The Writing on the Wall: When the Fourth Wall Collapses

Missandei King's Landing Dracarys Season 8 804

The writing of a drama is a curious thing. It is a difficult thing; to maintain characters, settings, motivations, plots, and twists. It is an almost impossible task to do so for eight seasons without running into problems of internal logic alone, which the show has sometimes been victim to (the degree to which that has happened is, of course, a subjective matter). It is an entirely different task to handle when the drama becomes thoroughly entrenched within the fabric of social paradigms, especially ones that are markedly shifting at that.

When Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) is standing up on the walls of King’s Landing as a prisoner of Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), there is a congruence of those above responsibilities of writing as they come to a head and produce a devastating and consequential effect. Was Missandei’s execution an effective moment of television? Yes. Was it within her character for her last word to be “Dracarys”? Yes. Did it need to happen in order for the final stretch for episodes? Yes, no, and we will see. Did it underscore one of the weaknesses of Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire in regards to two critical social paradigms? Yes.

The questions of such responsibilities, for better and for worse, have been a cornerstone of the Game of Thrones experience. The immediate question was to wonder why fantasy stories are dominated by white voices while black and brown voices are always on the sidelines. A popular response to that question is a variation of “This is fantasy. Why must you bring race into this?” The proper immediate response is that race is already there and what matters is how the writing addresses it.

Grey Worm Missandei Season 8 804

Game of Thrones has had a sketchy history of addressing race (a proper addressing of race and racism in A Song of Ice and Fire belongs in a different essay). There was a questionable element of how the show handled the Dothraki hordes in season one, but there were at least more than one Dothraki characters who had names and dialogue. Season two largely wiped them out. Season eight just wiped the Dothraki out wholesale. Season three introduced the Unsullied and Missandei in the slave port of Astapor, the former being solely represented throughout the series by Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) alone.

The development of a romance between Missandei and Grey Worm, the former significantly aged up from the books, began in the fan favorite “The Mountain and the Viper.” The development certainly made sense from a story perspective, as the two would be able to bond over the traumas of their past, their shared circumstances in the present, and the future the two of them would have together. Their romance culminated in a touching and tender sex scene in “Stormborn” before Grey Worm was dispatched to lead the charge against Casterly Rock.

There was a segment of the fandom that did not particularly care for this romance, or the jokes, which is perfectly fine. But it seemed to me and others that the show, in at least a partial awareness of how poorly it had handled race at times (crowd surfing before the gates of Yunkai, anyone?), was making a sincere attempt at making sure that Missandei and Grey Worm at least had something else beyond “we serve Queen Daenerys” (Emilia Clarke) as motivations and characterizations. Indeed, one of the best Missandei sequences was when she chastised Tyrion’s (Peter Dinklage) boneheaded ignorance of his own privilege when it came to the matter of slavery.

Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm and Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei. Photo: HBO

Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm and Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei. Photo: HBO

George R. R. Martin has been heavily influenced by real history, from the Mongols to the Black Dinner of Scotland to the Wars of the Roses, and that influence has helped shape Game of Thrones into a distinct and unique series. However, Planetos is still a fantasy world. If individuals who question the necessity of talking about race in Game of Thrones stand by the irrelevancy of that discussion, then why are the most relevant black characters still relegated to slavery? Shouldn’t black and brown characters enjoy the same narrative privileges of being the drivers of these important stories, roles outside of the ones they have historically been subject to in storytelling?

In the roles of storytelling, who is Missandei? She is a young woman from the island of Naath who was sold into slavery at a young age. She endured horrors that most of us could know by reading her story and those from our own world analogous to hers, but most of us can never understand the suffering of slavery. One day she was taken out of her chains and it seemed at last that she had the opportunity to be her own woman, to expand her horizons, to fully be able to impart that fierce, brilliant impact of hers. She fell in love and I thought that, after Grey Worm was spared in the Battle of Winterfell, the two of them would be spared the fatal fates likely awaiting most of our beloved characters. I was wrong.

There were brief snippets where the show took note of the fact that Missandei is her own person and not merely a secondary plot device for the white characters on the show: her parlaying with Tyrion regarding the slave masters of Essos was brilliant; her advice to Daenerys after she was faltering in believing in herself was arguably the best advice the Dragon Queen has ever received; and we saw a fierceness within her rise once the chains around her no longer existed. And that’s it. What did Missandei really want to accomplish in life? What were her dreams, aspirations, fears? She was never afforded that true complexity and to then see her back in chains for her final moments just poured a great deal of salt into the gaping, open wound left behind with her execution.

16. Missandei GOT Season 8 For The Throne Character Poster-min

If we as the audience look at the narrative strokes from a pure writing perspective and ignore everything else, then yes, it makes sense for Missandei to die. She is the character who is closest to Daenerys and if the writers needed to kill someone off to push Daenerys dangerously close to unleashing all holy fire hell upon King’s Landing, it would be her. However, from a writing perspective, Daenerys already had that push with the death of Rhaegal. Certainly the death of the second of her three children would make her internal situation even more precarious? Why in that case kill Missandei or even have her be captured in the first place?

Missandei’s character arc began and ended with her being in chains. It ended with her being used as a bargaining chip between two white women. If the writers had intended for this to be a metaphor for how women of color are often left behind in when it comes to the progress of women as a whole, there would be perhaps something to be said here. But the writing for Missandei’s execution simply does not have that depth. It is thrilling, it is tense, but the words are hollow. Once the shock and horror wore off, for me there was simply a sense of disquiet, a gut feeling of disgust.

Her final word is haunting and Nathalie Emmanuel gave every ounce of strength she possessed as an actor to carry it off. It is a tragic end for a character who never truly received her due when she was alive. It is unfair in some ways that Missandei has to represent all women of color, but that is a situation the series created, not likely out of malice but out of ignorance. It is a tragedy that Missandei’s death is not a fitting conclusion to her character arc. It is tragic that her execution renders her functionality to a mere plot device. It is a despairing tragedy that her death serves as emotional fuel to the fire a white woman might ignite.

230 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. GoT is the show based on the books written in 90s, when diversity in entertainment wasn’t important. Sad but true.

      D&D started working on the show 12 years ago and their only goal at the beginning was to be as faithful to the books as much as possible.

      Yeah, S8 is airing in 2019, but this story was created in a completely different times.

        Quote  Reply

    2. mau,

      Valyrians should have been black. Targaryens should’ve been black. I truly think that would’ve solved much of the bad optics in Dany’s story. Seriously.

        Quote  Reply

    3. I don’t understand one thing. I hate racism to the core and I will do everything in my power (which is not much but hell everybody combined can do a lot) to stop racism.

      But when you try to fight racism with using the words white man and woman, and woman of color, you’re in fact keeping racism alive.

      We should never define people by it’s color, not to be a racism and not to fight racism because it’s counter productive, you will not help the cause but give it more fuel to escalate.

      For me Missandei is not a woman of Color, I never saw her color, what I saw is the character she represents, which I liked very much, and in which miss Emmanuel portrait brilliantly.

      And in a show where people get killed by the episode, it’s a show where a non-dead-episode stands out, being a character freed of killing because of you’re color that’s in my book more racist.

      Same with me, I’m gay and watched a lot of shows. 2 years ago there was a huge fallback from people when they killed one of a gay couple in the walking dead and it was received as that the walking dead was anti-gay. And I say they weren’t what they did is that they didn’t use the sexuality of that character as a “throphy” for the show to behold, instead they treated the character as any other character, not different but the same, like any other character that character could die and it did.

      So no it was not racism of D&D to kill Missandei, it was in fact making clear that Missandei was a character that meant something, that was important for the characters, for the plot and for the fans. They knew we would be in shock because of it, because Missandei was well received on the show. And I will surely miss her. And I hope greyworm will take her body back to Naath as he promised her.

        Quote  Reply

    4. Missandei’s death seemed unnecessary to me… I mean, did Dany really need another reason to be mad at Cersei and Euron after they killed her dragon son Rhaegal and destroyed her fleet? The dragon alone would push me to burn the whole city at once…

      I didn’t like the whole scene. It looked below GoT’s quality standards. It reminded me of Galavant… a series I love, but GoT is something else!

        Quote  Reply

    5. Luka Nieto:
      mau,

      Valyrians should have been black. Targaryens should’ve been black. I truly think that would’ve solved much of the bad optics in Dany’s story. Seriously.

      You think D&D should have done this or GRRM first?

        Quote  Reply

    6. ….There were brief snippets where the show took note of the fact that Missandei is her own person and not merely a secondary plot device for the white characters on the show: her parlaying with Tyrion regarding the slave masters of Essos was brilliant; her advice to Daenerys after she was faltering in believing in herself was arguably the best advice the Dragon Queen has ever received; and we saw a fierceness within her rise once the chains around her no longer existed. And that’s it. What did Missandei really want to accomplish in life? What were her dreams, aspirations, fears? She was never afforded that true complexity and to then see her back in chains for her final moments just poured a great deal of salt into the gaping, open wound left behind with her execution…

      Excellent essay!

      I think things will change as more women and POC are added into the process (both in front of and behind the camera). One possible series I’m looking forward to is NK Jemisin’s The Fifth Season

      https://editorial.rottentomatoes.com/article/tv-fantasy-series-that-could-be-the-next-game-of-thrones/

        Quote  Reply

    7. Luka Nieto:
      mau,

      Valyrians should have been black. Targaryens should’ve been black. I truly think that would’ve solved much of the bad optics in Dany’s story. Seriously.

      I don’t remember correctly but wasn’t there something in Fire and Blood book that explained that the Targs used some magic in Valyria that changed their appearance, making their eyes purple and their hair silverly.

      Correct me if I’m wrong.

        Quote  Reply

    8. krupke,

      Thank you so much!

      I can’t wait to see the adaptation of The Fifth Season and I’m also made more hopeful by the cast of the prequel series.

        Quote  Reply

    9. Luka Nieto:
      mau,
      Valyrians should have been black. Targaryens should’ve been black. I truly think that would’ve solved much of the bad optics in Dany’s story. Seriously.

      I agree. Just make them all POC and then we can avoid any sort of RL racial overtones or issues.

        Quote  Reply

    10. Luka Nieto,

      Excellent point, Luka. The Targaryens could still have silver hair and blue eyes.

      There were some definitely tone-deaf moments in this episode. The death of Missandei, and Sansa saying that without Littlefinger and Ramsey she would not have grown into the woman she has become. Yeah, not a great path to maturity! And even though the Hound is harsh, I can’t imagine him saying “broken in hard” to his Little Bird.

        Quote  Reply

    11. What the hell is it with you US people with all you “race” speech. Implying light-skinned and dark-skinned people are from different races as if people with dark skin aren’t even human is just despicable.
      How is it that you need to be reminded that there is only one race= the human race!?

        Quote  Reply

    12. Ser Creighton Longbough,

      It was the same as Ramsey killing Rickon, It wasn’t about needing another reason to be mad at cersei, just like Jon didn’t need anothee reason to hate Ramsey. Cersei and Ramsey are the same, evil human beings. Killing Rickon made Jon do exactly what Ramsey wanted him to do. Just like Dany will rain fire on KL, without thinking twice about the casualties, hence proving cersei’s point that she is her father’s daughter, a Mad Queen who is here to destroy the Seven Kingdoms.

      At least this is what I think.

        Quote  Reply

    13. What did Missandei really want to accomplish in life? What were her dreams, aspirations, fears? She was never afforded that true complexity

      Is the author of the article willfully ignorant, or did they miss episode 2 of this season, where Missandei and Grey Worm talked about future plans?

      Also – This idea that POC (people of color) once introduced into GOT cannot be killed off is troubling. Why should they have valyrian plot armor more than other characters?

      Should we all want a more diverse cast? YES! And there are many such examples out there today in genre television. (Just check out ‘The Expanse’). But artificially grafting it onto a show in later seasons – in sharp contrast to the very white GRRM world – seems problematic as well. Everyone who watches GOT understood fairly quickly what kind of show it is – don’t expect it to change.

      I’m sad to see that WOTW now has succumbed to the most frustrating aspect of social media – The outrage machine.

        Quote  Reply

    14. First off, ive always thought it was a shame that there wasnt more racial diversity from the start of the series. There. There is my (true) mandatory statement from a white person proving they arent a racist, before saying something that someone WILL think is racist.
      That being said, we are where we are with the cast. I think itd be pretty disingenuous if bad things didnt happen to a character because they were a minority, and the creators were worried to kill them because of backlash. Or strictly to keep the representation there.
      I just look forward to a world where despite someone’s race, nationality, sexuality, religion, gender, or any other category people can put them into… they are safe to get brutally murdered on tv.
      This is a fictional world where EVERYONE suffers. Horribly. I cant think of anyone that has gotten it worse than theon…. it just sucks there are so few minorities on the show, that it looks bad when something bad happens to one

        Quote  Reply

    15. mau,

      Either. But D&D would’ve gotten a lot of shit from a certain faction of book readers if they’d changed Dany’s race, calling it “political correctness” or some BS.

        Quote  Reply

    16. Hi, folks!

      I just wanted to add in the early stages of discussion that this post came from a place of wanting to be thoughtful about a sensitive subject. Negating this moment’s impact is not helpful and I would respectfully ask that the roles of minorities in these stories we deeply care about are kept in mind. Thanks to everyone who is being thoughtful in their engagement.

      I will try and engage when I can, but if it’s too much then I’m just going to take a step back. Here are some other pieces that go over this subject in thoughtful detail:
      https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/05/game-of-thrones-missandei-dies-does-it-happen-in-the-books-fridging

      https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/05/game-of-thrones-missandei-death-season-8-episode-4

      https://www.vulture.com/2019/05/game-of-thrones-brienne-missandei-last-of-the-starks.html

      Valar Morghulis.

        Quote  Reply

    17. To the people saying “I don’t see race”….what a privilege! Lol

      My eyes do not roll back far enough. 🙄

        Quote  Reply

    18. I am deleting any comment that doesn’t even bother to discuss the topic and exists ONLY to reject the very premise of the feature; not the conclusion, mind you (you can disagree with Akash’s conclusion, of course; I myself do.) If you call that censorship, first you’re wrong, because this is a private site; and second, I call it making it the discussion on-topic. If you’re here to share regressive politics, go somewhere else. This is not the place for it.

      If you feel it’s racist to even mention race, if you think “reverse racism” is a thing, if you are here to complain about political correctness gone mad, I’m saying you’d better go somewhere else, hopefully somewhere where you may learn that you’re wrong and you’re being racist, however unintentionally.

        Quote  Reply

    19. Roberta Baratheon:
      Luka Nieto,

      And even though the Hound is harsh, I can’t imagine him saying “broken in hard” to his Little Bird.

      I so agree with this. Bronn, Jaime, Tyrion and the Hound all seemed out of character for me in some of their words and actions.

      And I agree that Missandei’s death was not necessary for Dany to rain fire and blood upon King’s Landing. Rhaegal’s death would have sufficed.

      But perhaps it is necessary to drive Grey Worm’s actions in the next episode.

        Quote  Reply

    20. I think the point of killing Missandei is not just as another plot device to push Dany to madness, but as a symbol of how easy great accomplishments can be undone. That was the point of Cersei mocking Missandei “so much for the braker of chains”. Because despite Missandei being a free woman, she found herself in chains once more for supporting the leader that is trying to end tyranny for all, and ended up dying in chains.

      Her death highlights how the good fight never ends even if one thinks victory has been accomplished. The same point had already been made with the Sons of the Harpy in Mereen, but back then we never got a first person perspective of what that meant. With Missandei the show made it personal to stick that same dagger deeper.

        Quote  Reply

    21. ramses:
      To the people saying “I don’t see race”….what a privilege! Lol

      My eyes do not roll back far enough. 🙄

      Indeed. The ignorance is staggering.

        Quote  Reply

    22. As an aside, if D&D could decide in s5 to make Arya the Kingslayer, they could’ve framed a better narrative for Missandei’s death.

      Missandei became a prop long ago. If she. was a respected advisor, why was she never in the talks with Tyrion and Varys. She was demoted from a narrative perspective to follower. Same can be said for Grey Worm and Qhuono. I get showing Cersei’s spiteful cruelty. Losing Rhaegal hurt Dany, but that’s obviously strategic. But given Dany’s camp is predominantly one-note people of color, no face of her people being slaughtered was going to avoid the problem.

        Quote  Reply

    23. Kabhal:
      Why bring up such a topic if you won’t let us discuss it?

      Discuss at your heart’s content.

      But discuss the actual topic of the feature. You can see people disagree here, and their comments haven’t been deleted. I myself disagree with it, partly.

      But I won’t allow racist nonsense that doesn’t actually engage the feature’s topic and instead rejects it out of hand as invalid without adding anything of substance. Racism, however unintentional, will be treated as such.

        Quote  Reply

    24. it seems to me this is more of a question of casting. The characters in GRRM books other than hair color could have been played by anyone. What difference would it have made? Why couldn’t Varys have been played by a different actor from any continent?

      I don’t buy into the problem of Missandei dying as a woman of color but rather that not enough women (and men) of color were cast into the show into the myriad of characters (some which died and some which haven’t yet.)

      Anyway, I don’t think they story is to blame.

        Quote  Reply

    25. mau:
      GoT is the show based on the books written in 90s, when diversity in entertainment wasn’t important. Sad but true.

      D&D started working on the show 12 years ago and their only goal at the beginning was to be as faithful to the books as much as possible.

      Yeah, S8 is airing in 2019, but this story was created in a completely different times.

      I agree.
      And anyone that hasn’t read George’s writing, I invite you to do so?
      George’s writing is definitely NOT “politically correct”

        Quote  Reply

    26. Tim,

      I think the scene itself is beautiful and poetic and tragic and it works. The problem, as you say, is metatextual. By killing her, 50% of the people of color in the cast got killed. Which shows that killing her isn’t the problem per se, but the fact that there are so few people of color in this story, for no real reason.

        Quote  Reply

    27. kevin1989,

      So true!

      And to be honest, I hate this kind of topics. I’m also a POC (from India) that grew up in a white world (Belgium). In some places in Belgium there are more POC, but not where I live and work. But I’m so glad no-one here ever looks at my colour, I did not get more privileges because of it and I never got disadvantages because of it. It’s my actions and my character that define me. Positive discrimination is still discrimination. It’s that what should disappear. Making a topic of Missandei’s colour, is looking at colour. It’s that what’s wrong. We shoudn’t look at it, it’s not important. She’s a nice person, that’s what matters.

        Quote  Reply

    28. NinaD:
      As an aside, if D&D could decide in s5 to make Arya the Kingslayer, they could’ve framed a better narrative for Missandei’s death.

      Quoting Gandalf here: “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?”

      If this applies to LOTR, then it applies sooooo much more to GOT. GOT is an unfair world, deeply unfair. And now that the show is truly in the end-game and the death count is stacking up, we are in a way back to the beginning of the show where many characters would meet sudden and unfair deaths. Ned Stark anyone? Did he have more agency in his execution than Missandei? How about everyone at the Red Wedding – were their arcs satisfying or was the lack of it perhaps the POINT?

      All characters are not going to get perfect character arcs when they are killed off. Not in the show. Not in the books. This is not that kind of story. And if you think it is, you have “not been paying attention” as one character once said.

        Quote  Reply

    29. It is true that there has been a lack of non-white characters in Game of Thrones. Anyone who is denying that is deluded. There was no reason to drop Kovarro, for example, and the talented Hannah John-Kamen was wasted in a two episode role as Ornela.

      However, I disagree with a lot of the points made by Akash, who seems to assume that non-white characters should be given happy endings. It has already been pointed out that the death of Rickon was similarly unnecessary. Was he a prop for the white character of Jon Snow? In my mind both deaths underlie the brutality of the show.

      In reality, one of Grey Worm or Missandei should have died in the preceding episode, and both were kept alive simply for the purpose of Missandei’s death in this episode. By doing so, the show elevated the death to a position of importance rather than being one death amongst many. The fact that so many people cared about her death underlines her importance, and highlights the good work of Nathalie Emmanuel in the role.

      I am slightly uncomfortable about the censorship in the comments section, A post like this is always bound to bring out the racist nutjobs, and comments like that should obviously be deleted. I hope that a respectful level of debate is allowed otherwise the racists win.

        Quote  Reply

    30. ramses,

      Funny thing is, in the past I though the same, till i met my sister in law (coming from Brazil), who found it strange we were so hung up about this here, she called it even a first world problem. They are more concern about surviving there then anything else. I know she doesn’t speak for everyone, but it made change my opinion a bit.

      And it made clear to me how lucky I am to live where I live, and as you stated how privileged I am. I don’t need to worry about food, shelter, being afraid for my live because I’m gay. I can be free here.

      So maybe that is also something that clouded my judgement because in my country it’s (mostly) that everyone can be themselves.

      As for the story of GoT, I have to agree that Missandei should have had more background in the past seasons. I would have loved to learn more from her, her past, her culture.

        Quote  Reply

    31. Luka Nieto:
      Tim,

      Which shows that killing her isn’t the problem per se, but the fact that there are so few people of color in this story, for no real reason.

      Yeah, but it is too late to complain about that 2 episodes before the end. Even if Missandei stayed alive the fact that there are few people of color in this story wouldn’t been changed.

      GoT just belongs to different time, it’s show created in 2009. I’m sure spin off shows will be better when it comes to this.

        Quote  Reply

    32. Roberta Baratheon,

      But Sansa was right. What is the point of looking back and crying over spilled milk? Ramsay happened, Little Finger happened, nothing changes that. They were nightmarish experiences and in an ideal world they would have not happened but alas she lives in Westeros. Once Sansa found herself in CB, she decided she would no longer be a victim. All her tragedies shaped her from porcelain to steel. She accepts what happened to her and she moves from that stronger than she ever was. From a caged little bird to a she-wolf.

        Quote  Reply

    33. Chilli:
      ramses,

      I don’t see race.

      The world does. It’s not all about you.

      Not necessarily speaking about you here, but it says a lot that for some people “not being racist” means “not acknowledging any differences with other peoples.” Because… why, exactly? That only tells me that person WOULD be racist if they did acknowledge those differences, and that’s pretty terrible. Race blindness isn’t lack of racism; in fact, it often leads to racism.

        Quote  Reply

    34. Knight of the Walkers: I am slightly uncomfortable about the censorship in the comments section, A post like this is always bound to bring out the racist nutjobs, and comments like that should obviously be deleted. I hope that a respectful level of debate is allowed otherwise the racists win.

      You can see many people disagreeing here. I myself do, as I explained. I basically agree with you; yes, there are very few GoT POC, but the damage is done, and you should treat the characters you already have with respect. I think they did. Others do not.

      But others come in and say it’s racist to even mention race. Those people aren’t participating in the conversation; they’re just here to share their dogwhistles.

      mau: Yeah, but it is too late to complain about that 2 episodes before the end. Even if Missandei stayed alive the fact that there are few people of color in this story wouldn’t been changed.

      I don’t disagree. The damage is done, as I said above. From then on, you can only treat the character with respect, and I think they did. But the other point of view is legitimate as well.

        Quote  Reply

    35. Luka Nieto:
      mau,

      Valyrians should have been black. Targaryens should’ve been black. I truly think that would’ve solved much of the bad optics in Dany’s story. Seriously.

      It doesn’t matter what you do these days, you’re going to get called out one way or another. Can you imagine the outrage if Dany were portrayed as an angry black woman? Besides, not sure how that would work for Jon’s story line.

        Quote  Reply

    36. I don’t think your “immediate response” is a satisfactory answer to “this is fantasy.” Respectfully, I think you may be reading too much into a story about:
      – a woman that can’t be burned alive (at least on the first two attempts) and has three “children” that are actually dragons that fly and breathe fire
      – a thousand year old woman that has a magic necklace to makes her look mid-fifties and not require a coat during a blizzard
      – a literal army of the dead
      – a man that grew into a tree
      – a boy that can roll his eyes back and see through ravens eyes
      – a girl that can cut people’s faces off and wear them convincingly as a mask despite differences in weight/height
      – little green people that shoot fireballs from their hands
      – giants
      – flaming swords lit by prayers
      – a diasease that turns humans into rock monsters
      – a girl that doesn’t tell her brother before a huge battle that she has a whole army of mounted knights
      – a giant ice wall more than 1000 feet high and presumably longer than the Great Wall of China
      – an elite fighting force of enslaved children, made to raise puppies and then murder them, that all have their johnson’s cut off
      – a man stabbed more than a dozen times in the chest who dies and then is resurrected
      – a girl that acts completely unreasonably towards another girl that saved her ass, towards her brother that saved her ass, etc
      – a man poisoned to death that is now some sort of zombie bodyguard
      – a group of blue lipped bad men that can see the future

        Quote  Reply

    37. mau,

      Excellent suggestions, although it would have been disappointing to lose the great Conleth Hill. Varys is portrayed as an outsider in the Small Council, and I think a non-white actor would have strengthened this theme.

      It might have been nice to have a non-white member of the Night’s Watch if you’re looking at possible characters, or perhaps Jaqen H’ghar. Ultimately though it is more important to hold future shows to account as you say, because that is something you can change. It is amazing how different the world is from 10 years ago, and I’m sure it will be different (and better) in another 10 years.

        Quote  Reply

    38. Luka Nieto:
      Tim,

      I think the scene itself is beautiful and poetic and tragic and it works. The problem, as you say, is metatextual. By killing her, 50% of the people of color in the cast got killed. Which shows that killing her isn’t the problem per se, but the fact that there are so few people of color in this story, for no real reason.

      I have to agree with you here. That’s why I hope we get a huge franchise with GoT related prequels where we can dive into different cultures parts of planetos.

      And I have to say something about your past comment:
      You clearly have made up you’re mind how people think and what they meant with their words, with calling them names. But you never can know who the people behind their nicknames are here, you can’t know what they been through what they’ve done, who they mind have helped etc.

      And I think you should be milder with judging them. (deleting comments I have no problems with), this is no attack on you, I think you’re doing a very good job on this forum.

        Quote  Reply

    39. Johnny Utah,

      And why can we have all of that fantasy… yet not more than a few non-white people?

      kevin1989: You clearly have made up you’re mind how people think and what they meant with their words, with calling them names. But you never can know who the people behind their nicknames are here, you can’t know what they been through what they’ve done, who they mind have helped etc.

      I won’t have patience or civility with racism, even when it’s unintentional racism. That said, I think I’ve been pretty civil. It’s not my job to teach them to not be unintentionally racist. It’s my job to make this comments section tolerable and on-topic and not filled with regressive BS.

        Quote  Reply

    40. The moment GW and M had their “future plans” talk, we knew one or both of them wouldn’t make it. That tease wasn’t racially motivated, it was storytelling. If GW had died along with the thousands of Dothraki (who arguably didn’t naturally belong in Westeros in the first place), hundreds of other Unsullied, hundreds of northerners, and the five Caucasian supporting characters, would we be regarding this topic with any merit at all?

      If anything, Missandei’s capture is worth complaining about. She would have fought hard to avoid capture in the first place. GW would not have left her on the sinking ship. That was the ugh moment.

      To see her in chains at the end was not atrocious. Her strong, loyal character became a victim of war. If anything, her chaining at the end was more about Cersei than anything else…Cersei is no different than Kraznys and the warlords of Astapor. Missandei’s dreams and ambitions and final “Dracarys” were victims of the insanity of Westeros and this tale…and will enable and entice further insanity….

        Quote  Reply

    41. Thank you Akash for this fantastic post! From a GoT storyline perspective, I was expecting Greyworm to die after his and Missandei’s conversation about retiring to Naath. But when Missandei died on Sunday’s episode, it was rough to say the least.

      There were moments of Black erasure throughout the show – the Summer islander in Robert’s court in King’s Landing (as well as others from Tyrion’s PoV). I understand D&D are trying to tell a story and that included consolidating characters as well as erasing some entirely, but as affluent white men, I don’t think it occurred to them what this could mean (the downside of having a predominantly white male writing team).

      And there are of course real-world and literary examples of marginalised/erased voices. I know Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone gained popularity simply because it features Black protagonists in a fantasy novel. And it is one thing to mean that race/gender/sexuality is not a determinant for people when interacting with others, but it is quite another thing to say one “does not see race.” When someone says that, it is an erasure of that individual’s daily struggles and experiences with overt racism or microagressions.

      Also thanks for highlighting Missandei’s conversation with Tyrion, which I loved so much!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgtvtmiw3YE

      M: “How many days were you a slave?”
      T: “Long enough to know.”
      M: “Not long enough to understand.”

        Quote  Reply

    42. Luka Nieto,

      Agreed. Censorship of any kind makes me uncomfortable, but naturally you can’t allow bile. As mods I expect you read some truly horrific stuff as well, so thanks for removing that sort of stuff.

        Quote  Reply

    43. kevin1989:
      ramses,

      As for the story of GoT, I have to agree that Missandei should have had more background in the past seasons. I would have loved to learn more from her, her past, her culture.

      I would’ve loved more of a background story for her as well. And since she was the only woman of color on the show, it makes her reduction of character to a chess piece between Daeny and Cersei more blatant.

      D&D attempted to mitigate the lack of diversity in the show with the Greyworm/Missendei storyline, I think. But it was too little to late.
      The targs and Valyrians could’ve easily been depicted as dark skin toned, silver hair, and purple eyes.

      I can’t look up the quote rn but I think GRRM also laments this as a missed opportunity for poc representation.

        Quote  Reply

    44. Chilli,

      Hello neightbour, I’m from the Netherlands. Wonderful people Belgium people, very open people with lots of guest hospitality (right word?)

        Quote  Reply

    45. Luka Nieto:
      Johnny Utah,

      And why can we have all of that fantasy… yet not more than a few non-white people?

      I won’t have patience or civility with racism, even when it’s unintentional racism.

      Are you suggesting that we cancel the last two episodes. The recast and reshoot them?

      The water on that idea is waaaaaaay under bridge. Maybe in future castings a more diverse group of actors will be hired. But at this point in this show for the last two episodes it is too late.

        Quote  Reply

    46. kevin1989,

      I don’t get this racial issue either. Maybe it’s an American thing. I know racial stuff is a sensible matter there.

      I also never care about actors’ skin colour. I watched series with many black actors playing lead roles and I never cared about their skin and I never thought: “Hey, there should be more white actors!”

      But I presume I can’t understand, since I’m white and I had tons of series with actors who look more or less like me. If I were black or Asian, maybe it would be an issue, I don’t know… Even tho I have no problems empathizing with Shadow Moon, Black Panther or Atlanta’s characters, a series I love! I really don’t feel the lack of white main chars in Atlanta, so it’s hard for me to understand why anybody would need a black or asian Jon Snow, really…

      Do we really need a black Dany or a black Achilles? (sic!) Wouldn’t be better to have more series about real black characters instead?

      I recently discovered the story of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, aka “The Black Mozart”. Try to google him. His life was amazing! Champion fencer, classical composer, virtuoso violinist and conductor of the leading symphony orchestra in Paris. He was also colonel of the “Legion of Saint George,” the first all-black regiment to ever fight in Europe, after the French revolution. You can read his amazing life.

      I discovered him thanks to a painting, The Fencing-Match between the Chevalier de Saint-George and the Chevalier d’Eon. The Chevalier d’Éon was a man who started dressing as a woman when he was 49. French diplomat, spy, Freemason and soldier.

      Just imagine the fencing match between these two very intriguing characters… Am I the only one who think it could be an amazing series?? 😀

        Quote  Reply

    47. krupke,

      krupke:
      Luka Nieto,

      Agreed.Everybody notices differences.It’s how we process and react to those differences that feeds how we affect the world.

      Yup because whether or not a individual person acknowledges racism, systemic racism exists regardless.

        Quote  Reply

    48. ramses:

      The targs and Valyrians could’ve easily been depicted as dark skin toned, silver hair, and purple eyes.

      Not so sure. Book readers were really important before the show started and they were even angry that Dany doesn’t have purple eyes. lol

      Can you imagine their reaction if they had black girl playing her? In 2009.

        Quote  Reply

    49. Hodors Bastard: GW would not have left her on the sinking ship.

      He didn’t. He told her to take a skiff. Which she presumably did, and got captured.

      I think it’s strange to complain about the likelihood of Missandei getting captured, too (though that’s not exactly what you said, I know.) Why is it unlikely? It’s not like we were told they only got one person. But when Cersei saw she had Dany’s adviser in her hands, obviously that’s the captive she used. The others would have been killed or thrown in prison (probably killed.)

      Hodors Bastard: To see her in chains at the end was not atrocious. Her strong, loyal character became a victim of war. If anything, her chaining at the end was more about Cersei than anything else…Cersei is no different than Kraznys and the warlords of Astapor. Missandei’s dreams and ambitions and final “Dracarys” were victims of the insanity of Westeros and this tale…and will enable and entice further insanity….

      I agree that the chains were very much intentional, and that they worked thematically. The writers weren’t even particularly subtle about it (“So much about the breaker of chains,” Cersei says). I thought it was a tragic but well-written beat, personally. But I see how it could be interpreted otherwise.

      Knight of the Walkers:
      Luka Nieto,

      Agreed.Censorship of any kind makes me uncomfortable, but naturally you can’t allow bile. As mods I expect you read some truly horrific stuff as well, so thanks for removing that sort of stuff.

      Also this is a private site, and not one you can argue is more like a digital public sphere (like social media). So it wouldn’t be censorship, whatever I deleted.

      Johnny Utah: The water on that idea is waaaaaaay under bridge. Maybe in future castings a more diverse group of actors will be hired. But at this point in this show for the last two episodes it is too late.

      Obviously. The damage is done, and they did their best with the choices they’d made about this issue. I agree with you about that.

        Quote  Reply

    50. This is an excellent article. Well done.

      I’m thankful that you’ve given me a new lens to view this series through.

      Unfortunately, there are a lot of things wrong with the way D&D have written this series. I found some of the changes mystifying and, at times, downright disgusting.

        Quote  Reply

    51. Luka Nieto:
      Johnny Utah,

      And why can we have all of that fantasy… yet not more than a few non-white people?

      I won’t have patience or civility with racism, even when it’s unintentional racism. It’s not my job to teach them to not be unintentionally racist. It’s my job to make this comments section tolerable and on-topic and not filled with regressive BS.

      But people don’t act with unintentional racism, at least that’s not my view or at how I perceived it. Maybe you’re right of course and if that’s the case I will agree with you. That should never be done.

      But I can only use it at my own view as a minority. Yes being gay is a minority. And for myself I hate it when people talk to me as the gay guy, and define be by that. That’s not who I am. What I am is an emotional person, who cares a lot about people, a bit suborn, easily thrown in discussions and somebody who can’t stop talking about GoT. I want people to look at me that way, and my family and friends do. But still I hear sometimes that people refer to me as the gay fellow and I hate that. That view I put in another minority shoe, I know I can’t know how that is it’s different but that’s how I look at it, with my own history as a minority.

      EDIT: Sorry for the many comments.

        Quote  Reply

    52. The issue as many have said is that GRRM has based his story on many real world events, cultures etc. Although there are some parallels he could’ve and maybe should’ve steered way from, and he could’ve showed a little more originality in some aspects ( lands of Yi Ti and Leng anyone?), it is what it is.

      Can we just also keep in mind that literally hundred of thousands of white people have also been mercilessly butchered on this show? The God of death is indiscriminate.

      Does that mean GRRM hates white people? Does that mean he hates men? No. Nor do D&D, and comments to this effect on social media are simply ridiculous.

      Missandei’s death was as necessary as it was heartbreaking, and at the same time empowering.

        Quote  Reply

    53. Luka Nieto: I think it’s strange to complain about the likelihood of Missandei getting captured, too (though that’s not exactly what you said, I know.) Why is it unlikely?

      Not really a complaint…just a frustration about the obvious. She would be a great captive, indeed. But GW swam and M was on a rowboat…did they row north while he swam south? Just me being frivolous, I guess. 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    54. Grey Worm is Dany’s top military commander.
      Two old white military commanders in her army died, one was sent away in dishonor for a time.
      One young white commander was cast off when she went west and didn’t need him.

      I find racism issues overly touchy. We shouldn’t always be looking to find it.

        Quote  Reply

    55. Apollo: The issue as many have said is that GRRM has based his story on many real world events, cultures etc.

      Medieval Europe had WAY more black and generally non-white people than Westeros does, or most depictions of actual Medieval Europe for that matter. People ignore this proven fact, of course.

        Quote  Reply

    56. Luka Nieto: Medieval Europe had WAY more black and generally non-white people than Westeros does, or most depictions of actual Medieval Europe for that matter. People ignore this proven fact, of course.

      Not so much in Northern Europe, which Westeros resembles. And the Southern Dorne folks were dark.

        Quote  Reply

    57. I may be an idealist, but if one’s first thought after Missandei’s death is her skin color, I find that problematic.

        Quote  Reply

    58. Xavier:
      I may be an idealist, but if one’s first thought after Missandei’s death is her skin color, I find that problematic.

      That’s not idealism.

      It’s the privilege of life not forcing you to think about race often.

        Quote  Reply

    59. Lars,

      Also if we think about how life works, well people die with unfinished arcs all the time. How many get the benefit of having a long and fulfilling life. How many die when it seems life was just starting? War kills people left and right, the innocent and the active participants as well. Missandei was a peaceful adviser traveling with an army during wartime, odds were that she was going to get killed.

        Quote  Reply

    60. Danny: Missandei was a peaceful adviser traveling with an army during wartime, odds were that she was going to get killed.

      Odds also are that she wouldn’t represent 50% of the main cast who are people of color. Yet here we are. Metatextuality matters. Social context matters. It’s not all about the text. This is obvious to everyone when it’s not about touchy political matters, but suddenly it’s ‘text uber alles’ when race, sex, or gender are involved.

        Quote  Reply

    61. Akash of the Andals,

      Luka Nieto,

      Thank you both.

      I am glad that this site took up this conversation on GOT. I have had to tackle this issue here a few times but made little progress. It turns out that common decency is not that common. But every effort to calmly converse and share as you have done in this article helps to move the needle. Bravo!

        Quote  Reply

    62. I do not disagree, but it is not a privilege that is unique to “white people”. I grew up in a town that was 99 percent Latino, and therefore never really considered race until I was much older. I saw myself in the Fresh Prince and in Friends (to date myself haha). I believe it does a disservice to apply our world’s and our times cultural (chains) insecurities to a fantasy world where we don’t know their views on Race or if race even exists. Look at Essos, it is a continent of many cultures and skin tones. They had Slaves of all skin tones and local backgrounds. If we consider the show, why are the unsullied and Dothraki extras typically more tanned? because it was filmed and casted in areas where more tanned people live. Plus I do feel the show has made efforts to up the “diversity”. For example, casting white book characters with non-white actors, and increasing the roles for Grey Worm and Missandi.

        Quote  Reply

    63. White people have been brutally maimed, tortured and murdered throughout the show. That’s what the show IS. I loved Missandei, but it’s like I told my wife right after the show ended, at least it was a quick death. She got off easier than many by the show’s standards. To treat anyone differently because of their race, even with good intentions is patronizing as hell.

        Quote  Reply

    64. Luka Nieto: The world does. It’s not all about you.

      Not necessarily speaking about you here, but it says a lot that for some people “not being racist” means “not acknowledging any differences with other peoples.” Because… why, exactly? That only tells me that person WOULD be racist if they did acknowledge those differences, and that’s pretty terrible. Race blindness isn’t lack of racism; in fact, it often leads to racism.

      All scientists agree that race is not a thing. It’s a social construct.
      All living humans belong to the same race, homo sapiens sapiens.

      It’s not that I don’t acknowledge certain differences between ethnicities and cultures, I just don’t care about them. Yeah, I know some people have different skin color than me. So what ? I don’t judge people based on that.

      I don’t care about skin color. I don’t care about physical appearance. I judge people as individuals, based on who they are.

      When I see Missandei dying, I don’t see a black woman dying. I just see a good human being who didn’t deserve to have her life cut short by a hateful queen.

      If that makes me racist, then I have no idea what to even reply to such a charge. I honestly think that people today have no clue what racism actually is.

      The word gets thrown around like candy so that controversies can be started left and right.

      The very idea that race is so prominent in American culture is deeply dehumanizing.

      As far as I’m concerned, humans are humans, that’s all there is to it.

        Quote  Reply

    65. Nick20: All scientists agree that race is not a thing. It’s a social construct.

      That doesn’t mean what you think it means, I’m afraid. Yes, race is a social construct. And… social constructs exist! Biology isn’t everything that matters.

      Nick20: Yeah, I know some people have different skin color than me. So what ? I don’t judge people based on that.

      Good for you. Truly; I’m not being facetious. Truly, good for you. But you must acknowledge that other people do discriminate based on color and many other differences. And this is an analysis on one of the very, very few people of color in one of the most popular TV shows ever. How is that not worth talking about, just because you’re personally not racist? Ignoring race won’t make racism disappear, as you seem to believe.

        Quote  Reply

    66. Luka Nieto,

      I would have personally LOVED THAT! A POC Román empire with dragons. It would have been amazing.

      The only problem is…. Jon Snow, his identity is supposed to be a secret that no one could ever guess, if Ned Stark (supposedly the stark family would have been white) had appeared with a half raced baby… that would have been suspicious.

      But, overall I get why some people are somewhat upset by the lack of representation of POC.

      I am Spanish and I still remember people bitching about the dornish characters played by POCs (Ellaria and Doran)… I hope the world matures, even if it’s just a little.

      I also belong to a minority (I am gay) and I found a bit frustrating that both Renly and specially loras had been reduced to “gay characters” and all the rest of interactions between LGTB people were mere sexual and Passionate so I totally get what you mean.

        Quote  Reply

    67. While this is obviously an enormously complicated issue, I’ll give my two cents as a creative. Is representation important? Of course. Was Missandei treated more like a plot device than a character? Quite possibly, but I’m not going to personally weigh in on that, because enough people already are and that’s a whole subject unto itself. Should she have been given a happy ending and spared her grisly fate because she fulfills valuable representation, as seems to be the implication in the article? No, I don’t think so.

      As a bisexual, it probably isn’t surprising that I had a soft spot for Oberyn Martell and loved every scene he was in. Would I have loved to see more of him? Absolutely. Do I think he should have lived? No. Why? Simply because this isn’t and never has been my story to tell. I am also a writer and therefore very sympathetic to the plight of writers. Writers and creatives in general do not have an obligation to justify every single storytelling decision we make in a sociopolitical context. While I have great respect for all of us who are addressing issues of much-needed representation in their stories (far more than ever before), at the end of the day our job is simply to tell stories that we believe are worth telling, and we make decisions based on what feels right for each particular story. That’s it. I know I certainly don’t feel obligated to represent majority groups in my writing, and it would be hypocritical of me to make exceptions for any others, including minority groups that I myself might personally belong to. As GoT/ASoIaF loves to remind us, we all die. Very few of us have any control over the circumstances in which we die. No character deserves to live solely because of factors beyond their control, such as specific groups they belong to. I would also personally argue that the desire to exert influence or control over art in any way is actually conservative in nature and not something that any progressive-minded person should be embracing, but frankly this is not the right place for that.

      Back to the subject of GoT…personally I think Missandei’s death scene was thematically important since it’s another of this season’s many parallels to Season 1 (specifically Ned’s execution). Significantly, Cersei was actually not in favor of executing Ned at the time, Joffrey’s actions surprised and shocked her. But nothing is the same anymore. Everything about this scene is structured to hammer home the point that Cersei is now repeating her son’s mistake, that she’s lost the humanity she once had and truly reached the point of no return–even if it leads to a battle that she might not be able to win. Did it have to be Missandei who was used for this parallel? No, definitely not, it could have been any one of Dany’s close associates. But at the same time, there was no reason for it not to be her, either.

        Quote  Reply

    68. AlvWaynwood: The only problem is…. Jon Snow, his identity is supposed to be a secret that no one could ever guess, if Ned Stark (supposedly the stark family would have been white) had appeared with a half raced baby… that would have been suspicious.

      Targs don’t have to be “pure” Valyrians. Just as Jon has black hair, he could “look” white.

      Azor Asshai,

      See? This is meaningful disagreement. Love your take on it.

        Quote  Reply

    69. I just wonder, if HBO ever makes a show based, say, on the Indian history (and that’s a great material), will there be complains about the lack of blonds and gingers?

      Seriously, lads, if you want a fantazy show with POC, why don’t you ask for a story which could fit them in? Why everyone is so affixed to Anglo-Saxon naratives? Why there are countless movies and shows about the Tudores and Robin Hood? I like English history and lore, but I feel like I’ll vomt if I’ll see another Robin Hood: I have already seen like 5 or 6 of them in less than 25 years.

      In other words, the whole storytelling should be more inclusive, especially now, when HBO, Netflix and others are going global. And that would open a way for people of different apparence and backgrounds to share their naratives, which is much more important than simply filling in some POC quota.

        Quote  Reply

    70. I want to add that I can understand the writer of this post and show my respect to him.

      And let’s hope the prequel show us a broader spectrum of planetos.

      Which part do you think should be fleshed out in a Prequel or sequel?

        Quote  Reply

    71. AlvWaynwood: I am Spanish and I still remember people bitching about the dornish characters played by POCs (Ellaria and Doran)… I hope the world matures, even if it’s just a little.

      I’m Spanish too and I remember that whole debacle. Ugly time in the fandom.

        Quote  Reply

    72. Luka Nieto: That doesn’t mean what you think it means, I’m afraid. Yes, race is a social construct. And… social constructs exist! Biology isn’t everything that matters.

      With all due respect, I think you misunderstood my point. I obviously understand that social constructs exist.

      What I’m saying is that this particular social construct is, in my opinion, a very dehumanizing one that was invented by racists with the very specific goal of oppressing people who weren’t like them.

      I don’t believe that modern and liberal people should perpetuate such a construct, which is based on fallacious pseudo-science.

      Luka Nieto: Good for you. Truly; I’m not being facetious. Truly, good for you. But you must acknowledge that other people do discriminate based on color and many other differences. And this is an analysis on one of the very, very few people of color in one of the most popular TV shows ever. How is that not worth talking about, just because you’re personally not racist? Ignoring race won’t make racism disappear, as you seem to believe.

      I do acknowledge that other people discriminate based on color and other things. I never denied it, in fact I’ve been a victim of it on many occasions.

      I also never said it wasn’t worth talking about. I simply stated my view on the matter.

      As for your belief that ignoring race won’t make racism go away, I can only disagree.

      If every single person on Earth ignored race and considered it a non-issue (like hair color, eye color, shoulder width, and other physical characteristics), then yes, racism would, by definition, disappear.

      As far as I’m concerned, the goal should be to get people to see the humanity in each other, and to stop obsessing over physical differences that are irrelevant to who we are as people.

      Our objective as a society should be to move past labeling people based on skin color.

      As someone who has been insulted, bullied, and assaulted for my cultural heritage, all I could have wished for would have been for people to not care about where I came from.

      I don’t see how it’s helpful to keep this dangerous concept of “race” alive.

        Quote  Reply

    73. Ser Creighton Longbough,
      But I presume I can’t understand, since I’m white and I had tons of series with actors who look more or less like me. If I were black or Asian, maybe it would be an issue, I don’t know

      I truly thank you for this honesty. And if you will allow me to confirm – yes, it is because you are white. And I assure you, this is not just an American thing. Nathalie had to confront people talking about styling her hair less “kinky.” Earlier this week Lady G wrote about her journey with representation of plus-sized and disabled individuals in the media but the minute the issue turns to one of racial representation in the media, people get uncomfortable. Missandei as a Black character did speak to Black fans of GoT (Check out this week’s recap from Dem Thrones or reviews by Black Girl Nerds). Just because Missandei’s race and the lack of diversity in GoT doesn’t matter to some fans does not mean it doesn’t matter to others. It does. It’s why Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians were important films for their respective groups.

      And thank you for the recommendation of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges! (Another example of the erasure or hidden figures of black individuals in history).

        Quote  Reply

    74. Nick20: As for your belief that ignoring race won’t make racism go away, I can only disagree.

      If every single person on Earth ignored race and considered it a non-issue (like hair color, eye color, shoulder width, and other physical characteristics), then yes, racism would, by definition, disappear.

      But that’s fantasy. Let me rephrase, then: non-racist people ignoring race won’t make racISTS go away. Like fascism, racism must be fought, not ignored or tolerated.

      Race having existed as a social construct for so long makes it so it IS a real thing that affects people. It IS a reality, even if it’s not based on biological reality. So we shouldn’t pretend we’re all the same (“equal” doesn’t mean “identical”.) We should not only “tolerate” but actually cherish our differences.

        Quote  Reply

    75. Luka Nieto,

      Well given that the show was based on a work of fiction where most of the inhabitants of Westeros are described as one assumes is white, except for Dorne, I would say odds were that yes, sadly, characters from Essos were going to be the only people of color in the show. Frankly, in terms of GOT and race, I think Dany being held as a Messiah by a bunch of people of color is more problematic than Missandei dying. But my perception may be tainted by my background. I was born in South America and we Latinos are mutts, most of us are a bit of everything mixed together. It’s hilarious that we used “la raza” as a rallying point when being latin is not a race. But I do agree on something, racism is not to be tolerated. I’ve cut off family members with racist views from my life without regret.

        Quote  Reply

    76. PS. I think people are so upset about Missandei’s death, simply because they expect it to turn Dany into a mad queen. Otherwise, Missandei had a glorious death and, although she died in chains, it was very clear that she died free.

        Quote  Reply

    77. I strongly disagree to part of this. But I also believe part of this is a result of the neurotic need to rush this show to a conclusion so rapidly. We can’t even see conversations complete the show must move so quickly.

      The part I disagree with is that every location needs to look like New York City. That’s just not reasonable or practical, in my view. To me, it’s like expecting 10 children of a couple to be diverse. You could have one child look like Sansa and another like Arya, but it’s unrealistic to have one child look like Tormund and another like Grey Worm, if both share the same two parents. The issue is most of this show has been contained to pockets of territory, and the leaders of those places. Part of where diversity exists is reflected by hair color to distinguish certain families.

      Even then, however, there is racial differences. The Dornish are far different than those in the North. Those in Meereen differ from both.

      I suppose the Nights Watch was the one place where there should have been a more diverse place because it’s where criminals from all over the place were sent. If there was a person of color there, I didn’t see one, and we did see plenty on more than one occasion.

      As for Missandei’s execution, I see Cersei as upholding tradition, and she even remarked about how Dany was more of a revolutionary and was costing the Iron Bank money last season to Tycho Nestoris. Dany represents unpleasant change for the status quo. If Cersei had her way, Slavery would return. This killing of Missandei was absolutely necessary. It was not only to provoke Dany. It was to show what kind of leader she is, and what policies she advocates. She put Missandei back in chains, and it reflects that she would return the world to a place where Slavery was accepted and practiced. This defines the upcoming fight in terms greater than who gets to sit on the iron throne.

      One last thing: I do agree there’s at least one instance where a person of color could have had a more prominent role. Davos’s pirate friend, Salladhor Saan. He could have easily been reached to help in a variety of ways. He could have transported help for the North in the fight against the Army of the Dead, which again places more people of color at Winterfell. Dany could have made arrangements with him. Or Cersei or Euron could have hired him too. I don’t know, but it’s a shame he disappeared after season 4. Who knows, just including him with a few of his crew could have added enough time to add a whole episode.

        Quote  Reply

    78. Azor Asshai,

      Im wondering if cersei will get her humanity back in episode 5 and once she has she gets killed 2 scenes later. I’m still hoping we get a scene where she opens up and let the real emotions of her children’s dead overflow her and that she starts crying as a maniac. But I wonder if cersei is not too far gone.

      Its also a wonderful parallel with Dany.
      Cersei: her logic make her evil and her emotion makes her more sane.
      Dany: her logic makes her a good person. Her emotions makes her less sane.

      And back to the post: I can understand that for instance in America it’s a topic that needs to be heard of. America has a huge part that’s racism to the core, and also with LGBT and sexism.

      It scared me that I learn that my country needed to ban a important political figure in America which had very dangerous ideas about how to deal with LGBT. Dead was his answer. That person has many and many people behind him that really scares me.

      Maybe it’s important to look at ourselves with posts like this to make sure we never end up with people like that in power. So maybe the world is not as good as we though it is. And that there’s more problems than we think there is right now.

      So maybe it’s important to talk about it. But for me it’s very difficult to judge when it’s time to just stop talking about it and when to talk about it again.

        Quote  Reply

    79. Luka Nieto,

      So non-racists should look at race???
      It’s already bad enough racists look at race. If the non-racists also start looking at race, that’s even worse. I, as a POC, don’t want people to look at my race! My colour should not make a difference, not in a negative sense and not in a positive sense either. Both ways of looking at colour make me feel different while I want to be the same as everyone else. I hope you see my point too.

        Quote  Reply

    80. Luka Nieto: That’s not idealism.

      It’s the privilege of life not forcing you to think about race often.

      Brilliant response.

      Privilege, indeed. A complete lack of awareness of the difficulties of others. No sense of the price of “otherness” in the world of ours.

        Quote  Reply

    81. Luka Nieto: Like fascism, racism must be fought, not ignored or tolerated.

      I don’t disagree with that.

      I think our disagreement is about how to fight it.

      In my opinion, the only real way to fight something as pernicious as racism is through education.

      Especially education of new generations. It’s unfortunately extremely difficult, if not impossible, to change the minds of those who are already racist.

      We need to focus on raising children differently, with a focus on our shared humanity.

      What I don’t think is helpful is to systematically point out the race of fictional characters. I don’t think focusing on race and actively seeking to portray the dynamic between characters as a racial dynamic is actually doing anything to fight racism.

      Missandei was Dany’s friend, advisor, and confidant. Her race really had nothing to do with it.

      Her race didn’t even have to do with her enslavement. As GRRM has said, the slavery in Slaver’s Bay is not race-based, but class-based.

      There are slave holders of all races and slaves of all races.

      We even see this in the show. Malko, who was black, enslaves Jorah and Tyrion, who were white.

      Melisandre was a slave, and she’s white. Hizdahr was a slave holder, and he’s a person of color.

      I could give other examples, but I think I’ve made my point.

        Quote  Reply

    82. I also think this was significant for Grey Worm. He was ready to leave. But now he’s seen Cersei put Missandei in chains and kill her. He’s seen firsthand that Cersei is just as bad as the Slavers he’s familiar with.

      It’s important that Missandei’s last word was Dracarys. She and Grey Worm at that instant saw not only Cersei but an entire population okay with what was happening. Everyone heard this word, not just Dany. Going forward, Grey Worm is going to be the polar opposite of Varys. Varys wants to save the people, as many innocents as possible. Grey Worm will say, no they are not innocent. They want to see me in chains. It might even be that Grey Worm is the one to catch Varys plotting against Dany.

        Quote  Reply

    83. kevin1989:
      ramses,

      Funny thing is, in the past I though the same, till i met my sister in law (coming from Brazil), who found it strange we were so hung up about this here, she called it even a first world problem. They are more concern about surviving there then anything else. I know she doesn’t speak for everyone, but it made change my opinion a bit.

      And it made clear to me how lucky I am to live where I live, and as you stated how privileged I am. I don’t need to worry about food, shelter, being afraid for my live because I’m gay. I can be free here.

      So maybe that is also something that clouded my judgement because in my country it’s (mostly) that everyone can be themselves.

      As for the story of GoT, I have to agree that Missandei should have had more background in the past seasons. I would have loved to learn more from her, her past, her culture.

      kevin1989,

      I found that really surprising, since racism is a huge problem in Brazil , this country is ruled by the white middle class and the black folk live mostly in the slums (favelas) in terrible living conditions,and many turn to crime , sadly.

      Wich in turn incresses the fear of people of color and in consequence the racism, it’s a very messy situation in here .

      People even hate the people of the north of the country , many POC who go to the south ( the rich part of the country)for a better life and they suffer a great deal of racism and hate .

      Sorry for the bad English .

        Quote  Reply

    84. Inga:
      I just wonder, if HBO ever makes a show based, say, on the Indian history (and that’s a great material), will there be complains about the lack of blonds and gingers?

      No

      “Seriously, lads, if you want a fantazy show with POC, why don’t you ask for a story which could fit them in? “

      GOT could’ve fit them in.

      “Why everyone is so affixed to Anglo-Saxon naratives? Why there are countless movies and shows about the Tudores and Robin Hood? I like English history and lore, but I feel like I’ll vomt if I’ll see another Robin Hood: I have already seen like 5 or 6 of them in less than 25 years.”
      💯

        Quote  Reply

    85. Chilli:
      Luka Nieto,

      So non-racists should look at race???
      It’s already bad enough racists look at race. If the non-racists also start looking at race, that’s even worse. I, as a POC, don’t want people to look at my race! My colour should not make a difference, not in a negative sense and not in a positive sense either. Both ways of looking at colour make me feel different while I want to be the same as everyone else. I hope you see my point too.

      Tell us where you have managed to find this ideal place that you and every other POC person can already live in a world in which race, gender, sexual orientation do not matter? Tell us – is this a physical place, it is reached by media etc?

      It is one thing to be naive, it is another to be dishonest, it is another to be completely unaware of the world around you.

      A color neutral world is certainly a global ideal but are we there yet?

        Quote  Reply

    86. Chilli: Both ways of looking at colour make me feel different while I want to be the same as everyone else. I hope you see my point too.

      I do see your point, yes.

      Nick20: Missandei was Dany’s friend, advisor, and confidant. Her race really had nothing to do with it.

      Akash’s feature is, as stated repeatedly in the comments and the feature itself, a metatextual observation about a metatextual series of writing decisions. Bringing in what the characters perceive has little to do with it, I’m afraid, because that’s not what Akash is talking about. Fiction is a reflection of real life, even when it’s fantasy and even when it doesn’t want to.

      Mango,

      Hear, hear!

        Quote  Reply

    87. Mango: Brilliant response.

      Privilege, indeed. A complete lack of awareness of the difficulties of others. No sense of the price of “otherness” in the world of ours.

      Why are you assuming that the person whose comment Luka was responding to has no idea about “otherness” ?

      All that person said was that your first thought when you see Missandei die shouldn’t be about her race.

      Which I agree with.

      And if Missandei had been white, nothing would have changed. I think it’s clear Cersei is more than happy to murder white people.

        Quote  Reply

    88. Luka Nieto,

      Race having existed as a social construct for so long makes it so it IS a real thing that affects people. It IS a reality, even if it’s not based on biological reality. So we shouldn’t pretend we’re all the same (“equal” doesn’t mean “identical”.)

      This! Again, I think things will continue to improve as more women and poc (and LGBT) are included in media, but we’re not there and ignoring the issue won’t help.

        Quote  Reply

    89. AlvWaynwood,

      Really? What was their problem with the casting?

      Luka Nieto: We should not only “tolerate” but actually cherish our differences.

      This made me think. Thanks. And that way we can learn from each other.

      Inga,

      Cerseis chained her hands but not her mind. Dany freed her mind. I wish we could have a scene where she told cersei that even if cersei killed Her. Cersei will not survive the week. But somehow she told that with her last words.

        Quote  Reply

    90. Mango,

      By the way, I never wrote that racism doesn’t exist. I was only trying to explain how I, as a POC, want to be seen by other people. And that’s not as a POC, but as a person.

        Quote  Reply

    91. Nick20,

      I agree with you. Education is the way. And connecting with each other and working together. The focus should be there.

      The ones relying on their racist ways will never change their minds. I’ve tried. The more you try to show them they’re wrong the more they hold onto it.

      The reason why racism is less an issue now then 20 years ago is that we decided to work together and ignore those who don’t want that. The way is forward not looking backward.

      The real fight happened behind the scenes for better words. Politics making sure laws were made to protect the citizens against racism.
      In Hollywood people fought behind the scenes for it. I still thank that they fought for will and grace.

      Aggression and forcing people to change their minds never work. Education does. Working together does. Being open to learn from others does.

        Quote  Reply

    92. Chilli: By the way, I never wrote that racism doesn’t exist. I was only trying to explain how I, as a POC, want to be seen by other people. And that’s not as a POC, but as a person.

      That’s fair enough. Some people want to be seen as both; for people of color to be recognized as such and as people of equal stature. Is that okay too? Or you don’t see what’s wrong with Kevin1989’s comment that “for me Missandei is not a woman of color, I never saw her color”? She is a woman of color. The point is that doesn’t diminish her.

      Kevin1989: The reason why racism is less an issue now then 20 years ago is that we decided to work together and ignore those who don’t want that.

      I’m sorry, but that is just not historical, and an insult to a century of hard-working (and, yes, sometimes aggressive) activists. Ignoring racists didn’t make racism diminish. Protesting them, and more than that, did.

      Do you think LGBT rights would have improved so much without the righteously violent Stonewall riots? Protesting aggressively does historically work, and pretending otherwise is a whitewashing of history.

        Quote  Reply

    93. Ser Creighton Longbough:
      I don’t get this racial issue either. Maybe it’s an American thing. I know racial stuff is a sensible matter there.

      I don’t know precisely where you’re from, but racism and representation are issues everywhere.

      Luka Nieto: Medieval Europe had WAY more black and generally non-white people than Westeros does, or most depictions of actual Medieval Europe for that matter. People ignore this proven fact, of course.

      Indeed. Which partly reflects the fact that a lot of GRRM’s “historical accuracy” is much more accurate to the pop culture version of history than actual history. By his own admission he has no real interest in academic histories, he’s all about the sensationalist accounts, and a lot of his ideas about what the medieval world was like aren’t especially accurate (particularly in the early books, which were conceived in the pre-internet age where you couldn’t find a deluge of information from medievalists with a few keystrokes).

      This is certainly an issue in the presentation of race in the source material, and also many aspects of the take on gender, among other things.

      When discussing this particular question there’s really two levels. The first, which is ultimately attributable to GRRM, is that ASOIAF is simply not racially diverse — all of the significant characters that the story is built around are white. GRRM’s leads were generally socially disadvantaged in various ways (gender, disability, illegitimacy), but he ignores race, whether out of misguided sense of historical accuracy, lack of interest, or a combination of the two (he also largely ignores class, incidentally, which is another narrative choice that I’ve always thought is oddly juxtaposed with a lot of fan theories that what we’re seeing is a story about Westerosi democratization).

      The second issue is that, having inherited this, it falls to the showrunners to manage what they do have. They made some fitful stabs at giving both Missandei and Grey Worm more screentime/characterization, which is appreciated (even if there was never any real way to overcome the fact that they’re tertiary characters with minimal connection to where Dany’s ultimate trajectory was headed). They’d probably have been better off not killing Missandei, given that, as things currently stand, she was 100% of the series’ representation of women of colour, and when that’s the case, that simply does create optics concerns.

        Quote  Reply

    94. Cryptkeeper,

      Great point with the people of kings landing not being completely innocent.

      André Luiz Moura,

      What I meant more was that people in Brazil live it. And that people in my country the Netherlands we talk a lot about racism and that we should fight it etc. She told me that we are privelege to talk about it so easily here and that in my country the problems aren’t really there compacted to hers. Like we talked a lot about but it does not stop the oppression that is happening there.

      So I meant more I as a Dutch person am very privelege.

      (im not always very good in expressing what I really trying to say constantly switching between my own language and English mess up my comments sometimes)

        Quote  Reply

    95. If I may, I would like to address this specific quote from the article:

      “The immediate question was to wonder why fantasy stories are dominated by white voices while black and brown voices are always on the sidelines. A popular response to that question is a variation of “This is fantasy. Why must you bring race into this?” The proper immediate response is that race is already there and what matters is how the writing addresses it.”

      In my personal opinion, I think the problem with this premise is that it’s asking this particular work of fiction to be something that it did not apparently intend to be. Phrased differently, A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones could have been a very different work if it looked into other cultures on Planetos (or if the cultures that made up Westeros and western-to-central Essos were comprised of different races and hues), but that’s not the world GRRM set-up (and which D & D decided to adapt, with all their virtues and flaws).

      Now, YMMV, but it seems an odd discussion to me, at least as pertains people of color, for the simple reason that I see very few to no Chinese-looking people or Polynesian-looking people or Dravidian-looking people on ASOIAF/GoT, and yet people don’t seem to worry too much about that (I’m Latin American, but we’re such a hot podge of people in Lat Am that I’m not even going to suggest that there should be more Latin American people on ASOIAF/GOT…. though you ALSO don’t have anybody that remotely looks like a Native Peruvian or a Native Guatemalan on ASOAIF/GoT, and THAT hasn’t seemed to be an issue).

      In any case, I find Planetos incredibly fascinating, and would love to have some of the successor series looking into the different cultures on Planetos (Leng, Yi-Ti, Sothoryos, the Summer Isles, etc.). There’s a lot of very diverse story telling out there, should the upcoming series want to look into different cultures.

        Quote  Reply

    96. Sean C.: I don’t know precisely where you’re from, but racism and representation are issues everywhere.

      Exactly. People in my country of Spain, and in Europe, and everywhere else in the world, LOOOOOVE to feign ignorance about racism and scapegoat it as an American problem. Obviously, because of the US’s history with slavery, racism has a more, let’s say, “vivid” presence than in many other countries, but you’re correct: racism is present and pernicious everywhere.

      I know people, including friends and family, who’ll swear they’re not racists. Ask them about, say, ‘gitanos’ (Spanish Romani people), though. “They’re all criminals” and “it’s all their fault they’re not integrated” and basically “let’s not think too much about that.” It’s racism based on ignorance of history and tacit support of terrible policies of retribution instead of integration.

      The only difference between racism in the US and everywhere else is that in the US it’s been an exposed, raw nerve for some time now, and an issue that divides people; in many other places, it’s not even acknowledged.

        Quote  Reply

    97. Chilli,

      Fair enough. As long as it’s understood that people have different experiences, which you do, I have no problem with you saying what you’re saying, at all, even if I disagree with your conclusions. I’m glad we had this conversation 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    98. Luka Nieto,

      Sorry didn’t think of that. You’re right of course. That that was necessary. I’m all in for protesting (as long as there’s no unnecessary violence which in my country is not needed anymore I can see that some countries still need a more aggressive approach).

      What I meant more was that education is still needed to uphold and make sure the next generation doesn’t go to racism options easily. Same with working together. That nationalism that is happening now in many counties and that they walk to isolate themselves from the rest of the world is very dangerous and we should make sure that never happen.

        Quote  Reply

    99. Is it too late to trade Missandei for Sansa?

      Better expressions (puzzlement about the concept of a bastard as explained by Jon and Davos), better at delivering a death sentence (” our Queen says one of you must die”), better advisor (her advice to Dany in Mireen is what gives me hope that Daenerys will out think her opponent ” you always think of something when no one else sees one”)…better sense of humor (she tried telling a joke with Gray Wirm and Tyrion) oh yea. Plus she was super intelligent from day one. In the books didn’t she know 19 languages? I think they should have kept her as she would have far more to offer the than most of the people left besides Tyrion. She and every girl at your local jr high were also better at keeping secrets than Sansa.

        Quote  Reply

    100. Chilli:
      Mango,

      By the way, I never wrote that racism doesn’t exist. I was only trying to explain how I, as a POC, want to be seen by other people. And that’s not as a POC, but as a person.

      Yes, that is a great goal. I agree with you. I am sorry if I misunderstood you. I wanted to point out that we are not anywhere near that goal for everyone.

      The difficulties of others based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic group etc is a battle we must fight even if we ourselves are not affected. Persons that are not affected must take this up personally and try to help. Do not pretend it does not exist or matter. Of course, in helping we must be guided by the community affected and not be presumptuous in our role.

        Quote  Reply

    101. Cryptkeeper,

      Oh YES! Geay Worm takes out Varys. PLEASE! Thought I liked him after he saved Tyrion and showed up in Mireen but hes been a backstabber and used the Targaryen kids like pawns. He claims he cares for the common people but Melisandre put him in his place. What do we say to the dear spider? Dracarys!

        Quote  Reply

    102. Luka Nieto,

      You’re right there. Even in the Netherlands which is one of the most progressive countries in the world’s. We were the first to implement gay marriage. And making laws protecting people of other races, believes, sexes. But even here we have a loud minority of people (15% ca) that is racist to the core that scares me that people think like that. I tried many many conversations with them to change their minds but it only resulted in them to embrace their backwards thinking even more. And I can say I’m tired of convincing them. I focus now on the other 85% of society that is willing to live together. And if we stand strong those racist can think what they want but they hold no power.

      I can say I convinced people to see their error in their thinking not by showing them right in their face but to just ignore their racism and slowly over time educate them about it. And some change their thinking. But for me I have no energy anymore to convince anybody anymore about rights of others.

        Quote  Reply

    103. Azor Asshai,

      “I would also personally argue that the desire to exert influence or control over art in any way is actually conservative in nature and not something that any progressive-minded person should be embracing, but frankly this is not the right place for that.“

      This is, in my opinion, of paramount importance. Anyone who says their spin is the correct one is probably more interested in purporting their own agenda as correct, rather than genuinely seeking to clarify a point of view while leaving room for others to express theirs.

      Of course, bigotry and vileness abound everywhere, and to cut ourselves free of this widespread social disease we must vigilantly defend ourselves (in the present AND future tense) from allowing this dunderheaded way of viewing humanity to continue unabated.

      If people see something of themselves reflected in art, then the art is probably succeeding. People are allowed and should be encouraged to express their feelings and observations – hell, when we’re being decent to each other, it’s downright joyful to participate in these fun debates and conversations! But let’s not lose sight of the fact that everyone is human, and humans have agendas, and agenda allow us to overlook humanity when it defies our needs.

      It’s a slippery slope when someone says “not that, but this.” I prefer people who hear things and then say, “Of course, and also…”

        Quote  Reply

    104. Let’s face it, in this era of hyper sensitive racial and gender politics, with the media exploiting these narratives for clickbait dollars and overbearing activists trying to use media to influence the public consciousness, nothing will ever be good enough!

      A character’s development and fate are now judged through a prism, the majority of which outcomes are considered “problematic” in some way or another, by somebody or another.

      Just create the characters you want or need to create. Have them act the way you want or need them to act. And take the criticism on the chin, because it’s inevitable.

        Quote  Reply

    105. Ahmad Meghani:
      Ser Creighton Longbough,

      It was the same as Ramsey killing Rickon,It wasn’t about needing another reason to be mad at cersei, just like Jon didn’t need anothee reason to hate Ramsey. Cersei and Ramsey are the same, evil human beings. Killing Rickon made Jon do exactly what Ramsey wanted him to do. Just like Dany will rain fire on KL, without thinking twice about the casualties, hence proving cersei’s point that she is her father’s daughter, a Mad Queen who is here to destroy the Seven Kingdoms.

      At least this is what I think.

      Ding ding! Winner!

      Cersei wants Dany to go mad, shes taunting her.

      Im half Middle Eastern and Im so tired of the race complaining. Missandei was a fantastic character, but lets leave it at that.

      If the Valyrians and Targaryens were supposed to be Black, I think GRRM would have let D&D know that…

      GoT is fantasy based on real history, and it is a reflection of that.

      When I watch an NBA game I dont sit back wondering why there aren’t more white or arab players… I enjoy the game.

      GoT is enjoyable. Dont politicize it by complaining there arent enough Black characters in a show based on European history. Since its fantasy, why do there need to be Black characters at all? Have we even seen any Chinese/Korean/Japanese characters in the show? What about them?

        Quote  Reply

    106. Luka Nieto:
      mau,

      Either. But D&D would’ve gotten a lot of shit from a certain faction of book readers if they’d changed Dany’s race, calling it “political correctness” or some BS.

      I think this is exactly right.

      To imagine that, just because this is a fictional story with fictional characters, people in the real world will accept any changes based on real-world social conditions at face value is…willfully ignorant at this point.

      A certain segment of the fanbase is always going to be outraged by artistic choices, whether they are made for the simplest of reasons, or the most noble. The best we can hope for is that the creators of the art take into account what is happening in the real world so as not to display a painful lack of awareness or overt bias.

      I don’t think D&D have done that here, and certainly not with Missandei’s death. We’ve all known Grey Worm and Missandei are very likely not endgame characters in this story. If the D’s killed her off to make abundantly clear what is happening with Dany, I don’t see anything pointing to that being a cover story for something worse.

      They’ve made errors before in depicting stuff that falls into “hot button” in the real world before. Looking at you, Jaime in the Sept of Baelor at Joffrey’s funeral. But I never was inclined to see the sidelining and, perhaps, underdevelopment of characters like Missandei having anything to do with her race. If she fell by the wayside, it was far more likely the reason is because this is, even after all the constriction of the last few seasons, a sprawling story with many characters that is being told at a breakneck pace.

      My earnest wish is that we lived in a world where that could be the case, and people could accept it at face value. Unfortunately, we don’t.

        Quote  Reply

    107. Azor Asshai,

      Your note raises some big questions about the role of art in society. These are too big to be fully explored here.

      For me, art at its core is about life, meaning, humanity and trying to communicate my experience of being human to others. It is a conversation by the artist with others and with themselves.

      Art has great potential to help us look at ourselves as individuals and as a society. This include exploring many things including injustice, suffering, hate, discrimination. So it is very OK if some art just entertains/diverts but talented artists should not restrict themselves when they can help society move forward. I would say that solely trying to amuse with your artistic endeavors is itself a choice not to engage fully.

      What is the role of a talented artist in a community? Why are you here? How can your gift serve others? So the issue may be the lack of ambition of the artist not that art cannot help us work for a more just society.

        Quote  Reply

    108. Kevin1989,

      Nationalism isnt the problem. Extremism is. Nationalism is having a sense of pride in where you are from and in who you are. The Olympics are the best example of this. We can have strong national pride but still compete and trade and enjoy our differences.

      As an American I find the diversities of Europe so rich and fascinating. We should embrace our differences and enjoy them because we are different.

      Nationalism isnt about isolationism. Youre thinking of… well… isolationism.

        Quote  Reply

    109. Ser Brocolli McBrocolliface,

      “GoT is enjoyable. Dont politicize it by complaining there arent enough Black characters in a show based on European history. Since its fantasy, why do there need to be Black characters at all? Have we even seen any Chinese/Korean/Japanese characters in the show? What about them”

      I make a similar point above.

        Quote  Reply

    110. It was heartbreaking to see Missandei die that way but then again it’s Cersei. I wish they had chosen someone else though.

      One of the best things about Missandei and Grey Worm was that in spite of his physical limitations – she fell in love with him. I thought that was kind of a hopeful message for people that it’s not always about the physical and that all people can find love and deserve some happiness in their lives. Maybe that’s a bit too sappy for GOT but I”m old and it was nice to see something good in a show that is about death and heartache and betrayal.

        Quote  Reply

    111. as beautiful as she was, I honestly could care less. It was necessary. What wasnt necessary was Jon abandoning Ghost and not even petting him before he left. Makes the hero look like a grade A jergoff. JMO

        Quote  Reply

    112. Sean C.:
      Ser Brocolli McBrocolliface,

      Art is inherently political, much like life.And the showrunners (and GRRM) have been more than happy to say that it’s meant to reflect real-world issues and concerns.

      This can often be true, but the supposedly demeaning of Missandei the character because shes black is an artificial, made up problem that only serves to stir the identity politics pot.

        Quote  Reply

    113. Mango,

      Of course I agree we must fight against racism, that’s where you misunderstand me. Racism happens in Belgium too, luckily not (often) in my city, that’s the advantage of living in the city with one of the most important universities. That shows how important education is in the fight against racism. My city is I think the only one in Belgium with a Muslim mayor with Moroccan roots, while most people/voters here are white and have a Christian background. By the way, that did reach the media.

        Quote  Reply

    114. This show has always struggled with racism, misogyny and optics. Some inherently in conception with characters like Daenerys, the white savior queen sent to deliver the savages in the east. She came in with her breaker of chains/freedom bomb and her dracarys drones and led so many POC (who deify her) a world away to fight and die in her personal war which has zero relevance to them.

      During the Battle of Winterfell, all the brown people are placed on the frontlines without a solid game plan. What were the Dothraki supposed to do if Mel hadn’t showed up, fight blindly with their non dragon glass arakhs? They were nameless fodder for the dead and once again used to further the plot (Dany straying from the plan and entering the fray) and almost going “extinct” in the process as D&D put it.

      Similarly so many of the Unsullied died bravely defending the racists that were giving them the stink eye.

      Now the only black female character is put in chains again and beheaded in front of her only black male lover (who will probably die soon too), just to further Dany’s transformation into the Mad Queen. And no one thought that was a problem? Because we don’t see race? lol

      Not to mention they completely messed up or omitted so much of the Dorne story line. They certainly didn’t even try with those!

      Then again D&D wanted that slavery fanfiction Confederate show, so none of this is surprising.

        Quote  Reply

    115. Kevin1989: Education is the way. And connecting with each other and working together. The focus should be there.

      I agree and stand behind this entire comment. I teach young children with special needs, a whole different ball of wax considering the lack of people with disabilities in media. Ive taught for 30 years and have seen many changes in how people react to my students, and how people react to POC in our school (we have quite a mix actually). Times have changed, education has made a difference in attitudes in acceptance in possibililties. My students learn about each others differences, cultures, language, and we learn that we are all from the same universe. We need to work harder, and those younger in my field must continue that education My hope is that one day there is no racism, no prejudice, no hate. Yes i am an old hippie, probably will not live to see it. But I beieve in the possibility and act toward it

      BTW I am a huge fan of Hamilton, and feel its casting has indeed broken the fourth wall.. Should shows do this kind of casting more often? I don’t see why not, Even tho the story takes place in a psuedo European world, its very true that there was a large varity of cultures and races, and so perhaps this show could have done more to include them. It wil be interesting to see this change as more people talk about it

        Quote  Reply

    116. Chilli:
      Mango,

      Of course I agree we must fight against racism, that’s where you misunderstand me.Racism happens in Belgium too, luckily not (often) in my city, that’s the advantage of living in the city with one of the most important universities. That shows how important education is in the fight against racism. My city is I think the only one in Belgium with a Muslim mayor with Moroccan roots, while most people/voters here are white and have a Christian background. By the way, that did reach the media.

      Well, things in Belgium have come a long way from the days of King Leopold. Good progress, I hope things keep going in the right direction.

        Quote  Reply

    117. ash,

      Very good example to speak about the quality of Hamilton.

      I have not seen it. But this is an excellent example that we can use diverse casts despite the expectation of what was historically exact. (or what we believe was historically correct even in a fantasy with smoke babies!)

        Quote  Reply

    118. Missandei is one of my favorite books characters, unfortunately the show didn’t do her justice, I agree with that. Her death was devastating, obviously, to anyone who was paying attention but especially to Dany, and we’ll see just how important this death was to Dany’s story, and how it affects her decisions going forward. I predict Missandei’s murder will be a major catalyst for Dany.

      Further, it was a refresher course in just how depraved Cersei and her Frankencrew have become. We are reminded that Cersei will have no mercy should any beloved character be in her grasp.

      Yes, I was very sad to lose Missandei, so gently and gracefully played by Nathalie.

      But her character was not killed for the reason inferred. Her character was killed because she is one of the most beloved characters.

      Putting a topic up for discussion, then censoring comments, lecturing people to stay on topic, and then posting off-topic throughout the comments calling people ignorant and racist for expressing their opinions? Er.

      I’m reading people giving their perspective based on their experience, backgrounds and culture – no one commenting here deserves being called ignorant or labelled a racist based on a reaction to a hot-button topic that was obviously posted because it’s a hot-button topic. Weird flex.

        Quote  Reply

    119. Someone here said “ Would you be upset if the program about Indian history doesn’t include gingers and whites”. Respectfully, yes. If they are going to do a series about British colonisation and showed all the British officers as POC, then definitely Yes. But Game of thrones is ( based on the history) not really a proper “ history” . So, there could have been lot many characters that could have been POC. Malisandre? That girl is born in Essos. She could’ve been black/ brown. Daario Naharis, he’s from Essos. One might argue there are all kinds of people in Essos,when there are all kinds of people in Essos, why can’t that be true in Westores. Because Inga has mentioned Indian history or Mythology – in the texts Lord Krishna and Lord Rama are both supposed to be black ( or bluish black ) and Not one movie / series based on their lives/history/Mythology is represented with a darker skin tone guy as God/Lord.They simply pick the guy with lightest skin color. India discriminates people on their skin tone, though they are all brown. Sorry, I digress. So, it’s important to have more representation, because that’s the only way to break subconscious barriers that manifest into social injustices.

        Quote  Reply

    120. Unfortunately, these showrunners and a lot of the directors and writers are extremely tone deaf. Aside from the whole fact of them trying to pitch an alternate history series of the CSA winning the U.S. Civil War, there’s the rather cringe-inducing pronouncement by Sansa that she is glad to have been raped and abused because she could never have grown into a strong adult otherwise (as if people don’t just grow up normally and you have to go through abuse to become strong) and the entire debacle from season five when the director didn’t believe what Jaime did to Cersei was rape, forcing himself on her as she repeatedly says “no.”

      GRRM’s work might have aged poorly in some ways and is definitely informed more by a pop-cultural fantasy notion of what medieval European history was than by actual history, but the show made it worse, not better. Khal Drogo, the guy I look the most like of any of the characters myself, is a particular disappointment as he’s a literate, multilingual person who can actually talk to Daenerys from the beginning and never rapes her in the book, but they had to turn him into a nice stereotype of the mysterious savage and turn their story into the touching tale of a woman who learns to love her rapist.

      It’s nice and all to not see a person’s skin color I’m sure, but the history of fictional accounts like these is a large part of the reason bigotry based on human morphology exists. Why did my mom’s parents disown her for marrying my dad less than 40 years ago? Probably because he looks a lot like the popular notion of a “savage” and the history of how film and television has cast people who look like him is the reason why that is. It’s wonderful that in 2019 a guy like Jason Momoa gets to play a wide range of characters and is the lead hero of most what he’s in these days, but did Game of Thrones the show really need to make him the savage brute out on the frontier when that isn’t even who he was in A Game of Thrones the book?

      It’s still heartening that the world has come as far as it has just in the last 9 years and the show has improved in this regard. They made Grey Worm and Missandei quite a bit more prominent than they were in the books. I appreciated that. It’s too late to go back and right the wrongs they already committed. They’re clearly not acting out of malice doing these things. It just doesn’t even occur to them how it will be received. Missandei is an incredibly special character to a portion of the fandom that basically never sees themselves on screen in a story like this. I don’t think they should have gone out of their way to keep her safe or anything, but her death was not in any way “necessary” to the story. At least, I don’t think that is the way stories should work. Events should be dictated by the internal logic of the character’s motivations and the circumstances they find themselves in. It’s pretty clear in this case they’re starting from the point of either having Daenerys become a villain or at least making the audience think that’s going to happen, and reverse-engineering events to get there rather than letting the plot develop organically in a believable way.

        Quote  Reply

    121. BranStark,

      …One might argue there are all kinds of people in Essos, when there are all kinds of people in Essos, why can’t that be true in Westores. ….

      ….it’s important to have more representation, because that’s the only way to break subconscious barriers that manifest into social injustice…

      Yup

        Quote  Reply

    122. Mango,

      I acknowledged this role of art in my post as well, and its value. But I also didn’t want to go too deep into these larger questions for the very reason that you gave, because you’re absolutely right–they’re way too complicated, abstract, and subjective. Simply too big to ever be truly answered. For what it’s worth I would personally say that ultimately there is no single role that art plays or should play in society, but rather many roles all at once. Of course, that said, every one of us has the ability to come to their own conclusions. Thank you very much, by the way. I’m glad to have given some food for thought!

        Quote  Reply

    123. Wow, this has been one interesting thread to read through! And I still have more to read….

      Akash – Excellent article! You provided a thoughtful, clear, and thought provoking article and started this dialog. Well done.
      Luka – Fantastic job of jumping in throughout the thread adding your thoughts and keeping things constructive.

      I appreciate some of the ideas posters have added to the thread and the dialog that several posters have had.

      One theme I want to voice support for is that film and television productions need diversity behind the scenes to help promote insight, dignity, and honesty on the screen in the final product.

        Quote  Reply

    124. Missandei was used as nothing more than a plot device to sell me on the idea that Dany has suddenly abandoned all sense of virtue and all ability to control her own impulses in the final 2 episodes the entire series. Captured by the super magical appearing out of thin air fleet of cartoon Jack Sparrow. But of course.

        Quote  Reply

    125. Racism and all sorts of hate is part of the world of Game of Thrones.

      Tyrion is constantly told that he should have been killed as a baby.

      Brien is laughed at and never taken seriously unless she forces someone to.

      Women in general are not highly valued in that world.

      What was Cersie going to do with anyone like Missandei? (A person very important to the enemy literally at her gate?)
      You keep her as a hostage if you hope to buy time or negotiate. OR if your goal is to start a fight, you kill her in front of her loved ones.

      I think ham fisted writing is more the issue.

      This is Game of Thrones. Not a place where one should look for contemporary social mores.

      Besides, what happened to Missandei could happen to anyone in that world. And it has… many, many times.

        Quote  Reply

    126. Azor Asshai,

      Mango,

      Azor Asshai,

      I like the perspective your posts add to this discussion. It may be simplistic but I hope that the more diversity there is in the artistic community (with artists being true to themselves, their own voices) the better the representation of diverse experiences and points of view will be in society.

        Quote  Reply

    127. the unburdened,

      There’s no such thing as apolitical entertainment, and certainly not on the most watched TV series on the planet, one that bills itself specifically as having important things to say about the human condition and so on.

      Doesn’t mean you have to agree with any particular criticism, but what’s in the media matters a lot.

      Ron:
      What was Cersie going to do with anyone like Missandei? (A person very important to the enemy literally at her gate?)
      You keep her as a hostage if you hope to buy time or negotiate.OR if your goal is to start a fight, you kill her in front of her loved ones.

      Nobody is asserting it was out of character for Cersei. People are questioning the way the whole story beat was introduced.

        Quote  Reply

    128. I felt very sorry that Missandei was killed, because she was such a positive character (gentle but strong, and not manipulative like Margaery, with her own dreams but still loyal) but to affect both Grey Worm and Daenerys, and to shock the audience, it was certainly effective.

      GRRM could have made the story more diverse (Westeros covers enough latitudes). In the past I once suggested to have the Stark look Mongolian and the Valyrians Black (Tullys remain Anglosaxon). And inbreeding Targaryens should have been ugly.

      GoT could have easily cast side characters with different looks as early as S1 (Bronn, Ros, Pyp, Jaqen…), and even whole regions like the Iron Islands (as they did with Dorne) without any practical divergence from the books.

      I am a very priviliged person, so some might say I should stay out of the discussion, and I don’t want to hurt other people their experiences in life, but I have the feeling that the racial focus is usually limited to Black or Latino, which seems to me a predominantly USA issue. Ok, it’s a USA show, but when you talk about representation why not consider the whole world then. I know that biologically there is only one human race, but if you truly want to be inclusive with respect to looks, why not advocate to cast a few Khoisan, Dravidians, Mongolians? Or Middle-Eastern and northern African? And my answer here would be, yes, make it then truly diverse. But in S1 probably nobody knew it was going to be a global phenomenon.

      What I find more disturbing in the plot is that, in the end, possibly all the Unsullied and Dothraki will have come to Westeros, only to be killed off. Dany improved the lives of many slaves in Essos, and to have her troops decimated in Westeros (even when they claim they want it) is not really encouraging for her character development, but I guess that’s what the story is about. My point is that, when the Unsullied and Dotraki die in Westeros, it’s practically people of mixed origin dying to save a predominantly white continent. I don’t think Dany sees it like this, but that how it appears to me.

      It’s up to future books and shows to do differently.

        Quote  Reply

    129. It’s a shame they bungled Dorne so badly. I’m imagining the alternate universe where, say, Nymeria is written well, makes sense in show, becomes a fan favorite, and is still part of the ensemble as we reach the endgame. Plus, we might have avoided Iron Fist entirely, in that case.

      Another character they easily could have made a POC: Thoros. I loved everything about what Paul Kaye brought to the character, but it would have been a welcome face in the cast.

        Quote  Reply

    130. Ser Brocolli McBrocolliface,

      Missandie’s death was tragic, but this simply is what GoT has always been about? To shock the viewers by unexpectedly killing off someone we have always had the greatest love and repect for. The same can be said about Ned’s execution or the Red Wedding. A plot device to push the story forward. An actor/character’s color or race doesn’t even come into the equation. If Missandei had been white, the outcome would have been the same.

      Seems to me Cersie’s “I choose violence” has stepped up a gear and just Dany losing Rhaegal wasn’t enough, but having her close friend and advisor killed and her final words being ‘Dracarys – Dany knows exactly what to do. Violence there will certainly be 😉

        Quote  Reply

    131. Luka Nieto: Valyrians should have been black. Targaryens should’ve been black. I truly think that would’ve solved much of the bad optics in Dany’s story. Seriously

      I don’t believe Valyrians could have been black. If Valyrians just had a “magical” combination of dark skin and silver hair and light colored eyes, they would not be anything like real world POC. That would be totally unsatisfying to anyone. If, on other hand, they were like real sub saharan africans (or east asians, for example), then Jon would have been obviously mixed raced, and that would break the story. Platinum blond hair and light irises could believably be a recessive mendelian trait, so Jon can easily look like a stark without breaking immersion. That would not work with black valyrians since in real life racial traits are very polygenic. Unless half of Westeros including the North were also mixed raced.

        Quote  Reply

    132. Luka Nieto,

      I would add that within the US, there are terrible regional prejudices. I live in California, and as much as I love it here, one of the things I hate is many Californians’ attitudes towards places like Texas and the Deep South—often from people who’ve never been to those places. Yes, the Deep South has a terrible history. But by pointing fingers only at the South—in effect “otherizing” all Southerners, especially white Southerners, as racist, uneducated hicks—many Americans from other parts of the country in effect sweep their own problems with racism under the rug. The most segregated cities in the US aren’t in the South; they’re in the North and the West. The worst race riot in US history took place in New York City. The resurgence of the KKK in the 1910s and 1920s was based in Indiana. Regionalism allows people to pretend that they’re somehow better, less racist or more progressive, when in fact that is not the case.

      /end rant

        Quote  Reply

    133. mau:
      GoT is the show based on the books written in 90s, when diversity in entertainment wasn’t important. Sad but true.

      D&D started working on the show 12 years ago and their only goal at the beginning was to be as faithful to the books as much as possible.

      Yeah, S8 is airing in 2019, but this story was created in a completely different times.

      I think this is an important point to make.

        Quote  Reply

    134. BranStark,

      I was the one who brough this point, but I ment Indian history, not the history of British colonialism. Sorry, but your point is Anglo-Saxon-centrism in a nutshell: looks like British colonialism is the first and only thing that comes into your mind, when you read the words “Indian history”. But India has history beyond that – a very rich and entertaining history, even a small fraction of which could easily beat GoT. And I’m happy that Bollywood puts a lot of effort to explore that and show it to the world and a’m happy that Indians have Bollywood, which can offer the world something more than countless Tudor and Robin Hood remakes. But other nations are not so lucky: they don’t have strong cinematography, they don’t have budget for that. So, how about telling their stories? Wouldn’t it be more enriching and educating, than simply casting POC as Robin Hood, for instance? Wouldn’t that be a great step towards increasing mutual understanding
      Instead we get Borat and the creators don’t even realize how offensive is that.

        Quote  Reply

    135. BranStark,

      Sorry, I misunderstood your point a little bit and got offensive. Hope you forgive me. It’s just that Borat-ing of every non-Anglo-Saxon narative in Hollywood/US (and unfortuantely, the whole portrayal of Essos both in the books and show is a typical ignorant Borat-ing) irks me to the core. Sorry, once again.

        Quote  Reply

    136. Inga: BranStark

      I do agree that India has rich history even before colonization. What I was saying is, even in India ( and I am an Indian) people discriminate based on skin tone. As I have said, most of the Bollywood movies/Series/Serials portray heroes/heroines who are extremely fair compared to the normal standards of an average Indian men and women. We can’t really say that it is racism, but being on the lighter side of the brown spectrum has some additional privilege here ( matrimonial and dating sites are mired with ads asking for a fair bride. Fairness creams which lightens your skin and will supposedly fetch a great husband makes millions of dollars ). As I said already, Indian Mythology has Lord Krishna/Lord Rama as black men ( bluish black) , but almost all movies portray them as this super fair men.. so we have our own version of racism here.
      Sorry I think I have moved away from the topic of the article. But It’s a real thing in India.. so.. every country has it’s own flaws .. hopefully, we all will learn to be better humans and evolve as nations..

      peace.

        Quote  Reply

    137. talvikorppi: I think this is an important point to make.

      Yes. That’s right. But, why we discuss this is to make sure, any upcoming books/series will notice the issues being discussed on race and gender, and will make their own art more diverse and won’t be so timid about representing diverse people. That’s the reason we discuss, I personally think having a dialogue about any art and how it portrayed social conditions is only going to make art world open up about issues that it previously refused to see.

        Quote  Reply

    138. Ser Brocolli McBrocolliface: Guys…

      We know there are all types of people in Essos, much moreso than Westeros.Remember, even though this is a fantasy show it is still based on Medieval Western Europe, and primarily the British Isles. While there were certainly some POC in medieval Europe, they were still relatively rare, and almost certainly were not lords or ladies or Knights.

      If we keep this in mind we can all sleep a little easier at night.


      It might be based on Medieval Europe. But Medieval Europe never had Dragon and Ice Monsters, that part came from imagination. So, we can be a bit more realistic about our imaginations and include POC in fantasy shows like this. IF it’s Tudors or the Crown we won’t be discussing about lack of POC in the show, because that’s “Actual” history and not fantasy

        Quote  Reply

    139. Luka Nieto,

      Kevin1989,

      So…. When Oberyn Martell was casted there was some controversy about his race which I would not get into, I will just say that Pedro Pascal became Oberyn and he gave us one of the best performances in the show. Full stop.

      Now, with that being said, when they announced Doran and the sand snake´s casting… hell broke through, casual show fans were all of the sudden book canon purists and they got extremely upset because they read that Dorne was (very, very loosely) inspired by Medieval Spain and though they were “POCing” the dornish to make them more socially acceptable.

      You cannot imagine the amount of arguments I got into by saying two very simple statements:

      – Firstly, that Dorne wasnt a exact copy of medieval Spain, it was also Wales, Palestine and Morocco, if you wanna say that Medieval Spain was Dorne then you should hire mostly arabic actors because at the time, Spain was controlled by the Caliphat of Cordoba.

      – Secondly, that The Martells are described in the books as olive skinned black haired people, so the actor for Doran fit perfectly the description lol.

      But yeah, people got very upset. as the hound would say, lots of cunts.

      I can perfectly imagine all of those who complained are now voting for VOX lol

        Quote  Reply

    140. AlvWaynwood: I can perfectly imagine all of those who complained are now voting for VOX lol

      That’s be a comforting thought, but sadly there are more racists in Spain than the relatively few (though still way too many) who voted for that pathetic fascist party.

      BranStark,

      You’re totally right.

      People who are more prepared to accept dragons than people of color in a Medieval-based world ARE racist. They may not want to admit it, they may not be aware of it, and they may get very angry when this is pointed out to them, but it IS a fundamentally racist position.

      Ron: What was Cersie going to do with anyone like Missandei? (A person very important to the enemy literally at her gate?)
      You keep her as a hostage if you hope to buy time or negotiate. OR if your goal is to start a fight, you kill her in front of her loved ones.

      ShameShameShame: But her character was not killed for the reason inferred. Her character was killed because she is one of the most beloved characters.

      You must not have read Akash’s feature. Because that’s not what it said.

      The feature doesn’t claim Missandei was killed for being black, either in the story or by the writers (or that, given that Missandei was captured, Cersei wouldn’t kill her. She would. That’s not the point.) Quite the opposite: The feature surmises that the writers didn’t really think about what killing one of their few people of color (the only woman of color in the main cast) means METATEXTUALLY, socially. If you don’t agree, fine, but at least read the feature and address what it actually claims.

        Quote  Reply

    141. BranStark,

      I’ve heard about that, but it’s more related to the very concept of “beautiful” and it goes both ways. My country is grimly white, but like a decade ago we had an Indian girl on one of our singing shows and she became a celebrity overninght and got a personal TV show, despite of the fact that she could barely speak our language. Even the laws and rules were bend for her, because the audience found her black eyes and her dark skin irresistibly attractive.
      Sure, when physical appearance is related to certain experiences, it’s more complicated, but in fundamentally people tend to be attracted to the dangerous beauty of foreign races.
      And one way or another, I really look forward Bollywood making an Indian version of GoT based on Indian history and set up in Indian surroundings. Someone has to challenge domination of the Anglo-Saxon narative in entertainment industry, and IMO India has every resource to do it.

        Quote  Reply

    142. Maybe it’s not about a race at all. Maybe it’s a show and they found actors and actresses who were good at role and cast them when others weren’t.

        Quote  Reply

    143. AlvWaynwood,

      You’re right here, the casting was perfect. And I’m glad we got Pedro Pascal.

      The only problem I have with the Dorne plot was how it was executed in season 5 and 6. They could have made Doran one of the most interesting characters of the show with a interesting plan, but they decided to change him into a idiot who does nothing.

      Same with the Sandsnakes and Ellaria. They butchered Ellaria with their revenge plot. I think they should have followed the book their, trying to make Myrcella Queen and be a victim there like the books.

      Dorne could have been one of the best storylines of the show but the end result was one of the forgettable. The characters felled one dimensional and they deserved more.

      And for killing of Missandei, for me killing was not a real problem for me (I can understand why it was for many). What for me is a problem that they didn’t give Missandei more screentime before killing her. She should have a scene with either Cersei of Qyburn, where even when chained she showed them that her mind is free. Maybe even add a scene where she stated that ending her life would mean ending theirs.

      And I hope Greyworm survives and bring Missandei back to Naath. (And I hope it will be part of one of the prequels, I want to see Naath)

        Quote  Reply


    144. Inga,

      Inga:
      BranStark,

      I’ve heard about that, but it’s more related to the very concept of “beautiful” and it goes both ways. My country is grimly white, but like a decade ago we had an Indian girl on one of our singing shows and she became a celebrity overninght and got a personal TV show, despite of the fact that she could barely speak our language. Even the laws and rules were bend for her, because the audience found her black eyes and her dark skin irresistibly attractive.
      Sure, when physical appearance is related to certain experiences, it’s more complicated, but in fundamentally people tend to be attracted to the dangerous beauty of foreign races.
      And one way or another, I really look forward Bollywood making an Indian version of GoT based on Indian history and set up in Indian surroundings. Someone has to challenge domination of the Anglo-Saxon narative in entertainment industry, and IMO India has every resource to do it.

      It would be terrific, ( correct me if I am wrong) I attribute part of GOT’s success to the language as well ( English has now become sort of Universal language- even people who don’t understand by listening will turn on subtitles and read to understand – and the essence doesn’t change). But Hindi’s isn’t the main language in India, sure most of the people speak, but we also have our own regional languages. So, an Indian show getting an international acclaim is very very rare.. ( even with Hindi- English Translations- because most of the times essence is lost in translations) . It’s not about the story not being potent enough, but language. They can also make it in English I suppose, but that would require again big studios to do it.

        Quote  Reply

    145. Shane snow:
      Maybe it’s not about a race at all. Maybe it’s a show and they found actors and actresses who were good at role and cast them when others weren’t.

      You solved it! Thank you. If only Akash had thought of that.

      Tiny problem with that, tho. If that were strictly true, what you’re saying is that about 95% of white actors are better than actors of color! Oops. That can’t be it, right?

        Quote  Reply

    146. Luka Nieto: That’s be a comforting thought, but sadly there are more racists in Spain than the relatively few (though still way too many) who voted for that pathetic fascist party.

      BranStark,

      You’re totally right.

      People who are more prepared to accept dragons than people of color in a Medieval-based world ARE racist. They may not want to admit it, they may not be aware of it, and they may get very angry when this is pointed out to them, but it IS a fundamentally racist position.

      That’s what got me wondering, we are fine with accepting all sorts of magical stuff, but coming to representation ( in fantasy at least) we shouldn’t be bending backwards to justify the choices some shows make. It’s alright if people didn’t think about it while they were casting, but discussing about these issues might actually help in future while people are being cast. After all, we can’t address a problem if we don’t identify that it’s there in the first place.

        Quote  Reply

    147. Luka Nieto

      People who are more prepared to accept dragons than people of color in a Medieval-based world ARE racist. They may not want to admit it, they may not be aware of it, and they may get very angry when this is pointed out to them, but it IS a fundamentally racist position.

      Sorry to say it, but you’re comments here feel very self-righteous. You’re so sure that you’re right that everyone else that is not 100% share you’re vision is a racist (even when they don’t know it).

      You’re points have multiple times be criticize here by people with experience in the subject, even a teacher who worked with children for decades saw what works with fighting racism, that goes against what you said and you ignore it.

      I’m not saying you’re wrong, in fact I think you’re right what you said, but instead of using passive-aggressive comments try to learn from some here, like I try to learn from your comments.

      And stop twisting peoples words to further you’re opinion. As you read here most of us are against racism. Yes maybe we don’t know how it feels to be a victim of racism or people differ how to fight racism. Not everyone has the same view and experience.

      And another question: Do you think the show has a problem with showing us LGBT+ minority? 10/15% of the world is part of LGBT and we only got 3 gay characters and 1 bi character in the show. And they killed them all at the end of season 6, and season 7 and 8 has 0% LGBT+ people in it.

      Not an attack but I think this problem of LGBT+ misrepresentation is also a big problem of the show, but somehow that wasn’t important enough to get an own post way back after winds of winter aired.

        Quote  Reply

    148. Inga:
      BranStark,

      I’ve heard about that, but it’s more related to the very concept of “beautiful” and it goes both ways. My country is grimly white, but like a decade ago we had an Indian girl on one of our singing shows and she became a celebrity overninght and got a personal TV show, despite of the fact that she could barely speak our language. Even the laws and rules were bend for her, because the audience found her black eyes and her dark skin irresistibly attractive.

      For us , people on the lighter side of brown aren’t that rare to treat them as exotic, but they do have certain privilege. We the whole country of brown people do discriminate on Black people ( or the people of African origin) who were brought here as slaves during the colonization period ( about 250 years ago) . Now they speak Hindi and sort of follow all kinds of Indian traditions, but they do have a village of their own, they are not integrated into main communities ( sort of like banishment). The abuse and neglect they face and most of them don’t have decent education and work on very hard jobs ( sewer cleaning ) .. It’s very heart breaking to see. I always thought India just has caste problem, but I think every country if allowed has the capacity to be both monstrous and great. It depends on the collective psych of a community to shift towards being more compassionate, which is why discussions such as these are important.

        Quote  Reply

    149. Luka Nieto:
      mau,

      Valyrians should have been black. Targaryens should’ve been black. I truly think that would’ve solved much of the bad optics in Dany’s story. Seriously.

      No. A black family, with a long history of incest and complete madness.. As if THAT would’ve made things better in terms of race.

        Quote  Reply

    150. the unburdened,

      If you are watching a show about China, India , yes there is no need to have European representation. But Game of thrones is a completely different world ( something that’s similar to earth-spanning two different continents) ( And doesn’t Dragons, Magic wall, Ice monsters, Ressuction, Shadow demons sound unrealistic to you?) We are not saying there should be representation in the show “The Crown” because that’s history. But fantasies can do much better in my honest opinion. Also, discussing a shows flaws doesn’t necessarily have to take away the enjoyment we have while watching the show. This attitude of Watch and shut up or don’t watch at all will never allow proper critic on any show and will never let art evolve beyond certain point.

        Quote  Reply

    151. kevin1989,

      I agree there is too little LGBTQ+ representation in the show. And it HAS been discussed. And it should continue happening. It’s not an either/or. Both issues can and should be discussed.

      As for being self-righteous, I’m sorry you feel that way, but everyone believes they are right, obviously.

      And unintentional racism is still racism.

      You said “As you read here most of us are against racism.” Sorry, but that is very ignorant. Most racism isn’t about being in the KKK; most racists don’t know they’re racist. Most people don’t accept the fact they’re benefitted by societal racism. And saying things like “I don’t see color” is racist. Ignorant, yes, and racist too. That shouldn’t end the conversation, and it’s not meant to, but people don’t want to acknowledge their ingrained racism and privilege, so they reject it and accuse the other of using “you’re racist!” to stop the conversation, when it’s the other way around. Admitting one’s racism, and that societal racism may benefit us, is but the first step. If people come in here with a closed mind, only to complain about race being brought up in the first place, without actually engaging in Akash’s thoughtful piece, their comments may be deleted. It’s as simple as that.

      Ser Oromis Locke,

      Good point. It’s fiction, tho. You can just change that too.

        Quote  Reply

    152. I have been reading this discussion but refraining from commenting up until this point because this issue is so complex, hitting right to the heart of injustices people have experienced and also the guilt others feel keenly, and I am worried that anything I might add to the discussion may be poorly worded on my part, or unintentionally taken out of context or misread by others. I am a white woman, a liberal white woman who abhors all forms of prejudice, but I am also keenly aware that the experiences I have had growing up, or rather, it is the experiences I did not have growing up, that mean I will never fully understand this issue. I can, hand on heart, say that I see where people are coming from when they feel dissatisfied/upset/angry/frustrated with the lack of racial representation in a show like GOT, but I can never truly understand the deep-rooted feelings behind, so I worry about entering debates such as this one, as I would hate to unintentionally say something to offend.

      I just want to say that I echo the thoughts that when this book was created and when this show started, the important movement in the art world ensuring that there is equal representation in books, music, film, TV etc. had not yet truly begun (which is staggering to believe, that is has taken this long). I agree that the discussion is important as it leads to present and future authors/film makers having a much greater awareness of these issues and hopefully, acting to make their own work more representative.

      Even with this in mind though, it is so difficult to know how to steer the right course. I am an aspiring author. I have been writing stories since I was a child and while having my own children has interrupted my dream of being a published author (as I have a veritable mountain of unfinished works that I never get time to finish), I hope to one day achieve it. I am currently planning a sprawling epic set a thousand years into our bleak, dystopian future with a clutch of primary protagonists and multiple POVs (inspired by ASOIAF much?). I knew the characterisations I wanted/needed for the roles, but when it came to planning the characters themselves, I became very aware that I was inordinately concerned with their races/genders/sexuality because I wanted to be representative in the world I was creating, bleak and dystopian as it will be. This led me into all sorts of tangles that I found difficult to think my way out of. I just couldn’t foresee a combination of characters that didn’t cause upset in some form or other (should I ever finish the novel(s) and should I ever be lucky/good enough to be published). Two of my primary protagonists are orphans who will discover that they are brother and sister much further down the line and the children of one of the other protagonists and one of the antagonists. I wondered whether I should have one of the parents be black and the other white, to ensure equal representation, but this made me worry how those choices would be perceived. The antagonist mother is from a ruling family. If I made her the white parent, would I be accused of the bleak view that in these fictional thousand years‘ time, those who hold the positions of power are still white and those who are oppressed are black. Then I worried that if I made the ruling family (who, for the most part, are corrupt and antagonists) black, would I be accused of racism by choosing villains who are black, not white. I also worried that if the orphans are both mixed race, would that make the reveal too obvious that they are related and that their parents are these prominent antagonist and protagonist? I then wondered whether these characters should all be black, and have the rest of the POV characters represent other races, but then worried that I might be accused of cultural appropriation if I, a white woman, write a story where the bulk of the main characters are black. Then I wondered if I should just have all the characters be mixed race, each a different mixture of races, but then that too didn’t feel right, because that’s not in line with the imperfect oppressive, caste-based world that I am creating (to be revolutionised and overthrown). You can see how I got myself in knots trying to figure out how to write the story that’s in my heart (and truly, that’s what I actually want to feel bogged down by – working through the intricacies of the plot and the terrifying world I want to create), while also being respectful to representing different races/genders/identities fairly. The white-guilt in me was going crazy and I am so sensitive of being misunderstood that even explaining this conundrum to you all makes me feel worried that I am opening myself up to accusations of racism.

      It is an important issue to address and hopefully one day, our forms of art will truly represent the variety of people on earth.

        Quote  Reply

    153. Knight of the Walkers: However, I disagree with a lot of the points made by Akash, who seems to assume that non-white characters should be given happy endings. It has already been pointed out that the death of Rickon was similarly unnecessary. Was he a prop for the white character of Jon Snow? In my mind both deaths underlie the brutality of the show.
      In reality, one of Grey Worm or Missandei should have died in the preceding episode, and both were kept alive simply for the purpose of Missandei’s death in this episode. By doing so, the show elevated the death to a position of importance rather than being one death amongst many. The fact that so many people cared about her death underlines her importance, and highlights the good work of Nathalie Emmanuel in the role.

      100% agree

      I myself respectfully disagree with a lot of points in this article.

      I actually think Missendei’s death has an even stronger impact on the story than just having her dragon (second dragon) killed.

      The same could be argued for a few “unnecessary deaths” throughout the story, regardless of race. I do not see the correlation.

        Quote  Reply

    154. Luka Nieto,

      Thank you, and luckily I have many shows that include LGBT+ characters which I watch.

      And as for “I don’t see color” argument maybe look up some videos of Morgan Freeman, and you can see that his view is very different than you presented here. He talks a lot about Racism in the world, in Hollywood, how to battle it etc He made it very clear that that’s the way to stop racism. You probably will not look up those videos because it’s against the way you view the problem. But his words were clear: If you want to stop racism, stop talking about it.

      And you did it again right in this comment, showing your self-righteous. Your view of the world is the right view, your view of what racism and ignorance is is the right way, and can’t possibly wrong.

      Many people with experience with being a victim of being a minority, as a POC or LGBT+ has spoken against you’re point of view, and you keep on holding on to it without even listening to them and learning from them. That’s not how the world works and that’s not how you better this world. We should always learn from each other. Like others show me here a different look on the subject, you should learn that too.

      ps. I think you’re a wonderful person and debater. It’s not an attack but more an observation and I’m not saying I’m right here what I just said.

      Che,

      Beautiful written. And with lots of honesty.

      And about you’re book. Sounds interesting. Will it be one book or a saga?

        Quote  Reply

    155. While D&D have made stabs at diversity, they missed some chances with bringing in non-whites into at least mid-management roles. Either Varys or Mellisandre could have been played by non-whites. As we saw in the alleys of Braavos, a man could be pretty much be any skin color that was called for. Dany? I dunno, regardless of Valyria’s being located in southern climes, when I image Targaryans, I get images of Aryans (and yes, the Germanic kind.) I don’t think that GRRM’s coining of the name was coincidental.

      Much of this story is based in a decidedly Northern European influenced Westeros. with Dorne having an Iberian, or at least Mediterranean flavor. It only follows that the bulk of the characters be Northern European, not only genetically, but culturally as well. But of course this doesn’t mean that the non-white characters need to be diminished which, as I read it, is Akash’s thesis. On that point, I entirely agree. Dany’s body-surfing the Meesa! Meesa! throng was a punch-myself-in-the-face moment. Did the Dothraki have more than a whispered aside to say about anything after arriving in Westeros? And as was pointed out in a previous post, Davos’ pirate compatriot could easily and interestingly been brought into the mix.

      Something that hasn’t been brought up that may have bearing on these choices is HBO’s oversight. We live in an era of intense market research and employment of data based management technologies. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the selection of players for these roles and the degree of development those roles receive is driven by algorithms that are designed to maximize viewership in a targeted audience. But that’s probably best left for another post.

        Quote  Reply

    156. kevin1989,

      Lekker bezig, Kevin 😉

      Was gonna post a very long comment, but after reading kevin’s (many, many) posts I just want to say I completely agree with him.

        Quote  Reply

    157. Che,

      Two things to this:
      1. If you ever achieve your dream, which I really hope you do, you have just given us a huge spoiler of your story xD. Unless orphan+orpan=sibblings is less vital to your plot than R+L=J is to GoT.
      2. Your struggles, to me, show that there really is no way D&D could do right to Missandei without being heavily criticized for it. Which is my main issue with the metatextual complaints stated in this article.

        Quote  Reply

    158. This season has been entirely about manufacturing drama and plot devices to fuel this final character arc of Daenerys, because there simply is not enough time to do it in an organic way.
      I have defended GOT for years, and I will defend seasons 1-6, up till 7.4.
      We had a brief respite in 8×1 and 8×2, but other than that, the story telling simply is headed in a disastrous decline.

        Quote  Reply

    159. Che,

      You sound like a very thoughtful person. I just have to ask why do you worry yourself about such things? It sounds perfectly exhausting. Write from your heart and your imagination. Simple. There are no rules to the specific physical features your characters must have. It’s your vision, not anyone else’s.

        Quote  Reply

    160. This is such a well written article. I just want to respond to the comment that because GRRM wrote this in the 90’s somehow that makes it ok that the show’s power figures are all white. Remember too that Dario was also dark-skinned in the books and the producers whited him. And I do, personally, think anyone putting artistic material into the ether has a responsibility to think about it’s impact on our society. At least to some extent. Not one of the main players is dark skinned! You can’t really count Grey Worm since he is not moving major chess pieces around. Even the few characters George had that were dark skinned have seen their roles reduced or just been turned white. This is an extremely valid request for future media influencers! How long did it take for a powerful fantasy film with a cast of all strong dark skinned protagonists! Only Black Panther!? That’s crazy, to be in 2019 and just seeing a fantasy film dominated by characters that are not white! We need more of this!! More diversity! That’s how you fight racism!

        Quote  Reply

    161. ygritte,

      That is incredibly condescending!! How dare you belittle this writers point of view. She is not a child, “ Don’t worry your pretty little head about this.” How many times does a woman need to hear that!! Shame on you!!

        Quote  Reply

    162. Che,

      Thank you for your honesty. The only way to have a truly fruitful conversation about this—one that enables us to lance infected wounds, clean them, heal them, and move forward in a healthy way—is to address these issues head-on rather than bury our heads in the sand and/or point fingers.

        Quote  Reply

    163. Inga,

      “grimly white”
      “challenge domination of the Anglo-Saxon narrative in entertainment industry”

      Um, is this offensive? I can’t figure out if I should be offended or not lol. I mean, I can’t help that I was born “gloomy or depressingly” white. 🙁

        Quote  Reply

    164. Missandei does not “have to represent all women of color”. That’s just wanting to read something like that into it. Not everything is about skin colour.

      Jorah getting killed is not a slight to 40 year old white dudes, either. There’s really no need to bring gender and ethnicity into everything.

      Missandei is Daenerys close friend and advisor, and Cersei and Euron killed her to provoke Daenerys into losing her composure. That’s it.

        Quote  Reply

    165. Mango,

      But, why does it matter? Cannot people nowadays relate to other human beings properly unless they share the exact same color skin or ethnic background? In this diverse country most of us live among many different nationalities and races. We see ourselves and others “represented” everywhere then no? Why can’t people just be proud of who they are without having to be validated by their favorite TV show? If not, there are always others to watch no? Most people with cable have hundreds of channels to choose from. I understand people feel very strongly on this subject. I do. I guess I just don’t see the world quite the same way and I don’t like how divisive things have gotten seemingly just for the purpose of making an even bigger divide, whether knowingly or not.

        Quote  Reply

    166. Nymeria the Wolf,

      What in the world are you talking about? No need to attack me like that. You need to calm down. I admire her post and didn’t say anything offensive. I just think she might be worrying too much about those minor details which can cause writer’s block.

      That said, this thread is so toxic. I’m out.

        Quote  Reply

    167. ygritte:
      Nymeria the Wolf,

      What in the world are you talking about? No need to attack me like that. You need to calm down. I admire her post and didn’t say anything offensive. I just think she might be worrying too much about those minor details which can cause writer’s block.

      That said, this thread is so toxic. I’m out.

      Actually people were discussing respectfully, not sure what you find toxic here? you asking why does we need representation, why can’t you connect with ppl that are there on the show is either very naive or very woke.. I can’t figure out which one it is. If one doesn’t see enough ethnic groups on screen and their lives as normal people or their stories, when one sees them in real life, they are judged based on their appearances and prejudice( see Trans-atlantic slave trades and British colonisation of Asia). And that will lead to very real consequences to real people. Please don’t talk as if racism doesn’t exist. Please don’t talk as if the only problem here is people pointing that there is not enough diversity are the real problem.

        Quote  Reply

    168. kevin1989:
      Luka Nieto,

      Thank you, and luckily I have many shows that include LGBT+ characters which I watch.

      And as for “I don’t see color” argument maybe look up some videos of Morgan Freeman, and you can see that his view is very different than you presented here. He talks a lot about Racism in the world, in Hollywood, how to battle it etc He made it very clear that that’s the way to stop racism. You probably will not look up those videos because it’s against the way you view the problem. But his words were clear: If you want to stop racism, stop talking about it.

      And you did it again right in this comment, showing your self-righteous. Your view of the world is the right view, your view of what racism and ignorance is is the right way, and can’t possibly wrong.

      Many people with experience with being a victim of being a minority, as a POC or LGBT+ has spoken against you’re point of view, and you keep on holding on to it without even listening to them and learning from them. That’s not how the world works and that’s not how you better this world. We should always learn from each other. Like others show me here a different look on the subject, you should learn that too.

      ps. I think you’re a wonderful person and debater. It’s not an attack but more an observation and I’m not saying I’m right here what I just said.

      Che,

      Beautiful written. And with lots of honesty.

      And about you’re book. Sounds interesting. Will it be one book or a saga?

      I would suggest that you do not use Morgan Freeman to build an argument around morality and civic conduct. Let me leave that there without any further comment. Just note it.
      He is a fabulous actor with a fabulous voice – I love his work. But to say, well this one black guy said….There a black and white guys that think many things. It does not mean they are right.

        Quote  Reply

    169. kevin1989,

      I have questions for you, just curious. If you think I am prying, I apologise.

      On numerous occasions, you point out that you are gay. Why do you mention it?

      Why do you raise issues about LGBT representation and portrayal? Do you not believe that if you stop speaking about it then homophobia and discrimination would be solved? That it would cease to exists?

      Why do individuals with a minority sexual identity keep “coming out”, would it not be better if we stay in the closet and not raise the issue?

      Explain why POC should stop speaking about racism but LBGTQIA should continue to raise their concerns?

      Race is visible for the majority of POC but sexual identity is non-visible for the majority of LBGTQIA. Which group has the best option not to mention it all?

      Actually, why do I have to know that you are gay?

      (Just before anyone misunderstands my post – I fully support advocacy for equality for LBGTQIA. I have marched in gay pride events. I joined hands and raised money for the fight against aids back in the 1990s before even AZT was discovered and people were dropping like flies, The gay community spoke up and mobilized. I do not know what to think when a gay person suggests that people should not speak up.)

        Quote  Reply

    170. ygritte:
      Mango,

      But, why does it matter? Cannot people nowadays relate to other human beings properly unless they share the exact same color skin or ethnic background? In this diverse country most of us live among many different nationalities and races. We see ourselves and others “represented” everywhere then no? Why can’t people just be proud of who they are without having to be validated by their favorite TV show? If not, there are always others to watch no? Most people with cable have hundreds of channels to choose from. I understand people feel very strongly on this subject. I do. I guess I just don’t see the world quite the same way and I don’t like how divisive things have gotten seemingly just for the purpose of making an even bigger divide, whether knowingly or not.

      Are you sure this is for me? I am not sure what I posted that led to this response.

      I support a world where there is equality despite color, gender or sexual identity – but we are not there yet.

      I support work toward inclusion because, without attending to inclusion, the default when have seen is exclusion.

      If you do not think there is an issue, it is because you do not suffer the consequences. But others around you do. People on top of the rock notice it less than people being crushed under the rock.

        Quote  Reply

    171. Nymeria the Wolf:
      This is such a well written article. I just want to respond to the comment that because GRRM wrote this in the 90’s somehow that makes it ok that the show’s power figures are all white. Remember too that Dario was also dark-skinned in the books and the producers whited him. And I do, personally, think anyone putting artistic material into the ether has a responsibility to think about it’s impact on our society. At least to some extent. Not one of the main players is dark skinned! You can’t really count Grey Worm since he is not moving major chess pieces around. Even the few characters George had that were dark skinned have seen their roles reduced or just been turned white. This is an extremely valid request forfuture media influencers! How long did it take for a powerful fantasy film with a cast of all strong dark skinned protagonists! Only Black Panther!? That’s crazy, to be in 2019 and just seeing a fantasy film dominated by characters that are not white! We need more of this!! More diversity! That’s how you fight racism!

      And how would it have looked if the prostitute Cersei thought was Tyrions love, book accurately POC, was captured and abused (show Joffrey even killled her in a brutal way for his sexual gratification). HAD she been a woman of colour, like she is in the books? Yes, exactly. A woman POC handled that way, given that ending. I think D&D were sensitive and smart to make her Roz, white.

      At least Missandei had a story arc. Remember all the complainers. Missandei and Grey Worm relationship is boring and filler. But it gave them both some agency, and now it’s paying off. We’ve been shown Grey Worm isn’t just an automaton. He’s good at knowing the kind of troops he has, how to utilise. He even made a joke in S6. The show has made efforts, for seasons, to show he’s regaining his humanity, not be just a robotic soldier.

      Jacob Anderson was so brilliant, actingwise, when Grey Worm saw Missandei = all his hopes and dreams, his new life, his love, be dismissed, executed so summarily. He looked like he was going to puke.

      Now, the show has spent seasons to portray Grey Worm’s and Missandei’s relationship, them both finding humanity and agency after having been taken as slaves at a very young age. Missandei was always leading the way. How would Grey Worm feel now? Cersei took the only thing he cared about personally.

      Add one more name to the list who want to kill Cersei, not for some throne thing, but for a personal reason. Let’s see. GW, Sansa, Arya, Jon, Dany, Tyrion, even Jaime. That’s without all the people who have political reasons (Varys, Yara, Dorne etc.)

      Good job, Cersei. /s
      Maybe you weren’t the Tywin with teats (as if that would’ve been a good thing) you always wanted to think you were.

        Quote  Reply

    172. It’s such a tough one for me, at first I also thought her death made no sense but i’m looking at this from someone who loved the character and in my opinion her death was absolutely unnecessary BUT from the standpoint of Cersei, it was very necessary. Cersei has proved over and over that she does not stop when we all feel it’s too much, she is taking this to the very bitter end and does not care that the feelings of Dany, through her second dragons death, has had enough. I saw these events played out as horrific, tragic and unfortunately from the enemy’s point of view, necessary. RIP sweet Missandei 🙁

        Quote  Reply

    173. Shane,

      Cersei was dissappointed killing Rhaegal hadn’t provoked Dany enough. Not fire and blood, as according to her propaganda and plan.

      She was trying to provoke Dany even more. She probably didn’t even know how important, how much of an only female personal friend Missandei was. Just some advisor. Putting her in chains, standard procedure for prisoners in Westeros, taunting a bit, Cersei never understood what it really meant for Missandei, Grey Worm, even Dany. She’ll live to regret that piece of unwitting showmanship and cruelty.

        Quote  Reply

    174. ygritte,

      Looks like my comment went into moderation. I just wanted to say that I was talking of my own country and ment no offense to others. One way or another, we all have our own grievances and demands: some want diversity of colour, some want diversity of narratyvives, but a single show can’t fit it all. So, let’s enjoy GoT for what it gives to us: a conflict of a human heart.

        Quote  Reply

    175. Dutch Maester:
      Che,

      2. Your struggles, to me, show that there really is no way D&D could do right to Missandei without being heavily criticized for it. Which is my main issue with the metatextual complaints stated in this article.

      This.
      And the assertion that making Targs POC would be great? Great concept in the abstract. But given the specific characterizations – wow, there is already a backlash about Dany [potentially] becoming a mad queen…if she was a POC, the backlash would be all about THAT.

      One additional, major purpose of Missandei’s death that I haven’t seen mentioned…it’s not just a trigger, it’s that with her still around, Dany is not isolated. They artificially kept Dany and Missandei apart this season in a way that I personally found frustratingly illogical, but I understand why they did it. Missandei (along with Jorah) was her most loyal and trusted confidante. Hard to show someone spiraling down with loneliness when their best friend is by their side. So now Dany has no one she fully trusts, no one with the cred to talk her down. Varys was never her “friend” per se (and already scheming against her of course). GW is loyal and shares her grief, but was not a personal confidante (and seems more likely to fuel her anger with his own). Tyrion is problematic because of his closer family ties and series of poor tactical advice; and has drifted from her since the events of s7. Jon is obviously problematic…she still laid herself bare with him in this last episode, but now there is a widening gulf between them.
      Missandei’s loss hit me as the loss of a great mind, which is not a bad legacy.

      Re: Dorne casting… that is crazy, and one of those cases where I didn’t think about it at all until I read about the controversy later (comments on this site in the past I think). Pedro was amazing and so was Siddig, if only they gave him more storyline to dig into…talk about compromising a character! I didn’t care for the sneering Ellaria of s5, but I had just read the books at that point so the character “change” didn’t help. Whatever the actress’s heritage, it was irrelevant, liked her in s4.

        Quote  Reply

    176. Nathalie had to confront people talking about styling her hair less “kinky.”

      And thank you for the recommendation of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges! (Another example of the erasure or hidden figures of black individuals in history).

      You mean her curly hair? Oh, I think I’m kind of obsessed with curly hair, hehe… I’m always in awe when I see a girl/woman with curly hair. 😍 The curlier, the better. They’re so beautiful… so many hair… It’s one of the things I like in Nathalie Emmanuel, she’s always been my favourite, I must admit. 😜 Maybe that’s why I didn’t like that ending, hehe…

      Glad to spread the knowledge of Joseph Bologne. His story would be very important to tell nowadays also for that reason!

        Quote  Reply

    177. talvikorppi,

      Yes! This make so much sense and even more of an understanding of why this particular death happened. I like to look at these scenes from the standpoint of the characters in the story and I love reading people’s interpretations of the why and how! 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    178. Shane,

      It’s simpler to just think of Cersei as a full-blown psychopath. She might have some shreads of humanity left in her… She just couldn’t give the order to kill Tyrion while she had him in her sights. (This is a show thing. Book!Cersei would’ve killed Tyrion in a hearbeat.)

      So what of Jaime? Poor guy, he’ll never get rid of Cersei. She’ll be the death of him. GRRM wrote his chapters on this character to examine whether redemption is possible. Also to examine conflicting vows, make personal sense of it all.

      Maybe we won’t ever be “right”. Jaime will be dead, I don’t know how, but he dead.

      At some interview, GRRM said he wanted to explore the idea of redemption, especially with Jaime. Is redemption even possible? What does it require? How does it play out, happen/not happen. A woman (Brienne) has shown him part of the way, he knows what he needs to do, but can he BE what he needs to be.

      Poor Jaime, he dead. Probably never even acknowledged for his stuff. Remembered for what defined his life. Kingslayer. Shit for honour. A dying thinking about Brienne and what might’ve been.

        Quote  Reply

    179. Actually, Missandei isn’t “100% of women of color” on the show. There is also Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), alive in Cersei’s dungeon. I hope she is not forgotten if/when the capital is taken.

      Also, Nym Sand was portrayed by an Asian woman, Jessica Yu Lu Henwick.

        Quote  Reply

    180. Mango,

      Trying to find the right words, mostly I stated it because I can’t understand how POC feel and understand, but I understand myself as part of the LGBT minority, for me that’s the experience as a minority. And I understand the struggle in a way that a minority could have. Not saying it’s the same level I can’t know.

      And another is that I’ve been here on this site (Which I love and most of the time everybody is respectful to each other), and I read many many times the problem of POV representation on the show but I never have read the lack of LGBT characters. And I’ve been here from the start. So I’m wondering why we worry so much about one problem but not the other.

      So that second question was more a question of why raising one problem multiple times in the past years but the other not a single time worthy of a article. It was not an attack or something I understand why this article was published. But at the same time it should ring a bell that keeping everyone happy is very difficult for filmmakers.

      And about morgan freeman, I’m a huge fan of his work so I know a little about him and watch many interviews with him in the past. And you’re right of course he doesn’t speak for everyone.

      And as I stated I understand that this battle is being fought for better diversity in hollywood, but for me that feels strange that we worry about that, when minority’s are being imprisoned, killed, torture etc in the world, and that’s something that always itching me when people talk about this issue, I know their priorities is both, but for me I couldn’t care less what happens in holywood if the real issues will be solved.

      And as you see I’m a person with lots and lots of though at the same time. So finding the right words is sometimes difficult when formulating my thoughts.

        Quote  Reply

    181. Che,

      Hey, nice to hear, I’m also trying to write a book. It sounds like you do your best to avoid pitfalls. If there would still be complaints, maybe you could be partially happy that your book is succesfull enough to generate the attention 😉 I actually had an additional problem. I spent worrying how the resolution of the primary female characters would be viewed compared to the primary male, up to the point that I changed it (I think it’s also better now).

      If the skin colour wouldn’t matter storywise, then you could also simply roll a dice and explain it on the cover, or make several versions of the book, each with a different description of the looks. Or on page you could even leave it unspoken, describe everyone in relative terms, and then it is to each reader to imagine how they look. Unless you’re planning for a movie version right away, that is 😉

      (Apologies to anyone who feels this comment is too tongue-in-cheek for this topic, but it’s not a comment to Akash his essay, just a reply to another commenter)

        Quote  Reply

    182. Luka Nieto,

      I think you’ve missed the point if your response is to “change the fiction”. The problem is that you apparently (when faced with the underlying problems of the “Blackeryens” I noted) would be unable to accept such an incestuous, mad family being black – because implied or better yet perceived racism? When I suggest that a group of black main characters would fall outside of what we perceive as “normal” – you’re immediate response is wanting to change it. See how you’re not helping here? This entire story is about disfunctional families, but you want a “normal” black one, because anything other would be implied racism.

      And reading the part what you wrote above the reply to my post.. wow.. I’m white, hetero, male living in a historically cultural white society – so there’s no escaping myself being racist – until I come clean about being racist? Because even because I don’t care two shits that 70% of my co-workers have a different ethnic or religious background and the only co-workers I worker with this evening were all female, I MUST be racist.

        Quote  Reply

    183. As someone who came from a country which population is almost 70% of mulattoes I´ve have never understood the obsessions with race or the portraying of race in TV and movies. The books of the ASOIF saga explicitly says in what parts of Planetos are white, black or brown people. Also never forget this is inspired in European history, i don´t think i could fan the use of race in screen in a more ridiculous way than in the movie ¨Mary, Queen of Scots¨ where blacks and asians where in the Royal Court of Elisabeth the I.

        Quote  Reply

    184. kevin1989: And as I stated I understand that this battle is being fought for better diversity in hollywood, but for me that feels strange that we worry about that, when minority’s are being imprisoned, killed, torture etc in the world, and that’s something that always itching me when people talk about this issue, I know their priorities is both, but for me I couldn’t care less what happens in holywood if the real issues will be solved.

      It’s not an either/or situation; the two are deeply intertwined. At face level, of course torture takes priority over representation. But lack of representation—especially representation written (or sculpted, or painted, or whatever) by minorities—is what enables so many people to either a) forget about minorities or b) dehumanize them. I know nothing about the representation of minorities in Dutch films, but in the US both films and TV portrayed them horribly throughout the history of both media (some silent films being a notable exception, but that’s getting deep into Hollywood history). Consequently, generations of white Americans grew up actually believing that Native Americans were savages, that black people were akin to monkeys, etc. (I can’t even watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s, an otherwise lovely film totally destroyed by Mickey Rooney’s brief turn as the Japanese neighbor.) It’s astounding, really, how much popular culture influences everyday thought.

      You mentioned your love for Morgan Freeman, and made note of his stand on race relations. May I suggest that you look up an interview with another African-American icon? Mae Jemison, the first black female astronaut. She grew up in the 60s, one of the most turbulent decades in US history (women’s-rights, civil-rights, and gay-rights movements, in addition to Vietnam). She didn’t think she could pursue any dream she had. And what was her ultimate inspiration?

      Lt. Uhura on Star Trek.

      Representation matters.

        Quote  Reply

    185. Of course representation matters when it makes sense. For example, spider-man taking place in modern Brooklyn should absolutely have a diverse cast. But making mountain out of mole hills over something like Missandei being executed is counter productive. As a Latin person I would argue that we have far poorer representation than African-Americans. Should Asians and Indians “raise their banners” as well? Because they are extremely under represented.

        Quote  Reply

    186. Xavier,
      You’re correct. In the US right now Latin Americans are one of the most underrepresented groups in film and TV, especially given that they account for a far greater percentage of the population than African-Americans or Asian-Americans. And like you, I don’t see Missandei’s death as a problem, heartbroken as I am over it. But I felt compelled to respond to kevin1989’s comment because the either/or argument is simplistic and ultimately self-defeating, imho.

      It’s been mostly an excellent conversation.

        Quote  Reply

    187. Ghulam Murtaza,

      The description you make is valid. Characters with non-white ethnicities are given the stink eye and are sacrificed in the battle. Missandei’s whole arc was about liberation and she dies shackled. It’s all very sad and unjust.

      Am I the only one thinking this might be the point? Westeros has never been painted as an ideal society, far from it. People were “racist” to Wildlings and had wrong ideas about them being lesser people. Indeed Missandei en Grey Worm get the stink-eye from Northeners. Even Dany gets the stink-eye and she’s white, but being simply foreign is enough to trigger sensitive Westerosi (cfr. Sansa).

      I guess the problem is that people think we’re watching a story about how humanity can overcome differences, come together and “break the weel” of oppression. With the Night King and the Army of the Dead defeated in episode 3, it became clear that this is NOT the story we’re watching.

      What we do see is that after an apocalyptic heroic battle, human nature stays the same and the game of thrones continues. The plotting, scheming and backstabbing that made up the bulk of the plot in earlier seasons is back in full force. I think some people still have to come to terms with the sad truth that this story paint humanity as petty and is quite cynical in nature.

      Westeros (and by extensiom human nature) is terrible and even the best of people cannot change that as whole, is maybe the real cynical morale of this story.

      Am not saying there’s no issue with representation of minorities. I’m just saying some of the criticism, to me, seems connected to wrong assumptions about the kind of story we’ve been following.

        Quote  Reply

    188. Wolfish,

      How is representation in hoolywood is maybe intertwined with the horror happening in the west but it will not help a bit with the horrors happening in the world. That’s politics, and that’s where netherlands is a better example of fighting racism and helping minorities. Instead of worrying about what is shown on TV we implemented laws that protect minorities, that have been implemented in the EU.

      I never saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But that sounds horrible what you described.

      And I will look up her.

      As for Dutch. The media and TV shows aren’t being forced to show a deserve cast. The big soaps does it on their own. The smaller series (so shows 1x a week not every day like the bold), shows what’s needed. We have lots of shows in one city, so if it’s portrait in Rotterdam we show lots of diversity, if it’s showed in “de gooi” we it’s mostly white, sometimes a minor role for a diverse cast, we even have tv-shows 70% POC. As for talk shows it’s diverse, but not forced. They chose the best candidates for the role. In our country we don’t say, oh that’s the black guy from tv (whats happening a lot in america) we called them by name because we choose the best for the job.

      As for the broadcast company’s they are somehow inclined to diverse, not every show needs to be diverse, but the whole broadcast company needs to show a representation of the country, meaning if we talk about GOT. It’s not bad if GOT doesn’t have much POC but that means HBO should have more shows on the air that made sure they represent it as a company.

      What we have in Holland are mostly laws, we don’t force diverse, we had talk about it that diversity should be forced, but it was even received negative by POC, because they want a job because they earned it for their qualities not their color. So we really don’t understand as a country what’s happening in hoolywood.
      what we have is a law that you can’t discriminate based of Gender, Sex, race, religion, age and many more. A company should always hire the best guy for the job, a university should always take in the student with the highest test score not based on diversity.

      I think this is more effective than what’s happening with this whole hollywood debate people are having. Make laws that stop racism in every workforce not just one.

      So no, the dutch made it clear, we are one of the frontrunners with stopping racism, sexism etc and to get that done don’t focus on media, focus on laws, and the media follows, make sure the right people are choose to represent your country. Not the other way around.

        Quote  Reply

    189. Wolfish,

      It’s interesting you brought this up and you reminded me of something that happened several years ago. I’m a teacher and I was teaching my class of 11-year-olds an English unit on biographies. We read several in the first few lessons on the unit and one of them was about Mae Jemison. We had the most interesting discussion about racial representation in TV and film, about how important it is to see people like yourself in important/heroic/intelligent/aspirational roles on TV – it’s important for everyone to have those opportunities, regardless of their race. They were an outspoken bunch (miss them so much) and they spoke openly on how they didn’t think it was fair that there weren’t more people of colour in main or prominent roles in TV (I taught in an inner city London school with a very diverse intake). They also then went on a tangent about the representation of women in TV (they were the most mature group of kids I’ve ever taught and some were fiercely feminist even at that age). Thank you so much for bringing up Mae Jemison; I had totally forgot about that discussion we had all those years ago. This is an issue that even children are noticing and you’re right, representation is important, especially for children.

        Quote  Reply

    190. kevin1989,

      I think that’s the difference between The Netherlands/Belgium and The USA. POC in our country were always welcome at our schools. If you work/study hard, you also get a nice job. If you have enough money, you can also live where you want. There has never been legal discrimination in Belgium/The Netherlands. Some people here don’t like foreigners, but if you act on that there are laws to prevent POC to be discriminated.
      In the USA the discrimination was legal. Black people weren’t allowed in certain schools, didn’t get the jobs they wanted, … They really had to fight to overcome that. I think that’s why they are so sensitive about it here.

        Quote  Reply

    191. Chilli,

      True, but that’s why I stated that they shouldn’t worry to much about how things are in hollywood. They should make sure their government does their job for a chance. So I understand their frustration with how POC is represented in hollywood, and it should be more diverse. But for me the worry should be more about where the biggest problem lie, the laws. Their citizens should be protected more. And once the law protect their citizens more, hollywood will follow.

      But one thing is made clear to me now, what some stated: We are privilege, not everyone in the world is protected like we are, so I’m beginning to understand people’s frustration more. So I hope people understand I’m not against what they want, but that I can’t fully understand what some go through. (So sorry for if I made people feel like I don’t support them)

        Quote  Reply

    192. kevin1989,

      Thank you for your detailed response and for clarifying the differences between what’s happening in the Netherlands and what’s been happening in the US.

      As I noted to Xavier, I personally do not have a problem with Missandei’s death, and as several others have noted, it may well be one of the points of the show that human nature is, at its core, tribal and xenophobic. Of course, that’s the very opposite of what biology and diversifying the gene pool demand, so… talk about the heart at conflict with itself!

      As a final note before zipping off to work: I agree with Inga’s point about having more shows driven by and starting poc, instead of simply shoehorning them into majority-white narratives for the sake of diversity (once again, Xavier made a good point about medieval England vs. present-day Brooklyn). Yes, I WOULD watch a show set in pre-colonial India with an all-Indian cast.

        Quote  Reply

    193. Che,

      Thank you for sharing that!!!

      I’ve had some of the best conversations of my life with junior-high and high-school aged people, including my own children when they were that age. 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    194. Sure hate to be negative, but it seems D&D were done with this series after Season 6. They shortened the seasons and started writing badly. They won’t take the time to tie up all the threads and some of the mistakes are unforgivable. They may never have a product this brilliant and popular again, why not do it 150%. This may be their legacy and it is started with a big bang and f**k the end. Not a good idea. Many folks won’t be in line to watch their next project, me included.

      I won’t go over all the issues of writing that killed Season 7 and is Killing Season 8, everyone who is watching knows what those issues are without repeating them for the upteenth time. Sadly the only people suffering here are the fans who have loved this story and completely embraced it. The fans get a inferior written finale and all we can do is write about our pain and endure.

      Even sadder we may never get a proper finish from GRRM either. Sob!!

        Quote  Reply

    195. ramses,

      Exactly. Only a white person could say that. Thats because POC are never allowed to forget what race they are by the manner in which they are treated.

        Quote  Reply

    196. ygritte,

      This is privilege. All of what you post can be surmised as Im a privileged white person who refuses to recognize my privilege and will just continue to demonstrate that fact with everything I say. POC dont get the same privilege. They are never allowed to forget they are POC. How is a POC supposed to relate to a white character when their experiences are so different? You guys say you want to listen and learn but you just keep on posting the same tired privileged racist nonsense.

        Quote  Reply

    197. Well written piece and I would not out right disagree with what you say however I am frustrated by the criticism aimed at the show for racism and sexism, both of which I feel are unfounded.

      I guess I am in the camp that says this is a fantasy show and racism is a real world problem that needs to be addressed there. As you state the show is influenced by history and I believe reflects that.

      Appreciate this am emotional topic and I ceertainly have white privilege growing up in the uk where it’s probably 95% white community.

        Quote  Reply

    198. kevin1989:
      I don’t understand one thing. I hate racism to the core and I will do everything in my power (which is not much but hell everybody combined can do a lot) to stop racism.

      But when you try to fight racism with using the words white man and woman, and woman of color, you’re in fact keeping racism alive.

      We should never define people by it’s color, not to be a racism and not to fight racism because it’s counter productive, you will not help the cause but give it more fuel to escalate.

      For me Missandei is not a woman of Color, I never saw her color, what I saw is the character she represents, which I liked very much, and in which miss Emmanuel portrait brilliantly.

      And in a show where people get killed by the episode, it’s a show where a non-dead-episode stands out, being a character freed of killing because of you’re color that’s in my book more racist.

      Same with me, I’m gay and watched a lot of shows. 2 years ago there was a huge fallback from people when they killed one of a gay couple in the walking dead and it was received as that the walking dead was anti-gay. And I say they weren’t what they did is that they didn’t use the sexuality of that character as a “throphy” for the show to behold, instead they treated the character as any other character, not different but the same, like any other character that character could die and it did.

      So no it was not racism of D&D to kill Missandei, it was in fact making clear that Missandei was a character that meant something, that was important for the characters, for the plot and for the fans. They knew we would be in shock because of it, because Missandei was well received on the show. And I will surely miss her. And I hope greyworm will take her body back to Naath as he promised her.

      Fantastic post Kevin. I wonder if our views are different given we are both European? I have the feeling Americans see this differently given their history. For example the Dothraki would be considered white here in Europe.

        Quote  Reply

    Jump to the Top

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *