A Storm of Hate: the Problem with Linda Antonsson, Elio García and George R.R. Martin

Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes), Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson), Small Council

Yesterday, mainstream fandom finally caught wind of what many of us have known in Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire world for a decade: that Linda Antonsson and Elio García are racist, with the former particularly vicious in her attacks on diversity and fellow fans. Who are these people? Why does it matter? They’re married ASOIAF wiki runners, Westeros.org owners, and occasional George R.R. Martin co-authors/fact-checkers, often referred to in tandem as Elio and Linda or Linda and Elio or Lindaaaaaa and Ran. (Whatever floats your boat.) Most fandom criticism has been aimed at Antonsson because of her vitriol and her habit of antagonizing fans, but García has supported his partner and publicly voiced agreement with her offensive opinions on many occasions. And it matters what they say and do because unfortunately, they have Martin’s ear and it looks like they have a hand in the future of Westeros content.

People may have already read the articles that dropped this week, so I don’t want to rehash all the same points. What I’d like to touch upon is what I know about, since I’m in the position of having actually been present at the beginning of the drama, and personally witnessed a lot of Antonsson’s misbehavior in her Tumblr days. She has claimed “context” or blamed “cherry-picking” as the reason for looking racist in several instances but I can tell you with some citations that this is not true. It’s not cherry-picking when there are a hundred examples of Antonsson cussing people out for being feminist or hoping characters might be cast with non-white actors.  That’s not cherry-picking, folks- we’re looking at a whole damn pie these Westeros.org people made themselves.

Dueling articles were published on October 4th (a rather interesting coincidence of timing), addressing the issue at hand:

The first, by Michelle Jaworski for The Daily Dot: ‘It’s important for people to stop forgiving and forgetting her blatant racism’: Fans are resurfacing problematic comments from one of George R.R. Martin’s collaborators

And the second by Ethan Shanfeld for Variety: ‘Game of Thrones’ Fans Boycott George R.R. Martin’s Next Book, Accusing Coauthors of Racism

An assortment of other outlets picked up on the story from that point on, such as Vulture, NYPost, AV Club, Indiewire, EW, The Guardian, and more. Given the way the Variety article is written, it reads like a weak PR piece put out to cover García and Antonsson with claims about context and questioning “Like who can say what’s racism, even??” and I’m sure some people will buy into it. Don’t be one of them. If it were a reasonable thought-out article they would have interviewed people besides Antonsson and García. It’s bad journalism, and obviously was put out deliberately timed to be against The Daily Dot piece which is much more thorough- and damning.

First, a Disclaimer: I spoke with Jaworski while she researched her Daily Dot article, and referred her to Bex (who appears in the article), since Bex is the author of the infamous “Cunt-Stained Ballad” of Tumblr, which preserved many helpful links about Antonsson from a decade ago so that they could even be uncovered by Twitter folk today. While the Ballad is remembered for its savage dress down of Linda and its now-quaint memes, not all realize that the author is the same Bex who used to write for Watchers on the Wall and appears at Con of Thrones. So, I’m not impartial in this. I know Michelle as well from Con of Thrones. And yes, her article is much better researched and does not read like a PR job. But I’d say that even if I didn’t think she was a cool lady. Okay, back to the history.

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Hotah

Linda’s infamously awful tumblr really speaks for itself if you want to browse. I’ll show you a few of the pertinent highlights that she trolled the Game of Thrones tumblr fandom with in early years of HBO’s GoT.

First off, worth noting: Linda’s constant mocking use of quotations on PoC or People of Color when using the terms, while discussing race or diversity. There’s no way to misinterpret that; it’s not an accident of ignorance where one makes a mistake and learns from it. She’s being plain as day about her feelings on the subject. She thinks the term is funny and is choosing to mock people for identifying with it. Her tone there matches her behavior with her pointed complaints about “forced” diversity.

Check out Antonsson and García’s reactions to the casting of Season 5, in their own words, no twisting needed. Watch the video if you can stomach or just read these highlights. They nitpick the casting of English/Singaporean-Chinese actress Jessica Henwick as Nym Sand and speculate on what changes that might require. As usual, they suggest changing the character’s background since a character who appears a certain way can only be from one certain place, according to Linda and Elio. Frankly, Linda sounded much angrier when she thought Nym might wind up being Black, as they originally put out a casting call for a darker skinned actress for the role. From a tumblr blog post:

Of course, the reason for the changes to Nymeria is probably bullshit pandering to people whining about a lack of diversity. Same if it is true that they’re looking for a black actor for Areo. I sure hope they at least change his back story, because no, you don’t have black Norvoshi. They’re another bunch of Valyrian descendants and these moved way up north, too. And if they plan to keep Doran’s wife as Norvoshi…well, they can’t exactly have Areo be black and Mellario something else (and Trystane apparently gets no special casting notes mentioning he should look half black). Well, they can, but it’d require yet more bullshit backstory changes and world-building destruction.

I didn’t see her having a cow in the video or anywhere on her tumblr over the fact that Trystane Martell shouldn’t have this big a presence and has clearly been subject to some major adaptation changes. She can claim now retroactively that she hated it (because most people did hate the Dorne/Trystane storyline), but when these posts were made and the video? The real seething was saved for Areo Hotah (DeObia Oparei). At 27 minutes into the video, Linda has a rant about “artificial” diversity and the casting of Oparei as a Norvoshi warrior, feeling his character name should be changed or background should be changed to a Summer Islander, similar to her critiques of Henwick’s casting, only with more force. Because Hotah just cannot be Hotah from the books, it doesn’t make sense to her, so it cannot be permitted. The Martells’ mother is also Norvoshi, and that simply kills the worldbuilding for Linda.

It’s important to note, the Martells’ mother is not a character on the show and is not really ever present in the books either! Not everyone who lives in the same place is the same race or ethnicity in real life, or even in Westeros for that matter. Hell, even in the books there’s a random Dothraki and a slobbering Qohorik riding around Westeros and a Summer Islander chilling in King’s Landing. People move. Audiences get it. (But don’t tell Linda that, she’ll start talking about purity again and it goes to a weird place.)

Salladhor Saan

While García may seem like the sensible one sometimes, he’s really not much better. His comments regarding the casting of Lucian Msamati as Salladhor Saan ahead of season 2, made on Westeros.org, showed he was cut from the same cloth.

is Salladhor Saan really the role to practice color-blind casting with? The people of the Free City of Lys—where Saan was born—are repeatedly noted to be fair-haired and skinned. This isn’t just a throw away reference, as it may well play an important plot point in the future, given the fact that there are examples of Lyseni who clearly have strong Valyrian lineages. Indeed, one of the most beautiful daughters of House Targaryen—Shiera Seastar—had a Lyseni mother, probably one of high Valyrian lineage. Saan may not be so exalted… but then again, his flagship is actually named Valyrian. And there’s an ancestor of his who was widely known as “The Old Valyrian”. It rather suggests that Saan should look more like… well, like Dany than he does Nonso Anozi’s Xaro, no? Or at least more like Conleth Hill’s Varys, who also hails from Lys. Or Roxanne McKee’s Doreah, also from Lys.

Roxanne McKee (Doreah), for the record, is a brunette. So I’m not sure what he was trying to say there. The fact of where Salla comes from was never a plot point; he’s a colorful pirate friend to Davos Seaworth, and it’s safe to say his Lys heritage was not ever going to be explored on GoT as he’s a tertiary character. Even the most “purist” book fan could see that from the get-go. It was pointless, racist nitpicking.

I’m sure it will shock everyone that in 2011, Linda said, “The two castings where I have a real problem with the actors chosen are the castings of Xaro Xhoan Daxos and Salladhor Saan.”  For some reason, she could not see Nonso Anozie as Xaro, one of the “pale, lean” Milk Men of Qarth. Antonsson reasoned that, “His casting for the show not only means that the character is likely to be pretty profoundly changed—and here I am talking about his size; I just can’t see him playing Xaro as Xaro is written and Xaro won’t be the physical contrast to Drogo that he was in the books—but it also means that they need to make setting and story changes. Either they disregard the appearance of the ‘Milk Men’ or they change Xaro’s story so he’s not one of them.” As with other characters…she insists the back story must be changed when a Man of Color is cast. He cannot play the character from her beloved book. The pattern is becoming clear.

García, when reporting at Westeros.org on the casting, stated, “Of course, some fans will note the fact that the Qartheen of the novels are described as being ‘pale as milk’, and Nonso is anything but. It’s a change, but we trust that Nonso was the best actor for the part, and for my part that’s all that really matters when we’re looking out to the exotic East.”

Why the Tumblr at all? Linda made some weird comments about Oona Chaplin’s (Talisa) coloring in a passive-aggressive way, on her own blog (in a post complaining about Salladhor Saan and Xaro). It’s the main reason she started going off on people on Tumblr.

There is thus nothing to indicate that either Jeyne’s grand-mother or Jeyne herself have a skin-colour that sets them apart from the rest of Westeros.

Some fans were bothered by the implication that Chaplin wasn’t pale enough or that white was the automatic default when reading character descriptions. Fans read Antonsson’s blog and were discussing it amongst themselves on Tumblr. They didn’t comment on her blog or email her- they took their thoughts off to their own space. Linda caught wind of it- possibly because she admits to having Google alerts for herself/Westeros.org-  read the discussions and grew very upset that a handful of strangers were discussing her publicly posted words somewhere and disagreeing with her. She decided to go create an entirely new blog closer to those individuals to confront them on a regular basis. Her first post was to tell Game of Thrones fans how stupid they are. She goes on to attack a few people specifically. As she herself says, those people “rarely crawl out of” Tumblr- so she sought them out to attack them, they weren’t looking to fight her.

stupid

This led to several years of Linda mocking and verbally abusing female and queer fans on Tumblr every time they voiced a different opinion than hers, calling people “it,” using a staggering variety of misogynistic slurs, many of which Bex has already catalogued. She was particularly vicious when it had to do with those fans wanting more People of Color on GoT or voicing critique of how female characters are depicted. This went on from 2011 to 2015.

thanks for gathering this festering pile, Bex
thanks for gathering this festering pile, Bex!

 

Oh, she calls people “pedophiles” because they write fanfiction. That’s literally it.

And while Linda and Elio do get annoyed about a variety of book-to-show changes, as book nerds will do, let’s look at the pattern. They never get very worked up when it’s a change like say, Chataya being written out or Strong Belwas, do they? No, they accept those changes with surprising grace and logic.

nboll

There’s been a lot of discussion about Linda Antonsson’s use of the Swedish n-word in terms of a chocolate confection with an old-school very out-of-date name. She’d make excuses for it over the years, brush it off as a harmless word, and then take the other tactic of admitting she knows it’s provocative and she’s just messing with people ha ha ha.Well make up your mind, Linda- either it was a misstep and you didn’t mean to go that far, and you can apologize for once. Or you can admit you straight up know it’s 100% racist- own your evil already. Because I remember when you made that post. People told you it was racist even then, and I don’t mean Americans. Sycophants tried to make excuses for you even back in 2014, saying, “Oh well in Sweden they use that word for the chocolate ball,” but Swedes spoke up on Tumblr saying “Oh hell no,  we don’t use that word anymore.” The same way people are speaking up now.

And you know what? No one ever did ANYTHING to Linda Antonsson, on Tumblr, Twitter, Westeros.org, or any other site, that made it okay for her to use that language. Her childish claims of “Well, they started it! Um there was context!” are absurd. There is no context that can justify it.

She also had a strange fetish for violent language that persists to this day. Saying things like, “I do love bashing lackwitted girls on the head with a dictionary. Too bad they’re so dumb you can’t even beat some sense into them.” Talking about beating women? Gross.

But to be fair, she does it to men too. Last year, when an r/ASOIAF subreddit moderator clocked her unhappy and racist reaction to the Corlys Velaryon casting, Linda responded in typical style.

In Variety, Antonsson says “she just wishes fans were doing it ‘because of our actual opinions rather than those they project on us.'” Sweetie, we wish we weren’t seeing your actual opinions so damn much. They’ve been absolutely fucking everywhere for the past decade. There’s nothing to “project.” I’ve had Antonsson blocked for years and I still see her screencapped and retweeted constantly because her shit is that outrageous and vile. I know a troll job when I see one.

Antonsson and García aren’t victims, not now and not a decade ago when Antonsson set up a Tumblr specifically to start attacking queer teenagers on a microblogging site.

It’s a minor note, but a funny one in the ongoing drama that Linda Antonsson hadn’t even read the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series until well into the lifespan of Game of Thrones, yet was was lording it over everyone as a professional “expert” and uber book purist for years. Until shortly before Season 3’s “The Rains of Castamere” aired on TV, Antonsson couldn’t bring herself to read the Red Wedding or the rest of A Storm of Swords.  That’s approximately one-third of ASOS, I kid you not. Source. It’s for real. And no, she was never ashamed of it. You would have to be capable of feeling shame.

1x05 KL Wedding Velaryon Vaemond (Wil Johnson), Corlys (Steve Toussaint), Laenor (Theo Nate), Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod), Rhaenys (Eve Best), Laena (Savannah Steyn)

Ancient history, right? You might think, well it’s been years since those early GoT posts were made, people change! But with Antonsson’s ugly posts about the casting of Steve Toussaint as Corlys Velaryon and the presence of Black Valyrians on House of the Dragon, it’s clear there has been no growth.

According to Linda, a Black Velaryon family destroys the realism of her dragon story.

There is also this odd trend of theirs of always suggesting that they’d be perfectly happy if some smaller or less important character with no family such as Criston Cole were Black instead. Just one character, no relatives. It’s interesting how that works.

Antonsson and García also have a role-playing game at Westeros.org (a MUSH) where you’re not allowed to play Black characters. As Antonsson explains it, “why there are no black characters on Blood of Dragons and why it would be very hard to get one approved. Because this has a lot to do with other aspects of our game, such as the fact that we only allow nobles and that we expect a certain about of demonstrated experience to play certain types of roles.” Because you have to play a noble and Black people aren’t allowed to be nobles in their fantasy role-playing game with dragons and shit.

So we have to ask how and why are they getting away with this? I suppose GRRM needed the help. His fictional world has outgrown his “gardening” ability. That would feed their arrogance, being needed by the author. We’ve made a lot of excuses for Martin over the years, with regard to him not addressing the behaviors of people he cites as friends and collaborators. However these latest interviews make it clear he is aware: he just doesn’t seem to care, at least not enough to do anything. So what does he care about, if not racism or how his co-writers and “friends” treat his fans?

Maybe his own reputation? His legacy?

Probably the most problematic thing either Antonsson or García have said that isn’t racist or misogynistic is this confession:

linda said it not me

Linda Antonsson publicly stated on Twitter that George R.R. Martin did not write any of “his” newest book, Rise of the Dragon. She implied that her and Elio are solely responsible for the work. GRRM signed the contracts and handed over the reins. Fans are free to buy it or not, but people are not getting a George R. R. Martin book if they do purchase it, according to Antonsson. They’re getting the work of a pair of fans who are more concerned with racial purity than a good story.

It’s hard to believe that’s the legacy Martin wants to leave behind, but it may be all we are left with in the end.

Sue the Fury
Susan Miller, Editor in Chief of WatchersOnTheWall.com

101 Comments

  1. How exactly does she reconcile the fact that GRRM himself approved the casting of the Velaryons…?

    It almost sounds like she thinks she has more ownership over the ASOIF universe than he does…

  2. Well…DAMN!

    You came with the accusations, the receipts, the tweets… every damn thing. Quite informative, and very troubling, to say the least. Thanks, Sue.

  3. She also said D&D deserve all the hate in the world and she went on a crazy Twitter rant during season 5 calling them Dumb And Dumber and saying they could burn. She then threatened to spoil the final episode and a day or two later a leaked picture of Jon dead was posted on reddit. I wonder who that could have been. I won’t even say the offensive words she said to people telling her to grow up. Linda is truly a horrible person. When season 1 was filming D&D invited her to set and even made a post on her site thanking all the fans and what did Linda do immediately attacked them. She’s probably the most vile person in this fandom. I think for example if one of the other writers or crew members that worked with D&D were to have ever made comments like Linda did the internet would be calling for their heads. Yet George seems to get a pass on the people he works with.

  4. Condal also just last week did an interview with these two. I think George and Condal at least should respond and address their association with these two. As I said in my first comment if D&D were associated with people that behave the way they do the internet would be calling for their heads.

  5. Yeah, those 2 are shit, have always been shit, and always will be shit. The bewildering association has always bothered me more about GRRM than the inability to finish the books ever has.

    The irony that Linda would 100% have issue with someone cast with a similar name to her own spouse is not lost on anyone. Even moreso that so would he.

    I try to never mention them, as they just keep popping up like the crap in the treads of my shoes, but gosh, they make it so easy to hate them.

  6. Argh. Lost my post to the ether.

    GRRM is unlikely to be outspoken in condemning speech or things others have said. He has posted several times on his blog about defending the right to speak of those even whose opinions you find abhorrent.

    More telling will be how much he actively promotes the new book, and his public statements on the controversial casting.

  7. That is some truly intense batshittery. The passions of the Star Wars fandom, er, pale in comparison.

    One would think she’d lost her shit over a fantasy world loosely based on, say, the Iñupiak ca. 1000 A.D. and not the Mediterranean in the same period.

    Hope you settled down with a really good cocktail after writing that. Or maybe a really good edible.

  8. All of this brings up memories of the glory days of IsWinterComing, may it rest in peace in the digital heaven.

    We have always known that Linda and her pet nerd boy are awful racist pieces of shit. The fact that GRRM continues to associate himself with them and even relegates his work to them (they also wrote large parts of the World book, and from the few bits I managed to read of it – because it’s terminally boring – they are shit writers), shows that either he agrees with them and happy to let them get all the hate, or that he doesn’t care. He’s a lazy hack, always been and always will be, and he’s just happy to let other people do his job. These two attached themselves to him like a pair of leeches and I’m sure Lindaaaaa was OK with getting paid for translating the show to Swedish. They are probably fine with getting paid for the books they co-wrote or wrote entirely, when these books became possible only because the TV show got so popular, people wanted more GoT content. Either way, fuck him, fuck both of these cave trolls and fuck their boring fanfiction. I hope the next GoT spinoff gets cast with entirely black cast, so that Lindaaaa would rage so hard she finally gets institutionalized.

  9. Why doesn’t someone just punch her in her stupid face? That’s how you handle racist bullies.

    Yes, I’m GenX

  10. Malcolm Ferguson:
    How exactly does she reconcile the fact that GRRM himself approved the casting of the Velaryons…?

    It almost sounds like she thinks she has more ownership over the ASOIF universe than he does…

    Of course she thinks that. Ever seen Misery? I have no doubt whatsoever that Lindaaa thinks the purity of her devotion and understanding of the books surpasses Martin’s which has been soiled by corporate money into making unfortunate concessions to the unwashed masses.

  11. Thanks for this article, Sue. Frequenting WiC in the good old days before the first season of GoT, I became tangentially aware of the despicable behavior of L&E, but still I am shocked when I see it all spelled out like this. And that’s even without having the heart to scroll through the collection of hatred chronicled by Bex.

    Seriously, GRRM (and close associates), if you get to read this you MUST understand that the only decent way forward is to publically denounce Linda’s antics and to break all future collaborations with them. Not matter how much (or little) in Rise of the Dragon is truly the work of L&E, none of my money will be coming their way…

  12. Thank you so much for writing this, Sue!

    They are awful people and George’s continued association with Elio and Linda is mind-boggling.

    Mr Fixit,

    The Misery comparison is so accurate.

  13. Malcolm Ferguson:
    How exactly does she reconcile the fact that GRRM himself approved the casting of the Velaryons…?

    It almost sounds like she thinks she has more ownership over the ASOIF universe than he does…

    Exactly the point I came to make. If the creator of the story and world is fine with it, there’s really nothing left for her to defend – except her own awful prejudices.

    Amazing article thank you.

  14. Malcolm Ferguson,

    Did he say anything to support black Velaryons? I don’t remember.

    He said nothing. He refused to protect the actors from online abuse and hate. Even from his own co author.

  15. I was apprehensive about the casting but I’m loving the black Valyrians. They bring much needed swag to Westeros.

    I am not quick to call those two racists…if they are, it’s not because they wanted the Network to stick to how the characters were written in the books. Until recently, there were very few places in fantasy lore that reflected people of color like we have in our world. Maybe, editors and publishers advised against making the diversity too obvious.

    The result is content consumed by a certain demographic who grew to expect it to always remain that way. If we are talking about diversity, it is not even accurate as it only describes people of color in Western worlds. No Indians or Aborigines or Africans, no African style clothing, names, or food. So, in my opinion, the Fantasy genre is really not diverse, it is still Western in look and feel.

    The solution is to encourage writers still working on their stories to write diversity clearly and unambiguously to avoid readers having to creatively over-reach to explain the intention of the writers if such works eventuall make it to telly.

    I do not blame Linda and Elio for sticking by what they have been conditioned to believe by the industry. I personally read every character as white where description is ambiguous.

  16. Tar Kidho:
    Seriously, GRRM (and close associates), if you get to read this you MUST understand that the only decent way forward is to publically denounce Linda’s antics and to break all future collaborations with them.

    This indeed. I wonder if the problem is that they know too much about the ending and threaten to reveal it, so GRRM & co are forced to keep on working with them?

  17. Luckily for all of us, 90% of AOIAF readers and 99.9% of GoT/HotD watchers have never heard of Elia and Linda.

    As vile as they may be, let’s not forget this is quite the (social) media bubble.

  18. OkonkwoTheAfricanFantasyLover,

    I do understand that people would want the network to stick to how the characters were written in the books. But what I don’t understand is why be so hateful about it. It’s not that difficult to be respectful in voicing your opinions.

    For some roles it’s just not important what they look like, like with Syrio Forel or Salladhor Saan. The most important thing is having an actor who can play the part, not an actor who looks the part but can’t act.

    I also had my doubts when casting The Velaryons (and I am a POC too), but I thought let’s wait how it unfolds before posting hateful things about the casting. And now I see the show, it definitely works that they are black. That way we can easily differentiate them from the Targaryens. And also with the children it’s easy to recognise who’s (biological) parents they belong too.

  19. mau,

    Reportedly GRRM himself suggested to Condal that the Velaryons could be “made black” (as this was something he originally intented back in the day). But true that we haven’t seen him speak out against the racist hate since the casting announcements.

  20. I am really confused. My posts are disappearing.

    I just wanted to say that GRRM is unlikely to speak up on this issue because he has always taken a strong position against censoring speech on his blog. More interesting will be how much he publicly promotes this new book.

    Beyond that, I agree with others here that he has stated before that he is fine with the Velaryon casting so their position on black cast members is not one he shares.

  21. Dutch Maester:
    mau,

    Reportedly GRRM himself suggested to Condal that the Velaryons could be “made black” (as this was something he originally intented back in the day). But true that we haven’t seen him speak out against the racist hate since the casting announcements.

    He will never speak out. He has made very clear on several occasions on his blog that supporting free speech means letting people say what they will even if he vehemently disagrees – in fact ESPECIALLY if he disagrees.

    He is, however, unlikely IMO to actively promote their book at this point.

  22. Dutch Maester:
    mau,

    Reportedly GRRM himself suggested to Condal that the Velaryons could be “made black” (as this was something he originally intented back in the day). But true that we haven’t seen him speak out against the racist hate since the casting announcements.

    He is unlikely to for reasons I have tried to explain in several comments that are running afoul of the filters on this site. Disappearing posts. So I refer you to GRRM’s past blog posts for clarification.

  23. The first time I read Linda’s name in an article, it was her talking shit about Lena Headey’s performance as Cersei, which immediately led me to believe the woman was entirely out of touch with reality, lol. What a pair of clowns those two are.

  24. Tar Kidho:

    Seriously, GRRM (and close associates), if you get to read this you MUST understand that the only decent way forward is to publically denounce Linda’s antics and to break all future collaborations with them. Not matter how much (or little) in Rise of the Dragon is truly the work of L&E, none of my money will be coming their way…

    Unlikely to happen. See his blog for why.

  25. Dutch Maester,

    He never said that. He knows what is happening and he said nothing.

    Fans are trying to say he supported it by using some old quotes that he gave about black Targaryens.

    I think it is time for our fandom to stop giving benefit of the doubt to GRRM.

  26. Luka Nieto:
    awol,

    I see no comment of your stuck in the spam filter.

    Weird. I have tried 6 times to post about why GRRM is unlikely to condemn speech as people here are calling for.

  27. awol,

    A few comments, of yours and a few other people, got stuck in ‘pending’ and I don’t know why. It’s been fixed.

  28. Random thought: I’m glad now that GRRM has said that nobody else will be finishing the main book series if/when he fails to do it himself, otherwise L&E might have been given (or usurped) that job. Let’s hope as well that they won’t have the rights to publish any further tangential material.

  29. Martin should had finished this story a long time ago, instead he had leeches like these two trying to make all the money knowing some people will buy books while we wait for Winds

    Tar Kidho,

    I hope Elio&Linda never get to publish anything ASOIAF related after Martin is gone.

    Pigeon,
    Agree, they are so full of themselves

  30. I am tired of people being automatically labelled as “racist” if they criticise casting while having logical reasons. I have no time for Linda A but I do agree with the point made about the Velaryons intermarrying with the Targaryens, and presumably other great houses. It simply doesn’t make sense to me that this family would remain predominantly Black down the generations. It also undermines the plot in which Rhaenyra’s children can pass for being Laenor’s. It would be way too obvious that they are not mixed race, and this would have been a scandal from the outset. These are probably the reasons why GRRM abandoned the idea of writing the Velaryons as Black.

    I have no issue with the casting of POC actors, but I need it to be consistent and to make sense, otherwise it takes me out of the story. I would feel the same if I were watching a drama set in, say, medieval central Africa and random white characters popped up without explanation or backstory.

    So-called “colour-blind” casting can work, but not in every setting. It’s great in something like Sex Education, but it’s not working for me in The Rings Of Power where the casting seems to be random. I’d have preferred them to cast all the Harfoots as Black, or all the Numenoreans.

    If anyone thinks these opinions make me a racist, then they are the one with the problem.

  31. I just want to say one thing, which is that Elio’s discussion of Lucian Msamati as Salladhor ahead of Season 2 seemed to purely be about the lore (even though 99% of us don’t really care that much about where Salladhor Saan hails from).

    Afterwards he always praised Msamati’s performance a lot. I used to watch their reviews for Seasons 2, 3, and 4, and Elio always really enjoyed Msamati’s performances and said he was a great Salladhor.

    My impression is that Elio in general is just a nitpicky book purist and is genuinely only concerned about the lore being true to the books and internally consistent. I think Linda is another matter and Elio is somewhat blinded by being so close to her. He probably makes lots of internal excuses in his head for why she is the way she is.

    I will say on the matter of consistency, having all Velaryons be black does mean logically that all Targaryen kings at this point would have been part black. Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters would’ve been half black due to their Velaryon mother, and therefore their kids would’ve been half black as well.

    Jaehaerys also had a Velaryron mother, and with a half-black dad and a black mom, he would’ve been 3/4 black. And yet the Jaehaerys we see in the show is pasty white.

    So either they changed the family tree to remove all the Velaryons who married into the royal line (kind of possible, since Laena in Episode 2 says something about uniting their houses in a way that hasn’t been done since old Valyria), or Valyrian genetics are just incomprehensible.

    I don’t actually care much personally, the Velaryons have been awesome in the show, but I can see how a lore nut might be wondering how exactly these intermarriages are meant to work in show canon.

    Maybe it really is just a family tree change.

  32. Nick:

    So either they changed the family tree to remove all the Velaryons who married into the royal line (kind of possible, since Laena in Episode 2 says something about uniting their houses in a way that hasn’t been done since old Valyria), or Valyrian genetics are just incomprehensible.

    Maybe it really is just a family tree change.

    …..or some Black mothers married into the family more recently, making later Velaryons more Black, but not affecting the earlier parts of the tree.

  33. mau,

    My post was not about judging GRRM on whether or not he should have responded to all this. Personally I find it quite ridiculous to demand that (famous) people constantly speak out in favor of or against things, especially when it’s online fuzz. As if that means that as long as GRRM doesn’t do that, he is a racist or approves it?

    For something completely different: looks like we have our first look of young Joffrey Velaryon:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/HouseOfTheDragon/comments/xxrvh0/promo_still_of_princess_rhaenyra_and_her_sweet/

  34. Hated these two for years. They are very hateful and spiteful people, they both express it in two differnt ways. One is passive and the other is super agressive.

  35. I question how much sway these two really have considering the Velaryons are Black in the show.

    I also don’t get why GRRM is associated with these two.

  36. YEAH SUE! Great article. That woman’s bile led me to this lovely spot years ago. I refuse to give them a penny for their glorified fan fiction no matter what GRRM wants to sign his name to. It’s disgraceful that GRRM likes the green more than denouncing the Nazi vitriol of those two. But, then again, he is a Jets fan…😂

  37. Linda seems like an awful person. Her comment about the “n*gerboll” is not as bad the english equivalent would have been, but it’s still deemed highly offensive in Sweden and is only used in the context of making racist provocations. It’s not really comparable to the american term “cracker”, which she seems to imply.

    Still, playing the devils advocate, IMO there are cases where race in casting actually does matter. I think the Velaryon casting is in HOTD is great (even heightens the show, since it makes the families easier to distinguish), even though it hypothetically has some logical flaws as people have pointed out. But imagine for a moment they would have cast Jason and Tyland Lannister as black. Or the Stark family. It would be hard for me to suspend my disbelief when watching GoT in that case, as these families clearly don’t have black ancestry in their recent history. Yes, I know these are extreme examples, but I’m just illustrating what happens when you push a principle of colour-blind casting to its point.

  38. Interesting and very well-done article about people I had literally never heard of until seeing this headline on Watchers! Thought I’d throw my opinion in as some of the comments here are getting a bit…well:

    The thing that makes these people racist isn’t that they think inclusive casting (not even ‘color-blind’ casting) can create issues with the consistency of wide-scope internal worldbuilding. The thing that makes them racist is that 1) They are offended by that disproportionately to other adaptational changes 2) They are superior about that offense, not only refusing to take counterarguments seriously but claiming all possible counterarguments are in bad faith, and that theirs is the only valid point of view (and only ‘real’ criteria for reasonable suspension of disbelief, which let’s face it just CAN’T be objectively measured) and 3) They’re being massive and abusive assholes about it, making every fight nasty and personal and actively seeking out opportunities for straight-up bullying.

    Also, GRRM seems to be showing the dark side of being a free speech absolutist, which strikes me as something he’s carried over from being a relatively small nice author, and hasn’t changed even now when he’s the source of what’s increasingly becoming a mass media franchise. It’s an interesting if depressing display of how the context of that kind of belief matters.

  39. awol: Thank-you!

    Most of my (attempted) posts over the past few weeks have vanished into the ether; a few others only appear hours later. I hope the problem has been resolved. Let’s see if this one goes through…
    11:49 am EDT

  40. awol: He will never speak out. He has made very clear on several occasions on his blog that supporting free speech means letting people say what they will even if he vehemently disagrees – in fact ESPECIALLY if he disagrees.

    Supporting free speech as you said means allowing others to say what they want and not be censured. No one here is calling for them to be censured. By GRRM not using his own freedom to denounce such hatred implies a support of such ideas. I don’t believe GRRM support those ideas but as his own silence continues, I’m starting to have doubt…

  41. Dutch Maester,

    You would have a point if fans had a problem with Martin not speaking out against the racism directed at Rings of Power or Star Wars, for example, as that wouldn’t be his responsibility. This is different, though. Elio and Linda are associated with him. They have made/are making money off of his name. By continuing to allow them to do so, it’s like Martin is condoning their behavior.

  42. Nick: I can see how a lore nut might be wondering how exactly these intermarriages are meant to work in show canon.

    Seems to me that anyone who watched the full series of GoT figured out long ago that we have to accept that TV is a different medium from the books, and that the televised interpretation is always going to be like the Cliff’s Notes/Classics Illustrated/shorthand version of the “lore.” To expect stricter adherence to book-canon is to be inevitably disappointed. We ASoIaF readers all have our pet quibbles about what was inserted, left out or otherwise changed, but most of us don’t choose to die on Linda’s particular hill of suppressing diverse casting, because we’re not miserable racist jerks.

  43. mau,

    This situation is especially odd as Martin has had no problem speaking out against racism in the past. He has a blindspot when it comes to Elio and Linda.

  44. A well written and researched article, but ultimately leading to false conclusions. Linda may not be the nicest person out there, but it is a sad day when you are deemed a racist for pushing for a lore-accurate adaptation. I would wager that most book fans know that casting the Velaryons as black was absurd as it destroyed the internal rules of worldbuilding of ASOIAF. Calling that out is not being a racist. I support the politics behind the casting, but I don’t begrudge fans who were dissatisfied with the initial casting, especially after the adaptation nightmare of GOT. Neither should you.

  45. RMK:
    The thing that makes these people racist isn’t that they think inclusive casting (not even ‘color-blind’ casting) can create issues with the consistency of wide-scope internal worldbuilding. The thing that makes them racist is that 1) They are offended by that disproportionately to other adaptational changes 2) They are superior about that offense, not only refusing to take counterarguments seriously but claiming all possible counterarguments are in bad faith, and that theirs is the only valid point of view (and only ‘real’ criteria for reasonable suspension of disbelief, which let’s face it just CAN’T be objectively measured) and 3) They’re being massive and abusive assholes about it, making every fight nasty and personal and actively seeking out opportunities for straight-up bullying.

    If that is aimed at me, it just strengthens my view that those who cry racism if anyone dares to question casting are lazy, and only seek to stifle discussion.

    1. I am not “offended” by any casting, disproportionately or otherwise.

    2. I am not “superior”, and make none of the claims you state. On the contrary I welcome unbiased intelligent discussion as it often brings up points hitherto unconsidered.

    3. I am not an arsehole, nor am I abusive, nor a bully. Show me where my comments were “nasty” or “personal”.

  46. RMK:
    The thing that makes these people racist isn’t that they think inclusive casting (not even ‘color-blind’ casting) can create issues with the consistency of wide-scope internal worldbuilding. The thing that makes them racist is that 1) They are offended by that disproportionately to other adaptational changes 2) They are superior about that offense, not only refusing to take counterarguments seriously but claiming all possible counterarguments are in bad faith, and that theirs is the only valid point of view (and only ‘real’ criteria for reasonable suspension of disbelief, which let’s face it just CAN’T be objectively measured) and 3) They’re being massive and abusive assholes about it, making every fight nasty and personal and actively seeking out opportunities for straight-up bullying.

    If that is aimed at me, it just strengthens my view that those who cry racism if anyone dares to question casting are lazy, and only seek to stifle discussion.

    1. I am not “offended” by any casting, disproportionately or otherwise.

    2. I am not “superior”, and make none of the claims you state. On the contrary I welcome unbiased intelligent discussion as it often brings up points hitherto unconsidered.

    3. I am not an arsehole, nor am I abusive, nor a bully. Show me where my comments were “nasty” or “personal”.

  47. i am a avid reader, nothing about the casting seemed out of line or outrageous.
    love the show. this is one site i follow. stay off social media its a cesspool.
    great article.

    Valar Mourgolis

  48. Grandmaester Flash,

    Thank you for the reasoned, non-hysterical response.

    But I disagree that Black Valyrians take everyone out of this fantasy world. It depends on the individual viewer and I suspect that most people are not so wrapped up in the probabilities of racial phenotypes that they can’t suspend disbelief. Also, why couldn’t Leanor’s children look Caucasian? He himself is half Caucasian and his kids are three quarter’s Caucasian. I thought the thing that is supposed to make people doubt paternity is the absense of white hair. Indeed why do Daeon’s kids look so black when they too are 3 quarters Caucasian? I see anyone asking, Why don’t they look white?

    Also, I like the way the story uses race in a way that we don’t think of in 21st century America, which to us means skin color and hair texture. They instead define race by nationality. I think it’s an interesting and truly subversive take that adds layers to the story And makes people think.

    Next, it can be more than a bit irritating for folks to continue to use the excuse that they’d be upset if white people showed up in films about black people for no reason, when that is what has occurred throughout most of film history. Stories with black protagonists and majority black casts and few or no white people are almost NEVER made. It’s easy to argue that you wouldn’t mind seeing something you know is unlikely to get made.

    For example, ever heard of the Film “Cry Freedom? Even the movie’s producers said that they couldn’t get the movie about Apartheid in South Africa made if they concentrated on just the black characters as was originally intended. They had to have a sympathetic white character for the audience to identify with so white people would see it. Thus the move had to have a white savior character.

    Ever seen “The Help? A movie called “The Help” had to be told through the eyes of Skeeter the white journalist who writes about “The Help. Again, stories about black people are non-starters for studios and TV execs unless they are told within the context of a how a white person views it. So to say that you have no objection to seeing black stories without white people is facetious because those films and TV shows almost NEVER get made. You can afford to be a purist because your representation is never in jeopardy.

    Yes, you’ve got “The Woman King” and “Wakanda Forever.” But those are exceptions to the rule, and they both have white characters. And more to the point, these films represent a teeny, tiny, percentage of all creative output on TV and in films.

    Folks would have a whole lot better argument for so-called authentic “non-woke” casting in world building if the only thing deemed worth seeing wasn’t exclusively white.

  49. Missy Bee:
    Grandmaester Flash,

    Thank you for the reasoned, non-hysterical response.

    But I disagree that Black Valyrians take everyone out of this fantasy world. It depends on the individual viewer and I suspect that most people are not so wrapped up in the probabilities of racial phenotypes that they can’t suspend disbelief. Also, why couldn’t Leanor’s children look Caucasian? He himself is half Caucasian and his kids are three quarter’s Caucasian. I thought the thing that is supposed to make people doubt paternity is the absense of white hair. Indeed why do Daemon’s kids look so black when they too are 3 quarters Caucasian? I don’t see anyone asking, “Why don’t they look white?”

    Also, I like the way the story uses race in a way that we don’t think of in 21st century America, which to us means skin color and hair texture. They instead define race by nationality. I think it’s an interesting and truly subversive take that adds layers to the story and makes people think.

    Next, it can be more than a bit irritating for folks to continue to use the excuse that they’d be upset if white people showed up in films about black people for no reason, when that is what has occurred throughout most of film history. Stories with black protagonists and majority black casts and few or no white people are almost NEVER made. It’s easy to argue that you wouldn’t mind seeing something you know is unlikely to get made.

    For example, ever heard of the Film “Cry Freedom?” Even the movie’s producers said that they couldn’t get the movie about Apartheid in South Africa made if they concentrated on just the black characters as was originally intended. They had to have a sympathetic white character for the audience to identify with so white people would see it. Thus the move had to have a white savior character.

    Ever seen “The Help?” A movie called “The Help” had to be told through the eyes of Skeeter the white journalist who writes about “The Help. Again, stories about black people are non-starters for studios and TV execs unless they are told within the context of a how a white person views it. So to say that you have no objection to seeing black stories without white people is facetious because those films and TV shows almost NEVER get made. You can afford to be a purist because your representation is never in jeopardy.

    Yes, you’ve got “The Woman King” and “Wakanda Forever.” But those are exceptions to the rule, and they both have white characters. And more to the point, these films represent a teeny, tiny, percentage of all creative output on TV and in films.

    Folks would have a whole lot better argument for so-called “non-woke” casting in world building, if the only thing deemed worth seeing wasn’t exclusively white.

  50. I have no idea if these two are racist or not. For all I know, they are. For all I know, they’re just really nerdy about book stuff and hate change. Everyone’s got an opinion.

    Either way, these two just seem like genuinely shitty people and I don’t get why GRRM associates with them. That’s my opinion.

  51. Thank you for this insightful article. Sadly, in today’s world, far too often people use the ‘freedom of speech’ argument to justify hate speech.

    There’s a reason we can’t see the world in just ‘black and white’ but sadly some people just refuse to open their eyes and appreciate all the different colors of the rainbow that is humanity.

    HOTD and ROP are both someone else’s interpretations of books and it’s certainly a welcome change to include diversity in both those interpretations.

    If people aren’t’ enjoying the changes then I don’t understand why they are watching. More importantly, why are they taking the changes personally – that right there tells you it’s not about the books.

  52. Ugh. These “purist” types are the absolute worst of fandom. They forget that when a long series is written it was often started in a different time culturally or by a young(ish) author newer to the craft and thus prone to latch on to some general genre cliches. But that means when these works later come to be adapted they need to work within a more enlightened society. What does that mean? Changes! However, getting worked up about those changes ignores the fact that had the series been started today a lot of those same changes would likely have been made by the author themselves. Because people change as well.

    It should also be said that, yes, having an issue with the casting of CV because they chose a black actor is 100% racist. If it bothered you, yes, you are in fact racist. Now that doesn’t automatically mean you are the worst most racist person alive, it just means you have a blind spot where ignorance bleeds through. Now how you react to that, and react to others pointing it out, is what makes the difference between that bit of racism being a simple place of opportunity for personal growth and being a raging unrepentant a-hat racist (e.g. Linda).

    But why is it 100% racist? Because race is being used to disqualify for no legitimate reason. And no, orthodoxy is *not* a legitimate reason (to note, about the *only* legitimate reason for race based disqualification is when it’s done to create equity for historically marginalized people’s). When someone sees a person of color cast, and their first response is to lament diversity as if it doesn’t have a significant intrinsic value in and of itself, one that is well worth reaching for, or they immediately begin searching for reason why a diverse cast just doesn’t work or makes sense, they need to stop and examine their basic assumptions. For instance, when someone says that it makes no sense for the Velaryons to be black…why? It’s almost cliche to say now, but it’s too on point to not: this is a world full of dragons and magic and wights and fairies. And we accept them as being true. We don’t break down the science about whether those things make sense or not. And we don’t require an author to tell us why, either. Those things just *are* and if we’re a fan of fantasy, we not only accept it, we embrace it. But the Velaryons being black? That’s where we draw the line of fantastical acceptance? Suddenly we’re expert geneticists who *know* that if we have black Velaryons and they intermarry with Targaryens then their children would *have* to look a certain way or all suspension of disbelief is lost?

    If one can blindly accept the existence of magic, but not the fudging of genetics where skin color is involved, one should take some time and really ask themselves why? Why is that something they can’t blindly hand wave away with just as much ease? And even if not that why they can’t just create some head cannon around it. Perhaps there’s just something magical about the Targaryen blood that makes it fairly dominant genetically so that their traits are passed on more easily than others? There are thousands of ways in a magical world that could be reasoned up to allow for black Velaryons and not have it break the story. That is, as long as a person *wants* to make it fit.

    So, the ultimate question is: when a person says, “It makes no sense” or, “It breaks the world building/story”, why don’t they *want* it to make sense? Why don’t they *want* it to fit the story? That’s why it’s racist. It’s a blind spot that needs to be examined.

  53. After finding out about The Dragon Demands being removed from admin position on GoT Wikia recently after trying to defame James Hibberd, I’m glad that controversy surrounding Garcia and Antonsson is getting adressed in mainstream media now. When I stumbled upon their GoT reviews during S2 of GoT, they already kind of rubbed me the wrong way because I sensed some elitism and book purism from them… I was even more shocked when they called Red Wedding not good in GoT (supposedly, the atmosphere was “totally wrong” according to them and it “ruined” RW). The more I read their reviews, the less I liked them. But it was in 2015 or so when I got to know truly ugly sides of them that Sue covered well in her article, especially Linda. On positive note, the whole toxicty from westeros.org brought me here on WotW in 2016.

    I’m honestly a bit surprised the controversy from their side was not adressed earlier in mainstream media. I didn’t buy TWOIAF exactly for the reason that I don’t want to read anything written by these two. GRRM being associated with these two… that’s definitely a stain from my perspective.

    Regarding casting itself, I was always of opinion that it’s the performance that matters, not hair color matching the book description and such. I never minded diverse casting for characters who were initially white as long as it’s done well and organically. I certainly have no problems with Velaryons or GoT characters.

  54. I have no problem with diverse casting. I just hate when it’s used as a shield to deflect any and all criticism, whether race-related or not.
    That said, the things these 2 say go well beyond mere criticism. It’s just pure hatred and entitlement. Whether it’s motivated by racism or just extreme book purity (probably both) I can’t say, but either way, they’re clearly horrible people.
    Honestly though, I was never really planning on buying Rise of the Dragon anyway. It just never interested me.

  55. The Crispy One,

    Srsly me thinks they doth protest too much. Why nobody upset that book-Rhaenys has dark hair? It’s consequential, after all, that she is half Baratheon. Their seed being strong and all. Surely they must change her whole backstory to make up for this egregious deviation from canon. 😉

    Genetics is funny in the real world. I am the only person on both sides of my family with my skin tone, hair color, and eye color going back several generations. It’s a big joke in my family that they found me on the doorstep. I do look like both of my parents in other ways, tho. And I don’t look like I should according the my 23&me profile either. 🤷‍♀️

  56. It’s canon: the genetics in the ASOIAF world is different from the genetics of our real world because incest in the long run doesn’t work out – just ask Tutankamon. If you can accept the Targaryans are beautiful instead of heavily deformed by thousands of years of sibling marriages you can also accept black Velayrions.

    Even the Baratheon strong seed plot isn’t realistic with real-world genetics so…

  57. Grandmaester Flash,

    Hi there Grandmaester,

    Just got back on and saw this, and oh dear, I shouldn’t have used pronouns as I did!

    The “they” I’m referring to in my original comment, and the 3 points I laid out, were not at all meant to be some sort of sly address to you: I was talking about Linda Antonsson and, to a lesser extent, Elio Garcia.

    My thing about “some of the comments…” was because I saw multiple comments (not just yours, I swear I remember at least 3) saying the type of purism at the core of what Linda and Elio put out online is not in itself enough to justify an accusation of racism. I saw that and wanted to dig into the nuance of having thoughts and feelings about adaptational choices related to race versus being racist. Because if the subjects of the original article were just frustrated with some casting choices, without the 3 patterns I mentioned in my comment, I for one would disagree with the racism accusation. But those 3 patterns are there, so, racism accusations are justified.

    Genuinely sorry you got the impression I was backhandedly attacking you!

  58. mace of bass: Supporting free speech as you said means allowing others to say what they want and not be censured. No one here is calling for them to be censured. By GRRM not using his own freedom to denounce such hatred implies a support of such ideas.

    It really doesn’t. It’s this semi-recent and in my view ill-considered trend where certain segments of the public look to “accuse” people with guilt by association.

    Do I think Martin would be wise not to collaborate with these two? Yes, I do. I held that opinion for God knows how many years. Lindaaa especially is a hateful person, and I think it does Martin’s image no good to engage in these collaborations with the Dynamic Duo from Sweden. But is he under some sort of moral obligation to come out and speak out against their views, and if he doesn’t, does that ipso facto mean he agrees with them? Nah. I am generally pretty put off by this intolerant and toxic trend where everyone has to preventively prostrate themselves before the altar of public outrage just because they happen to have some personal or business connection to the morally suspect.

  59. KG,

    Why would you ever end any statement with the words “yes, I’m gen x” like we get it, ok, you had flannel and unavailable parents. Just get to punching racists already

  60. Firannion: Seems to me that anyone who watched the full series of GoT figured out long ago that we have to accept that TV is a different medium from the books, and that the televised interpretation is always going to be like the Cliff’s Notes/Classics Illustrated/shorthand version of the “lore.” To expect stricter adherence to book-canon is to be inevitably disappointed. We ASoIaF readers all have our pet quibbles about what was inserted, left out or otherwise changed, but most of us don’t choose to die on Linda’s particular hill of suppressing diverse casting, because we’re not miserable racist jerks.

    i kiss your hand mylady!

    we all know that the scene of fantasy lovers is as full of racist douchebags as any other segment of society, right? what do we expect when two blockbuster series broach the issue of “bloodlines”? of course, we get racial bullshit thrown all over the place.

    even in a few comments here, people fell for it and tried to reconstruct how and when the noble Valyrian incest could have been sabotaged by mixing “races”… and these were all comments in which the racism of the mentioned dickheads L&G was condemned more or less clearly. “i’m not racist but”-postings can be a really dangerous trap.

    this said, let me mention what really made me smell shit flying into my face: it’s the collection of linda’s insults collected by Bex. the term “deluded feminazi” occurs in there.

    so we have a person calling feminists “nazi” – and ranting about fucking bloodlines setting the measures for casting. how much of a nazi can one be without even noticing it?

    yes, this person is a racist online-bully. but first of all, it seems she’s really dumber than a bag of hammers.

  61. Reading that, seems as though those two are off the rails nuts about the diversity stuff. That said, and I know I’m probably going to get blasted for this, I think the race changing of the Velaryons in House of the Dragon was unnecessary and doesn’t really fit in with a world that won’t accept a woman to ascend the throne. Do I stew and cry over it every time I watch the show or even care about it that much? Nah, but I think if HBO was really committed to diversity, they would’ve greenlit a show that had a central storyline in Essos instead of choosing the whitest story in the canon. Race-changing the Velaryons to black so far has only amounted to a bunch of tokenism, though I imagine their role will increase as the story progresses. In sum, the world of A Song of Ice and Fire is expansive and diverse, and I think the best way to have inclusion while maintaining authenticity is to create shows that focus on some of the more diverse areas in the world.

  62. LatrineDiggerBrian,

    Yes, it is complicated (but not something to rant about). As was pointed out earlier, Viserys’ great-grandmother was a Velaryon, and there were other earlier inter-marriages in the Targ family tree but there is no hint of blackness in Viserys et. al. I have explained this to myself by choosing to believe that the family became black later, as that was a long time ago, because of a few generations of black mothers. (Like maybe house Saan 😉 seems a good match as they are both seafaring families). After all as Corlys rightly pointed out “history remembers names, not blood”. As in, people forget about who the MOTHERS were and that is every bit as important as the fathers, but the Velaryon name is passed via fathers.

    This is why Corlys is not so cool with Baela as his heir. Baela will take the name of whoever she marries and so not be a Velaryon anymore, and he doesn’t like the idea of his name disappearing. We saw this in his discussion with Viserys over Rhaenyra’s children’s names too. I actually suspect this is something that might end up being quite key when the ASOIAF series is finished and we look back on fully fleshed out bloodlines that include mothers and which families they came from, but we will have to wait and see.

    Anyway, the point is, blood and family name are not the same thing. Family name only takes into account the men and ignores that mothers are half of the genes. So to me the Velaryon+Targ history issue is rather easily resolved.

  63. I have been aware of Elio & Linda for years, but only recently heard about Linda’s apparently racist leanings (because I find social media exhausting). I’ve always gotten the sense that Linda is an extreme book purist with no tolerance for deviations in the shows. Her episode reviews are overwhelmingly negative, and not the least bit enjoyable. I’m a “book nerd” myself, but have enough sense to understand that changes will be made for various reasons when converting written source material to television/film. It happens. Some of it works, some not so much, and people are going to have differing opinions. And that’s fine. Freedom of speech also means freedom of listening.

    Confronted with the evidence of her posts, I’d say Linda is hateful in general, and not mature enough to have a reasonable debate with other adults without going Full Metal Karen. Picking fights, being easily baited, and resorting to name-calling and threats of violence does not reflect well. It’s very disappointing to see this behavior. Anywhere.

  64. GRRM’s continued association with these people is embarrassing at this point. I’m sure that there are plenty of ASOIAF scholars who would jump at the chance to write books about his world. What makes them so special really?

  65. Jenny:
    GRRM’s continued association with these people is embarrassing at this point. I’m sure that there are plenty of ASOIAF scholars who would jump at the chance to write books about his world. What makes them so special really?

    Well, if you look at what their role is exactly, I would say the role is absolutely consistent with the behaviours people have issues with. That is to say they are absolutely obsessed nitpicky people who pore over text for inconsistencies. This makes them good fact checkers and people who have memorized the world to the finest detail.

    To be GRRM’s fact checker does not require being a good person. It just requires a certain obsessiveness over details.

  66. Ah, I see the “Dynamic Duo” AKA the “Terrible Twins” are back again with Lindaaaaa being just as crude as ever and spitting venom at the show runners and actors! TBH, I had forgotten all about those two morons and reading Sue´s article it all came flooding back 🙂
    I´ve often wondered how much influence they have over GRRM? I believe they were originally involved mapping out the fictional world (Planetos) where George based his novels on, but whether they were assisting George and writing some of the chapters I´ve no idea?
    I´m really suprised that GRRM still has anything to do with L&E. They´re a couple of racist bastards and surely George must realise that!

  67. I view the tv series as a stand alone entity. And Steve Toussant is killing his role so for me, I think, ‘What’s the problem?’

  68. Mr Fixit: It really doesn’t. It’s this semi-recent and in my view ill-considered trend where certain segments of the public look to “accuse” people with guilt by association.

    Do I think Martin would be wise not to collaborate with these two? Yes, I do. I held that opinion for God knows how many years. Lindaaa especially is a hateful person, and I think it does Martin’s image no good to engage in these collaborations with the Dynamic Duo from Sweden. But is he under some sort of moral obligation to come out and speak out against their views, and if he doesn’t, does that ipso facto mean he agrees with them? Nah. I am generally pretty put off by this intolerant and toxic trend where everyone has to preventively prostrate themselves before the altar of public outrage just because they happen to have some personal or business connection to the morally suspect.

    It’s more than just GRRM not speaking out. If they were just rando extreme fans, I’d agree with you that he isn’t obligated to comment. But he is, essentially, in business with them. That’s a different level of endorsement. If he doesn’t like their racism, then it says a lot about his character that he’d still do business with them.

    Aaaand, his record is already tarnished. Feel free to Google: George RR Martin Hugo Awards Rabid Bunnies NK Jemisin

  69. awol: Well, if you look at what their role is exactly, I would say the role is absolutely consistent with the behaviours people have issues with. That is to say they are absolutely obsessed nitpicky people who pore over text for inconsistencies. This makes them good fact checkers and people who have memorized the world to the finest detail.

    To be GRRM’s fact checker does not require being a good person. It just requires a certain obsessiveness over details.

    Oh never thought of it like that!

  70. JenStar Runner: It’s more than just GRRM not speaking out. If they were just rando extreme fans, I’d agree with you that he isn’t obligated to comment. But he is, essentially, in business with them. That’s a different level of endorsement. If he doesn’t like their racism, then it says a lot about his character that he’d still do business with them.

    I don’t think it says a lot about his character, not in the way you seem to imply. There is a number of reasons Martin may want to collaborate with them that we are not privy to. As I had said in my previous post, I personally agree that it would be best for him not to work with Elio and Lindaaa (primarily Lindaaa if I’m being honest) simply because she seems to be such a fundamentally bad person. That said, I’m not keen on drawing any definitive conclusions regarding Martin’s character from this. People are a complicated mix of a huge number of ingredients. I have always found it prudent to err on the side of caution and not view their individual actions or lack thereof in clinical isolation. After all, law teaches us evidence should be looked at holistically, taken as a whole 🙂 Even if I harbored some doubt regarding another person’s, shall we say, character integrity, I’d be very hesitant to share it online, unless I was very certain of it and I thought my publicly — and anonimously, let’s not forget — expressed opinion would be likely to provide some appreciable benefit to the conversation. It’s all too easy to be judgmental.

    JenStar Runner
    Aaaand, his record is already tarnished. Feel free to Google: George RR Martin Hugo Awards Rabid Bunnies NK Jemisin

    Eh, I know about the kerfuffle with him hosting Hugos a couple of years ago. I mean, it’s everywhere these days, this drive towards absolute moral purity. We’re not perfect people. We have our failings, our good sides and bad, some stuff we pay more attention to, some less. Martin’s choice of words was problematic on several occasions, but I sincerely doubt it was done in malice or anything approaching it. Knowing Martin’s body of work and having listened to countless of his interviews and talks, I’d say he’s a very thoughtful and caring person. If anything, some of his remarks (like the one on eunuchs) or him repeatedly mentioning certain authors from the past that held questionable beliefs (to put it mildly), simply speaks to his age and to who he personally finds as genre greats. Was some of it maybe ill-considered having in mind this day and age? Sure. Could he have better prepared for the task? Yes. Should we, again, draw some definitive and far-reaching conclusions with regards to Martin’s character and then circulate them across the globe instantaneously as self-evident truths that indicate his moral failings? To each his own, but I’d rather not. I know that if people somehow compiled everything that I’ve ever said, it’d probably cast me in a pretty damning light. I’d wager it’s true of almost everyone alive. So let’s do a service to each other as fellow human beings and refrain from assuming the worst of one another based on flimsy evidence taken out of context and without taking into account the totality of one’s contribution to, I don’t know, society, close circle of friends and family, something in between, whatever seems appropriate considering our respective “social footprints”.

    I believe in this as both our ethical responsibility when interacting with or talking about people, as well as from a purely pragmatic standpoint of wanting to “convert” others to our point of view. It’s much easier to do so when we’re giving people benefit of the doubt that they’re not acting in bad faith — as a result of moral failure — but are instead good faith actors who haven’t maybe considered their position adequately. In my experience the majority of people are exactly that.

  71. Linda is almost definitely a malignant narcissist, perhaps even a sociopath. And I don’t use that term lightly… I tend to rage against its overuse. But the way she has always overreacted to ANY challenge, especially when that challenge has better facts to back up the counterpoint, suggests this to me.

    Do I think she is a racist? Yeah. The problem with her entire argument is that the guy whose work she claims to be defending gave the OK for this change. Yet she doesn’t care. Why? Because she’s a RACIST. And so her racism supersedes all logic, including the person’s work she claims to be defending especially when you consider that the show & books don’t need to agree.

    So what is she defending? Whiteness. Nothing else.

    Now, to blame GRRM for her behavior, or her husband’s mediocre defense of it, is a classic overreach. You don’t need to destroy GRRM to get to her. It’s not his fault he isn’t fully aware of what she is doing, or at all. He doesn’t go on social media. And it’s likely his people don’t tell him about it. Maybe he’s read an article or two about this recently. So, for all we know, people have been in contact with Linda recently about it once bigger media sites latched onto it last week.

    But to invent scenarios where GRRM is complicit… wow. This is just another form of narcissism.

    Having said all that… there is always History of Westeros podcast that could take over this role. They are just as informed. They are published and have written about ASOIAF… and George knows them… just saying.

  72. Mr Fixit,


    “So open season for real world geopolitics on Watchers? Cool. ☢️”

    Except it’s not really off-topic…

    As death by chickenfire noted astutely (in 10/9/22, 8:32 am comment above): “…. the ideas/hallucinations Daenerys and Vladimir [Putin] have about “liberating” are similarly south of reality…”

    I too thought there are glaring parallels between “real world geopolitics” and the fictional world geopolitics that culminated in delusional Dany firebombing a city to rubble and exterminating thousands of innocent civilians in the name of “liberating” them.

    Dany’s narrative in her speech to the Dothraki and Unsullied in S8e6 is eerily similar to the false pretexts and propaganda (e.g., kill ‘em to free ‘em) spewed by an unhinged megalomaniac in 2022 to justify invasion, indiscriminate bombing and mass murder:

    (Excerpts from GoT S8e6: Dany addressing her Dothraki and Unsullied armies)
    Dany (to Dothraki): “Blood of my blood! …You killed my enemies in their iron suits. Your tore down their stone houses…”
    Dany (to the Unsullied): “…Now you are liberators. You have freed the people of King’s Landing from the grip of a tyrant!
    “But the war is not over. We will not lay down our spears until we have liberated all the people of the world!
    “From Winterfell to Dorne, from Lannisport to Qarth, from the Summer Isles to the Jade Sea! Women, men and children have suffered too long beneath the wheel.”

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the internecine conflicts brewing in HotD

    escalate into a bloodbath that claims the lives of thousands of soldiers and civilians, with power-hungry partisans unwilling to take “off-ramps” along the way that could have averted a Greens vs. Blacks sh*tstorm.

    P.S. In the future I’ll try to cover with spoiler-coding any references to “real world” events.

  73. Ten Bears,

    Well true. We could say the same about any number of other geopolitical flashpoints with enormous body counts, this time supported by, you know, the other side. Mission accomplished, or We came, we saw, he died (should have added, we left behind slave markets).

    But I won’t talk about it since it’s neither time nor place.

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