:

      First of all, I’m not really sure why you think my being offended has anything to do with you. I have a right to be offended, whether you like it or not, and whether or not you think it’s pointless to say that I am. And by the way, many other visible minority fans of the show feel the same way, whether from your privileged white male perspective, you think we should be or not.

      Second of all, absolutely the creators of the show cast with intention. They choose either white or visible minority actors for every single role on the show. And the end result is that almost all of the visible minority characters are servants, slaves, thieves, rapists, criminals, guards and are generally ignorant, uneducated, and inferior to the whites on the show. Perhaps out of ignorance, but that is the result. And I can tell you that if I or another visible minority person were casting for Game of Thrones, we would be more aware of that problem and adjust our casting accordingly. This is something that we as a society *should* be sensitive to. Telling me that I need a peer reviewed study to substantiate my opinion on the matter is condescending. Having a peer reviewed study or not having a peer reviewed study does not change what I and many others have observed about this show’s treatment of visible minorities and the incremental effect of that on society.

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    53. Does Tolkien catch this same heat over LOTR? Progress is being made ppl. It might not be moving as fast as some would hope but it’s moving. Take the shitty show the walking dead for example, it’s mega diverse. Boardwalk empire is another one

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    54. Nymeria Warrior Queen:
      I would say the show has injected more racial/ethnic diversity into the story than the books.In fact, there were some whining about just that:they were casting people who were more ethnically diverse than their book-counterparts (“why are Salladhor, Xaro, and Areo black.They aren’t in the books.Why is Nymeria partially of Asian descent?She isn’t in the books.”Blah, blah, blah.).That, I think, is a problem.I don’t think, however, how the show has chosen to cast characters is a problem.

      People also strongly complained that Pedro wasn’t dark skinned enough. I think Pedro was amazing and it’s ridiculous to complain about people’s skin tone when the race question comes up. No one complains that Missandei isn’t dark enough.

      So much of the time, it seems that people complain about GOT just to complain. Kit Harington’s eyes aren’t gray, Emilia Clarke’s aren’t purple, Kit and Maisie & Sean don’t look a lot alike like they did in the books. Shireen is a blonde. Sometimes these arguments pick apart the show so much it starts to ruin the enjoyment of it. There are some serious issues (the addition of so many rapes) with the show that sound like additional whining when you bring it up because of the minor complains that are constantly on-going. No one seems to really complain about the same issues after they see them play out – Pedro was hugely popular despite his lighter toned skin, no one cares about Kit or Emilia’s eye color, etc.

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    55. Chriss,

      Take the logic you use concerning persons of color and apply it to other situations. If it’s not consistent, you have to explain why. That’s not straw man.

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    56. Deesensfan:
      I don’t feel that GOT lacks in diversity. And I am not a privileged white person like someone above mentioned, I am of a minority race.
      The fictional show of GOT is kind of a parallel of ancient European history. So they write and cast for the show to mirror, as much as they can, ancient history. I don’t feel like the creators should change things around to please anyone.
      I don’t understand why people take things out of context and start these meaningless debates.

      That’s exactly what I think too and I’m also of a minority race.

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    57. Hodor Targaryen:
      Chriss,

      This is another way of framing the issue so that people don’t have to address it. As long as the creators mean well, as long as they aren’t intentionally racist, then you shouldn’t criticize them for not having a diverse group of characters. I don’t think we have that standard for any other criticism made. When an episode contains a bit of bad writing, no one thinks “Boy, they must have wanted to write something that sucked.” Most criticims of art or criticisms of things that were unintentional. I respect GRRM and D&D very much, I certainly don’t think they’re actively racist. But their work should include more people of color.

      I don’t have much to add to this, I think it speaks for itself. There you have it.

      If your art isn’t representative of modern America, you are a subconscious racist. Man, you’d really hate East Asian pop culture.

      People, I beg you. Do not let these lunatics take over this fandom.

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    58. 1. I liked what the show did with casting Salladhor, Xaro, and Areo as POC, although admittedly the last was much more problematic as it was another instance of a black servant.
      2. I thought the whole point of Dany’s stint in Slavers’ Bay was a deconstruction of the white saviour stereotype, at least in the books. Dany institutes sweeping changes with no respect as to local culture or history and no understanding of how to make those changes work in the long term, and as a result, all the cities she “liberated” devolve into chaos. This seemed also pointed in the TV show, with Dany sneering and mocking the cultured, eloquent, highly intelligent Hizdahr (who unlike in the books turned out to be a good dude) when he appealed to higher principles. I fully expect the Meereen arc in the books will end in Meereen’s destruction.
      3. The Grey Worm/Missandei romance gets a lot of flak from fans, but they should remember that it’s a storyline with two POC characters dealing with their own interpersonal shit without any reference to being mere helpful servants to Daenerys. It saves them from fulfilling the Magical Negro stereotype of a POC character who exists only to serve the white character and has no inner life or motivations beyond that.
      4. It’s nice to have in the show and in the books one of the great houses (Martell) full of POC characters with their own goals and agendas. It’s also stated pretty explicitly that Dorne is supposed to be MORE culturally progressive and civilized than the rest of Westeros, which is a nice inversion of the “brown = barbaric, white = civilized” stereotype discussed upthread.
      5. It’s kind of sad that the main POC secondary roles in the upcoming season will be reserved for Dothraki cast in Dany’s storyline, especially since the more nuanced Dothraki–the thoughtful Rakharo and the kindhearted Irri–were killed off ages ago. Boo.

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    59. Chriss,
      I’m curious as to why you think this post is “bullying/shaming”. The author’s tone is calm and she is fair. She includes a quote from a person of color who disagrees with the post. It comes across as rational and sincere to me. Shaming and bullying imply an angry, vindictive tone and intention and that simply isn’t present in this post.

      IMHO calm, open conversations about race, particularly in the US, are always a good thing. Just my two cents.

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    60. Simeon: They left out Chataya and Alayaya, too.

      Lupita is exactly how I imagined beautiful Alayaya when I was reading the books. So beautiful. I wish they’d include Moqorro. Maybe she could be Sarella? If they include Sarella.

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    61. My problem with the almost zombie-like tag line of “diversity is always needed” that even the author of this article seems to promote (“Westeros is a fictional setting. 300 AC Westeros can be as diverse as Martin wants it to be. Basing his story largely on medieval English history doesn’t mean the characters all have to look Anglo-Saxon.”) is that because something is regarded as positive doesn’t mean it should be included in all work… that is just a silly point to make.

      Think about it. Even if we are to accept the point that diversity by itself is neutrally good in a vacum, does that really mean it should autoatically be included in everything just because it’s good? Of course not. The opposite side of the coin is saying that we shouldn’t portray murder or rape in work because its inherently bad. A large part of the Westeros world is the portrayal of a very morally corrupt land, full of violence and destruction. And yes, a lot of white people that are not very welcoming of other races to a large extent. These are the problems that Westeros portrays and makes the show what it is. But yes, let’s just throw more races in for the sake of “diversity” even though it might make no sense in the story…

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    62. Simeon,

      Your statement that the people carrying Dany are white is just not true. They are portrayed throughout the show as brown. And yes I do think that if everyone in the show as white, then it would solve the problem. Because then it wouldn’t be implying that the poor ignorant brown people need a white saviour.

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    63. Dame Pasty:
      Chriss,
      I’m curious as to why you think this post is “bullying/shaming”.The author’s tone is calm and she is fair. She includes a quote from a person of color who disagrees with the post.It comes across as rational and sincere to me.Shaming and bullying imply an angry, vindictive tone and intention and that simply isn’t present in this post.

      IMHO calm, open conversations about race, particularly in the US, are always a good thing.Just my two cents.

      To be clear, I don’t think that. I think the piece subtly suggests there is an immorality present in the Game of Thrones production. I think this has an implicit shaming within it. And I don’t think it’s justified.

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    64. M:
      highly intelligent Hizdahr (who unlike in the books turned out to be a good dude)

      We don’t know enough of him in the books to be sure if he’s a bad guy or not.

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    65. Marcus,

      You say, “somehow they might offend someone” as though it hasn’t already happened. A LOT of people are offended by this… and yes other people on this board have mentioned that in the books, the slaves are from many different parts of the world, whereas on the show they are all brown. If all the slaves were white, then the whole world would be white and race would not be an issue. There would be no “enlightened” white people part of the world and “barbaric” brown people part of the world.

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    66. Tywin of the Hill,

      Might not be evil in the books, but he is still quite bad. He cheats on Dany, plans to kill Tyrion in the pit, orders Barry dead, and most likely had contact with the SOTH.

      While on the show he is quite a nice guy.
      Also thank god he didn’t slept with Dany…

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    67. Saarah:
      Simeon,

      Your statement that the people carrying Dany are white is just not true. They are portrayed throughout the show as brown. And yes I do think that if everyone in the show as white, then it would solve the problem. Because then it wouldn’t be implying that the poor ignorant brown people need a white saviour.

      I’m not sure what picture you are viewing, but I absolutely see white people in the photograph of people carrying Dany. They may have dark hair and be tanned, but they are white. There are many white people who are dark haired and tanned. Moreover, I vehemently disagree the show should have just cast everyone as white. Are you kidding? So, let’s just deny anyone who isn’t white the opportunity to be part of the show? That makes absolutely no sense to me coming from someone complaining about diversity!

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    68. Mister Stoneheart:
      She’d be a fine Chataya.

      For some reason I always envisioned Melisandre as black/mixed race when reading the books.Of course, Carice evaporated that image right away after she was cast.

      I always thought she was mixed/Asian. Probably because she’s from Asshai.

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    69. Saarah,

      Again,you are the only one who sees this whole conspiracy thing of the show producers,where did they ever imply that the “brown” people are ignorant,in fact in the show judging by Grey Worm,Missandei and even that guy that got his head cut off or Hizhdar,they even made Hizhdar a decent person and he was anything but that in the books . The only one who i see as racist is you in fact .

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    70. Brooklyn Ann,

      The fact that you chose ‘brown-skinned’ instead of ‘black’, ‘hispanic’, ‘arabic’ etc., shows the first dishonest part of your complaint. A multitude of different races are rendered homogeneous to you because they’re all tanned to similar skin tones. Look carefully at scenes with many of your “brown-skinned” extras. Many races are represented. That the hot desert sun tans them all to similar-ish hues doesn’t erase their race.

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    71. Harald:
      George is white, and will hence most likely write for white characters, it’s not a controversial thing really.
      Yes Westeros is a fictional world but it’s heavily influenced by European history, I obviously don’t speak on his behalf but from what I gather George grew up on European history and folklore so that is the world that he’s most likely to portray.

      It’s a no-win situation. If Martin had written ASOIAF in a way where POCs had much larger roles he opens himself up to charges of cultural appropriation. Someone’s always gonna be whining about something.

      However, even though ASOIAF leans heavily on medieval Europe, it doesn’t make much sense to me that there aren’t more significant POCs in the books. We read a lot about ships and commerce from other lands; it’s not like brown-skinned people don’t know how to get there. And they probably get there a lot during the winters as Westeros is looking to keep food on the table. As far as we know, there are no miscegenation statutes, travel barriers or limitations on owning property. Westeros should be thoroughly peppered with POCs at every level of society. But it isn’t.

      Does it rise to the level of controversy? I don’t think so. But I am white and I don’t give a shit.

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    72. AliKat:
      IMO fantasy/sci-fi shows/movies in general aren’t really racially diverse. Most have white male heroes and if they’re female heroes, they’re still white. Star Trek is the only one that really included a diverse cast and it was still white leaders in all the main shows/movies.

      DS9 had a black Captain/leader. Avery Brooks. Battlestar Galactica had a latino leader. But yes, you do have a point. And science fiction usually doesn’t cast women in leader roles either. Star Trek eventually had Janeway and Stargate Atlantis had Elizabeth Weir.

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    73. Saarah: Why film in a country that is populated by “brown” people at all?

      You realize that is the most racist thing that has been written on this topic yet, right?

      And there are plenty of white slaves on the show.

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    74. Saarah: Setting aside that your post is condescending, I will answer it:

      First of all, I’m not really sure why you think my being offended has anything to do with you. I have a right to be offended, whether you like it or not, and whether or not you think it’s pointless to say that I am. And by the way, many other visible minority fans of the show feel the same way, whether from your privileged white male perspective, you think we should be or not.

      Second of all, absolutely the creators of the show cast with intention. They choose either white or visible minority actors for every single role on the show. And the end result is that almost all of the visible minority characters are servants, slaves, thieves, rapists, criminals, guards and are generally ignorant, uneducated, and inferior to the whites on the show. Perhaps out of ignorance, but that is the result. And I can tell you that if I or another visible minority person were casting for Game of Thrones, we would be more aware of that problem and adjust our casting accordingly. This is something that we as a society *should* be sensitive to. Telling me that I need a peer reviewed study to substantiate my opinion on the matter is condescending. Having a peer reviewed study or not having a peer reviewed study does not change what I and many others have observed about this show’s treatment of visible minorities and the incremental effect of that on society.

      You have every right to be offended. But you ask what your offence has to do with me. Nothing. It has nothing to do with anybody. Which is why I’m curious as to why you’d fling it in your post like it were a badge of honour.

      Secondly, I’m still waiting on those peer reviewed studies.

      Thirdly, you don’t speak for all minorities. You’re not their noble guardian. No one elected you.

      Fourthly, don’t ever presume to tell me about what privileges I do or don’t have. You know nothing about me.

      Finally, unless you assert and can make a compelling case for the argument that the creators cast minorities in subservient roles because they’re racist, why should anyone care?

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    75. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      Hi Nymeria,

      I am suggesting exactly that. The show sets up two major blocs. The “enlightened” white part of the world, and the “barbaric” brown part of the world. If everyone in the show as white, then it would avoid that problem.

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    76. LOL, I completely forgot about Talisa in the list of white book characters being POC in the show, like Salladhor, Xaro, and Areo, although I suppose it’s different since Talisa was of Volantis origin in the show, and Book Talisa or Jeyne was from Westeros.

      Loved Rila Fukushima as the Red Priestess. She did a lot with a very short scene. I suspect she was supposed to be the “Kinvara” in Season 6 and they had to cast someone else because she was unavailable.

      The Waif (Faye Marsay’s character) was supposed to be Asian in the show, but they wound up casting Faye Marsay instead. I love Faye Marsay and all, but it seems like a missed opportunity. Tycho Nestoris could easily have been played by a POC actor. Mark Gatiss is great, but there was no reason that character had to be white.

      As the show action moves to Westeros and out of Essos permanently–as it will when Arya, Tyrion and Dany head back–and as the locus of action moves to the North and the Wall, it seems very unlikely that there will be many new POC characters cast in the show beyond Season 6, and that’s a shame.

      There’s probably a lot that’s problematic or at the very least unfortunate in the Targaryens being presented as some sort of super-breed–beautiful beyond mortal ken, magical powers, blah blah–and also being very white (pale, white hair, etc. etc.). GRRM would probably blame Tolkien, but yeah, it’s not good.

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    77. God of tits and wine:
      Does Tolkien catch this same heat over LOTR? Progress is being made ppl. It might not be moving as fast as some would hope but it’s moving.Take the shitty show the walking dead for example, it’s mega diverse. Boardwalk empire is another one

      Yes, trust me, actually it did. But again, I think anything that is based from a medieval-type standpoint is a mute point because historically people of colour weren’t placed in roles of leadership. A conversation of modern genres having equality for minorities and genders makes more sense today.

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    78. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      I’m not complaining about diversity. I’m complaining about the way the show has divided the world between white and brown on the show. If the show is only going to portray brown people as “barbaric” and subservient, it’s better not to have them on the show at all.

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    79. I’m just glad D&D have big enough balls to keep their artistic integrity. If it was for the PC police on this website then Pedro Pascal would have never played Oberyn “because he was waaayy too whiiite” (remember the shitstorm when his casting was first announced?).

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    80. zod:
      I’m just glad D&D have big enough balls to keep their artistic integrity. If it was for the PC police on this website then Pedro Pascal would have never played Oberyn “because he was waaayy too whiiite” (remember the shitstorm when his casting was first announced?).

      Hear hear.

      I’ve criticised D&D frequently, but I’ll always respect their refusal to genuflect in front of the new religious right: “progressives”.

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    81. On the other hand if you truly want to see someone who is truly racist,read some of Linda’s blog posts,you would have a blast reading that .

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    82. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      But see Nymeria, even there people who whined at the time about why should Areo not be cast black vs white from the books, were running into a bit of contradiction. Areo WAS sold into slavery and was serving the priests before he came to Dorne. He WAS white in the books. For that matter Mel WAS herself a slave in the book sold when she was a small, as we find out when her repressed memories are coming out. She IS white.

      So you see how odd it is when I suddenly come across posters in asoiaf forums who complain that there are no white slaves recognizable or known characters? but then turn around and ask why shouldn’t they make Areo black and thus make GoT more racially diverse.

      Well, what do you want? You want a recognizable character as white slave or a black actor? I would have been fine with making Mel black. It’s fantasy, regardless of where the inspiration came from. But then, as someone pointed out elsewhere: can you imagine the outcry of making a black woman subservient to a white man? (Stannis) Tumblr would explode. I tend to agree.

      I honestly don’t think there is a solution that would please everyone.

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    83. Saarah: The show sets up two major blocs. The “enlightened” white part of the world, and the “barbaric” brown part of the world.

      Er, isn’t it the other way around? In many ways, Essos is shown to be much more advanced than Westeros is. That actually comes up with Talisa: she initially treats Robb as if he is just another barbarian, and then later points out that her mother would be shocked that she married someone from Westeros. Didn’t she refer to him as a “smelly savage” or something like that? Obviously it was a bit tongue-in-cheek and somewhat exaggerated: but the point was obvious that it was (at most) only an exaggeration, not a fabrication. This also has come up in Daeny’s travels: Westeros is considered backwards in Essos.

      Really, the one “enlightened” trait of Westeros is that they eschew slavery: but other than that, they come across as much more barbaric than the Essossians do.

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    84. Chriss,

      hahahaha, well said good ser!

      when I watch the show, the race of a particular actor/extra doesnt even enter my mind

      In my opinion this piece and the diversity debate are ridiculous

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    85. Saarah,
      “But the fact that there are brown people on the show, but they’re all, as mentioned earlier, servants, guards, or charlatans, or indeed slaves, is problematic”.

      First of all, what is wrong with being a servant or a guard? Areo Hotah might be just a servant if you look at him in superficial way, but what he really is, is the strong hand and protector of the freaking ruler of dorne.

      As for charlatans: that description fits some people in the show, but certainly not Salladhor Saan, he never lies about what he is or can do. In fact, I would say he is one of the most honest people around.

      If you’re going to only portray brown people as subservient, inferior to white people, or “barbaric” compared to the white people, then please don’t put them in at all.

      That statement has simple no grounds in the show. Are you really going to say that Missandei who speaks 13 languages is portrayed as inferior or “barbaric” compared to the white people? And can the same really be said about (for all their faults) Xaro Xhoan Daxos or Hizdahr zo Loraq?
      Even people like the Dothraki arn’t more inferior (what ever that exactly means) or “barbaric” compared to people like let’s say the Thenns. Hack! Are most of the lords and ladies of Westeros really all that better when it comes down to it?

      All that said, the show could do with a little more diffrent looking people, it shows how big the word is. Many kinds of people live in the world of aSoIaF. But I really don’t see how the people of color the show does show are represented as inferior or “barbaric”. They do some awful things like all the others.

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    86. Chriss,
      Thank you for clarifying but you still used the term “shaming”. The purpose of shaming is to embarrass someone. Often it is used to get someone to change their behavior. One can also give constructive criticism to someone in order to get them to change their behavior. I’ve seen many articles on other websites (Salon, I’m looking at you) that use the shaming technique and it never, ever affects change nor spawns any good conversation around the subject. This post is different. I think this piece falls into a more constructive paradigm because I believe (but am not speaking for her) that she meant it as such and she meant it as a way to have a conversation about race. Again, that’s a public service as far as I’m concerned. We don’t talk about race constructively in this country enough. All that stuff aside though…she raises some good points and I think the question she is asking is justified. I may not agree, in the end, with her stance BUT I don’t mind her asking the question, particularly because she didn’t go the vitriolic, shame route that too many people online now engage in.

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    87. Wimsey: Er, isn’t it the other way around?In many ways, Essos is shown to be much more advanced than Westeros is.That actually comes up with Talisa: she initially treats Robb as if he is just another barbarian, and then later points out that her mother would be shocked that she married someone from Westeros.Didn’t she refer to him as a “smelly savage” or something like that?Obviously it was a bit tongue-in-cheek and somewhat exaggerated: but the point was obvious that it was (at most) only an exaggeration, not a fabrication.This also has come up in Daeny’s travels: Westeros is considered backwards in Essos.

      That’s a good point. Talisa is also horrified by the bedding tradition, whereas Robb is unbothered by it.

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    88. Chriss,

      Chris – you seem to be saying that I don’t have a right to speak on this topic unless I can produce a peer reviewed article and show you that I speak for all minorities. Last time I checked, this is a board where we can share our views on the show and yes, even criticize the show sometimes. I am telling you that as a human being, I find some aspects of the show to be offensive. And that in my view, it perpetuates some negative stereotypes about visible minorities. Maybe you personally don’t know what that feels like, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a reality for visible minority people who watch TV and live in society today. I’m not “flinging” my opinion in my post like a “badge of honour”… I’m expressing my perspective, which is just as valid as yours.

      When did I ever say that the creators of the show are racist? You’re exaggerating my opinion to make it look unreasonable. I never said that they are racist. If I thought that, I wouldn’t watch the show. I’m saying that the end of result of the show’s casting choices, is that most of the visible minorities on the show are barbaric, ignorant, slavish, subservient, etc. And that different choices could have been made if the people casting the show had been more sensitive to this.

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    89. God of tits and wine,

      I love that you referenced the Walking Dead as diverse, perhaps you were joking?. Every season they introduce and then kill off a black character, it has become a running joke because of how consistently they do it!

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    90. OK so here we go… I’m a person of color and I love ASOIAF. Obviously, I’m all about diversity but that’s not the story George is telling so whatever. I understand the want and need for people to feel/be included & want to see faces that aren’t all white on their favorite show, or that when is of color, is not a thief, slave, or scoundrel. And I think D&D have somewhat done what they can to be inclusive without totally disrupting the story, which I assume is the reason for any objection to further diversity.

      Could you imagine if they decided to make let’s say Margaery & the Tyrell’s a black family?! No matter how talented and/or attractive the actors were ASOIAF fan/f**kboys would go completely INSANE!!! & don’t tell me they won’t just go through the comments section of those hip hop mixtapes… atrocious.

      Just look at the comments under this posting; one person called the people asking for diversity brats lol like really?

      I for one hope Lupita N’yongo & Christina Hendricks (whose also expressed interest in being on the show) form a super duo and shut Westeros down!!!

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    91. Sigh…
      I’m saddened this ridiculous non-controversy was brought up once again.
      It truly amazing how much someone can go out of their way to be offended these days…..

      Hopefully there will be new casting or production news soon and we can go back to something that really matters like whether or not an actor’s hair is long enough or if a man over the age of 60 can swing a sword!

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    92. Sansarya,

      Not to mention the quota lesbian and gay characters . You can tell the only purpose of those characters are just to say they have diversity in their show because they have no personalities whatsover beyond that .

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    93. Dame Pasty:
      Chriss,
      Thank you for clarifying but you still used the term “shaming”.The purpose of shaming is to embarrass someone.Often it is used to get someone to change their behavior.One can also give constructive criticism to someone in order to get them to change their behavior.I’ve seen many articles on other websites (Salon, I’m looking at you) that use the shaming technique and it never, ever affects change nor spawns any good conversation around the subject.This post is different.I think this piece falls into a more constructive paradigm because I believe (but am not speaking for her) that she meant it as such and she meant it as a way to have a conversation about race.Again, that’s a public service as far as I’m concerned.We don’t talk about race constructively in this country enough. All that stuff aside though…she raises some good points and I think the question she is asking is justified.I may not agree, in the end, with her stance BUT I don’t mind her asking the question, particularly because she didn’t go the vitriolic, shame route that too many people online now engage in.

      With due respect, we’re not all American. And although I realise this site’s authors are American, I believe it’s aimed at a global audience. And I’m sure many of us would rather not be subject to lectures on America’s race relations issues.

      You say it’s a public service. But is that what this site is for? Providing a public service? Or is it just a Game of Thrones fansite? I was sure it was the latter.

      Not that I’d dare presume any right to dictate what can and can’t be posted here. I can give my opinion on it, though.

      Anyway, I agree that this article isn’t an all out attack on Game of Thrones’ morality. Just a subtle one. Some of us don’t need to have ‘the race talk’, so you’ll understand why we find being treated as if we do have to quite annoying.

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    94. i feel Got is a great show and i stand by mostly whatever D&D includes in this show. But i don’t expect everyone to understand what it feels like to have really small representation in huge pop culture pieces like , LOTR , Harry Potter, and GoT, people of all decents are fans too, and we are able to emphatize with white heroes all the time.
      But what i’m reading here is a bit hurtful, most people don’t seem to understand where the feeling comes from.
      Nobody is demanding brown/black/asian characters in every occidental art piece ever done ever, but just every now and then having a strong character you can relate to, who isnt white.
      Now im european and the race debate isn’t the same as in the US where most of you seem to come from ( liberals agenda and hollywood pushing stuffs isnt our daily debate here), but still i’m reading comments of people really content with the show representation whether some claim to be themselves “minorities”, but people like me who are 99 % happy with Game of Thrones should be allowed to express what we feel too about seeing the Emmy stage with the author, the writers and a dozen of the show prominent casts members all being white in 2015.
      Like it or not it doesnt make people not feel what they feel.

      I don’t see my art and my entertainement as political, but mostly emotional, and when the topic is brought up, i’m not gonna stay shut and have people believe nobody cares abt diversity.

      I hope i’m being clear, english isn’t my first language ( nor my second for that matter).

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    95. Sansarya:
      God of tits and wine,

      I love that you referenced the Walking Dead as diverse, perhaps you were joking?.Every season they introduce and then kill off a black character, it has become a running joke because of how consistently they do it!

      It does seem like they have a black dude quota. If a new black dude gets introduced, an established black dude has to go. Much like Highlander, there can be only one. (I don’t think it applies to ladies, since Sasha and Michonne have been coexisting for a while now, but dudes? Definitely.)

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    96. Saarah:
      Chriss,

      Chris – you seem to be saying that I don’t have a right to speak on this topic unless I can produce a peer reviewed article and show you that I speak for all minorities. Last time I checked, this is a board where we can share our views on the show and yes, even criticize the show sometimes. I am telling you that as a human being, I find some aspects of the show to be offensive. And that in my view, it perpetuates some negative stereotypes about visible minorities. Maybe you personally don’t know what that feels like, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a reality for visible minority people who watch TV and live in society today. I’m not “flinging” my opinion in my post like a “badge of honour”… I’m expressing my perspective, which is just as valid as yours.

      When did I ever say that the creators of the show are racist? You’re exaggerating my opinion to make it look unreasonable. I never said that they are racist. If I thought that, I wouldn’t watch the show. I’m saying that the end of result of the show’s casting choices, is that most of the visible minorities on the show are barbaric, ignorant, slavish, subservient, etc. And that different choices could have been made if the people casting the show had been more sensitive to this.

      No, Sarah. I’m saying that if you’re going to make factual assertions, expect to be asked to produce good evidence for them.

      I’m saying if you’re going to make allegations against people, particularly about race, expect to be challenged on them.

      I’m saying if you’re going to suggest that our opinions differ because of our races, expect to be asked how you can speak for anyone other than yourself.

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    97. I quite like opinion pieces on GoT, so I hope we have a lot more of them in the future, particularly after filming ends and we’re all twiddling our thumbs for a while, so although I personally disagree with most of what is said here I still respect the view and hope to hear more. An opinion piece is always going to have people commenting who disagree, but the good thing is that it gets people talking.

      SciFiFantasyGirl,
      This is a very salient point. I actually think the show does a very good job at trying to integrate characters where they can. There are some characters from Dorne and Essos who are black and/or non-white which makes sense because of the warmer climates. Would it make sense for people in colder climates, such as the North be black? I don’t think so, unless there was some context as to why their skin colour is different.

      In some people’s minds it will be never enough, I fear. Saarah, says the black characters they have are barbaric. If Joffrey was black you would have had the same sort of arguments that they were portraying black people as evil.

      Lupita is an amazing actress, but imagine if she did join and was only able to film a cameo role due to her busy schedule. Some people would say she was wasted, whilst others would bring up the racism card for her limited screen-time.

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    98. Marcus:
      Mihnea,

      I know my comment didn’t sound well but what i mean is that i don’t want the show producers to invent one character out of convienence just so they can say hey look at us we are so diverse […]

      Literally no one wants that.

      We, the pro-diversity camp, want creators to think about realistic representation at the very beginning of the process. Who makes sense in this story? Does it really make the most sense to have mostly/all white main characters? Does it make sense to have mostly/all straight characters? Think about it, don’t just automatically make everyone white/straight/male/whatever your mental default is.

      If it’s a fictional setting, is the story better served by having it be racially homogeneous or diverse? If you have different races, what kind of subtext are you implying about them with your storyline? If its homogenous, why? Do other races exist somewhere, and what is the reaction to them?

      To be fair I think GRRM does a good job with Dorne and the race issues surrounding it, even delving into how racist attitudes were formed by centuries of conflict, different cultures, and how these attitudes play out in 300 AC politics.

      But he falls down pretty hard with other races. Areo Hotah is a POV character in the books but he is not dark skinned. In the show he is black but hardly a very important character (interview with the actor recently strongly implied it will stay that way in season 6). Other than Slaver’s Bay, I don’t think any of the portrayals of characters of color in the books are problematic in and of themselves, it’s just that in the totality of the enormous world and in all of the many many POV characters we do not get the internal voice of any character of color. Imagine getting a Dothraki POV, or a POV of some native Meereen citizen. Even as a one-off prolog or something. I think it would be super interesting.

      It’s almost apologetic the way Martin admits that none of the characters of color will be main players in his story, as if he lacks control over his own world.

      This goes back to what I said at first. Satisfactory diversity can’t just be grafted in halfway, or done of the sake of being done. It has to be an organic part of the story’s DNA. Which, at this advanced stage in ASOIAF, it’s fairly clear that racial diversity among POV characters is not going to happen, unless you count Arianne, or if you consider Norvoshi to be another race. For GRRM to try to change that at this point would likely come across as artificial and forced. The show is also pretty much set with main characters, all they can do at this point is diversify the minor characters, which they seem to be making an effort to do.

      As a fantasy fan who strongly believes we need more diversity in our genre–and on mainstream TV shows–I can see how GoT and ASOIAF could have been more racially diverse from the beginning, and (to me) richer and more interesting stories because of it. It’s clear from the Worldbook that there are many rich and interesting cultures on Planetos, and that they have many historical and cultural connections. Seeing this through narrative eyes other than the Westerosi (and one Norvoshi guard in Westeros) surely would not have hurt the story in any way.

      However, it’s clear that racial issues (other than the Dornish variety) were not a high priority to GRRM as he put together the foundation of ASOIAF. Since he hasn’t addressed them all this time I can’t imagine him working them in seamlessly in later books. But he does address issues of sexism, ableism, classism, and xenophobia, so it’s not like GoT is totally vacuous in terms of social issues.

      For those craving interesting and organic racial diversity in fantasy, please join me in worshipping NK Jemisin, and praying to Father Earth that The Fifth Season gets film or TV treatment. Lupita Nyong’o would make a kickass Syenite.

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    99. Marcus,

      I never said anything as extreme as “conspiracy”… I never said or implied that I think there is a “conspiracy” or that the showrunners are racist. If I thought that, I wouldn’t watch the show. I’m saying that the way the show has cast “brown” people into the roles of servants, slaves, guards, thieves, and schemers, amounts to a portrayal of “brown” people as inferior to white people on the show. There are a few token people or exceptions to the general rule (ie. Missandei, etc.) who are not like that, but the majority are. And a guard or servant (which Missandei is at the end of the day) is not that different from a slave.

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    100. To go back to the OP, I wouldn’t say that racism is never discussed. Viserys repeatedly refers to the Dothraki as “savages” to the point where Dany even asks him to knock it off. His racist attitude is clearly meant to be yet another indication of what an asshole Viserys is, and his racism prevents him from assimilating the way Dany does.

      Also, an uncomfortable truth about the GOT adaptation is that a lot of the more problematic aspects of the ASOIAF books are being subjected to much closer scrutiny. It’s harder to dismiss something when you see it rendered in vivid HD as opposed to in words on a page.

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    101. Blind Beth: For those craving interesting and organic racial diversity in fantasy, please join me in worshipping NK Jemisin, and praying to Father Earth that The Fifth Season get…

      I find a lot of your post disagreeable, but I strongly, strongly support this paragraph.

      The path to diversity is not demanding that artists start writing what you want, because that isn’t art, it’s pandering. Why anyone would want a creator to ignore their ‘mental default’ is beyond me. I’d rather have a homogenous cast of brilliance than a diverse cast of nonsense.

      However, we can have both. We can have a diverse cast and allow artists to stick to their ‘mental default’.

      We do so by supporting and paying for the artists who we love who do produce diversity. We show that there is a market for these people and their wonderful characters. Just like you were doing in that paragraph. That’s the way we open up the arts. By promoting diverse talent, not by curtailing and censuring artists who don’t produce the art we want.

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    102. Saarah,

      The thing is, at least in my reading/viewing, the Essosi are the ones who look down upon the Westerosi as being uncultured. There is still the problem of slavery in Essos, yes, but Dany, from the perspective of knowing what it is to be sold, is trying to remedy that, not because she is white, but because, again, she was sold. Moreover, when you look at the major houses of Westeros, the one with the greatest diversity on the show is House Martell, the only house outside the royal house wherein the leaders are referred to as Princes and Princesses, as opposed to merely Ladies and Lords. If you look at how the main characters in Dorne were cast, you have Doran (Middle Eastern), Ellaria (part Indian), Nymeria (part Singaporean Chinese), and Obara (part Maori), they utilized an opportunity to have some diversity. Additionally, while Areo does serve Doran, it isn’t as though they cast the black guy to serve the white guy. Furthermore, I feel the suggestion they should have cast everyone white, although, again, I’m sure it was not your intention, suggests they should have denied the opportunity to appear on the show to anyone who was not white. That’s is hugely problematic, from my perspective.

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    103. Chriss,
      No this site doesn’t exist for “public service”. It exists to discuss GOT and since GOT has spawned many debates not only about race but also sex, types of government, religion, (all of the verboten topics) etc it is not out of character to have such an article.

      If it seems condescending to Americans that I tell them they need to talk more constructively about race, then oh well. I’m not the only one who is saying it and it’s been said since the birth of this country and funny thing, it still ain’t happening. As for others around the globe, we can’t speak to everyone all the time. That’s an impossible task. Although I do have to say that I’m seeing in the news the resurrection of the extreme right wing in Europe in response to the immigration problems there. The subject of race isn’t just a uniquely American problem so the conversation doesn’t have to be strictly among Americans.

      And finally, the title of the post makes it very clear the subject matter. If you don’t think you need to engage in the diversity question, why bother to read the article and then go further to comment and tell the author that she shouldn’t have asked the question in the first place?

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    104. Saarah:
      Marcus,

      I never said anything as extreme as “conspiracy”… I never said or implied that I think there is a “conspiracy” or that the showrunners are racist. If I thought that, I wouldn’t watch the show. I’m saying that the way the show has cast “brown” people into the roles of servants, slaves, guards, thieves, and schemers, amounts to a portrayal of “brown” people as inferior to white people on the show. There are a few token people or exceptions to the general rule (ie. Missandei, etc.) who are not like that, but the majority are. And a guard or servant is not that different from a slave.

      Again, I’ll remind people that the show is based on historical content. It’s accurate in it’s portrayal of it’s time period. If it was set in the modern era, you would see a much different show. But it’s not. It’s medieval/fantasy.

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    105. Saarah,

      I agree that the show could definitely use some more diversity (for example, I think with a bit more “creativity” they could have cast more characters from the Free Cities with non-white or at least something other than white British people).

      However, I don’t really get this complaint.

      Like Hotah has the same rank as Rodrik Cassel, so why is it problematic for him to be played by a non-white actor.

      Or similarly, Daxos in the show seems to derive a fair amount for Illyrio and his backstory in the books and Saan is basically Davos’ Bronn.

      I’d also note that “roles of servants, slaves, guards, thieves, and schemers” is several different kinds of roles (sometimes contradictory). It sort of feels like a moving of the goalposts so as to argue that every non-white character fits into some kind of negative category.

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    106. This comment section makes me so tired.

      I came to WotW, read an interesting article, and then reached the comments. Suddenly, there are the same few people pouring out posts about how horrible it is that this article exists, or that anyone dares to criticize the way GoT/GRRM handles the issue of skin color. “This is not a problem, YOU’RE the problem,” they start shouting loudly. “I don’t agree with this so how dare you write about it!” Using the term PC as a slur (how is considering the thoughts and feelings of others besides straight white males a bad thing?), talking about agendas, denying the existence or relevance of opposite viewpoints…

      Seriously, guys. Your opinions are not facts. You do not get to censor away articles you don’t agree with. Other people have different views from yours, and their feelings and experiences are not less relevant than yours, nor do they have to “prove” that there are others who agree with them. (Anyone can find criticisms of GRRM/GoT on the issue of “race”/skin color just by looking through social media. And yes, Tolkien too.) The fact that other shows and book series do the same thing does not mean nobody gets to object to it. And the “historical accuracy” excuse doesn’t wash because a) there were actually plenty of people of color in medieval Europe, b) GRRM portrays a lot of things as factual in Westeros which are myths as far as history goes, like the First Night custom, and c) dragons, white walkers, faceless men, resurrection by fire magic…

      Stop acting so entitled. Other people have a right to talk about what they think without being shouted down because you disagree.

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    107. Dame Pasty:
      Chriss,
      No this site doesn’t exist for “public service”.It exists to discuss GOT and since GOT has spawned many debates not only about race but also sex, types of government, religion, (all of the verboten topics) etc it is not out of character to have such an article.

      If it seems condescending to Americans that I tell them they need to talk more constructively about race, then oh well.I’m not the only one who is saying it and it’s been said since the birth of this country and funny thing, it still ain’t happening.As for others around the globe, we can’t speak to everyone all the time.That’s an impossible task.Although I do have to say that I’m seeing in the news the resurrection of the extreme right wing in Europe in response to the immigration problems there.The subject of race isn’t just a uniquely American problem so the conversation doesn’t have to be strictly among Americans.

      And finally, the title of the post makes it very clear the subject matter.If you don’t think you need to engage in the diversity question, why bother to read the article and then go further to comment and tell the author that she shouldn’t have asked the question in the first place?

      You ask why I feel the need to involve myself in an area I find tedious. It’s because, quite simply, the minority who push these issues tend to be very loud. And they have a censorious effect on the creators afflicted by them.

      Anita Sarkeesian has managed to seriously infringe on the creative freedom of video game studios, for example. We’ve seen female developers tell us how their studios now self-censor when creating their art. This is hurtful.

      And people like Sarkeesian managed to assume these positions because the only people engaging in her discussions were her fans. That’s why it’s important the opposition makes their voice heard.

      Now, you’re right that there are issues with race in the world. There are many issues in the world. More than just race. And indeed Game of Thrones could be used to springboard a discussion into them (‘there is famine in chapter X! Let’s discuss the famine in country Y!’). But i believe these stories should not lead into a discussion of how the subject matter is in some unrelated field. There should always be a direct relation to GoT.

      But it’s not my website. And it’ll be about what the people who put the hard work into making it want it to be about. And that’s fine by me. But I will be a dissenting voice on these articles.

      And I must say, the moderation here is very reasonable. So at least there can be a proper conversation.

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    108. Chriss,

      Whether or not I have a study to prove my point, that doesn’t change the perception out there that the show portrays its brown characters as “inferior” in many ways, and that in my view, this puts negative stereotypes out in the world. It doesn’t help that Game of Thrones is a very popular TV show that many people watch. That perception of negative stereotyping is out there, which is clear from the many articles written on the subject as well as posts from others on this board. I don’t claim to represent all visible minority fans of the show, but I’ve had this discussion with many friends of mine, both white and non-white, and they see what I am talking about.

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    109. And with my last post I’m done on here for the day. This topic would have been better for the forums. People come on here to get production news and share their love and excitement for the show, not to engage in debates on political correctness. In fact, for me, science fiction and fantasy has always been an escape from the world and I joined this site with that same purpose; it being another way to escape into GRRM’s world with other people who love it as well.
      Enjoy your day everyone. Look for me on twitter, facebook and tumblr if you ever want to share your love for the art. – scififantasygirl

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    110. Saarah:
      Chriss,

      You can ask for studies all you want, but that doesn’t change the perception out there that the show portrays its brown characters as “inferior” in many ways, and that portrayals of that nature on such a popular TV show do have cultural influence. That is clear from the many articles written on the subject as well as posts from others on this board. I don’t claim to represent all visible minority fans of the show, but I’ve had this discussion with many friends of mine, both white and non-white, and they see what I am talking about.

      Haha. Check the comment sections of those articles to see how popular your point of view is.

      Okay, I really have rambled on here. I’ll let you have the last word.

      Good tidings all.

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    111. I’m a black man, and I find that the show does a good job with diversity. I don’t agree that black people are consistently portrayed negatively, and I think D&D work well within the mythos (all black people are basically from the lovely Summer Isles) to create non-white roles. Let’s look at some examples:

      Xaro Xohan Daxos: In the books, he’s pale white. The show specifically made him a Summer Islander, a former slave who worked his way up to wealth and power.

      Sallador Saan: In the books, white. The show has made him a Summer Islander as well, and he is smart, sharp, and funny.

      Pirate Mr. Eko: Doesn’t exist in the books. In the show he’s menacing and hilarious. Like Sallador, he is a pirate, probably with Summer Islands origins.

      Areo Hotah: White in the books (Norvosi). Ambiguous where he’s from in the show. Great fighter, strong presence, loyal guard.

      Missandei: Exactly as she was in the book, race-wise. Dark-skinned Naathi. Highly intelligent, sweet, loyal, thoughtful.

      Grey Worm: Another dark-skinned character whose been given an expanded role. Courageous fighter, eunuch romantic.

      Dornishmen: Distinctly non-white in the show, while many are white in the books. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Tyene has been made the dark-haired, dark-skinned daughter of dark-haired, dark-skinned Ellaria. Doran is also darker than I imagined.

      Meereenese Slaves: While the Yunkai slaves are distinctly non-white, the Meereenese slaves are far more diverse. There are white ones and black ones and everything in between. Thus any argument that all the slaves are dark is false.

      Dothraki: Spot-on depiction. Drogo is a fantastic character.

      All in all, the show has done great with diversity. While the Westerosi nobles are generally white, there is historic precedence for it within the mythos (Andals and First Men). The Dornish are darker than in the books. In Essos, Qarth has become more diverse (the Qaathi are all pale white in the boos), Meereen is as diverse as it should be, and the Dothraki are spot on. Missandei and Grey Worm have expanded roles. Several characters have been made black that were white in the books. I see no grounds for complaint here.

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    112. Chriss: That’s the way we open up the arts. By promoting diverse talent, not by curtailing and censuring artists who don’t produce the art we want.

      This x 100.

      I also think it’s important to realize that, while racism is a crucial issue, and *needs* to be addressed through the arts, that doesn’t mean that every single piece of art/entertainment has to address it. As stated just above, aSoIaF does address issues of sexism and classism, and does a pretty good job subverting traditional power roles. But it doesn’t *have* to be all things for all issues.

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    113. Ignoring all the people in here whining about how annoyed they are by diversity articles, Lupita would be a perfect Sarella, unless she’s just not cool playing a character who is only supposed to be half-black. If she’s offering, they should totally do whatever they have to to write that role into season 7.

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    114. I don’t have too much to add to this topic in either direction save but to bring up one point that always amuses me….

      When people go to the “but Martin is basing this on a Western European Medieval history/timeline/example…”

      I mean, sure, I get that but people…..Dragons, White Walkers, R’hollor, Shadow Babies, Ice Spiders, Giants, Warging.

      I mean it sure seems like he had ZERO problem inserting all manner of things that have zero factual or historical comparision in Western European medieval times.

      So while it is his right as the author to construct whatever world he wants, filled with whatever characters he wants, he certainly COULD have included more substantive characters of color without ruining the “Authenticity” or “historical antecedent” of his world any more than the aforementioned insertions of Dragons, White Walkers, R’hollor, Shadow Babies, Ice Spiders, Giants, Warging, Greenseeing, Warlocks, House of the Undead, Resurrections, etc, etc.

      Again, didn’t HAVE TO, its his story to tell, but the “historical basis” argument is absolutely bunk given the other story elements.

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    115. Ugh, this kind of discussion just makes me wanna punch people in the face until they stop moving.

      I’ll just say that if someone has a problem with the portrayals of people of color in the show, they should take it up with George. The show is basing its characters and hiring actors according to what’s written, and has actually gone out of its way to cast non-white actors as characters that were white in the books (much to the chagrin of book purists like Lindaaa).

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    116. Look here is how I actually feel about this…..when I sit down to watch Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon..I don’t expect, nor would I want a blonde haired blue eyed white guy popping up in the story…why?..because it wouldn’t make sense to have one in an Asian based fantasy..likewise Game of Thrones is set in a fictional universe where Westeros is heavily based on medieval western Europe..(northern European people)….I applaud the writers for getting what diversity they can in the show…And someone earlier stated that race never plays an issue in GoT…guess they weren’t around for the Bronn’s how many Dornishmen does it take to fuck a goat joke…or the shaved goat and a bottle of olive oil remark ..so yes racism exists even in Westeros

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    117. Hey I’m white/native American and I want a show on BET. Think that will ever happen? No, and I don’t worry about it whatsoever.

      ASoIaF has peoples from ALL backgrounds, all colors, all belief systems. Let’s not forget, the series is not yet complete. Also, D&D choose what characters make it, and choose how/who is cast. There are white people in Westeros, get over it. Some are good, some are evil, but most are the main characters. Given the fact that it’s set in a comparatively medieval time period, the peoples weren’t traveling that much, especially overseas, unless they were wealthy and had the mind of a conqueror.

      Go back to 1200AD, on our Earth. Try going to India and finding tons of whites. Go to Ireland and find dark-skinned folks. It won’t happen. After steam engines and airplanes were invented, then yeah, regions on Earth began to know some diversity. Our present day world is extremely diverse, complicated, and a lot more modern than the world of ASoIaF. GRRM does a fucking fantastic job of building characters, of all colors and backgrounds. If you don’t see enough of something, too fucking bad. It’s not a thesis on gentrification or racial equality. It’s a fucking fiction series based in a fantasy world. I love unicorns, and I really wish they’d travel to Skaagos so I could see one, but do you see me blowing up every thread in the seven hells with my whining? Hell no, and you won’t either, because it’s stupid.

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    118. Armsbendback,

      Last comment. It’s a historical fantasy. A fantasy based on a historical period. That is, a time setting with all the human hallmarks of that period then peppered with fantastical elements.

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    119. Chriss: I find a lot of your post disagreeable, but I strongly, strongly support this paragraph.

      The path to diversity is not demanding that artists start writing what you want, because that isn’t art, it’s pandering. Why anyone would want a creator to ignore their ‘mental default’ is beyond me. I’d rather have a homogenous cast of brilliance than a diverse cast of nonsense.

      However, we can have both. We can have a diverse cast and allow artists to stick to their ‘mental default’.

      We do so by supporting and paying for the artists who we love who do produce diversity. We show that there is a market for these people and their wonderful characters. Just like you were doing in that paragraph. That’s the way we open up the arts. By promoting diverse talent, not by curtailing and censuring artists who don’t produce the art we want.

      Nice to meet another member of the NK Jemisin fan club. 😀

      I think you might be misunderstanding what I mean about the “mental default.” I’m not saying people shouldn’t draw from their own experiences or write characters similar to themselves. There is a lot to be gained from careful self reflection.

      I just mean that when you are coming up with a story, you should give deliberate thought to all aspects of your character. If you are a white male and you thoughtfully decide to write a white male because that is the best POV for your particular story, fine. But at least make that decision consciously after considering other possibilities. That’s all I’m saying. I think part of the issue with film/TV is that such a consideration rarely even happens.

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    120. Brooklyn Ann,

      I agree it came off bad, but as a black guy I feel the need to defend the show on this, unfortunately the filming for the yunkai plot took place in morocco and as such the large number of extras used were Moroccan and the fact is many are brown skinned I do not think the show in any way intended it come of optically like it did. But yes it did look bad but it’s something I don’t feel the need to be upset about because I don’t think it was the shows intent just geography

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    121. Lupita has a stunning look and I’d love to see a place for it on the show.

      That said, I’m so sick of the public oversensitivity to everything. ASOIAF, while fictional, still has to adhere to some realities. It is set in a feudal world. The vast majority of people in this world likely never traveled more than 50 miles from where they were born. Relatively very few would have traveled extensively. Races of humans developed in separate geographies due to varying environmental conditions. Thus, with the world of ASOIAF at such an early stage of technological and cultural advancement, the mass interaction of these races is not as likely at this point. That said, the story is about Westeros. GRRM has stated this. Westeros, outside of Dorne, is populated overwhelmingly by the light-skinned people who conquered it (the First Men & the Andals).

      So, why make a big deal of the lack of diversity in this case? Should GRRM have made the First Men and Andals dark-skinned and the Rhoynar, light-skinned? Could he have added a foreign dark-skinned person that somehow married into one of the great houses of Westeros and becomes a main player in the GOT? Where does this line of questioning go? It is such a silly discussion.

      We live in a time where racial diversity is at its greatest point to date (and hopefully every new day brings us more). Fictional works (especially those set in a semi-historical setting), however, do not need to be given more diversity for the sake of our current state of diversity. They need to make sense in the world on which they are built. I think ASOIAF does just that.

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    122. KevLS:
      Enough whining about diversity.Just enjoy the show.Not everything has to be about race.

      Exactly! it seems like everyone has to be super PC now days, or all hell will break loose. I just wish folks would stop trying to make a big deal out of EVERYTHING in the world.

      Just enjoy life for what it is, and stop being so damn cynical about everything.

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    123. Chriss: Finally, unless you assert and can make a compelling case for the argument that the creators cast minorities in subservient roles because they’re racist, why should anyone care?

      No, no, no. This is not correct. “Racism” does not have to be the compelling or overarching reason a producer/director acted the way they did to be concerned in productions when minorities are cast in subservient or “inferior” roles. It’s because it matters how people in a diverse world such as this – and I’m talking about our world – are utilized and portrayed. This is not a historic work, where you, say, can cast African-Americans entirely as slaves because it takes place in the antebellum south, where a person would rightly criticize, say, casting Morgan Freeman to play Abraham Lincoln (or Jefferson Davis) if your effort is to be historic and try to capture events as they were. It’s why we can’t laugh off the idea that of course you’d cast Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton as Moses and Raamsees and have African actors only play the more subservient (or evil) characters and see that as something other than a whitewashing. That doesn’t make Ridley Scott racist, but it does make him blinkered, and it’s not something that should be brushed aside as my (or others) being “sensitive.”

      This is a fictional world. It involves a lot of people trying to shout down complaints about diversity as being so much “political correctness” (when really, it means not ignoring a full 15-20 percent or more of the population who are vying for acting jobs), while at the same time going up in arms demanding that Heimdall, a fictional Norse character, not be played by a black man, or Rue, a fictional *black* character in the Hunger Games, being played by an African-American woman, or screeching about James Bond being potentially played by a black actor as well.

      And I’d really truly encourage you to try to re-examine your tone in some of your posts above, particularly to Saarah, as they do come across as rather condescending. Such as this:

      Chriss: If your art isn’t representative of modern America, you are a subconscious racist. Man, you’d really hate East Asian pop culture.

      That’s not what he said at all. There are a lot of people in America. And in the film/TV industries. And there is very little compelling reason to ignore them as possible parts of a production based on preconceived notions of how someone should look unless, again, you’re dealing with a historic epic that would otherwise come across ridiculous.

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    124. Saarah:
      Marcus,

      And a guard or servant (which Missandei is at the end of the day) is not that different from a slave.

      Common now. You must realize how that sounds. Missandei is an adviser to the queen. So is Ser Barrisan Selmy! to top it off Barry is also a long time King’s Guard, emphasis on Guard which by the way Areo is to the Prince of Dorne. Do you seriously think he’s a slave?!

      Ser Barry by the way, quit his job and went looked for other employer too. That no slave can do. And should Missandei decide to up and leave, Dany would be bereft her best friend and trusted adviser but she would let her go.

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    125. Chriss,
      We will have to agree to disagree. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to ask artists to think beyond their “default paradigm”. Can we expect it? No. Can we and should we ask for it? Yes because as consumers of art we want to see a world that reflects our own reality–it’s human nature. But it’s totally up to them to create their art as they see fit. And then, as you say, we vote with our time and our money and I believe with our voices online. The artist can listen or not listen, change or not change. It’s up to them. Clearly, I and many other people out there feel that GRRM’s world has a diversity problem and that in turn is reflected in the show. The show had the opportunity to change that but we feel they really didn’t. Nevertheless, many of us still love the show and support it. I mean, I spend tons of my time on this website and am part of the support that makes GOT such a phenomenon. So one of our authors, who loves the show, asking about the diversity question isn’t censuring and it’s not part of some vast feminist conspiracy–it’s constructive criticism from a fan.

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    126. Brooklyn Ann:
      What bugged me is that in the books the slaves in Slavers bay were from all races. Kidnapped by slave ships and Dothraki from all corners of the world.

      I don’t get why the show made them all brown-skinned.

      Because they hired all the extras locally at the filming location. The vast majority of local residents were all from the same ethnic group, and due to time and budget constraints they weren’t able to “import” more diverse extras to the set.

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    127. Brooklyn Ann,

      Sorry if this has already been answered, but I read that it was cheaper to use locals as extras instead of flying in a bunch of white people from Europe. Not sure if this really excuses D&D’s portrayal of slaves, but that was the reason they gave.

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    128. Hodor H’ghar: Exactly! it seems like everyone has to be super PC now days, or all hell will break loose. I just wish folks would stop trying to make a big deal out of EVERYTHING in the world.

      Just enjoy life for what it is, and stop be so damn cynical about everything.

      People who are talking about diversity are actually not being cynical at all. They’re hopeful, hopeful for possibilities and opportunities that are more inclusive, not less. And to reject their concerns by saying they’re merely being “sensitive” comes across as awfully insensitive.

      Jordan: Like Hotah has the same rank as Rodrik Cassel, so why is it problematic for him to be played by a non-white actor.

      Well, we’ll see. But for now, Hotah has had maybe 15 lines, and one actual interesting moment (clocking Bronn with his elbow), while Rodrik Cassel was given one of the best death scenes the series had to offer.

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    129. Robb Snow,

      It actually makes me feel that way too but I think my fists moves more towards the “these people” posters or the ones who want to labels opinions as whining when in fact the “whiners” are giving their own valid perceptions of the topic which may be affected by personal experiences. This type of topic is always divisive and uncomfortable but everyone should be able to speak their minds without getting condescending answers. By the way, I don’t mean you personally, but you mentioned punching and that is exactly how I was feeling and I’m a girl but I would still do it.

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    130. Chriss,

      That’s an easy and convenient way to dismiss the point I made.

      On one hand, I agree with you. Martin gets to write what he wants, define his world, and create the characters, roles , and motivations that he wants to inhabit his world.

      On the other, I simply and personally disagree that, in a Historical Fiction that includes such a huge world and so many fantasy elements that have ZERO to do with the true history of the era he is drawing inspiration from, the author somehow “has to” or is “obligated to” make it Representative on the human end, while including so many fantasy elements. Its his choice to and right to, but not some rules he’s bound to in order to be taken seriously.

      Again, while this may include historical elements that he is drawing from the histories of Scotland and England, ASOIF and NOT a work of histrical fiction or historical dramatization.

      So don’t miscast me as someone who is criticizing George, I just think that the Historical Fiction/Historical Fantasy argument is a very flimsy one.

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    131. Chriss:
      Lyanna Mormont,

      All I got from that post was ‘Waaaah! Most people disagree with me!!!’

      Yes, you’re doing a wonderful job of showing that you don’t dismiss other people’s opinions as unimportant, or try to diminish anyone who disagrees with you. Not to mention the casual assumption that you represent “most people” – you know, that thing you accuse others of doing?

      In case you hadn’t noticed, I haven’t even stated what my own position is here, aside from “the article is interesting” and “people have a right to talk about this without being ridiculed for it,” so how would you know who does or doesn’t disagree with me? My point was about the absolute lack of respect for others shown by a few commenters here, and how those few post over and over again; which, incidentally, is a tactic often used when people try to present themselves as representing the majority.

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    132. Lyanna Mormont:
      This comment section makes me so tired.

      I came to WotW, read an interesting article, and then reached the comments. Suddenly, there are the same few people pouring out posts about how horrible it is that this article exists, or that anyone dares to criticize the way GoT/GRRM handles the issue of skin color. “This is not a problem, YOU’RE the problem,” they start shouting loudly. “I don’t agree with this so how dare you write about it!” Using the term PC as a slur (how is considering the thoughts and feelings of others besides straight white males a bad thing?), talking about agendas, denying the existence or relevance of opposite viewpoints…

      Seriously, guys. Your opinions are not facts. You do not get to censor away articles you don’t agree with. Other people have different views from yours, and their feelings and experiences are not less relevant than yours, nor do they have to “prove” that there are others who agree with them. (Anyone can find criticisms of GRRM/GoT on the issue of “race”/skin color just by looking through social media. And yes, Tolkien too.) The fact that other shows and book series do the same thing does not mean nobody gets to object to it. And the “historical accuracy” excuse doesn’t wash because a) there were actually plenty of people of color in medieval Europe, b) GRRM portrays a lot of things as factual in Westeros which are myths as far as history goes, like the First Night custom, and c) dragons, white walkers, faceless men, resurrection by fire magic…

      Stop acting so entitled. Other people have a right to talk about what they think without being shouted down because you disagree.

      YES. Thank you… I agree with you 100%.

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    133. Sue the Fury:
      Flora Linden,

      We have an Academy- Award winning actress who’d like to be on the show but there’s not really any roles for her because GoT casts very narrowly. Maybe Sarella? One part. When we see a non-white actress pop up in a casting post, you know instantly she’s part of the Essos/Dany storyline. The Sand Snakes were a rare exception and everyone attacks them constantly. That’s worth thinking about for a minute. It’s not “crap.” The term “PC” however is.

      I think its more that we are filiming a 6th season right now and all of the main characters have already been cast. What role would you suggest for Lupita? Are there any major roles really left? Especially female ones?

      And yes they are white because Westeros is basically a medieval world and they did not have a very mixed society. Same reason there are more men in positions of power , GRRM and D&D aren’t promoting male led white society they are portraying a world where that is the norm. GRRM is white and based his world roughly on medieval England it stands to reason the 7K would not be very diverse.

      Besides the whole white saviour thing with Dany is not working she is failing miserably in Mereen. Last season ended with her escaping an attempted coup.

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    134. AliKat: There are some serious issues (the addition of so many rapes)

      Oh, c’mon, they cut a lot of that OUT. The multiple rapes that follow a successful Ironborn raid, for example, or the mobrape of Lollys Stokeworth, Victarion Greyjoy beating his salt-wife (read: sexually abused hostage) to death because his brother raped and impregnated her, Tyrion participating in the rape of his first wife, Cersei spending most of AFFC wishing that Margaery’s ‘hens’ will be viciously raped, the Mountain brutalising a Harrenhal servant named Pia (and scores of prepubescent girls), etc. Gregor is barely mentioned without a rape story being appended to him.

      I’ve seen comment sections here and at WiC tank due to discussions about assault and diversity. I hope this isn’t going to be another one :/

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    135. umuckurlife:
      Lupita has a stunning look and I’d love to see a place for it on the show.

      That said, I’m so sick of the public oversensitivity to everything.ASOIAF, while fictional, still has to adhere to some realities.It is set in a feudal world.The vast majority of people in this world likely never traveled more than 50 miles from where they were born.Relatively very few would have traveled extensively.Races of humans developed in separate geographies due to varying environmental conditions.Thus, with the world of ASOIAF at such an early stage of technological and cultural advancement, the mass interaction of these races is not as likely at this point.That said, the story is about Westeros.GRRM has stated this.Westeros, outside of Dorne, is populated overwhelmingly by the light-skinned people who conquered it (the First Men & the Andals).

      So, why make a big deal of the lack of diversity in this case?Should GRRM have made the First Men and Andals dark-skinned and the Rhoynar, light-skinned?Could he have added a foreign dark-skinned person that somehow married into one of the great houses of Westeros and becomes a main player in the GOT?Where does thisline of questioning go?It is such a silly discussion.

      We live in a time where racial diversity is at its greatest point to date (and hopefully every new day brings us more).Fictional works (especially those set in a semi-historical setting), however, do not need to be given more diversity for the sake of our current state of diversity.They need to make sense in the world on which they are built.I think ASOIAF does just that.

      I would find a story where the First Men and Andals were dark-skinned and the Rhoynar light-skinned to be very interesting, and I don’t see anything silly about the idea. In fact, there should be room for a discussion of why there aren’t more books/shows like that, and why it is dismissed as “silly.” What is there about it that wouldn’t “make sense”? If we’re already postulating that these mass migrations did take place, why couldn’t they have come from different places and consisted of people with different physical appearances? (Oh wait, they did – the Rhoynish!) So, why is it so unthinkable that the ruling nobility could’ve been of a darker skintone than the more recent arrivals who are looked down upon? Why must it be the magical dragonriding Valyrians who are silver-haired and pale, while the hot-blooded sensual Dornish are darker-skinned, rather than the other way around? Could it have anything to do with internalized preconceptions which we aren’t typically aware of until people start talking about them? (And then only if you actually listen and think about it, rather than dismiss it out of hand.)

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    136. Nymeria Warrior Queen:
      Saarah,

      The thing is, at least in my reading/viewing, the Essosi are the ones who look down upon the Westerosi as being uncultured.There is still the problem of slavery in Essos, yes, but Dany, from the perspective of knowing what it is to be sold, is trying to remedy that, not because she is white, but because, again, she was sold.Moreover, when you look at the major houses of Westeros, the one with the greatest diversity on the show is House Martell, the only house outside the royal house wherein the leaders are referred to as Princes and Princesses, as opposed to merely Ladies and Lords.If you look at how the main characters in Dorne were cast, you have Doran (Middle Eastern), Ellaria (part Indian), Nymeria (part Singaporean Chinese), and Obara (part Maori), they utilized an opportunity to have some diversity.Additionally, while Areo does serve Doran, it isn’t as though they cast the black guy to serve the white guy.Furthermore, I feel the suggestion they should have cast everyone white, although, again, I’m sure it was not your intention, suggests they should have denied the opportunity to appear on the show to anyone who was not white.That’s is hugely problematic, from my perspective.

      Nymeria Warrior Queen: Nymeria

      A few points in response to your post:

      1) Even if what you say is true, that the Essosi look down on the Westerosi for being uncultured, I just don’t see how that’s relevant. The Essosi characters see their way of life as the correct ways, as most cultures do. The Westerosi also see their way as correct, and see the Dothraki etc. as “savages.” But the bottom line is that they are portrayed as rapists, thieves, slavers, sexists, etc. Any way you cut it, that is a negative portrayal.

      2) Yes Dany wants to help the slaves, partly because of what she’s been through herself. But she also shows up in a foreign land and imposes her world view and way of life on those people. That is problematic. Add onto that the racial aspect of it, and it’s very clear (to me anyway), that she is being portrayed as a “white saviour.”

      3) House Martell – Doran Martel is played by a middle eastern guy, and his brother the red viper is played by a chillean guy. As though they are all just lumped in together as the “other.” It reminds me of the Jungle Book movie where Bruce Lee’s brother, clearly a chinese dude, was cast to play Mogli, an Indian character. They are are not the same! And should not be lumped in together. But anyway, I see that family as kind of token in comparison to the overarching portrayal of brown people in the show, especially Dany’s experience. The casual raping in the first episode, etc.

      4) Most importantly, I personally do not think that visible minorities should be inserted into the show wherever possible so that they get the “opportunity” to appear on the show. I think that visible minorities should only be included in the story if it makes sense and if it’s done well. Like I said above, I would have been fine with it if everyone on the show was white. I’d rather not have any visible minorities on the show, rather than having visible minorities there but just playing the “inferior” characters (with the exception of a few tokens).

      Anyway, thank you for your respectful response to my post. It’s great to have boards like this where we can share our ideas and learn from each other.

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    137. In a strange way this sort of thiking is kinda racist! Why can’t people watch a show and enjoy it regardless of th ethnicity of the actors? I watch a ton of Hong Kong action films. Doesn’t bother me one bit that there’s no white people in them. Boyz N the Hood is one of my favourite films, doesn’t matter that you can count the number of white people in it on one hand and they have negative and unimportant roles.
      In regards to Game of Thrones, it is mainly set in Westeros which is based on medieval Europe where there wasn’t a great deal of ethnic diversity (in regard to skin colour because apparently different types of white culture don’t count as diversity!). I think that in Essos there is a lot more variety in ethnicity as that part of the world is based on a part of the world/time where that was the case.
      If this is really a big deal for someone then stop watching the show. If a person’s skin colour isn’t a big deal then stop treating it as such.

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    138. Ser Gerold Dayne:
      Saarah,

      You have no idea what are you talking about,in many ways Westeros is inferior to cities in the East.Your argument is invalid.

      In the books, Dany is warned in ADWD that the Meereenese see her as an “uncouth” barbarian, which is partly what motivates her marriage to the very cultured, refined Hizdahr. Similarly, in the books, Qarth, Dany feels very coarse and unrefined when she’s dressed in Dothraki fashion surrounded by the very sophisticated and beautifully dressed Qartheen.

      This is less obvious in the show, but we do have the very refined, intelligent Hizdahr as the face of the Meereenese nobility, and a Qarth whose luxury and splendour rival anything in King’s Landing.

      There’s also Dorne, indicated to be more progressive than Westeros when it comes to the treatment of bastards and women.

      I agree it’s not as simple as Essos = barbarian and inferior, Westeros = civilized. Most of the most brutal, barbaric acts in the books are committed by white Westeros characters: the Greyjoys, Biter, the Boltons, etc.

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    139. Lyanna Mormont: Why must it be the magical dragonriding Valyrians who are silver-haired and pale

      Make the Targaryens black in GOT and people like you would just complain that the prominent black family in the story is portrayed as mad tyrants that white people needed to get rid of.

      Lyanna Mormont: while the hot-blooded sensual Dornish are darker-skinned

      Yeah, sure. Let’s forget to mention that the Dornish are also portrayed as being the most modern thinking people in all Westeros.

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    140. Lyanna Mormont: I would find a story where the First Men and Andals were dark-skinned and the Rhoynar light-skinned to be very interesting, and I don’t see anything silly about the idea. In fact, there should be room for a discussion of why there aren’t more books/shows like that, and why it is dismissed as “silly.” What is there about it that wouldn’t “make sense”? If we’re already postulating that these mass migrations did take place, why couldn’t they have come from different places and consisted of people with different physical appearances? (Oh wait, they did – the Rhoynish!) So, why is it so unthinkable that the ruling nobility could’ve been of a darker skintone than the more recent arrivals who are looked down upon? Why must it be the magical dragonriding Valyrians who are silver-haired and pale, while the hot-blooded sensual Dornish are darker-skinned, rather than the other way around? Could it have anything to do with internalized preconceptions which we aren’t typically aware of until people start talking about them? (And then only if you actually listen and think about it, rather than dismiss it out of hand.)

      It would be a silly idea because we are already 5 books into the series and filming a 6th season of the show. Should all of the new characters introduced have to be more ethnically diverse? Wouldn’t it take you out of the narrative if when we meet the Tarly’s next season they are all black or brown or asian?

      Now if the books were written from the perspective that most of the 7K were dark skinned and one kingdom was lighter skinned of course there would be no issue with that, just as there should be no issue with the way it is.

      Sure GRRM’s preconceptions and biases are probably why we got the Westeros we did, he is a 67 year old white guy from New Jersey I think it is pretty obvious that he would write a story where the main characters are white and have similar ethnic background to him/his ancestors.

      He did base this whole thing roughly on the War of the Roses after all.

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    141. M,

      I agree that it is more complicated than the generalization of “civilized” Westeros and “barbaric” Essos. You bring up some valid points. But the show includes some quite problematic racial dynamics (the white saviour Dany body surfing scene the most obvious example) and I and many others have a right to find such scenes offensive.

      Ser Gerold Dayne: I find it to be highly condescending and dismissive to say that I don’t know what I’m talking about and that my argument is invalid. I have read the books as well as watched the show. I am educated on the subjects of race, gender, and the media. Granted I may be more sensitive to these topics as a visible minority woman. Just because you don’t see the issues that I see, doesn’t mean that you have the right to dismiss my perspective.

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    142. Saarah, I think you misread my comment. It was Ser Gerold Dayne who claimed that your argument was invalid, not me; I quoted that comment because it mentioned the cities in the East being superior, and it was the cities thing that I was quoting to comment on.

      I actually agree with you on a lot of the Essos stuff being problematic–I didn’t mention Astapor or Yunkai in my rundown of Essos cities for a reason–but it’s not as straightforward as some people think. The interesting thing in the Meereen storyline is that to the Meereenese nobles, DANY is the uncouth barbarian, but she doesn’t want to see herself that way.

      Lyanna Mormont:Why must it be the magical dragonriding Valyrians who are silver-haired and pale, while the hot-blooded sensual Dornish are darker-skinned, rather than the other way around? Could it have anything to do with internalized preconceptions which we aren’t typically aware of until people start talking about them?

      LOL, the fact that the magical, supernaturally beautiful, dragonriding Valyrians–or “master race” in ASOIAF, if you will–just HAPPEN to be pale-skinned blondes has no sketchy connotations whatsoever. NO. SKETCHY. CONNOTATIONS. WHATSOEVER. 🙂

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    143. Danny,

      For what it’s worth, I can understand where both sides of the argument are coming from.

      However, with this show there’s really not much wiggle room because of the narrowness of the source material. If you cast all of the protagonists and noble houses they come from with actors of different ethnicities, it would feel really weird and unrealistic since the noble houses have been intermarrying for generations and would have to be ethnically homogeneous for the most part. Westerosi culture is also thoroughly European, so even if you cast non-white actors in these roles they’d still be playing “white” characters in all but appearance.

      Also, if you cast more of the “inferior” characters like slaves with white actors, it could be interpreted as “whitewashing”, would actually make the show less diverse, and still wouldn’t change the fact that many non-white characters are portrayed in a negative light.

      ASoIaF is just not a universe conducive to diversity without making some sweeping, often completely arbitrary changes to the source material. That’s just how it is.

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    144. Really interesting discussion and post.

      I feel a bit sorry for D&D in this, because the limitations they’re working within (source material, budget, largely British cast) would make it very challenging to reflect the diversity of modern America. I think they’ve acknowledged the need for greater ethnic diversity as an issue while casting, but obviously it’s easier to make such changes to minor roles than major ones given the complex familal links between the primary cast of characters.

      Where they’ve made errors (Danny as the great white saviour, Loras as the promiscuous gay man, the troubling overuse of rape) I think they’re unfortunate implications caused by lack of consideration rather than evidence of conscious biases. Given the challenge of producing the show I can forgive them the occasional lapse of judgment because I imagine there’s little time to rethink and less to reshoot should issues like these arise.

      Going forward I’m not sure there’s much more they can do to make what’s on screen look more representative. ASOIAF isn’t very diverse, there’s only so much you can do with it. A better approach would be to introduce a broader pool of writers and directors who might bring different perspectives to the production process.

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    145. M,

      Hi M,

      Sorry I should have clarified that the second paragraph was directed as Ser Gerold Dayne, not you. I’ve edited my post. I totally agree that the “master race” of the series being pale white skinned with silver hair is another hugely problematic element of the story, yes.

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    146. Robb Snow,

      I think this is the issue. We just need more fantasy shows set in or around the fantasy equivalents of the Wagadou Empire, that’s it!

      Hopefully, with the way fantasy/scifi has become more accommodating to diverse types of people in recent years (just think of the whole Hugo Awards/Sad Puppy reactionist sh*tstorm), we may get some soon! And I’d love some. I’d write some, except I’m a whitey white, and, um, doesn’t feel right.

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    147. Chriss,

      Chriss,

      With respect to your assertion that because I find the show’s portrayal of visible minorities to be problematic, I must therefore think that the show’s creators are “racist,” I would direct your attention to the link below, which is a list of the classic logical fallacies. You might want to take a look at the first one, “strawman.”

      Saarah
      https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman/
      https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

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    148. Westeros is based on western Europe during the Middle Ages, which wasn’t exactly a land of diversity. Almost all of the main characters come from Westeros, so most them are white.

      And, Essos? Nearly every storyline that takes place there is awful. I’m not surprised the show screwed the pooch with it, since GRRM did a mediocre job of writing it to begin with.

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    149. I don’t really get the argument that GRRM HAS to make the Westeros characters white. This is not a historical work, where characters have to be X race because that was their race in real life. GRRM makes ahistorical shit up all the time when it suits him in ASOIAF: “smallclothes” (at least as they’re described), Westeros characters eating foods that wouldn’t have existed in Scotland or England at the time, the pseudo-Christianity religion having seven aspects instead of the trinity, blah blah blah. ASOIAF is not a documentary or a historical account. It’s his world and he can make of it what he wants. He has freely deviated from anything remotely resembling historical accuracy when it suits him, and it has often suited him to do so.

      What he has chosen to make his world is a world overwhelmingly populated by white characters, where the “master race” is composed of pale-skinned blondes whose beauty we’re reminded of every five minutes, where the POC characters are mostly relegated to the sidelines or slotted into demeaning stereotypes and cliches (“savages,” servants, guards, charlatans, hypersexualized exotic types, etc.), with some exceptions (Meereen nobles, Qarth, Braavos, Dorne to some extent, etc.). That’s the problem.

      If you want a better example of fantasy books which are much more closely related to historical reality, try Guy Gavriel Kay’s, since he has carved out a little niche for himself taking a historical setting (Byzantium, Moorish Spain, etc.) and characters, tweaking them slightly, changing the names, adding some fantasy elements, and telling a story. Even then, Kay changes up stuff when it suits him, but it’s meticulously researched, and it’s much, much closer to historical reality than anything GRRM is doing in ASOIAF.

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    150. Saarah,

      Marcus,

      With respect to your statement that because I find problems with the show’s portrayals of visible minorities, I must therefore see the show’s creators as part of a “racist” “conspiracy,” I would direct your attention to the link below, which is a list of the classic logical fallacies. You might want to take a look at the first one, “strawman.”

      https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

      Saarah

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    151. Interesting article Petra, thanks. Lupita is an amazing actress and it’s great that she name-checked GoT. Too bad S6 is already filming! If she’s serious, maybe they’ll find something great for her in S7 (genderbent Moqorro? someone else racebended?). And I welcome an open discussion on diversity. I do think D&D have done relatively well in terms of casting and agree with you that Missandei and Greyworm have improved Dany’s storyline significantly (I know people differ on this, but that’s my personal feeling). I do wish there were more prominent roles for people of colour. I wish that of tv/movies in general.

      azriel27,

      But i don’t expect everyone to understand what it feels like to have really small representation in huge pop culture pieces like , LOTR , Harry Potter, and GoT, people of all decents are fans too, and we are able to emphatize with white heroes all the time.
      But what i’m reading here is a bit hurtful, most people don’t seem to understand where the feeling comes from.
      Nobody is demanding brown/black/asian characters in every occidental art piece ever done ever, but just every now and then having a strong character you can relate to, who isnt white.

      I know you said English isn’t your first language but I thought you summarised things beautifully!

      Lyanna Mormont,

      Seriously, guys. Your opinions are not facts. You do not get to censor away articles you don’t agree with. Other people have different views from yours, and their feelings and experiences are not less relevant than yours, nor do they have to “prove” that there are others who agree with them. (Anyone can find criticisms of GRRM/GoT on the issue of “race”/skin color just by looking through social media. And yes, Tolkien too.) The fact that other shows and book series do the same thing does not mean nobody gets to object to it. And the “historical accuracy” excuse doesn’t wash because a) there were actually plenty of people of color in medieval Europe, b) GRRM portrays a lot of things as factual in Westeros which are myths as far as history goes, like the First Night custom, and c) dragons, white walkers, faceless men, resurrection by fire magic…

      Stop acting so entitled. Other people have a right to talk about what they think without being shouted down because you disagree.

      Laying down some truth there Lyanna and living up to your namesake. Love your whole post.

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    152. M,

      We are taking this a bit too literally. I think the only optically unfortunate scenes of slaves were the ones filmed in morocco because they only used Moroccan extras so it did unfortunately play into the great white savior narrative but I feel that was not intentional and certainly not malicious. As far as the shows majority white cast the book is pretty much the same the show however has made several people of color characters in the show that were white in the book which is cool, put the truth is with the exception of drone westeros is described as being as in the north homogeneous first men and the rest a mixture of andals and first men grrm describes them s what they look like so the show can’t be blamed for casting what they were written as. Grrm describes essos as being much more diverse and in the books the slaves in slavers bay are described as being a motley of just about every people in grrms world. It is unfair in my opinion to level racism at the show especially since it is a good thing to use locals for extras in the places u film and though it may have been optically not so good it was still the right thing to do filming in morroco. As far as the books grrm is white he is a European history buff so he envisioned his world in many ways of his image of what it looked like that is not racist it’s just him reflecting himself and his experiences into his fictional world he does not exclude people of color but most of his story is centered on a part of his world that is not ethnically dark. I don’t see the harm in that plus as a black person in the Americas their is enough racial injustice to talk about in REAL LIFE than some fictional world that really does not deal dwell or explore race at all

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    153. I wonder how many blacks were buying and reading ASOI&F back in 1990, or even today? When you’re trying to sell books, you target your audience.

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    154. Elkanah:
      M,

      We are taking this a bit too literally. I think the only optically unfortunate scenes of slaves were the ones filmed in morocco because they only used Moroccan extras so it did unfortunately play into the great white savior narrative but I feel that was not intentional and certainly not malicious. As far as the shows majority white cast the book is pretty much the same the show however has made several people of color characters in the show that were white in the book which is cool, put the truth is with the exception of drone westeros is described as being as in the north homogeneous first men and the rest a mixture of andals and first men grrm describes them s what they look like so the show can’t be blamed for casting what they were written as. Grrm describes essos as being much more diverse and in the books the slaves in slavers bay are described as being a motley of just about every people in grrms world. It is unfair in my opinion to level racism at the show especially since it is a good thing to use locals for extras in the places u film and though it may have been optically not so good it was still the right thing to do filming in morroco. As far as the books grrm is white he is a European history buff so he envisioned his world in many ways of his image of what it looked like that is not racist it’s just him reflecting himself and his experiences into his fictional world he does not exclude people of color but most of his story is centered on a part of his world that is not ethnically dark. I don’t see the harm in that plus as a black person in the Americas their is enough racial injustice to talk about in REAL LIFE than some fictional world that really does not deal dwell or explore race at all

      Most of my problem with racism in the show has to do with the books, the source material. Even though the crowdsurfing scene was awful, I think the show largely does what it can: casting white book characters as POC in the show (although there are definitely some missed opportunities there, such as the Waif and Tycho Nestoris), giving POC characters material that elevates them above racist stereotypes (Missandei and Grey Worm’s love story), etc.

      To be fair to GOT, a lot of other HBO shows are shamelessly lily-white: Girls, Veep, etc. It’s a common problem.

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    155. Sue the Fury: That is actually a pretty controversial thing.

      And on the other hand we have people of color criticizing white writers who actually wrote a show mostly about people of color.. see reactions to HBO’s Ballers..

      And what he said wasn’t controversial, simply natural. Might just be me, but if you ask somebody to mentally imagine a child and than another one and a third, perhaps when imagening the fourth you’ll realize that subconsciously you had been imagining kids of your own ethnicity. And there’s nothing racist about that. It would be racist if you think that those first three kids would be better tham that fourth.

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    156. Didn’t George say (correct me if I’m wrong) that he wished he made the targaryens/valyrians black? I thought I read somewhere that he said the idea of people of color with purple eyes and silver gold hair invading a mainly white continent seemed fascinating to him, but he got the idea a couple years after finishing the first book so he couldn’t change anything

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    157. Skimming through these comments and reading the article makes me so happy I can divorce my enjoyment and discussion about a TV show from my personal views of how I’d like the world to be.

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    158. Daenerys Targaryen has Valyrian looks.
      Her ancestors left the Valyrian peninsula.
      They had silver-blond hair and purple eyes. And they were white.
      In the books Doreah is a slave from Lys, a city in Essos where the vast majority of the population have blond hair and blue eyes.
      Sweets is also a slave, likely has valyrian ancestry and he is white.
      Varys was a slave and he is white.
      Serra,Illyrio’s wife was blond, had blue eyes and she was a slave.
      Grey Worm is also white.
      In the books white people can be slaves as well.

      “Westeros and Essos are lands fraught with injustice but unlike systemic sexism, (another oft criticized aspect of his work for which historical inspiration has been evoked as justification) racism isn’t addressed as a problem. Characters don’t discuss it nor are characters of color shown to have been shaped by it.”
      1. The books are not sexist. While certain characters expressed sexist views, we have several examples of strong women: Maege Mormont and her girls, Brienne, Catelyn, Lady Dustin to name a few.
      2.Men suffer as much as women and Theon Greyjoy has suffered more than anyone else.
      3.In the 4th book a character makes a rude remark about a Summer Islander. Guess what? The character who said the rude comment is depicted as vain, silly and arrogant.
      4. There seems to be a rivalry between Dorne and Reach but it has nothing to do with racism.
      5. Chataya and Alayaya who are from the Summer Islands are actually depicted favorably.
      6.One of the mistresses of Aegon IV was black and her great-granddaughter is a notable concubine.
      7. In Essos race is not the problem. The class system which is based on slavery-regardless of someone’s age, gender, race, is the problem. In short they turn anyone they want to a slave.
      8. Dornish are not black, some of them have silver hair(Ser Arthur Dayne) others have a dark complexion, just like the people from Mediterranean(by the way I live in the region of Mediterranean.)
      White people suffer as well.
      Men can be horribly tortured.

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    159. Alex Stroup:
      Didn’t George say (correct me if I’m wrong) that he wished he made the targaryens/valyrians black? I thought I read somewhere that he said the idea of people of color with purple eyes andsilver gold hair invading a mainly white continent seemed fascinating to him, but he got the idea a couple years after finishing the first book so he couldn’t change anything

      This is what he said:

      But in recent years, it has occured to me from time to time that it might have made for an interesting twist if instead I had made the dragonlords of Valyria… and therefore the Targaryens… black. Maybe I could have kept the silver hair too, though… no, that comes too close to ‘dark elf’ territory, but still… if I’d had dark-skinned dragonlords invade and conquer and dominate a largely white Westeros… though that choice would have brought its own perils. The Targaryens have not all been heroic, after all… some of them have been monsters, madmen, so…

      Well, it’s all moot. The idea came to me about twenty years too late.

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    160. Ser Oromis Locke: And on the other hand we have people of color criticizing white writers who actually wrote a show mostly about people of color.. see reactions to HBO’s Ballers..

      And what he said wasn’t controversial, simply natural. Might just be me, but if you ask somebody to mentally imagine a child and than another one and a third, perhaps when imagening the fourth you’ll realize that subconsciously you had been imagining kids of your own ethnicity. And there’s nothing racist about that. It would be racist if you think that those first three kids would be better tham that fourth.

      That’s why creating a show with a cast of characters that looks like the people who actually inhabit the world takes a conscious effort sometimes.

      I think your imagine-four-babies scenario is how most of this happens. People have a story in their head, they imagine the characters. Often there are more male characters than female ones, and there are more white characters than POCs. I agree that sometimes that can be subconscious and doesn’t necessarily reflect some kind of intentional racism.

      But that’s why posts like this exist. That’s why readers and consumers of these stories speak out, letting writers hear how much it affects them when the stories they love contain barely any characters that look like them. It’s why Viola Davis spoke about giving opportunities to black women in her acceptance speech Sunday. The people behind the scenes need to work past their kneejerk impressions of what the characters are, or look like, and make a concerted effort to make a diverse cast of characters.

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    161. Hodor’s Bastard,

      I went not knowing anything about it and was really pleasantly surprised. A fresh and humerous yet not dismissive way of looking at social issues. Like a drunk Sesame Street! Would happily go and see it live again.

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    162. TheTouchOfFrost,

      This. So much this.

      Lyanna Mormont: I would find a story where the First Men and Andals were dark-skinned and the Rhoynar light-skinned to be very interesting, and I don’t see anything silly about the idea.

      I might find that story interesting too….
      However, that is not ASOIAF/ GOT. Why imagine it is or could be? It’s not.

      Ser Oromis Locke: ask somebody to mentally imagine a child and than another one and a third, perhaps when imagening the fourth you’ll realize that subconsciously you had been imagining kids of your own ethnicity. And there’s nothing racist about that. It would be racist if you think that those first three kids would be better tham that fourth.

      This is spot on.

      Alex Stroup: I thought I read somewhere that he said the idea of people of color with purple eyes and silver gold hair invading a mainly white continent seemed fascinating to him,

      GRRM wanted to write about Drizzt Do’urden?
      R.A. Salvatore has that covered I think! XD

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    163. FTW….WTF: I truly believe that some will go out of there way to be offended about something

      Well, it works both ways. One great privilege of being a white male is rarely feeling out of place in “important” places, entertainment, etc. We don’t notice it. This was brought home to me forcibly about 10 years ago when I was sponsoring a younger colleague on a Woodrow Wilson fellow and attending their annual meeting with him. The fellowship is aimed at minorities and women. For the first time ever, I was one of the only white men in the room. Moreover, this caters a lot to social sciences: and this was months after Katrina. Holy crap: for the first time, I felt what it was like to be one of “them”: and it was simultaneously disconcerting and illuminating. I have not taken white privilege for granted again.

      (Fortunately, my colleague and I went up there and talked about research involving dinosaurs: and all the angry social reformers reverted to delighted 5 year olds with questions of pure curiosity!)

      So, why not more cultures of obvious color? Volantenes don’t have to be Valyrians, for example: they can be Summer Islanders or something. (Of course, we spend so little time there on the show, that it really would not make a huge difference!)

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    164. baddogonline: I wonder how many blacks were buying and reading ASOI&F back in 1990, or even today?

      Every single black person with a Time Machine was reading ASoI&F in 1990. Well, at least we cannot prove that this is not true!

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    165. People are so touchy (overly PC) and incredibly ignorant of history and the inspiration behind ASOIAF… it’s blindingly obvious why there is a lack of diversity in GoT and ASOIAF; ASOIAF is mostly based off Medieval England, and back in Medieval England about 99% of the population was white, there would have been literally a few hundred black people and Asians etc. in England.

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    166. M:
      […]

      I actually agree with you on a lot of the Essos stuff being problematic–I didn’t mention Astapor or Yunkai in my rundown of Essos cities for a reason–but it’s not as straightforward as some people think. The interesting thing in the Meereen storyline is that to the Meereenese nobles, DANY is the uncouth barbarian, but she doesn’t want to see herself that way.

      LOL, the fact that the magical, supernaturally beautiful, dragonriding Valyrians–or “master race” in ASOIAF, if you will–just HAPPEN to be pale-skinned blondes has no sketchy connotations whatsoever. NO. SKETCHY. CONNOTATIONS. WHATSOEVER.

      I do think GRRM is doing (or at least trying to do) some interesting things with inverting Orientalism, but it’s apparently too subtle for a lot of people. And a lot of it gets lost in the show. But on top of having places like Qarth in the books, the Worldbook seems to imply that civilization itself began in the far east and spread out from there after the Long Night. ASOIAF as a whole also questions the value of “civilization.” It’s good insofar as it preserves peace and justice, but highly advanced places like King’s Landing and Qarth offer plenty to be critical about. Whereas places perceived to be less “civilized” like Beyond the Wall or even the isolated Summer Isles are presented as places where you might actually want to live. Places like Asshai and Valyria seem to have destroyed themselves with their own advanced civilization.

      So a careful reader might conclude from ASOIAF thus far that being “barbaric” is 1) pretty subjective and 2) not necessarily inferior to being “civilized.”

      And I think the only thing that saves the Targaryen Master Race ™ from being a complete trainwreck of connotations is that there’s no indication that they are actually, you know, better people. It’s not like they somehow *deserve* to be on top. They’re just really powerful. But, yeah, connotations there are still sketchy as hell.

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    167. thornofhighgarden,

      Why should there be loads of non-white characters though? Considering that Westeros at this present time is inspired by 15th Century England? And I’m sorry to break it to you, but in 15th Century England, the population was almost entirely white.

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    168. Blind Beth,

      See. Touchy people everywhere… stop whining already.
      And the reason I felt it necessary to say what I did is due to many being totally ignorant of history, yet proceeding to comment about it as if they are knowledgeable.

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    169. Lyanna mormont and sue the fury for president 2016!

      Seriously the intolerance of certain posters towards the opinions of their fellow site members is appalling and revealing to say the least. Quoting westeros and asoiaf as based on historical fiction is simply to backup those opinions. When in reality asoiaf and the world it’s set in is pure fantasy to anyone with a rational mind.

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    170. TheTouchOfFrost,

      I saw Avenue Q in 2010 off-Broadway in NYC per a friend’s recommendation. I just loved it’s irreverence, razor wit and urban energy. I’m still chuckling at some of the racial zingers. It should be mandatory viewing for all high school/college graduates as part of their social studies curriculum. Many folks don’t realize that it beat out Wicked as best musical (!) in 2004.

      Thx for the reminder. 🙂

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    171. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:

      I like to imagine you doing some kind of elaborate ritual in your mirror, possibly with candles and chicken blood, trying to expel people with social justice concerns from the internet. Let me know how that works out for you.

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    172. Alex Stroup:
      Didn’t George say (correct me if I’m wrong) that he wished he made the targaryens/valyrians black? I thought I read somewhere that he said the idea of people of color with purple eyes andsilver gold hair invading a mainly white continent seemed fascinating to him, but he got the idea a couple years after finishing the first book so he couldn’t change anything

      Exactly. It’s telling that people have such a problem with black people being in a Medieval-type setting (which is absurd; learn some history!), but they are totally fine with a purple-eyed silver-haired race —what European phenotype is that, exactly? And that’s why GRRM said that, if he had written that today instead of twenty something years ago, he would’ve probably made the Valyrians black.

      Dragons are fine. An elven-looking race? Great! Wizard hobbits? Sure. White mummies? Why not! Black people? Absurd, that’s not HISTORICALLY ACCURATE! The lot of you should be ashamed.

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    173. Chimeny:
      Blind Beth,

      See. Touchy people everywhere… stop whining already.
      And the reason I felt it necessary to say what I did is due to many being totally ignorant of history, yet proceeding to comment about it as if they are knowledgeable.

      I know, right? I hate it when people air totally ignorant ideas about history. Like how Europe has ever been racially homogeneous.

      The best part is when people state such ignorant ideas for approximately the 85th time in the same thread. Maybe if the Medieval Europe Truthers chant “it was all white” enough times it will retroactively become true.

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    174. Morgoth,

      Don’t think you guys understand what the term “clickbait” means. It’s when a headline misrepresents the content in order to garner clicks for revenue. This article is about exactly what the title says. And if you didn’t want to read about issues of race/diversity, don’t click on it.

      Oh, and people need to be more civil to each other. Posts insulting each other will be deleted.

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    175. Blind Beth,

      Yes, I truly do hate it. History has been a passion of mine all my life, and to see people, in this case SJW’s, be so openly ignorant and not give a damn just… urgh, turns my stomach.

      Btw, who said Europe was all white? Because it obviously wasn’t. Spain was one such European country with a significant (for the time) non-white population… however England and other northern European nations were almost entirely white back then.

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    176. Chimeny,

      As GRRM has often and loudly said, Westeros is not solely based on England. That may have been the initial premise (the War of the Roses, etc), but the Kingdoms mix a bunch of different cultures; including but not limited to the the Spaniards and Moors.

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    177. This kind of thinking is getting more and more prevalent every day right now it seems, and I am becoming more and more alarmed by that fact. The author of this article seems to truly feel that George has committed some kind of social crime by not including more non white characters in his story, one for which she (I think its a she?) has decided he deserves some kind of public shaming for. I don’t want to start a fight or spread animosity of any kind really, but I just really need to speak my mind on this.

      Someone else pointed something out in an earlier post that George, and every other author for that matter, has Artistic license to write as he chooses. So there’s that. At the same time, the author of this article has every right to dislike his writing/setting because of a lack of important characters of color if she so chooses. The thing I don’t care for is she seems to think it should be changed, or at least wants it to have been written differently to begin with, BECAUSE she doesn’t like it.

      As someone who has dabbled in fantasy world building myself, I have put a great deal of thought into the ethnic look of the various peoples in my setting. I have no doubt that George has done the same, and to a much more thorough extent surely. Something a lot of people in the modern era seem to have no grasp on these days is that hundreds if not thousands of years ago, when the technological level of humanity was similar to what it is in the A Song Of Ice And Fire setting, a given group of people was far, far more isolated from the rest of the world than they are today due to the difficulties of travel and communication over great distances. So, in a part of George’s world where the people are white, pretty much everyone is, in fact, white, because there were no people with a different skin tone anywhere near them to breed with. I suspect that George has sought to reflect that reality in his writing. As George pointed out in his reply to the person on his blog that said the lack of diversity in GOT “hurt” them, Westeros is a far less diverse place than 21st century America. This should not hurt you, but if it does, you certainly don’t have to watch it. Should you chose to regardless of the pain, I do hope you realize why these characters you want to not be white are, in fact, white.

      In Dorne, the people look Dornish (brown? it is actually kind of vague, isn’t it? oh boy, that’s a whole other argument). In the Summer Islands, people look like summer islanders (black). In Westerors, the people look westerosi (white).

      Bottom line, it is not an author’s duty to please every imaginable demographic of people by inserting characters to represent them in his fiction. In fact, in certain circumstances, to do so would destroy the work’s sense of realism. Westeros is indeed a fantasy world of George’s making, and he made it as he was inspired to do so, and for a long time he has been working to add detail and maintain its congruity all the while. In my opinion he has done a fantastic job of that.

      Oh and yes, I am white too. I’m sorry.

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    178. Luka Nieto,

      That is true, and that is why many of the Dornish are non-white and in the show they are played by mixed race and non-white actors… however I never claimed ASOIAF/Westeros was based solely off Medieval England. In my OP I said as much…

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    179. Social Justic Stranger,

      “Where they’ve made errors (Danny as the great white saviour, Loras as the promiscuous gay man, the troubling overuse of rape) I think they’re unfortunate implications caused by lack of consideration rather than evidence of conscious biases.

      Or they’re implications that those who are desperate to find something to be upset about seek out, exaggerate and focus upon because of their own social and political predilections.

      Jon Snow is busy being the great noble saviour of the Wildlings (and the whole of Westeros, frankly) but there’s nothing to misconstrue and twist to suit an agenda in that.

      Tyrion, Oberyn and Theon have all been depicted as promiscuous and there are numerous rapists and other sexual “deviants” depicted throughout the series. But, yeah, a gay man being shown sleeping around is totally unreasonable.

      And rape is not overused or troubling, given the immoral and often barbaric society/era they are trying to depict.

      Honestly, it’s depressing seeing people totally misrepresent and warp what’s actually being depicted on their screens.

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    180. So I just suffered through this horribly staged 73 questions video only to find out the question wasn’t “Luke Skywalker vs Obi Wan Kenobi”, it was “Luke Skywalker vs Han Solo”.
      Did you guys put in the wrong name on purpose to see if anyone would actually watch this stupid thing?

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    181. Chimeny: Spain was one such European country with a significant (for the time) non-white population… however England and other northern European nations were almost entirely white back then.

      That depends on how you define “white.” There was a large Moorish incursion, but the Moors were basically a Mediteranean people like the Spanish, Italians, Greeks, Turks, Arabs, etc. Now, put many Spaniards, Italians, Moroccans, etc., next to Swedes, Celts or Finns, and, man! Do the Mediterraneans look dark! (Particularly if the Mediterraneans have gotten any sun: and sun often will just make the Northerners pink or freckled!) However, put Italians or Arabs or Turks next to Subsaharan Africans or Native Australians: and man, do the Mediterraneans look light!

      It is, of course, all relative.

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    182. Well, there has been quite an interesting discussion here but it’s sad to see so many say this is a non-issue being made into an issue. Considering the author himself was questioning how race would fit into his books makes me think that it is definitely not a non-issue:

      Speaking of Valyria… right from the start I wanted the Targaryens, and by extension the Valryians from whom they were descended, to be a race apart, with distinctive features that set them apart from the rest of Westeros, and helped explain their obsession with the purity of their blood. To do this, I made a conventional ‘high fantasy’ choice, and gave them silver-gold hair, purple and violet eyes, fine chiseled aristocratic features. That worked well enough, at least in the books (on the show, less so).

      But in recent years, it has occured to me from time to time that it might have made for an interesting twist if instead I had made the dragonlords of Valyria… and therefore the Targaryens… black. Maybe I could have kept the silver hair too, though… no, that comes too close to ‘dark elf’ territory, but still… if I’d had dark-skinned dragonlords invade and conquer and dominate a largely white Westeros… though that choice would have brought its own perils. The Targaryens have not all been heroic, after all… some of them have been monsters, madmen, so…

      Well, it’s all moot. The idea came to me about twenty years too late.

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    183. Blind Beth,

      You pointed out above that you don’t believe that Europe was every racially homogeneous. To a certain extent of course its true, people in different parts of Europe even before the world became a much more connected place did not all look the same. However, northern Europeans (Scandinavia, northern Germany, northern France, England) pretty much did, and the same goes for any isolated people. The fact is that, in a given place, the ancient world was far less diverse than the modern world, and I’m sure George has attempted to reflect that in his writing. I fail to see where he has gone wrong in this.

      No matter what he had done considering the ethnic make up of his setting, I suspect George would have made someone unhappy. No matter what you do these days, someone will complain about how you didn’t do it the way they wanted you to. Its becoming one of the few givens of life in modern society.

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    184. Wimsey,

      Indeed. The concept of “whiteness” as it’s being discussed here is actually a pretty recent invention (and a very Americentric one). I truly doubt “white” people in Europe and elsewhere throughout the world historically felt any real kinship with one another based just on their skin tone, which is ultimately what “whiteness” boils down to in the end (and even that is a matter of debate in certain circles).

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    185. Whatever Martin might say, it’s far too late to introduce a bunch of non-Westerosi characters. I’d rather he respected the integrity of his plot; the last two novels diverged enough. Given that this is Martin’s world, the show has no option but to follow Martin’s lead. The Westerosi are white, and certain families look a certain way. The show keeps that–the Starks have darkish hair, the Lannisters have gold hair, and the Martells look vaguely Mediterranean. There’s nothing wrong with that.

      This is not to say that all medieval fantasy has to involve white folk; I just finished reading Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series, where the central medieval civilization is partly populated by dark skinned, dark eyed, dark haired folk; almost all of the royalty are dark, and seeing a blue-eyed baby leads them to believe that the poor thing must be blind. If someone adopts that fantasy, and casts all white actors as Farseers, I’d call racism, and with good reason.

      Re Dany plotline: In the novels, it sucks, partly because it does have all manner of colonial overtones. The Slaver’s Bay folk are the classic “other,” with very few individuals, split into good and evil, based on whether or not they like Dany. It sucks, also, because it’s horribly repetitive. It sucks a tad less on the show, because they got Tyrion to Dany fast.

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    186. Am I the only one who doesn’t pay attention to anyone’s race when watching something…?
      (I mean, unless the movie/show is specifically tackling the issue of racism)

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    187. Robb Snow,

      You both made excellent points. In ASOIAF, the Westerosi may, in our estimation, all look the same because we consider them “white,” but they would certainly never use that word to describe their skin tone relative to different looking peoples. For one, I imagine many westerosi may live their entire lives without seeing a single non “white” person, and would not consider themselves to be the same “kind” as every other person on Westeros regardless of how similar to each other we may think they look. The northerners do not consider themselves to have any kinship whatsoever with the men of the reach, for instance (unless your talking about the Manderlys I suppose).

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    188. Big Mac,

      Nope, I’m with you. Find it quite sad viewers can’t connect with people based on their character as opposed to their gender, race,sexuality,etc.

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    189. Big Mac,

      What if, say, you were watching a really well made and realistic period piece set in like, oh i don’t know, Han Dynasty China, and every thing about the film was very authentic except that one of the characters was, inexplicably, played by a 6’3” Irish guy with a really long and thick red beard. Let’s say he he speaks chinese with an obvious accent, and the film makes no effort to explain his presence at all. Wouldn’t that stand out to you? Take you out of the illusionary sense of realism the film had created, perhaps even bother you?

      It’s fine if it wouldn’t bother you, and I am clearly intentionally painting a picture of an extreme version of this, but I am curious. It would bother me though, and its nothing to do with racism, its about creating authentic art, in this case art attempting to depict humanity’s history.

      Obviously ASOIAF is not depicting our history specifically, but it is about human beings, and it is clear that in many ways George has created a world clearly built on real world history.

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    190. Malsheem,

      Although they take from many cultures, the basic layout of Westeros is Britain. With that comes the almost tribalism of each area. Different counties and cities of the UK are ferociously defensive about their identity as are the 4 countries that make up the UK. To parrallell your North/South divide in Westeros, if you thought a Yorkshireman ,for example, was from London he’d most likely be more insulted than if you’d sworn at him! This is massively evident in football (soccer, if you must) where it is on full display! I was born in Nottingham and live a 15 minute drive away in Derby yet the two cities have quite distinct cultures and a rabid rivalry…heck different parts of the same cities do! It’s amazing how we all get on pretty well in spite of it!

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    191. Malsheem,

      I think that’s more of a case of realism. Think he meant in situations where the race/culture isn’t important to the plot. On the subject, you could claim it is important in GoT. The different styling and peoples of Essos makes it instantly distinctive from Westeros.

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    192. Malsheem: Obviously ASOIAF is not depicting our history specifically, but it is about human beings, and it is clear that in many ways George has created a world clearly built on real world history.

      The real world European History of the purple-eyed silver-haired race who…—Wait, what? Oh, yeah. So you are saying the Valyrians are somehow closer to a realistic Medieval white person than a black person would be? Because that is utterly absurd. Black people have the incredible benefit of existing. Valyrians, as described, don’t. That’s of course without even getting into the Children of the Forest!

      But yeah, sure. Let’s pretend this is all for “Historical accuracy” and “not breaking my immersion.” Sure.

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    193. Luka Nieto,

      What do you think it IS about then, smarty pants? Apparently whatever it is has you highly offended. I wasn’t talking about Valyrians by the way, they seem to be a magical people that have their own rules regarding their appearance/bloodlines and the magic in their blood.

      All I am saying, is that George has made a fantasy world of mostly white people, but within those white people are many groups of people who do not consider the other groups, despite their shared “whiteness,” to be their kind.

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    194. Big Mac,

      I care about an actor’s appearance, but it’s short lived. I love Maisie Williams, but the first thing I thought upon seeing her was that “No no no Arya’s eyes are supposed to be grey, not brown, and she’s supposed to have a long face, not a chubby, round face!!!!” Then I got over it lol. I’m still not over Harrington as Jon, though. He doesn’t look like the Jon I imagined at all.

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    195. Luka Nieto,

      Gonna play devil’s advocate a bit and say that if realism and historical accuracy aren’t really a factor, why feature people from certain races or ethnicities at all? It is a fantasy world after all and doesn’t need to reflect the world we actually live in.

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    196. Robb Snow,

      I mean, yeah, go nuts. In that case, you will be able to use actors from all races. I’m just retorting specifically to those who say that, in the context of GRRM’s world of Westeros, introducing black people would’ve been “historically inaccurate” —You know, the place conquered by Nerfed-High Elves, and which was previously inhabited by Hobbits. Black people though? A bridge too far!

      As I pointed out, it is telling that as long as they are white you can introduce any phenotype detail you want —But they still have to be white! For some reason…

      I’m not saying “change it now”, obviously. I’m saying: What would have been the problem, exactly, if Martin had made the First Men and their descendants look like another race? Or the Valyrians, or the Free Cities, whoever. How is it more “historically inaccurate” than most things in ASOIAF? I mean, if we’re going for historical inaccuracy, GRRM in ADWD made a Lord’s right to sleep with a woman during her first wedded night, “primae noctis”, a real thing in Westeros —while in reality it is a total myth.

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    197. Luka Nieto,

      There would have been no problem with that (the first men having a darker skin tone) whatsoever. Is there a problem with the way he chose to write his novels in regards to the ethnicity of these fantasy peoples he has created? Apparently there is in your mind.

      If a guy wants to write novels in a fantasy setting and he decided every single person in the setting is white, what’s it to you? If you don’t like that, cool, don’t read it or spend any money on it. Feel free to create your own setting, just the way you like.

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    198. Ok so this is my Knee Jerk response- raw emotion here…

      I couldn’t even read the whole bunch of responses above because just reading the ones at the top made me sick to my stomach. This is how to fracture the comraderie on this site. When people start talking about race we see how divided and how self centered we are as people. I am all for this discussion because it is revealing and can be healing if we face it honestly and try to be compassionate. It just hurts how much I can one moment feel such a kinship with people here (fellow GOT fans as we share the same passion for a great story) then the next moment feel how unaccpeted I am by that same group because of the color of my skin and the distinction in cultural experience. Yeah sure we are all the same until we talk about “race” it freaking hurts so deeply. I am truly crying as I write this! Why does race talk and racial identification have to be such a freaking offensive thing. Why can’t we celebrate the beautiful ethnic and cultural diversity that exists in this world rather than be offended by it???? Why does it really hurt show watchers to see a few more black skinned or eastern and western Asian characters on the show? Dont’t give me the arguement that this show was based on Europe in the Middle ages. There were people of other hues in Europe during the middle ages. No not as many as white but they were there in Europe living among and trading with Europeans. Don’t give me the arguement that “after all, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff would have to do some serious race bending or character expansion in order for Nyong’o to have a speaking role with a name.” when George did write some characters that were definitely brown skinned or Summer Islanders in the book that were nixed from the show like the Brothel Matron and her daughter that were absorbed into the fabricated for the show Roz character who is killed off by Joff in season 3. Also there was Strong Belwas and Brown Ben Plum (the later of whom could have been interpreted as literally brown). Don’t tell me that a writer shouldn’t write to appease a few sensitive “brats” and their cries for diversity either. At what point do people take on a greater responsibility for their work and how it effects others. When art becomes a cultural behemoth – when the artists who create that art become cultural icons (as George has become) shouldn’t there be a bit more culpabiltiy for and awareness of how said art effects the masses?

      Also don’t justify the lack of diversity by saying the show created Black characters that didn’t exist in the books so everyone should just shut up and be happy with that. There can always be more considering the great lack of diversity that pervades the majority of film and TV castings. Just stuff that one.

      I am going to go back and read all of the comments because you know, I WANT to understand how others feel. I want to listen and learn with compassionate eyes and ears. I wish others would do the same and maybe we’d actually get somewhere in the great “race” debate instead of continually isolating ourselves talking in circles of hate.

      I know I probably have offended some people just as I have been offended… So lets continue to talk so we can stop offending and start befriending. I know, cheesy, but it is my true hope. It’s the one thing that can make life on this planet a lot better, I believe. If we start having respect for each others expereinces and not just other people but respect for all life forms on this planet maybe things would be a lot more peaceful.

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    199. Luka Nieto,

      Casting a black actor to play Jaime would be off, given how important that golden hair is. A black actor could have played a Stark, though, as there the coloring is less important than character, and the physical similarity between Ned, Jon, Arya (and by extension, Lyanna) vs the ginger Starks–Cat, Sansa, Bran, etc.

      Now that I think of it, it would have been kind of cool; as things are, Ned, Jon, Arya don’t look alike at all. I mean, yeah, they’re all Caucasian, but that wasn’t the point in the books…imo.

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    200. Malsheem,

      It’s a wasted opportunity, as the author himself has stated.

      Sigh… All conversations about “Why don’t we add a bit more variety into our film and TV?” devolve into “Oh, what is wrong with white people, HUH?!”. Go figure.

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    201. Maria,

      The Lannister golden hair is not inherently important. That they have a characteristic phenotype was a plot point, and “golden” is associated with the Lannisters. If GRRM had made the Andals black, or whatever, he would’ve gone on from there and made up similar plot points based on this new basis.

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    202. Luka Nieto,

      Personally, I would have been fine with the Dornish being (explicitly) more, for lack of a better phrase, “Equatorian” (Hispanic/Northern African/Middle Eastern). That fits quite well. The idea of the Valyrians being dark-skinned is intriguing, but I would ditch the silver hair as it reminds me too much of RA Salvatore’s Drizzt Do’Urden.

      The First Men, though, I clearly see as being Scandinavian. I suppose one could envision them being like Inuits/Native Americans, but try casting that. It would be like the Last Airbender all over again.

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    203. B,

      I am sorry you feel so distraught about this that it has brought you to tears. I certainly have no desire to exclude you from anything because of your ethnicity or whatever other group you belong to that you feel is being marginalized in this community. I for one have never noticed any kind of bigotry that has been tolerated by the staff here.

      I will try to keep my point here brief as I have no wish to upset you further, but I believe you may be a bit too wrapped up in this type of thing if you are this emotionally affected by seeing basically all white characters on Game of Thrones.

      My point is that authors/filmakers should be able to tell whatever story they want, however they want to. If they make offensive or just poor art, they will not be encouraged to make more by lack of interest in their work. I do not beleive that GAme of Thrones is either of those things. It seems to me that ultimately, you are demanding (that is perhaps a strong word, but you very much would like lets say) that author’s/filmakers take your feelings, and those of basically every other person on the planet, into consideration when they create. I do not agree that they should have to do that, but there is so much art being created by so many artists in this day and age that I am sure you can find some that you will enjoy and find great pleasure in.

      If this has upset you more, I apologize, but that is how I am feeling right now.

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    204. Maria,

      That’s not how genetics work though. The Starks get their brown hair from Ned’s side and the red hair from Catelyn’s side. But Ned and Catelyn’s union could never produce a black child, and to write it that way would make most readers scratch their heads and question and criticize the author. A certain level of realism is needed or it will cause a disconnect with the audience… even in a fantasy universe with dragons.

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    205. Malsheem: My point is that authors/filmakers should be able to tell whatever story they want, however they want to. If they make offensive or just poor art, they will not be encouraged to make more by lack of interest in their work.

      Oh, the great bait-and-switch —”It’s either diversity or quality!” You can seek both, you know? And I can assure you, and GRRM and D&D would agree, that “the story they want to tell” doesn’t include any inherent “whiteness” in it. If, say, D&D had decided to make the Valyrians East Asian or Black, would you think that this would’ve somehow meddled with GRRM artistic integrity? Because I don’t think GRRM would think so. I don’t think any reasonable person would.

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    206. God of tits and wine,

      Aero Hotah is a good example too. White in the books but cast as black in the show. The thing is – I think people of color want a black/brown character who have such importance as Tyrion, Arya or Daenerys, for example, which i think its possible, but kinda unlikely at this point. I mean.. The main focus of the storyline is Westeros, and Westeros is a land where 90% of the people is white, with Dorne being the only place where there are brown-skinned people.
      And i really dont understand this people’s need for inclusion of people of color in every damn fiction work. I mean, if it is fiction, it should be totally acceptable to have a world even without people of color. It should not feel as an obligation to have them just to dont make your work look racist or something like that.
      While reading my comment keep in mind that i am brown and latin-american, so im part of the minority aswell.

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    207. Sue the Fury,

      This is not a frivolous headline. I am a little perturbed by how people are being somewhat unreasonable in their arguments on this topic. I will and always have admitted that I never heard of the books before the first season of game of thrones, and to this day I’ve never read the first book I bought and read from clash of kings because the first season left me literally mouth open dying to see what happens next. I can’t say I never read the books because I’m black hell in 1990 my last year of high school I pretty much read what I had to only. I liked the show for its escapist fantasy enjoyment and that lead me to read the books because heck it was dragons being born lol, but even reading the books I just can’t see the racism their are multiple examples of fantasy that I have read that are set in black cultural settings it doesn’t mean that the author is racist they are just using a setting many of the magical settings surrounding Haitian slave revolt ( the only successful slave revolt in history) have been the back drop for a few interesting but less successful fantasy novels than asoif it’s know way you could cast white actors to play the part of the leader of a slave revolt who uses the magical powers of his ancestor worship, it’s a setting that is used that is all. I just find it unfortunate that despite the fact that upward of 60-70 % of my discussion and enjoyment of this show is done with people who are culturally akin to me as an Afro American and frankly we have never talked about weather it’s enough black people in it, it is set in its own setting not to exclude me or anyone else but simply reflects the authors cultural ties and I find sad that his work would even be thought of as racist because if I had the talent to wright I’m sure my fictional descriptions would reflect my cultural heritage and the interaction and historical passion that I have with my community. Anyway so looking forward the winds of winter and season 6. LOVE THESE BOOKS

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    208. Robb Snow,

      This is ultimately the issue here, isn’t it? Some would like to see more actors of color in the shoe regardless of whether or not it makes sense, others (me) are more concerned with it making sense.

      Also, yes, if in the setting things were different and it was an almost entirely black population, including the Stark family, and one of the Stark children was randomly white, it would not make sense.

      This part is in no way at you Robb, but what really bothers me about this is that George is being accused of being somehow a racist or a bigot because his setting is not more diverse. Please, get off his back, people. Have you ever tried to create a fantasy setting and figure out what all the people in it look like and why? It’s not easy, he’s human, and maybe, just maybe, he wrote it the way he wanted to rather than the way you wanted him to.

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    209. Luka Nieto,

      idk. Lannister appearance is really specific in the novels, and I’d keep that–they’re golden haired, green eyed, whatever. It works; they’re the golden lion, rolling in golden dragons.

      Again, if I were casting, I could see casting the Arya-Jon-Ned group as, say, African (or Asian or whatever) to set them against the ginger Starks. Thematically the Stark appearance itself is less important than the fact that those three share a family resemblance vs Cat and the other siblings. I could also see casting the Targs as uber-African, instead of uber-European, as the point there isn’t the silver hair, but their difference from everyone else, their extreme appearance. So long as they’re extreme–extremely dark, extremely pale, extremely green, whatever–it would work. It would have been cool to cast black actors to play the Targs, and cast Nyong’o as Dany. They would have gotten a better actress than Clarke, minus Clarke’s oh, so vacant and oh, so pretty eyes. Then cast the Slaver’s Bay folk as Scandinavian, and turn the colonial thing upside down.

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    210. Luka Nieto,

      Sigh… All conversations about TV shows that predominantly feature white people devolve into “Why don’t we add a bit more variety into our film and TV?”. Go figure.

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    211. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Yes, and this line of thinking has resulted in soooo very few white people on TV! Give me a break. Representation matters. No one is taking anything away from you; they just want the same kind of representation you already have and take for granted!

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    212. Robb Snow,

      See, it is not that I can’t see the other side of the argument. In fact, I would say that a couple of arguments are solid like respecting the artist’s integrity and vision and I am not particular bothered by the limited diversity in the world of GOT. I mean Hollywood is not a place that embraces diversity per say, even white women struggled in the industry. I love the characters that GRRM created and I don’t really think of them in terms of ethnicity or race. Sure the Dothraki (the brown ones) are savages but looking at the flaying practices of the Boltons and Tywin Lannister’s slaughtered of the Reynes and Rhaegar’s heirs one can argue that the Lords of Westeros are the real savages. So I am not bothered by most of the things that are being said, I’m bothered by the tone some people chose to use: condescending and dismissive of other’s opinions. Reading some of these posts was like watching Bill O’Reilly at this worst with that stupid smirk of his. Punchable. But yeah I need to work on my tolerance, violence, even if imaginary, is never a good option. 🙂

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    213. Luka Nieto,

      Never said that you couldn’t have both. I did say that you don’t HAVE to.

      In my case it would be basically impossible to separate the show from the books completely in my mind, but if the Valyrians were in fact made dark skinned and the show considered that when casting people of Valyrian descent in the show, then I would not think it was bad Television because of it. Would I have liked it? No, because it would have been a drastic change to the setting purely for the sake of forced diversity. Ultimately though, people that make TV shows can do whatever they want, whether or not I like it.

      If you angrily snap at me again, I will not reply.

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    214. Malsheem,

      I didn’t angrily anything.

      Malsheem: Would I have liked it? No, because it would have been a drastic change to the setting purely for the sake of forced diversity.

      “Forced diversity”? Forced by whom, exactly?

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    215. Luka Nieto,

      I suppose it would be by whomever made the decision to make the Valyrians dark skinned? If you don’t like the word forced, OK fine, but I’m sure you know what I meant. Is that not why you would have liked to have seen something like that? To make the cast more diverse?

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    216. Malsheem,

      No, I don’t know what you mean. It’s not “forced” by anyone. It’s the creative team in charge of making decisions making a creative decision. It doesn’t need to be a political decision, and even if it is; what, are we supposed to be keeping politics out of art, now?

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    217. Elkanah,

      Well said. Out of curiosity, what was the fantasy series set during the Hatian slave revolt.

      On a separate note, I’ve noticed these kind of disputes occur far more in fantasy than with sci-fi (at least in terms of television) in recent years. Then again, sci-fi has been translated more often to TV, giving them more opportunity to do different things. Hopefully, fantasy will get more opportunities like this one. What I wouldn’t give for a TV adaptation of Steve Erikson’s Malazan series.

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    218. Luka Nieto,

      Chill dude. All I said was that I wouldn’t have liked it. Yes I used the words “forced diversity” when I suppose I should have just said “for the sake of adding diversity to the show.” To be sure I haven’t completely lost track of where you are coming from, that is what you want, right? I would not have liked that, personally. Do I have to like it?

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    219. I take slight umbrage with the idea that including people of color means a plot should be about the exploration of racism or race relations. That thinking is the problem. It’s why actors of color and creators of color don’t get broader opportunity. Letting people of color be people and not pigeonholed into slogans or platforms is one of things I love about GoT.

      The world of GoT is based in a time when mass movement of people doesn’t happen. Societies are still very homogeneous. Places like King’s Landing are likely to be diverse, as large port cities were in the corresponding real historical era. But that diversity stops at the servant and merchant classes and the military. The North? A dark-skinned person would be the talk for miles. Downton Abbey played the sight of a black man in the north (Downton is supposed to be in Yorkshire) perfectly. The shock for some of the characters on seeing one in the flesh was genuine, and that’s set in the 20th century.

      I say all that to say that GoT as it’s framed is well-founded. If people would like to encourage GRRM to write side novels about the goings on in the Summer Isles and the Further East, by all means, do. A lot of us would like to read them. AFTER he finishes ASOIAF, of course.

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    220. NinaD: I take slight umbrage with the idea that including people of color means a plot should be about the exploration of racism or race relations. That thinking is the problem. It’s why actors of color and creators of color don’t get broader opportunity. Letting people of color be people and not pigeonholed into slogans or platforms is one of things I love about GoT.

      I agree with that much.

      Malsheem,

      I’m chill. Do I have to employ emojis to make my emotions clear? I didn’t use caps lock, I didn’t use many exclamations (none, in that last post), so… what makes you think I’m un-chill?

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    221. Elessar: The First Men, though, I clearly see as being Scandinavian.

      I envisioned them more as Celts, or at least I have come to do so over the year. It probably is because I read that GRRM had Hadrian’s Wall in mind. Of course, the Celts I envision are “modern” Highland Gaels, but they didn’t move over there until a few centuries later. Instead, they would have been Picts, who were (I think) more like the Welsh than the Highlanders or the Irish.

      Of course, so much of our modern concept of Gaelic has been genetically blurred by the frequent Viking incursions into Ireland and England: very dark hair was seemingly much more common among native Gaels, with the red- and blonde-haired genes getting greatly boosted by Viking sperm (and ova: Vikings colonized and subsequently went native) donations to the local gene pools.

      Luka Nieto: No one is taking anything away from you; they just want some of what you already have!

      But… but… it’s discriminatory to try to reverse decades of discrimination!!!!!

      😉

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    222. Luka Nieto,

      I never said anything about the number of white people on TV, or anything being taken away from anybody. But, hey, go ahead and make assumptions and cast aspersions. That always helps a person’s cause and the level of discourse.

      For the record, I wouldn’t have cared less if they’d cast entire houses, countries and continents of ethnic minorities, as long as it made some narrative sense.

      But they didn’t.

      This is the show they created.

      And, funnily enough, it seems to have worked out pretty well.

      But rather than take it for what it is, people instead seek out things to take issue with and have “conversations” about, and then impose those “conversations” on everybody else who enjoys the show for what it is.

      Except they’re not really conversations at all, because the assumption is always that their point of view, their side of the conversation, is unequivocally righteous and must be taken on board; and that TV shows should be expected to change to suit that point of view, rather than continue with the creative freedom to cast whoever they want and create whatever show they want, however they want.

      It becomes a little tiresome once you’ve had the “conversation” about how the TV shows you’re watching are the embodiment of white supremacist (or patriarchal, or heterosexual, etc) propaganda for the millionth time.

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    223. NinaD: If people would like to encourage GRRM to write side novels about the goings on in the Summer Isles and the Further East, by all means, do. A lot of us would like to read them. AFTER he finishes ASOIAF, of course.

      Just to clarify what NinaD really means, start encouraging him AFTER he finishes SoI&F! Do NOT distract him with side projects in the interim!

      While you are at it, take away his NFL Cable TV subscription. And tell him that he can only blog AFTER he finishes a chapter. And he has to finish TWO chapters before going to conventions!

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    224. Danny,

      God, every time I read one of Cersei’s chapters I just wanted to throw the damn book at the wall. She’s just so… evil. The show seriously toned her down and actually made her a little sympathetic. Book Cersei though…

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    225. Elessar,

      There are lots w e b Dubois wrote one about the world ending and the only two people left are a black man and white woman and a that was in 1903 lol their are many more that are available and are both past oriented and future oriented but they are not marketed as black fantasy they are just set in predominantly black settings the Haitian book I refer to was written by a woman and it is basically a tale of immortality being grasped through ancestry worship (voodoo) and how they use it to get New Orleans

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    226. Luka Nieto,

      OK well cool I’m glad you are chill. Perhaps its just that you seem to at this point be looking for something to take offense to in everything I say, in this most recent case my usage of “forced” but if I am off base then cool. I suppose we are after all arguing with each other. Its not that I thought you were freaking out so much as it that I thought you were just angry at me specifically, and I’m not sure why. I also think it is unfortunate that racism seems to become an issue so easily these days, even when discussing a TV show set in a fantasy setting.

      And obviously, if Game of Thrones was a purely original work not based on any kind of source material, it should not to any sane person appear to be any kind of issue whatsoever what ethnicity the characters were. It is an issue here simply because of the previously existing source material. You don’t have to care about that at all, that’s totally fine, but some people will because of their connection to the source material. I mean, some people freaked out because Petyr said “you’re sister” for crying out loud. Changing anything will create an issue in the internet whine-osphere. Apparently, so will not including enough characters of color, which kind of requires altering the show from the source material. Oye.

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    227. Malsheem,

      Lol buddy that’s why my black ass is voting trump they’ll take fantastical thoughts about dragons and turn it into you blacks are victims and we whites must defend your poor dum black asses. I know that is rude but honestly lots of the outrage on this thread about race in game of thrones is the real life version of the great white savior and really it sucks to have to deal with it in my fantasy all the girl said was I’d love a cameo in game of thrones cause i luv that show so sad

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    228. Elkanah,

      Do you buy that there is some kind of white savior thing going on in the show then? Or are you saying that people are just creating it because they like to find “problematic” things wherever they look?

      I can’t get behind trump. I just can’t shake the feeling that he is like some kind paid actor pretending to run for president. Or maybe an alien disguised as a human depending on just how imaginative one likes to get, but I totally get why he has become so popular. People want something different. Sounds familiar to me. There certainly are no other candidates whom excite me at the thought of becoming my president.

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    229. “Again, if I were casting, I could see casting the Arya-Jon-Ned group as, say, African (or Asian or whatever) to set them against the ginger Starks. Thematically the Stark appearance itself is less important than the fact that those three share a family resemblance vs Cat and the other siblings. I could also see casting the Targs as uber-African, instead of uber-European, as the point there isn’t the silver hair, but their difference from everyone else, their extreme appearance. So long as they’re extreme–extremely dark, extremely pale, extremely green, whatever–it would work. It would have been cool to cast black actors to play the Targs, and cast Nyong’o as Dany. They would have gotten a better actress than Clarke, minus Clarke’s oh, so vacant and oh, so pretty eyes. Then cast the Slaver’s Bay folk as Scandinavian, and turn the colonial thing upside down.”

      Which would be okay if the purpose of the show was to make a political statement , not to try and faithfully adapt a series of existing books Look the whole point of Westeros is that in many ways it is and has always been an insular Island/continent. While the Planetos world is diverse with many races, religions and culture Westeros itself is an inward looking place. Dorne is the exception partly do to having been conqured by a ethnically distinct group. This was intentionally written into the storyline by GRRM to change it would be to change the “vision” which he created.

      As has been mentioned before GRRM is writing in a tradition where the “homeland” resembles an idiolized middle ages Britain, if you do not like the constraints of that tradition well and fine but GRRM intentionally choose to write within that tradition and has done a great job of it.

      Also reason why most slaves in slavers bay are none white is simple. The show uses local people of extras and they choose to film in authentic looking settings. It’s hilarious to me that people actually think that a tV show would fly in hundreds of extras from hundreds of miles away and have to deal with the expense of not only flying them in but housing them for the duration of a shoot. GRRM could and did write the slaves as a diverse group but the logistics of making a TV show (or movies) simply precludes having a diverse cast of extras.

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    230. A bit of the history that they do not teach about the history of racism and slavery in America. Most of the sub-Saharan slaves who were sold to the Europeans were enslaved by other Black African peoples or in some instances Arab traders. So it makes senses that the slave trade driven economies of Essos include slave owners and traders who do not like particularly different from the people they are buying and selling. Also don’t forget that slavery existed in Europe, as in European on European. So can we move on to considering what sort of part could be created (now that we are rather off book) for an actress who would slay just about any role you put her in. My suggestion is that we’re going to need to know more about the Red God, could be a Goddess.
      Brooklyn Ann,

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    231. GRRM took inspiration from Medieval Europe, so I’m not surprised there aren’t many “african” or “asian” characters… Yes, there are the Summer Isles and Yi Ti, but they are marginal. The focus is this sort of fictional medieval Europe, a very anglicized fictional medieval Europe… You can’t expect to find “african” or “asian” main characters here, it would be as weird as a Japanese in Ancient Rome

      In my opinion, if you’re looking for “diversity”, you’re in the wrong place! It would be better to ask why there aren’t black scientists in The Big Bang Theory, or why “true detectives” are all white… But criticizing GRRM for the lack of black characters is a bit ungenerous, I think, especially when this man gave us strong female characters, strong handicapped characters, the best dwarf character ever, all types of sexual orientations… Can we really blame him because he forgot to add a few more black characters? Really?? 😀

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    232. Not even reading the comments on this thread because I’d like to keep whatever small shred of faith I still have in humanity. But thank you, Petra, for bravely broaching this topic.

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    233. I want to say, I super love GOT and LOTR and Harry Potter and a whole lot of books/shows/films that don’t represent my race. They’re superior works of art, you can learn from them, grow up with them, and nobody in the world will be able to get me to say I don’t like them.

      So, just because you point out an aspect of something that isn’t perfect, that isn’t a personal attack or “shaming.” It’s just a thing that could have been better. So I wish people wouldn’t take race-based or gender-based criticisms so personally; the point is that we’re evolving as a society, and it isn’t bad to make mistakes, and it’s also not bad to learn from them.

      I don’t think GOT’s problem is that it doesn’t include characters of color, because it does, and since most of the action is in Westeros, it makes sense that most of the main characters are white. I do think the problem is how characters of color are depicted, though. Missandei and Grey Worm are the only characters whom anyone really cares about (I mean seriously, Salladhor is just there for comic relief and Areo had about 4 lines), so I do wish that there were characters of color who were plot-drivers rather than plot-followers. You’re not telling me that an Arya-esque assassin or priest trainee couldn’t have come from somewhere in Essos and had a super fascinating trip to Asshai.

      The other problem is that the cultures of darker-skinned peoples really are portrayed as kinda barbaric. Of course, we hear about how great Dorne is, but what we see are the Sand Snakes torturing people and murdering children. At some point Bronn tells Jaime that in Dorne they fuck and fight, and that sounded to me like an equally valid way of summing up the Dothraki culture too. The worst part is that this seems more or less accurate of Dornish/Dothraki cultures on the show, and that’s kind of terrible representation of a culture if you think about it.

      Of course the books have Yi Ti, but we’ve never heard of them on the show. Anyways. Find me one living slave or Dornish or Dothraki character whom ANY viewer (not book reader, we’re talking about the show, so Doran hasn’t done anything noteworthy yet) actually really cares about at this point. Like, as much as we care about Cersei or Sam.

      Obviously the show is doing is really well for progressives, it’s great that women drive the plot, that there are different kinds of women, people of different sexual orientations, and I do think that with Missandei and Grey Worm the showrunners have made an attempt to improve the diversity. It’s just unfortunate that the non-white cultures are portrayed as being kind of backwards.

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    234. There are actually people who believe that Philippa of Hainault was black?
      I don’t want to disrespect anyone but there is no historical basis for that
      claim.
      If one wants to give examples of Europeans of African ancestry, accuracy is important.
      So are reliable sources.

      We know for a fact that Pushkin’s grandfather was from Cameroon.
      There is nothing that suggests that Philippa was black.
      What we know is that one of her ancestors was Maria of Hungary, who was descended from Elisabeth of Bosnia, a daughter of a Cuman chieftain.
      The Cumans were nomadic warriors from Asia.
      It is a stretch to call her black.
      Her son was called the Black years after he died.

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    235. Chimeny:
      Chris,

      GRRM said it himself though… and tell me, since your comment was clearly directed at me among others, what is “revealing” about my comment?

      First, I wasn’t addressing anyone in particular on this board. Take a look at the comment field overall and there’s quite a bit of some people constructively throwing around ideas, while some others seem to immediately dismiss and belittle the opinions of said others.
      In addition, my use of “revealing” during my comment was pertaining to those who were dismissing and shutting out their fellow posters opinions. I apologize if I wasn’t clear enough before, but I think people that shut others out simply because they don’t agree with their ideas as a very childish and egocentric trait; plain and simple. And I think that is revealing of a persons overall ability to rationalize maturely in conversation.

      Finally; yes george did say asoiaf is based on medieval Europe etc. but there’s also just as much fantasy, anachronism, and creatively invented material.
      I enjoy it all just the same and will continue to do so just as well as yourself, but the intolerance some posters have towards one another’s ideas is upsetting and unnecessary.

      The fuck do I care… DUEL it out!

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    236. Luka Nieto: Exactly. It’s telling that people have such a problem with black people being in a Medieval-type setting (which is absurd; learn some history!), but they are totally fine with a purple-eyed silver-haired race —what European phenotype is that, exactly? And that’s why GRRM said that, if he had written that today instead of twenty something years ago, he would’ve probably made the Valyrians black.

      Dragons are fine. An elven-looking race? Great! Wizard hobbits? Sure. White mummies? Why not! Black people? Absurd, that’s not HISTORICALLY ACCURATE! The lot of you should be ashamed.

      This.

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    237. Wimsey: Just to clarify what NinaD really means, start encouraging him AFTER he finishes SoI&F!Do NOT distract him with side projects in the interim!

      While you are at it, take away his NFL Cable TV subscription.And tell him that he can only blog AFTER he finishes a chapter.And he has to finish TWO chapters before going to conventions!

      Hey now. Nothin wrong with NFL cable. I don’t have it, but I’m cheap. I do sympathize with GRRM’s desire to escape into sports…. and the Jets defense has gotta be exciting for him this season.

      I am an artist as well, and while nobody is banging down my door for my next installment, I understand the need to “check out” and find some inspiration from the vast nothingness that is the world of professional sports.

      Back on topic. I was thinking- there has to be some parallel here. The quarterback who was set to start the season for the Jets is black; he was sucker punched during an altercation with a teammate in the locker room, broke his jaw, and surrendered his job to the white backup. Jets odds went up in Vegas immediately following the announcement of the injury and lineup change, and after two games the white backup has now effectively won the support of coaches and management- earning the starting job for the remainder of the season, barring no injuries or unforeseen fuckups.

      There has to be something here…

      Go Hawks.

      And yeah, I’m sympathetic to the rational voices here who don’t fucking shout, insult, piss and moan, and in general don’t speak condescendingly to their fellow GoT fans.

      What a shitshow. This was a perfectly rational, and thoughtful post. Thank you WotW.

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    238. I’m confused as to what the point of this post was, other than rehashing a tired topic that’s been gone over many times, and featuring a wonderful actress in the title and main photo, who nonetheless is not a part of the show (yet, anyway). Just seems inflammatory.

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    239. Ser Creighton Longbough:
      GRRM took inspiration from Medieval Europe, so I’m not surprised there aren’t many “african” or “asian” characters… Yes, there are the Summer Isles and Yi Ti, but they are marginal. The focus is this sort of fictional medieval Europe, a very anglicized fictional medieval Europe… You can’t expect to find “african” or “asian” main characters here, it would be as weird as a Japanese in Ancient Rome

      In my opinion, if you’re looking for “diversity”, you’re in the wrong place! It would be better to ask why there aren’t black scientists in The Big Bang Theory, or why “true detectives” are all white… But criticizing GRRM for the lack of black characters is a bit ungenerous, I think, especially when this man gave us strong female characters, strong handicapped characters, the best dwarf character ever, all types of sexual orientations… Can we really blame him because he forgot to add a few more black characters? Really??

      Haha this!

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    240. I don’t understand this diversity thing. So what people are saying is if TV remade Roots they’d have to make Kunta Kinte a white dude, half the African villagers white and make some of the slave owners black?

      I’m confused.

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    241. I dont understand the complaints. Do you see white people complaining about a lack of non POC in Empire?! of course not… If the material caters to it we ll see more POC if not we wont… We have even had characters like Xaro Xhoan Daxos who was ‘milk white’ in the books on the show so i dont see the big deal.

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    242. Malsheem said… “but I believe you may be a bit too wrapped up in this type of thing if you are this emotionally affected by seeing basically all white characters on Game of Thrones.”

      My offense actually is not with GRRM material itself but with intense backlash by commenters at the posing of the idea that maybe some more faces of color in the show in speaking roles (minor or major) wouldn’t be a bad thing. The comments on this site by a lot of posters feel- well- backed by racism. Being that racism is something I deal with on a daily basis and alters my life experience in profound ways makes it a bit of a sensitivity to say the least. That this conversation itself is offensive to so many-that racism in or lack of diversity in casting is a tired trope – or basically that my sensitivity to the daily struggle of trying to be recognized in this world as having a disadvantage (based on the color caste system in our world society) is deemed an invalid experience- a fabrication, is a problem for me.

      Hell, honestly I have not been feeling deeply hurt by watching this show that I love so much or by reading the books(which allows me the freedom to picture the characters the way I choose more or less), but I am truly hurt by reading the comments on this and other web sites about this issue of casting actors of color with more frequency.
      Would I love to see more people of all colors on this show and others? Yes. I feel there IS a place for it in Game of Thrones (and apparently others do as well)- even in significant speaking roles. I don’t feel it would be that much of a stretch and not such a damaging thing to the story (any more than the inconsistency in accents on the show casting -eg. Thros of Myr having a slightly more northern accent in the show than would be expected based on where he is supposed to be from. Also certainly a lot LESS damaging than obviously recasting a few highly visible characters on the show which people have seemingly adapted to with ease in a lot of cases- eg. The Mountain, Beric Dondarian, and Daario Naharis- even the Lord of Bones recast was obvious and jarring to me as I heard the difference in his speech right away without knowning before hand that he was recast). That a lot of people feel very stongly that IT WOULD BE such a divergence from the truth or essence of GRRM’s story reeks of a deeper feeling of lack of acceptance of other cultures and colors in real life. It’s the undertone of that -which when reading the comments- brought me to tears. Its what I’ve been hearing for a long time and it hurts. That as an African American (and I am African- American because my father is African and my mother is Black American culturally) my presence is offensive to so many -hurts. That black skin casting is just “wrong” or “out of place” or “off” in this fantasy show and that maybe I should look somewhere else to see people that look like me or who are culturally more like me – because I don’t belong here (and becuase there is just so much opportunity for that in TV and Film production -yeah right)is hurtful. I know there are a lot of sci fi and fantasy novels with a culturally Black American or Carribean or African influence but those stories are not being brought to TV very often because producers don’t want to invest in those stories because so many people like on this site keep saying they don’t want to see that. I am so glad they are finally talking about bringing one of Octavia Butlers stories to TV. Glad we have the show Extant on TV (though this season was kinda sucky) but there needs to be more because people recoil at the faces of color cast “non traditionally”. The White population has the advantage-priveledge- of seeing themselves in the majority of TV and Film being cast today is the bottom line. Its not a fair playing ground in the TV and Film industry like nostly everywhere else. To say that we people of color should look somewhere else to see ourselves reflected seems very dismissive of that fact. To not see that people of color are deeply effected by not seeing themselves on TV or Film fiction (and this countered by mostly seeing ourselves in the news media that reports on “real life” often negatively) – is insensitive.

      In response to my earlier comment… Are you saying I am too emotionally attached to this subject Malsheem? You can judge that? Yes it sounds like I am taking it personally because I am. My reaction is deeply personal and emotional because of my personal experience with racism.

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    243. Toby you are trolling, right? That Empire comment… SMH. If not, this is exactly what I am talking about in my previous comments.

      Toby,

      I dont understand the complaints. Do you see white people complaining about a lack of non POC in Empire?! of course not… If the material caters to it we ll see more POC if not we wont… We have even had characters like Xaro Xhoan Daxos who was ‘milk white’ in the books on the show so i dont see the big deal.

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    244. Ser Oromis Locke,

      I just want to resond to that “if you close your eyes and imagine a child…” comment. The problem is a lot of young Black children sadly close thier eyes and imagine white because sadly we are all influenced by TV and Film and all forms of Media. I know a lot of Black kids growing up who put on yellow towels to make their “hair” long and blond or wished their skin was lighter… Have you seen this?

      Black doll White doll – YouTube
      Video for black baby doll experiment▶ 1:39
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybDa0gSuAcg
      Aug 13, 2007 – Uploaded by birgitvanhout
      The experiment shows how many black children are trapped by low … Baby Doll Magic Potty Training Poops & Pees Nenuco Baby Girl Diaper …

      Video for black baby doll experiment▶ 9:13
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkpUyB2xgTM

      The effects of growing up in a world where this attitude of indifference to the influence of racism still persists.

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    245. This will be my last comment for a while. Sorry for the barrage of posts.

      Now this is not fact checked and I am not posting this as absolute truth- more like I want to post a starting point for people including myself to research if they so desire…

      http://afroeurope.blogspot.com/2010/08/history-of-black-people-in-europe.html

      Segments of the above link:

      “It is generally known that black people have been residing in European countries since the early colonial times. But even before the 15th century and during Roman times, a time when colour of skin still wasn’t a racist stigma but just another physical feature, black people lived in Europe. Remains of a man with black African features were found in England recently, dating his life back to the 13th century. Read this article for more info. [there was a link to a UK Sunday Times article that you have to be a subscriber to read]

      Besides that, facts have been found of black people living in different parts of Europe, although I don’t want to overstate their presence or influence. But it is generally known that during the Muslim era of the Iberian Peninsula (from the 8th century AD until the 15th century AD) people with dark skin were part of daily” [life].

      and

      “Many blacks who were Muslims converted to Christianity after the emirate of Al Andalus was abolished (end of 15th century). But the Reconquista took centuries (8th-15th century) and during those times black people gradually integrated the Christian and Northern European world. Among them were noble men and scholars. The negative image of blacks, as natural slaves, only gained prominence in the 18th century when the transatlantic slave trade became a central piece of European economical activity and later when European nation-states were being established. ”

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    246. I think they can find role for lupita, but it would not be many for her. She could play a nobel of the free cities or a pirate captain.

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    247. I think this is really silly. The world of ASOIAF is based around medieval Europe, and yes that is probably because of the author’s own background. But… really that doesn’t matter in my opinion. The only thing that should matter is whether the story is interesting and well-told, not how diverse the cast is is.

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    248. Westeros is a fictional setting. 300 AC Westeros can be as diverse as Martin wants it to be

      Stop. Just because it’s a fictional setting doesn’t mean there’s not internal logic at work. There’s still evolutionary effects on how people look – there’s a reason the humans that left Africa turned white, or got pan-Asian eyefolds, etc.. And just because it’s a fantasy and there’s dragons, doesn’t mean travelling across the globe is a safe & easy thing to do. It’s safe to say most people would stay put, or, perhaps even more likely, would have no buisiness going anywhere, anyway.
      The ethnic make up of the modern western world only makes sense in a modern western world. So, stop it.

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    249. Simeon: And just think of the shitstorm that would have raised! Filming one of the world’s biggest shows in Morocco and then snubbing the locals to fly in a bunch of white extras. Yeah, that would have been seen as completely non-racist.

      They are filming in Spain, in which a largely part of the population is fair skin, blue eyes and dark hair, or fair skin, brown eyes and blonde hair, and the casting call specified “dark haired eyes and brown skin”. And not only for the dothrakis places.

      And Dorne was turned into the land of exotic kinky sex fights (and a “brown” character killing the innocent valley girl), so Lupita has a point.

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    250. SlayerNina: And Dorne was turned into the land of exotic kinky sex fights (and a “brown” character killing the innocent valley girl), so Lupita has a point.

      Here’s a transcript of the entire GOT-relevant conversation from that clip for you:

      Interviewer: What TV show would you love to make a cameo in.
      Lupita Nyong’o: Game of Thrones.
      Interviewer: That’s what everyone says.
      Lupita Nyong’o: Yeah.

      So no, Lupita’s point is not the racial politics of GoT’s production are terrible and Dorne is even worse. Her point, as represented in this extremely short exchange, apparently is that she is very much enjoying the show. So much so she would choose this show over any other show on television if she could freely chose one to appear on. Which, as the interviewer points out, is what quite a number of actors are saying these days, including a lot of white actors who have not been cast on the show.

      The point you’re referring to is entirely the point of the author of this article, who somehow saw it fit to turn a black actresses’ short and offhanded profession of enjoyment of a show into a political piece about how that show was mistreating black characters and actors through underrepresentation. Which I happen to find rather cheap and frankly disrespectful towards Lupita Nyong’o, who is used here merely as a hook (or plot device) for the author’s own political opinion.

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    251. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      People don’t seek reasons to be offended, they are offended and they have a right to be. Doesn’t mean that they’re right, but you can’t simply dismiss that emotional response as a troublemaking poltical statement.

      Loras being promiscuous is more troubling than Theon being promiscuous because it’s a negative stereotype about gay men that they can’t control their sexual behaviour, and through those scenes the show seems to reinforce that view. Similarly with the Danny scene, the idea that ‘brown’ people need ‘white’ people to save them is an insidious one within western culture that shouldn’t be promoted in the modern world. In neither scenario do I believe the writers sat around and consciously reinforced those tropes, but they were unable to recognise the potentially negative messages the scenes conveyed until it was too late to do anything about them.

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    252. These discussions tend to go sour, right from the start due to different views on definitions or the wrong use of words, but mostly because people tend to go in discussion on the symptoms and not the causes.

      In this discussion “Diversity” seems to be about skin collar, for the sake of the discussion the fact that GoT features actors from the U.S.A. UK, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland to name a few isn’t considered “Diverse” they are obviously the same, because they’re white.

      And because of that fact, it doesn’t count that these countries at one point in time where at war with each other enslaved, killed and raped and saw each other as lesser races.
      They play, whores, slaves, servants, soldiers, serfs and also nobles.

      But this is about skin Collar:
      and about them not having the same opportunities as above mentioned people, and that is a fact.

      Which has little to do with GoT to be honest.

      Stories/movies are mostly inspired by older stories that are drawn from earth library which is dominated by Arabic, Asiatic, Caucasian authors.
      Formed by history even these days the number of collared authors are not representative for the number of collared people in most western societies.
      And there is the (in my humble opinion) the problem: education and providing fair chances in that area will solve that problem, that isn’t something done in a day or a week. But it will happen ad I’ll be glad for it.

      As for GoT in this discussion, just because it’s a fantasy setting doesn’t mean it isn’t bound by rules, a fantasy setting is in most cases, more bound by rules than more realistic fiction.

      Yes there are Dragons and zombies, though the zombies need to be dead before they become zombies and dragons need to be reptilian like ect, ect. You can change some of these things, though not too much and with great risks. One of the main reasons LotR, Harry Potter and GoT worked was the approach the Producers and Directors took and treated as if it was real.

      And Let’s be honest: Is there anyone who believes GoT would have made it passed episode 1 if the Dany would have been Black (sold by her brother reluctantly taken by her new husband) The World would see a Sh*T stream of apocalyptic proportions.

      Or the Starks with the loss of Ned/Robb/Caitlin Sansa’s prerils at the hands of white Lanisters, or the other way around white Starks at the hand of Black Lanisters, the world would be to small.

      I think it would be even doubtful the books would have ever been published.

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    253. Man, it is becoming so fucking tedious to come to some of the GOT sites…and always see a thread like this. It’s become like a cliche “must have” topic of debate, where everybody bitches and moans!

      For fuck’s sake can we give this bullshit a rest?! Does everything have to be politicized and squeezed through the lense of the suffocating PC police and the professional outrage and complaints industry.

      These days everyone has something to complain about, apologize about, be outraged about…except when it comes to really, genuinely important issues of actual substance that affect our everyday lives in a real sense, then everybody seems to fall silent and have nothing to say…

      Life doesn’t always give us all we want. Things don’t always turn out the way we want. Someone, somewhere will always be unhappy, short-changed and not satisfied.

      When “Sense8” from the Wachowski’s premiered on Netflix, the negative backlash was nasty and brutal, people were complaining about “too much” diversity, and that the show had a “gay and trans” agenda, or that there were many too “foreign and ethnic” actors on it…

      Now here we are once again complaining that GOT is not “diverse enough”…

      You want things to change? Support shows that promote diversity, go and see movies that do so, demand that original content be created that better reflects our changing world and society.

      I think Viola Davis had a very good point when she said that “…you cannot win an Emmy for a role that is not there…” (just paraphrasing here)!

      But don’t just pick on some already established show or book or whatever, and criticize in hindsight just because it doesn’t conform to PC standards that most if not all of us cannot fulfill even in our daily lives…better to aspire to even a cheesy and overwrought phrase like “be the change you want”, than to be party to and part of the “outrage and apologies” community!

      PS I hope Idris Elba is the next Bond…lets see how that goes over!

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    254. loco73:

      PS I hope Idris Elba is the next Bond…lets see how that goes over!

      Aaahhhhhhhhh! Did you see his classy, ice-cool Stringer Bell?! He would probably kill it as 007, and I’d be a very happy woman!

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    255. I agree, the crowdsurfing medium was disproportionately brown in that cloying S3 scene, by the standards of GRRM’s own writing. He described the flesh trade dealing in diverse commodities on multiple occasions. The show’s lack of variety in regional extras amplified the white savior vibes there. I’m sure it was incidental, but the effect was hard to deny combined with the cries of “Mhysa.”

      That said, as a non-white individual, I don’t see what all the PC fuss is about. George is an avid consumer of Western history, and it shows. Most of the depictions of non-Westerosi culture is filtered through Westerosi eyes, and that’s part of the point. Essos and other ethnically diverse (what does “racial” do here other than imply we are separate species) regions of ASOIAF are understandably exoticized in the minds of the Westerosi. Similar attitudes have prevailed in our past. It’s appropriate to see them in play here. The Dothraki remain one of my favorite ASOIAF creations because our perceptions of them change with our growing understanding, despite the fact their culturally inherent brutality always remains relevant.

      ASOIAF is also undeniably rooted in Western folklore and mythology. Frankly, I’d rather see the big beats involve characters more directly descended from the cultures George’s stories are drawn from. Maybe if humanity lasts long enough, we’ll see ourselves converge into an ethnic singularity, which would in turn cast “racial politics” into obsolescence, and everyone will be in everything in healthy measure. That day isn’t today, and it isn’t present day Westeros. Again, I’m not white. I just love good stories. These self-insertion fantasies some people push would likely come at the cost of undermining the internal integrity and effect of an artistic work. I don’t need to look into a facial mirror on top of a character cutout and be told I matter. I just want a good story.

      All that said, I still think George mostly parodies himself when it comes to Meereen. I couldn’t care less about the layers of intrigue in play, and all the tired, alliterative names people give themselves there. To his credit, it took more than three books for George to leave me with any impression of artifice, but I’m still sad that I reached that dubious milestone on my ASOIAF journey at all. At this point, I have to say some of his creations in Essos ring a bit hollow, or even false.

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    256. Chai from Asshai,

      “The other problem is that the cultures of darker-skinned peoples really are portrayed as kinda barbaric. Of course, we hear about how great Dorne is, but what we see are the Sand Snakes torturing people and murdering children. At some point Bronn tells Jaime that in Dorne they fuck and fight, and that sounded to me like an equally valid way of summing up the Dothraki culture too. The worst part is that this seems more or less accurate of Dornish/Dothraki cultures on the show, and that’s kind of terrible representation of a culture if you think about it.”

      You see, it’s comments like this that absolutely infuriate me about this whole debate, because it is so selective and misleading in order to labour the point.

      Are the Wildlings not barbaric? They’ve even got “wild” in their name, for goodness sake.

      Are the Northerners not described as a wild and uncontrollable people? Some of them have a penchant for skinning people alive, torturing people, beheadings, hangings, murdering children, stabbing their King in the heart. Brienne was made to fight a bear in a fighting pit, for goodness sake, and yet it’s the darker-skinned people whose cultures you think have been portrayed as barbaric?

      Up and down Westeros, rape, murder, oppression, backstabbing, incest, duplicity, war and all manner of barbarity is committed.

      When Cersei was marched through the streets of the capital, people lined the streets to pelt her with anything that came to hand and humiliate her. I guess that was a perfect display of the civilised Westerosi culture, was it?

      In Essos and Slaver’s Bay, as in Westeros, it is predominantly the corrupt nobles, the warlords, the slavers, the rapists, thieves and all the other nefarious characters who are shown to be barbaric while, as Daenerys puts it, everybody else gets crushed at the bottom of the wheel.

      As with all peoples in this show, some are shown to be barbaric, or promiscuous, or deceitful, while others are shown to be noble, enlightened and innocent.

      There are no cultures or peoples that are shown to be entirely barbaric or backwards. But it suits your point of view to act as if there are and ignore all the nuances of all the characters and situations that have been depicted.

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    257. Valaquen,

      Exactly. That’s how people will twist what is depicted to suit the interpretation they want to perceive. It’s not as if there aren’t a number of straight characters that have been depicted as promiscuous, or far, far worse.

      But yeah, let’s focus on the one gay character who happens to have slept with another man many months after the death of the man that he loved and pretend that that’s a bigoted depiction of homosexuals as promiscuous.

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    258. SlayerNina,

      “And Dorne was turned into the land of exotic kinky sex fights (and a “brown” character killing the innocent valley girl), so Lupita has a point.”

      This is probably the most offensive comment in this entire thread. A shameless racial generalisation.

      How does Nell Tiger Free (a Londoner, I believe), or the character of Myrcella, fit the “valley girl” stereotype. Oh, that’s right, she’s white and blonde… and that’s it.

      But, of course, this sort of offensive generalisation is perfectly acceptable, apparently.

      Just another reason why I despise the debate on this subject matter.

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    259. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      Valaquen,

      Exactly. That’s how people will twist what is depicted to suit the interpretation they want to perceive. It’s not as if there aren’t a number of straight characters that have been depicted as promiscuous, or far, far worse.

      But yeah, let’s focus on the one gay character who happens to have slept with another man many months after the death of the man that he loved and pretend that that’s a bigoted depiction of homosexuals as promiscuous.

      Well… The books described Loras being “asexual” after Renly’s death…

      It’s curious how the show have the Loras’ version with Olenna talking about his promiscuity, everyone in the realm knowing about Loras sexuality and promiscuity, Loras interchanging looks with Oberyn (promiscuos recognnized bi), using a prostitute and with Margaery saying to him “stop fucking with other boys at the curt”… And excepting the fight with Brienne, Loras on screen presence literally screams “he’s gay”. Just thinkin’.

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    260. Lyanna Mormont,

      Shaking my head. You really missed the point. I wasn’t saying that having a story based in a world where there is more diversity, or where darker skinned characters dominated, would be silly. I was saying that it is silly to go down the line of questioning why GRRMs world was created the way it was. The world he created has diversity, but the story is based around a location that happens to be dominated by lighter skinned races.

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    261. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      I’m not the only one. I didn’t met anybody (online or in real life) who didn’t saying “Myrcella is a Barbie”, “Princess Peach” or “Sansa 2.0” after season 5, especially after the “I want to marry Trys, I love him!!!”. And you can’t deny Myrcella (book version and show) is in fact, an innocent.

        Quote  Reply

    262. Social Justice Stranger,

      “People don’t seek reasons to be offended, they are offended and they have a right to be. Doesn’t mean that they’re right, but you can’t simply dismiss that emotional response as a troublemaking poltical statement.”

      Yes, they do. And many people actively warp what has been depicted on screen to suit the political statement they wish to make.

      Your own warping of the depiction of Loras is the perfect example.

      Is he really depicted as promiscuous? He’s slept with two men, Renly and Olyvar, one of whom they clearly depicted him as totally devoted to.

      Their depiction is only “troubling” if people insist on paying any regard to stereotypes about gay men; and ignoring both the context and the depiction of other non-gay characters as promiscuous.

      You just did that yourself. You dismissed Theon’s promiscuity as irrelevant out of hand, because it doesn’t suit your point of view to accept that characters of various sexualities have been depicted as promiscuous.

      If you’re actually going to treat all people equally, then you can’t hide from depicting gay men as promiscuous (or not really, as in Loras’s case) because it might appear to feed into a stereotype.

      There’s simply no reason to portray Loras as any different to any of the other characters.

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    263. Valaquen: He sleeps with one guy. One guy. People are just mad that he sleeps with anybody after Renly.

      Olenna hints about Loras being promiscuous in that scene with Tywin. And those looks with Oberyn… LOL

      I think people is piss off because Loras only appears onscreen with something related by his sexuality. If they have showed us a scene in which he’s (for example) with Jaime talking about politics or some place to be sieged, it would give a different feeling.

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    264. Grandmaester Flash:
      Why can’t people just watch and (hopefully) enjoy films & TV shows without putting everyone into categories.

      I think it’s much more interesting to debate the social and culture line of thinking after the story itself.

      Did you remember when USA was like “we’re not racist anymore!” and then Rue from the Hunger Games and Dean Thomas from Harry Potter were black and Internet exploded because “they can’t be black”?

        Quote  Reply

    265. SlayerNina,

      And Tyrion, Theon and other characters are more than hinted at being promiscuous. One of them even has his genitalia removed because of it.

      And does everything about Loras scream “gay”? Not as far as I’ve seen.

      Apart from the scenes where he’s been with his lovers, and the rude and cruel remarks made behind his back (mainly rumours, remember. Are we to take their rumours as gospel?), I believe he’s been portrayed as fairly as any other character. He has his faults and his good points.

      But, of course, I forgot. You can’t possibly dare portray a gay man as gay, or as anything other than saintly.

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    266. Mihnea:
      Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      ”Lots of other people” = people who agree with ”me”..

      Those who don’t are ignored.

      Don’t bother mate, she will never change her opinion. She still claims D&D ”hate” women.

      Don’t bother mate, he will never change his opinion. He still claims the show is perfect in acting, plot, writing, music and visual effects.

        Quote  Reply

    267. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Most of readers (me included) didn’t know Loras was gay until we saw him shaving Renly’s armpit. It was so subtitle that noone realised that. There’s any problem to show a gay character being gay, but why the showrunners choose precisely this trait, the most hidden?

      Tell me a single scene in which is not about Loras sexuality or not being suitable for marriage, please.

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    268. SlayerNina,

      Hello Nina! I didn’t replied to your comment, I’m sorry if it offended you tough. I was simply trying to help the other poster, by informing him that your ”debate” will reach no where.

      I simply think you are wrong, in everything you say. The same way you think I’m wrong in everything I say. I also don’t have the energy or will, to enter a endless debate with you.

      So what you say we ignore one another? I see little, besides insults, that can be gained from us talking. So what you say you just ignore my comments, I already ignore yours.
      This way everyone wins, me, you, this site, by not being flooded with hate and insults.

      Thank You!

        Quote  Reply

    269. SlayerNina,

      I’m sure there are many, but the ones that come to mind are when he’s fighting the tournament and when he’s fighting Brienne, when he and Jaimie argue about his marriage to Cersei and when he converses with Cersei at Tywin’s funeral.

      Regardless, just because his sexuality is referenced or depicted on screen does not mean that he “screams gay” or that that depiction has to be interpreted in a negative way.

      On another point, in my haste, I forgot to refute your point about the “brown” people killing the “innocent valley girl”.

      If you’re going to make an issue of that, then you’d have to forget about Craster sacrificing babies to the White Walkers; Lord Karstark murdering teenage boys; the references to the Lannisters raping children at the Mummer’s Ford; Ramsay raping and torturing a teenage Sansa; Meryn Trant molesting and beating little girls; oh, and the “brown” person Oberyn coming to King’s Landing specifically to confront those that murdered his infant niece and young nephew, and whom we readers/viewers are all meant to be rooting for.

      As I’ve said a few times now, in order to take these politicised views of the show/books you have to ignore context and dismiss everything that doesn’t fit the narrative. It’s a thoroughly subjective and dishonest approach.

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    270. “Still, they are only two characters in a cast of thousands and the lack of representation in both the show and the books continues to leave many fans wanting.”

      No, the only people asking for this are a very small minority. However, they are very loud and they keep pretending they represent some sort of movement.

      I think most people rightfully feel that this group is somewhat weird. The world does not have to adapt to their needs or desires. Yet they seem to harbor the illusion that the world should.

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    271. Geese Mihnea, how long is your list of people you ignore because you don’t agree with them… about just this one TV show? I thought SlayerNina had some good points and was being respectful.

        Quote  Reply

    272. Reader,

      She is there since all the “D&D, hate women” comments.

      And it’s not that big, only 4-6, people. I don’t count the trolls here tough, as those I always ignore, on any forum.

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    273. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      That’s why I’m saying that. Excepting Brienne’s fight scene, Jaime and Loras talked about “forbiden love” (after the exchange of appreciative looks between Oberyn and him) and Cersei exchange was all about Cersei being angry for marry a sword swallower. Loras character only appears for two things: flirt with boys and “haha Sansa/Cersei are marrying a gay”. Even when he’s not onscreen, when the other characters surrounding him are talking about his sexuality (even Tywin Lannister!). Any shadows at all. I mean, even Karsi or Myranda had more things attached to their characters.

      PS: All the characters you have mentioned are white characters killing white characters… (the White Walker counts? Nevermind lol).

      But the Dornish have these narrative problem: Oberyn came to the capital for revenge (yeah) and when he’s not plotting, he and Ellaria literally lived on the brothel. And then we have next season Dorne, the land of “fight and fuck” in which incest is ok and who cares to compromise a full realm for a death that Oberyn looked for himself. They were sticked in the mold of highly sexual agressive warriors and nothing else. It felt rushed.

      Doran and Areo are the only sane characters there, because they’re not the only who were thinking in war or fuck someone else. Oberyn had a “spicy personality”, fine. Ellaria was the voice of the reason on season 4. But on season 5, her character goes to “yeah, war!” route and the SS too. I suppose the latter would do that, but there’s a difference between scheeming and poison and jump in the garden, grab Myrcella and attack the foreingners. Even Trystane tried to hit Bronn (when he’s not thinking how to bang Myrcella XD). From being the realm of equality and cautious people, suddenly we have Myrcella killed (and everyone’s knew who did it!), Trystane in the same ship alone and the ship still on the port. It felt like: “who cares? If there’s war, we’ll have war YOLO”.

      That depends on how develop Dorne next season, however. If they make the SS and Ellaria being reasonable and not literally jumping on people to kill them or fuck them, then they can develop something. If not and we have the SS moping around trying to seduce Doran, trying to kill Areo while they say “for Oberynnnnnn!” or something like that, then, they will stick on the “fuck and fight” box.

      I mean, there’s the Iron Born and Theon the ex-promiscuous, the culture of sacking and rapeying towns, and they have much more political or even religion stuff than Dorne, and they appeared a lot less. It’s how it’s portrayed.

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    274. I always love these threads where white male fans declare that because some issue doesn’t personally bother them, that it’s unworthy of discussion or criticism and is deemed political nonsense for anyone to notice, discuss, or criticize thus freeing up more net posting space for repetitious whining that character 147 or 169 out of over 500 characters in the multi-thousand page books got left out of a screen adaptation.

      It’s all about priorities, isn’t it.

        Quote  Reply

    275. TormundsWoman,

      I’d love Mr Elba to be Bond, he’d kill it; but how to explain Bond’s skin changing?
      I like the theory that James Bond is a moniker for whichever agent is given the 007 code.
      Daniel Craig either dies or retires for some reason in his last film, and in the follow up have ‘M’ tell the new agent that he needs to live up to his predecessor’s tux because his MI6 name will be Bond.

      Yaga,

      http://www.ew.com/article/2015/09/23/kerry-washington-game-of-thrones-jimmy-kimmel-live

      Have you really seen Lupita? The actress can easily pass for 20 years old. I’d be surprised if D&D use the Sarella character, my thought is that the 21 year old widow role is Lupita’s to lose, as for being a D&D creation, never know, the character could be in Winds.

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    276. SlayerNina,

      “I mean, even Karsi or Myranda had more things attached to their characters. “

      No they didn’t. That’s utter nonsense, and another fine example of people warping what’s actually been depicted to suit their point of view.

      If anything, Karsi and Myranda could be considered even more stereotypical and conforming to TV tropes than you believe Loras does.

      The maternal warrior woman who’s easily the equal of the men and eminently more sensible. And the psycho, jealous uber-b**ch who tortures our beleaguered heroine.

      “PS: All the characters you have mentioned are white characters killing white characters… (the White Walker counts? Nevermind lol).”

      So?

      Your point was that the “brown” people murdering an innocent white girl was an example of how they were depicted negatively. And I provided you with examples of how white characters have been portrayed just as negatively by committing similar acts. In my haste I even forgot to add Shireen being burnt alive by her own father to the list.

      But obviously you’re intent on pretending that the “brown” people murdering somebody is somehow different from all the atrocities committed by the white characters. You’re intent on applying different standards to different characters according to your own politicised point of view.

      As I said, it’s a subjective and dishonest approach.

      And everything else you’ve written is also entirely subjective and framed around the politicised point of view that you wish to substantiate. It’s called confirmation bias.

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    277. SlayerNina: I think it’s much more interesting to debate the social and culture line of thinking after the story itself.

      Did you remember when USA was like “we’re not racist anymore!” and then Rue from the Hunger Games and Dean Thomas from Harry Potter were black and Internet exploded because “they can’t be black”?

      No, I don’t remember anything about that. I’m not an American though.

      As far as I recall, Dean Thomas was black in the books, but it’s a long time since I read them so I may be wrong. It was abundantly clear that Hogwarts was a multi-cultural school, so it should have come as no surprise that there were some black pupils.

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    278. tyjon:
      TormundsWoman,

      I like the theory that James Bond is a moniker for whichever agent is given the 007 code.

      LOL That theory was always true for the movies. You could always explain changing of accent (good phonetics teacher), hair color (dye), facial features (facial reconstruction) or eyes (contact lenses) but body type or height so many times?! (Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan are taller than Daniel at least 3″ never mind the body type)

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    279. Grandmaester Flash: No, I don’t remember anything about that.I’m not an American though.

      As far as I recall, Dean Thomas was black in the books, but it’s a long time since I read them so I may be wrong.It was abundantly clear that Hogwarts was a multi-cultural school, so it should have come as no surprise that there were some black pupils.

      I remember. There was even coverage of a couple of particularly upset fans declaring the ‘PC’ casting of Rue made her less beloved and or less identifiable. All of which was particularly interesting because Rue was clearly black in The Hunger Games novel but the folks having hissyfits apparently were so wrapped up in their own ‘picture’ of things that they had failed to notice!

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    280. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Loras is the gay character. Not even Renly’s lover, or Margaery’s brother, or a knight, just the gay one to be framed for those fanatics.

      Karsi came to book readers like “surrogate Val”, a leader of somesort of his people. And random lady savage nº 34 become also a mother just in 0.2 seconds and also one of the death most discussed.

      Myranda was the jealous psycho gf. Then, you have the scene with Ramsay about “do you know what happens when I’m bored” and bring into the light other aspect of Myranda: is she doing what she’s doing because she’s crazy, because she loves Ramsay, because she’s afraid of what Ramsay could do to her or she’s crazy and afraid about Ramsay? I wished the writers digged more in this. This was like she shared some shadows of Shae (live at all costs), but with the psycho parts and any redeeming qualities.

      Brown [insert latino-black-gipsy-chinese-whatever you want] people in Hollywood are the funny friend of the hero, the sexy fantasy, the evil big bad terrorist/drug dealer/gansta or the 1º being killed by the assassin. When you have very few representation, this tropes stand out even more. I don’t see any good representation or change if to add more “diversity”, they only cast as slaves, master slaves, barbarians or bodyguards. It’s like having the innocent girl or the alpha bitch always being represented by blue-eyed blonde girl or the intelligent kid with glasses.

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    281. Shipp:
      I always love these threads where white male fans declare that because some issue doesn’t personally bother them, that it’s unworthy of discussion or criticism and is deemed political nonsense for anyone to notice, discuss, or criticize thus freeing up more net posting space for repetitious whining that character 147 or 169 out of over 500 characters in the multi-thousand page books got left out of a screen adaptation.

      It’s all about priorities, isn’t it.

      It doesn’t bother me either and I’m not a male and I’m not white.
      Are people really counting every white and non-white person they see and complain if it’s not 50-50? Me personally I’ve never noticed if someone is black or white, I’ve only seen a lot of good actors and actresses on Game of Thrones.

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    282. SlayerNina,

      Once again, all subjective and politicised opinion, which is not supported by the material you’re referring to.

      Particularly the bit about Loras being nothing but “the gay one”, “not even Renly’s lover, or Margaery’s brother, or a knight”, which is patently untrue given the characterisations of his relationships with Renly, Margaery and the constant references to his qualities as a knight.

      It’s a great shame that this scene didn’t make it into the final cut, which would have given an insight into Loras and Margaery’s relationship:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-m1-xPObOLk

      But their scene in season 5 in Loras’s bedroom made their close relationship fairly clear.

      Again, yours is just a subjective take on the matter.

      And you’re even now referencing your wider opinions of diversity, casting and characterisation in Hollywood and superficially transposing them onto this show, instead of considering the material that you’re actually meant to be critiquing.

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    283. Chriss: I don’t have much to add to this, I think it speaks for itself. There you have it.

      If your art isn’t representative of modern America, you are a subconscious racist. Man, you’d really hate East Asian pop culture.

      People, I beg you. Do not let these lunatics take over this fandom.

      So we leave it to the bookpurist lunatics ?
      You wish !

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    284. By excluding race from being explored in this story which explores so much about the human condition, it may come across to some as pointedly ignoring a fundamental reality about how non-white folks live in the world. Therefore the show may come across to some as having a very “white” viewpoint ignoring a fundamental reality which might be downright hurtful to some. Or not a problem at all.

      I don’t want to talk for others, but I think if I can understand the anger expressed sometimes, maybe others can. The only way I have gotten to the point of understanding the anger and hurt (a little bit) is by listening to people who are sometimes angry and hurt, btw, so I think hearing about how this stuff affects people is very important.

      And with that said, I don’t think the show should be changed. Although black Targs sounds AWESOME to me! Wish GRRM did that – would have been cool.

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    285. tyjon,

      OFF TOPIC!

      Seven Hells, you made me do research, tyjon! 😀 I remembered Sean Bean’s no 006 being used before he was Alec Travelyan, so I went looking to see if the previous 006 died. But look what I found:

      009 first appears in Thunderball. Mischka and Grischka kill him (dressed as a clown) after the opening credits in Octopussy by throwing a knife into his back as he tries to escape them. In The World Is Not Enough, M assigned another 009 to kill Renard; despite putting a bullet in his head, Renard lives with the bullet slowly killing off his senses. The graphic novels Deadly Double and Serpent’s Tooth features a fourth agent 009.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/00_Agent

      Same for 003. I suppose the movie goers might have forgotten it, but it can quickly be mentioned in a prologue to the future Bond.

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    286. Lupita would make a great Kojja Mo! Small but impactful part, perfect for a movie star to have fun with for an episode. But it seems the whole Cinnamon Wind subplot has been removed.

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    287. Chriss,

      Why is it generally white males who always seem to complain the most when the issue of diversity comes up? You seem pretty impassioned about this article, an article that makes valid criticism of ASOIAF/GOT. It makes me wonder why you are so invested in seeing the status quo remain predominantly white.

      Why does it matter so much to you if it has no real impact on your life whatsoever? Clearly there’s something else going on here, psychologically. Something beyond being anti-censorship. Don’t try to conceal your feelings about race behind a pro-art, anti-pandering guise. It doesn’t ring true. It sounds more like someone is upset that the predominantly white status quo is somehow threatened by the suggestion of diversity in art. I’d re-assess why you’re getting so upset over a well-reasoned and valid criticism of the show.

      Why are people so angry that people would like to see more ethnic diversity in the books/show? Is it wrong that people want characters they can relate to? I think that’s completely understandable. As a girl, I don’t particularly enjoy watching shows or reading books with no female characters. I see no harm in having a more diverse Westeros.

      I don’t believe in neutering art for the sake of censorship, but parts of the “white savior” aspect of Dany’s story are rightfully cringe-worthy. However, I think ASOIAF actually subverts the “white savior” trope, mostly because Dany has been a terrible ruler. She’s probably going mad, like her father and I think she will become increasingly unstable. At least, I hope so.

      I think certain people on this page are getting almost too worked up over a thoughtful essay about casting the beautiful Lupita in a role on GOT. It makes me wonder why they feel so much hatred towards the mere suggestion of more ethnic diversity in the series. I don’t get it.

      I think D&D made a huge mistake by cutting so many black characters from the books. They failed the viewers by cutting Alleras/Sarella, Chataya, Alayaya, Brown Ben Plumm, Strong Belwas, Moqorro, etc.

      I cannot believe how angry you guys are getting over this article. Maybe it’s time to evaluate why you feel so worked up and hateful about the idea of more diversity in Westeros. The knee-jerk reaction of anger towards this article is indicative of a deeper problem.

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    288. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      That’s why I don’t understand why they cut it. People who don’t own the DVD or BluRay never saw this. The only scene about not Loras sexuality, but something else. And after all the pain showed here, it seems a bit weird how Loras “forgot” Renly so quick (how many time has passed since the “light of his life” is dead? Time is relative in Westeros, though).

      Loras & Margaery scene on season 5 was to set up the Dorne mark as incriminating evidence for the trial of the Faith (c’mon, Faith, Ollyvar was his squire, it’s normal he had seen Loras nude ¬¬) and Margaery lecturing him about the matter (and creating a weird incest vibe to create more incrimination) than a sister/brother relationship.

      I think this conversation had arrived to a death point. Let it go here, shall we? (Let it go~~ let it go~~ ok bad pun).

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    289. K Noelle,

      You’re so spot on about the “status quo” thing. Like when there was a fuzz about Mad Max being an action movie featuring *gasp* too many women XD.

      My mom said GOT is the hour of the sad-sad post-drunken white rich dudes and the queen of wine. XDD

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    290. I still don’t know why the heck they didn’t cast at least one of Oberyn’s bastards as a black woman. They are bastards with different moms, so they can be any race within universe and it would make sense. I’ts not like they stuck to book appearance for all of them anyway.

      As for GRRM’s use of race it’s problematic yeah, but I don’t at all agree that he should have “just made it more diverse because fantasy”. He wanted to write a pseudo-historical epic where the core of the action surrounds a Europe-like place where most of the people are white. The whole European knights thing is part of the deal for him. He could have done it differently but that’s not what he set out to do.

      However, it is probably true that GRRM’s Westeros is actually less diverse than real mideavil Europe was. The show has actually done some work to reverse that problem, with the casting of some Westerosi characters as black and other races besides white.

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    291. SlayerNina: it seems a bit weird how Loras “forgot” Renly so quick (

      In the show, Renly was killed in the fifth episode of season 2. He meets Olyvar in the fifth episode of season 3. As others have pointed out, in 5 seasons Loras has only been with 2 men, one of whom was Renly. Eyeballing Oberyn can hardly, imo, count toward any claims of promiscuity.

      To put it another way, if there was a female character who, in all 5 seasons had only 2 lovers, and had another moment where she visibly showed appreciation for one other person’s good looks, but people tried to saddle her with the label of promiscuity, if your posting history is any indication, you’d be screaming you head off about it!

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    292. Wimsey: Instead, they would have been Picts,

      Yes, I think of the First Men as Pictish. IIRC the Crannogmen are represented as the closest surviving descendants of the First Men, genetically, and they are small in stature like the Picts.

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    293. K Noelle,

      Speaking as a white person, I think at least some of them are put off by what they see as sanctimonious scolding from what may or may not be other white people. For the most part, I felt your comment was a good one, but the last remark about those who were so angry needing some self-examination illustrates this. They may need that, but it is not your place to judge. When people with strong views on something feel attacked, they tense up like a cornered animal (I know, I’ve been that cornered animal). Likewise, try telling someone who is either underwater on student loans/mortgages or lost their job about white privilege and see what reaction you get.

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    294. M: If you want a better example of fantasy books which are much more closely related to historical reality, try Guy Gavriel Kay’s, since he has carved out a little niche for himself taking a historical setting (Byzantium, Moorish Spain, etc.) and characters, tweaking them slightly, changing the names, adding some fantasy elements, and telling a story.

      I would absolutely squee with fangirl delight if some cable channel would respond to the current ‘rehabilitation’ of fantasy as an economically viable TV genre by putting some of GGK’s works onscreen. He is a wonderful writer – more skilled in a literary sense than GRRM, in my view – who creates nicely fleshed-out characters and terrific plot twists, while bringing fascinating periods of history to vivid life. And you’re right: A story like ‘The Lions of Al-Rassan’ could put scads of underemployed actors of color to work without ever having it seem forced or artificial. Screen adaptations of the two recent crypto-Chinese books could and should have entirely Asian casts.

      In fact, some production entity with very deep pockets could commit to a whole uber-series dedicated to dramatizing most of GGK’s novels, over, say, a ten-year period, with one season dedicated to each novel or pair of related novels. Call it ‘The Children of Fionavar’ or ‘Under Two Moons’ or something like that. It could be epic. Too bad the books don’t have the huge audience that they deserve, to drive demand for such a project.

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    295. Firannion,

      Well, there was talk a long time ago of Edward Zwick (Last Samurai, Blood Diamond) directing a film version of Lions of Al-Rassan, but nothing ever came of it. Maybe, given GOT’s success, one of the other premium networks will give it a go.

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    296. Shipp: There was even coverage of a couple of particularly upset fans declaring the ‘PC’ casting of Rue made her less beloved and or less identifiable. All of which was particularly interesting because Rue was clearly black in The Hunger Games novel but the folks having hissyfits apparently were so wrapped up in their own ‘picture’ of things that they had failed to notice!

      Yes, I found this reaction amusing, in a sad way. It was totally clear to me reading the books (and I’m a white American) that Rue’s district was meant to represent the black sharecropper Deep South, as Katniss’ represented white Appalachia. But some people were clueless enough to picture her looking like Shirley Temple. Someone in one of the posts above mentioned wearing ‘blinders,’ and that seems apropos for many readers for whom white/straight/male is their default mode for ‘human.’

      Makes we wonder what kind of pushback we will see when Shadow in the Starz dramatization of ‘American Gods’ is cast as biracial, the way Neil Gaiman wrote him (Asgardian father, mother with sickle-cell anemia). We can predict with some confidence, I think, that some outraged readers will be yelling, ‘No way! I always pictured Shadow as a white guy! The author never comes out and says flat out that he’s black!’

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    297. Shipp: I always love these threads where white male fans declare that because some issue doesn’t personally bother them, that it’s unworthy of discussion or criticism and is deemed political nonsense for anyone to notice, discuss, or criticize

      Yes. Those also tend to be the posts that jump to claims that ‘you people/these people/those people’ (dead giveaway that they are ‘othering’) are ‘just looking for something to complain about.’ Hate to be the one to break the news, but it is entirely possible for people to disagree civilly without attempting to invalidate another person’s feelings about something.

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    298. B,

      I hope you come back today and read this B. You seem like a thoughtful and reasonable person and I get what you are saying. You said that your issue is not with the artists or the art itself but with the attitudes of some (sounds like to at least some extent this includes my own reaction) who are commenting here. I’m glad to hear that you do not hold it against George for creating Westeros as he chose to. You have every right to feel however you like about this issue and to speak your mind, and I will say again that artists/authors/filmmakers at least SHOULD in my view have every right to create/write/film whatever they like, however they like, as well.

      Perhaps this will better explain what I have been trying to say in this thread. This is the part of the article I take issue with the most and which prompted me to comment here originally…

      “It’s almost apologetic the way Martin admits that none of the characters of color