Welp, the white nerds are at it again. Whether we’re talking about Marvel, Star Wars, Star Trek, or any other fandom, there’s always a segment of white nerds who get their Millennium Falcon underoos all in a bunch any time they hear that a character they believe should always be white is going to be portrayed by a person of color.
Game of Thrones fandom is no exception.
Apparently, these nerds—who can’t get dates and never met a discussion between marginalized folks they didn’t want to: “Well, actually”—have taken issue with a Black man playing a member of the Targaryen family tree in HBO’s upcoming Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon.
In House of the Dragon, actor Steve Toussaint will play Lord Corlys Velaryon, aka the “Sea Snake,” a well-known sailor and husband of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen. The character isn’t described as a Black man in George R.R. Martin’s book “Fire & Blood,” and that’s enough reason for whiny white nerds to start wetting their Avengers bedsheets. It’s almost as if they can imagine a fictional world where dragons, white walkers, and people who can transfer their consciousness into ravens and wolves exist, but a Black man marrying into a royal family is just inconceivable.
Anyway, Toussaint wasn’t having it.
“Because other than, as we spoke about yesterday, other than certain people’s viewpoints about someone who looks like me playing this part, it hasn’t really played a part in the role, in my experience on the job with my fellow actors,” Toussaint said during the show’s Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con Saturday, responding to a question asked by moderator Jason Concepcion, who was referencing an earlier conversation they had in private. “As I said, there are people outside who find it a little hard to stomach, that someone who looks like me would play this part. But that’s an issue they have to deal with and I don’t have to. The issue is always the same I just have to say the lines convincingly and avoid bumping into the furniture.”
At the end of the day, white people have enjoyed an American TV and film industry that catered to their need to see themselves (and no one else) on the screen for generations. It’s only recently that filmmakers and showrunners have made concerted efforts to diversify the casts in their projects. Meanwhile, white people have been overwhelmingly represented in every part of our popular culture—TV, film, broadcasting etc.—for as long as it has existed.
Hell, even in the original Game of Thrones series, the only Black characters were freed slaves and pirates.
I think it’s OK if we let a few white roles be played by Black actors. Calm down.
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