The Importance of Dorne Part 2
By Ours is the Fury on in Casting, Editorial, Speculation.

Dorne

Did I mention that I love Dorne? That I freakin love it?

As it turns out, I did, in Part 1 of The Importance of Dorne. FaBio asked questions of eight Game of Thrones fans and two weeks ago, presented Part 1 of the series, sharing our thoughts on the land of Dorne and the fan-favorite character, Oberyn Martell. Opinions on casting and the character’s sexuality were expressed, and WiC readers had a lot to say as well on the subject.

We return now to complete the roundtable, and to explore the ethnicity of the Dornish people and its Great House, House Martell. The debate on how to interpret “salty,” “sandy,” and “stony” in terms of Dornish ethnicity has been going on in the A Song of Ice and Fire fandom for years. Well, these are theoretical questions no more, with Oberyn’s season four casting already in the works.

Returning members of the roundtable are:  Sade (Nigerian American);  Rachel (white New Yorker); Jonelle (Jamaican); and Marissa (Taiwanese American). For Part 2, we listened to the feedback from commenters in round 1 and brought in some new blood for balance, including one woman and three men. Joining the original four will be: Miss (South Asian); Hogan (white); Miguel (Latino); and Amin (Canadian of Middle-Eastern descent). Some of you will know Amin as the co-founder of A Podcast of Ice and Fire and a contributing author of A Flight of Sorrows.

NOTE: Once again, we’ve tried to avoid direct spoilers from leaking into the narrative. We ask that if any of you wish to discuss some of the more spoilery plot points that Dorne brings about—PLEASE use spoiler text! Occasionally the roundtable will refer vaguely to future character arcs but specific storyline spoilers will not appear in this post.

Question 3. The people of Dorne are said to be one of three distinct types: olive-skinned, black-haired “salty” Dornishmen who live on the coasts; darker “sandy” Dornishmen from the deserts; and fair-skinned “stony” Dornishmen who live in Dorne’s mountain heights. Do you think the show should endeavor to show us all three, or should it pick one general ethnicity and stick to it for simplicity’s sake? Also: should the ruling Martells reflect one ethnicity? What about the Sand Snakes?

Hogan: I think it is definitely important to show at least one of the first two descriptions listed, but of course, this depends on how many Dornish characters the show plans to introduce. When reading the books, it was always obvious to me that Dorne was a very different culture than the rest of the kingdoms of Westeros and I always pictured the people of the region as a reflection of that difference as well. I think the majority of the characters we’ll begin see on the show first will be the Martells, who I’ve always pictured as olive-skin and black-haired- hints of Moorish, Spanish, and Indian culture.

Also, as a designer, I think if the costuming is done well, that will further the Dornish distinction from the rest of the realm. Michelle Clapton has done an incredible job in making the style of each kingdom it’s own, so I have faith in that aspect.

Rachel: I think it is less important to distinguish between “salty”, “sandy” and “stony” in the show because, well quite frankly that is not going to happen. They’ve only got an hour and I want Dorne to be as rich and diverse and just damn interesting as it is in the books, but sacrifices must be made to the gods of brevity. I hope they don’t just default to the lighter skinned Dornishmen because as I said, too many white people! I’m pretty sure the audience can handle it. If they can do it on low-budget hokey fantasy shows like Merlin and Xena they can do it on Game of Thrones!

Marissa: This breakdown of Dornishmen is taken for gospel in the ASOIAF wiki and by fans, but it’s important to note that this tidbit of information is conveyed to us in the novels from Tyrion’s memory from a book written by King Daeron Targaryen I—a King who was trying to conquer Dorne over 100 years earlier. These categorizations remind me of (pretty darn racist) anthropology books from our world written 100 years earlier when people were trying to make sense of different racial groups and writing from a very Eurocentric lens. This is not how the Dornish view themselves–this is how the other Westerosi view the Dornish and try to categorize them.

We can see even in the Martell family through the Sand Snakes that there’s a huge range in physical features: Tyene has Valyrian features; Sarella’s mother was a Summer Islander…Oberyn’s children really reflect the vast diversity of the Dornish region. What do we know about Dorne? We know that it is Rhoynish and the Rhoynar people look distinctly different from the so called “stony Dornish” and Westerosi of Andal or First Men or Valyrian descent. They have black (not brown) hair and “swarthy” skin. The Martell family has a strong Rhoynar lineage.

It would be meaningful and important to depict the Dornish ruling family as people of color, though, to emphasize that Dorne has a distinctly different history from the rest of Westeros. And as far as the Sand Snakes go…I think viewers are astute enough about genetics to understand that the ladies can all have different hair and skin tones and still have the same father!

Miguel: The show should definitely try to show us all three types of Dornishmen. I don’t think the Martells should reflect one specific ethnicity or culture, as the show’s production has gone above and beyond to give each region and House its own distinctive traits inspired from real world cultures. House Martell should be no different. The Sand Snakes are each unique and really interesting in their own way, and the casting should definitely reflect that. Tyene Sand’s appearance (blonde, blue-eyed) is important considering her role in the story. This could be an amazing opportunity for actors of color in a genre usually lacking in diversity.

Sade: I think much of the Martells’ identity is wrapped up in the differences between them, the rest of the ruling families, and the subsequent “othering” that they are subjected to as a result of this. I would love for casting to show the diversity of the people who live in Dorne without being confined to the three archetypes that were ultimately placed upon Dorne by an outsider.

As for the Sand Snakes, I would hope they would consider the fact that their father is a person of color and they are too, regardless of who their mothers are. And no, Tyene having blonde hair and blue eyes does not automatically make her white. Genetics, people. See the Solomon Islanders, Jesse Williams, Michael Ealy, and Dudley O’Shaughnessy for further reference.

Jonelle: Even though there are said to be distinct types of Dornish people, they all intermarry and interact, so the descriptions are somewhat outdated—just look at the physical diversity amongst Oberyn’s daughters alone. I think first and foremost, the show should simply adhere to representing the Martells as people of colour—and also consider the diversity and different types of people of colour represented in Dorne, but they don’t necessarily have to strictly endeavor to such simplistic descriptions.

Amin: I think it is important that Dorne’s diversity of ethnicities be well represented. I am aware that the fact that there are three distinct types of people in Dorne may be lost in the in the realities of adapting the books to the screen. Nonetheless, I think it is critical for HBO to take advantage of the inherent diversity of Dorne to cast Dornish men and women from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.

There have been vigorous debates on exactly where to place Dorne, but it is important to keep in mind that Dorne, like the rest of the story, is not a 1:1 transition from our world to Martin’s saga. George himself has noted how boring it would be to have the 1:1 parallels for both characters and locations and it is mainly inspirations of various sources that aid George in his splendid world building. The various placements of Dorne have been reflected in the vast quantity of fan art, which have drawn Dornish castles, vistas of Sunspear and Dornish characters that vary in range from Southern European to Middle Eastern and South Asian.

As George has noted in his books, “[b]lood, custom, geography, and history all helped to set the Dornishmen apart from the other kingdoms.” HBO can take the opportunity here to follow in George’s footsteps and cast from that spectrum of ethnic backgrounds.

Alexander Siddig

As said, there is room for variety here and most casting choices could be justified one way or another with the textual references present in the books. It is my hope that they do pick some of the more ethnically diverse actors for the Martells (Alexander Siddig being one of my dream choices) and at least some of the other Dornish characters.

Fury’s note: I’m on board with Alexander Siddig being either Martell prince, but the filming of his role in BBCOne’s new series “Atlantis” may conflict with Thrones‘s shooting schedule this year.

Miss: I definitely don’t think there should be any operating mentality that multi-ethnic societies are too difficult for viewers to understand. Star Trek had black Vulcans two decades ago, people can handle Dornish people of different ethnicities (planets aren’t provinces, but I doubt the viewer psychology issue is very different). Should they go through the trouble to show all three? It seems to me like more trouble to stick to only one ethnicity, since it limits the talent pool.

Also there are people who aren’t white and have “fair” skin, so it’s possible to cast the entirety of Dorne with actors who aren’t white and fit the known descriptions. While I wouldn’t mind if some sandy Dornish here and there were played by white actors, I think all the Martells and Sand Snakes should be actors who aren’t white. The imbalance of representation in the real world is too great to not pay attention to, all else being equal.

Miguel: The various ethnic groups of Dorne (and people’s attempts to classify them into neat categories) kind of remind me of how most people view Latinos in real life. Most people assume that Latinos are a single race with brown skin, dark hair, and dark eyes, but there are white, black, and Asian Latinos, too. Latino actors are often brought up when it comes to casting the Martells, and so people assume that all of Dorne must fit the phenotype. Obviously, there are limitations to what can be done on-screen, but there should be clear distinctions as characters like Gerold Dayne [Darkstar] would be physically similar to the Targaryens.

MhysaThe roundtable began before the airing of episode 10. After “Mhysa” aired, some critics and fans expressed concerns about the depiction of the final scene in the episode where Daenerys is embraced and lifted by the freed slaves of Yunkai. We touched upon that subject in our continuing conversation.

Rachel: In light of the Season 3 finale: I’m actually going to change my hope for a multi-ethnic Martell House and say it probably HAS to be multi ethnic and not should but HAS TO BE.

I’m just really shocked that they had Emilia in that white wig get carried around by a bunch of non-white appearing extras and thought to themselves, “Yea. That looks good. That’s a good savior shot that is not at all horrible.” After I watched that ending scene my hopes for the Dornish to be anything but colonial accessories dropped.

Amin: Is it just me who suspects that the “white saviour” theme at the end was intentionally created that way by the writers? I think they were attempting to tie it to later events. As Sean T. Collins put it, “it won’t all be crowdsurfing and dragon flyovers forever.” That being said, the show is doing the contrast to an extreme, like it sometimes does.

Sade: If the commentary was “Hey this is going to blow up in her face later! Just wait and see!” they definitely went about it the wrong way. The dramatic camera angles, rousing music (in all seriousness, children singing just makes things a thousand times more epic), close ups of grateful slaves, the “christ-like” lifting, the flying dragons, the bird’s eye camera pan out—-the whole nine yards. In my opinion, this scene had a celebratory feel fully intending the viewers to accept it as an uplifting conclusion. There is no camera pan on say-Jorah or Missandei-giving a face of concern or disapproval. As spectators of this event like we were, wouldn’t a negative reaction from them alert the viewer that this happy ending isn’t coming without consequences?

Rachel: Maybe this was meant to be a much more critical scene than it first appears to be. I’ve been enjoying the show but I found that scene with Dany to be so heavy handed and unaware of the imagery that I almost couldn’t believe it. Is it actually possible that everyone involved in making that scene happen did so without a thought to how imperialistic and racist it was? I’m totally willing to give the show runners the benefit of the doubt. Maybe this is a critique of Dany’s own storyline that will be more fully revealed in future seasons as we all know.

Xaro4. Lastly, with regard to race casting in Game of Thrones, how would you grade it thus far? When you look at Westeros and Essos, do you see a world you can believe? Also, as book fans, do you find the show better or worse than the source material in this regard? Is this a world you can live in?

Sade: I’m not sure if I can grade the race casting in Game of Thrones, yet. I do think they have ignored opportunities to include characters of color from the books and expand on them. Also, King’s Landing is strangely homogenous for a major city with trade ships coming from all over the world. I wonder about the decisions in the casting of Thoros of Myr. I think they may have gotten too caught up in the monolithic fantasy ideal where everyone is the same unless they are from a strange land. The Martells challenge that ideal as an old family from lands that haven’t been conquered (or enslaved). They are people of color who are major players in this game. It’s a chance for the show runners to work with another aspect of ASOIAF that further separates it from typical fantasy series. I sincerely hope they don’t disappoint us.

ThorosRachel: Well I won’t lie I was absolutely shocked that Thoros of Myr was a white guy. I don’t know why I should be shocked when the majority of the populace of Qarth and Astapor are also white guys. It’s a big wide world with two epically enormous continents that encompass most of the interesting bits of real history that GRRM likes to steal from… and everybody but 3 dudes and a whore are white. It’s pretty pathetic. The books totally do a better job (but when do books not do a better job?) I understand that they cast a white guy with red hair as Thoros in order to create some kind of visual connection between him and Melisandre, but it also bothers me. The mysterious white people and their strange god from the East! Orientalizing much? If they decide to cast the Martells as swarthy European types then the show runners would also be missing an easy way to expand the scale of this fictional world. They shrank it when they gave Littlefinger those teleportation powers.

Putting a few people of color in their cast creates, for the viewer, the illusion that whatever this world is, it’s big enough for different cultures and vast, geographically distinct areas of this world to exist. They spent so much money on the map animations for the intro, so why not make it mean something?! Ya know, for the most part I’m pretty happy with the show. The basic storylines are clear. I appreciate that they haven’t strayed too far from the books. I think the cast is wonderful. I think the show (with the exception of the case of the curious and continuing lack of extras ((WHERE ARE THE SMALL FOLK?)) is wonderful and I’m proud that a book series that I would never have thought would be adapted, was adapted and that it has found a huge audience. I love seeing every 3rd person on my subway commute to work reading these books and it is totally because of the show and how great it is.

That being said there is no way in all seven hells that I would live in Westeros. I’m also a sucker for indoor plumbing.

Marissa: Even medieval Europe was not racially homogenous; there were noblemen of color and of course Dorne is partially inspired by Moorish Spain. These themes and backstories can be really emphasized and highlighted if HBO casts characters of color as one of the ruling families of the Seven Kingdoms. Based on my observations as an advocate for diverse media representations, sometimes Hollywood will tokenize women and people of color and then point at it and call it diverse. (So for example, in the Marvel cinematic universe franchise, diversity is the inclusion of black men and white women even though that doesn’t actually reflect the entire diversity of our world.) Game of Thrones has done a bit better than that—there have been women of color on the show, for example, and characters of color are included when the predominantly white Westerosi characters are in a position to encounter them. Still, that shouldn’t be the only time when characters of color appear in the series.

SallaSo far the characters of color presented in the show have been the wild Dothraki, a sailor-pirate, a character framed as a deceptive jumped-up immigrant merchant, a brothel worker, etc. The Martells are old blood and old money, they are royalty, and they are people of color. This is really an opportunity for the showrunners to expand diversity on Game of Thrones and I hope they take it. I’ve been waiting for four years holding my breath that they will not whitewash the Martell roles. I can’t wait to see who they cast.

Miguel: I have been somewhat underwhelmed by the lack of diversity on the show, especially with regards to characters who are people of color in the books. Essos in particular has suffered on the show. It feels like a majority of Daenerys’s supporting cast, particularly the Dothraki characters that show fans have come to care about, are replaceable to the writers. Even Ian McElhinney (Barristan Selmy) was disappointed when he found out Strong Belwas was cut from the show! And we often hear characters mention places like Dorne and the Summer Islands, but these characters aren’t acknowledge on-screen.


Jonelle:
If I were to give it a physical grade, it definitely wouldn’t be something that you’d want to point out to your parents on your report card. Diversity means much more than having a person of colour occasionally appear in the background to fit a quota; it means having positive and/or multifaceted portrayals of people of colour (a show that really wins in this department is Spartacus, for example). For the most part, people of colour on the show have been caricaturized, in positions of servitude, portrayed as monolithic savages, framed as betrayers, altogether erased from the series (Alayaya and Chataya, Jalabhar Xo, Jhiqui disappearing without explanation, Irri being killed off etc), or whitewashed (Thoros of Myr). There seems to be more diversity represented in the actual books as opposed to the series, so I do indeed find it worse than the source material.

I think George R. R. Martin attempted to represent at least some diversity in ASOIAF because historically—due to the ease of trade—it’s only sensible that people of colour would settle in Westeros, especially in a diverse area like Dorne. So far, most of the people of colour on the show have been sequestered to Essos, which is a pretty inaccurate depiction of the diversity in the book series and I think more diversity would certainly enrich the show and better reflect the intricate world George created.

Amin: I think HBO has done a relatively good job with casting its characters so far. I would have liked the Dothraki to have more people of East Asian descent present, particularly when there aren’t that many in the books already. And that is not to say anything disparaging of George, as he is writing in the Western tradition and his focus in the books has always been the story of Westeros, even when certain characters are traversing Essos.

I think HBO had good intentions when it cast characters such as Xaro Xhoan Daxos and Salladhor Saan differently from what was in the books. The beauty of casting Dorne is that they don’t have to deviate from the books to cast characters from a variety of ethnicities. It is George’s Dornish worldbuilding that has particularly made Dorne my own favourite place in Westeros. I like that George created the various groups of people in Dorne and lay down a spectrum of ethnicities that many of us can personally identify with.

As a person of Middle Eastern descent, one reason I particularly enjoyed reading about Dorne is because there are some characters there I could actually make a Halloween costume for or cosplay without feeling a little weird about it. Also, given that much of the Middle East is currently behind the rest of the world on issues like women’s rights and sexual freedoms, it is refreshing to see Martin avoid a potential stereotype with Dorne and turn our potential expectations on our heads, just like he has already subverted so many classical fantasy tropes and stereotypes.

Miss: I don’t think I watch enough television to grade in a standardized way. But from a personal standpoint I do feel the absence of people like Jalabhar at court or Chataya and Alayaya in King’s Landing. I would say the books are a bit better, if only because the books’ Westerosi continent is more diverse and fewer secondary characters in Dany’s storyline get killed off as collateral damage. The show did give us a Volantene Talisa which should be mentioned though, as well as a Lysene (Salladhor Saan) played by a British-Zimbabwean actor.

mapWithout getting into my personal autobiography, I’ve watched shows that are less representative, so I can suspend disbelief because I’ve been forced to suspend disbelief due to the limits of availability, and because of that it’s difficult for me to answer the question in a relevant way. But I know, because I’ve read, that medieval Europe didn’t consist solely of white people, and for what it’s worth whenever people ask me where I’d be in the story, I inevitably find Dorne or Essos the only instinctive answers. It’s hard for me to separate the experiences since I read the books so long ago, but trying anyway: in the show I suppose I could see myself in Essos, although I don’t think much has been inspired by South Asia in specific. I can’t see myself in HBO’s Westeros yet; that would get easier if the Dornish are cast a certain way. Though honestly for me specifically it’d probably still be a function of imagination bolstered by a sense of verisimilitude at most. But for someone else it could make a big difference, and that’s important to me.

Hogan: There have been some interesting changes made—Lucian Msamati’s Salladhor Saan is one that stands out for me in a positive way. Unfortunately, the show sort of dropped the ball with some great book-established POC—Chataya and Alayaya come to mind. As far as establishing Westeros as a pseudo-medieval European type continent, I think it is rather believable (my biggest hang ups have to do with the costuming/sets), but I think Essos is where the show could have introduced a bigger variety of ethnicities. I actually had no objection to the Xaro Xhoan Daxos change, I just felt that either the writing, the acting, or both fell a little flat. But if anyone’s story line can be believably more diverse it’s Daenerys’. As far as comparing the show to the book, I think the book has done a slightly better job than the show has. I do, however, believe this may have come at the cost of cast consolidation, which is why I think it’s so important to establish the Dornish as a noticeably different race. Not only (IMO) did GRRM write them as such, but it’s also an opportunity for the show to bring some major POC players into the fold.

KovarroMiguel: I was really disappointed that we didn’t see the bloodrider Kovarro at all this season after they spent so much time building him up last season. The addition of Grey Worm and Missandei to Dany’s supporting cast was great, but it still feels lacking. The Dothraki this season were background extras at best in Dany’s storyline and it seems like a grave mistake considering how important the Dothraki continue to be to her. I’m still holding out hope that we could get Strong Belwas next season, maybe as a pit fighter introduced in Meereen. It would be great to see Quhuru Mo, a Summer Islander who eventually plays a big part in Sam’s storyline.

Marissa: It definitely seems like Dany has replaced one group of people of color for another and that is really awkward from a storyteller and viewer point of view. I feel like if this show wants to have a lasting legacy that can compete with the legacy of the novels, it is going to need to develop a better sense of self awareness when it comes to the depiction of women and people of color.

Please, show runners, depict the characters of color in GoT (who are already in the minority anyway) with conscientiousness and respect. Hire some writers of color or at least some white writers who are knowledgeable about avoiding embarrassing and offensive racial tropes. Cast some more characters of color to make your story less contrived and increase the verisimilitude of GRRM’s epic and expansive and diverse world.

If Game of Thrones had been made ten or fifteen years ago you would not have access to the same amount of feedback from viewers about topics such as diversity and representation, but you do have access to these voices and these insights today–please take them into account. We all want GoT to be an amazing show, and we want to be able to look back and say that gender and race and sexuality in this series was not clunkily handled.

Couldn’t have said it better myself! Game of Thrones has the opportunity to present a diverse creation in House Martell and Dorne, and I hope the show rises to the challenge.

Thank you to everyone for sharing their opinions generously, and special thanks to our friends at Fat Pink Cast and A Podcast of Ice and Fire for their participation.


561 Comments

  1. Newbie
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Hodor!

  2. Adrian
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Ha. “Nigerian American,” “Taiwanese American,” “…white.”

  3. Zack
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    God, you got a great panel there. I’m on board with you guys. Dorne is pretty vital and it would be incredibly dull if they go for stock white Europeans to fill these roles.

  4. Michael274
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I just knew they were gonna bring in discussion those horrible cardboard characters named Alayayayaya and Chatayayayaya . I’m glad the show didn’t include them because :
    1. They are not interesting characters
    2. If anything it would look more bad that they portrayed black females as prostitutes .
    I can’t believe they even brought up Jalabhar whatever his name is. Even the Iron Throne is more of a character than him . And how the hell is Saalador portrayed as a savage ? Did that woman even watched the show entirely or just watched some youtube clips and read about it from something else ?

  5. zaprowsdower
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Awesome roundtable.

    Didn’t GRRM already say that Strong Belwas was cut?

  6. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Michael274,

    Wouldn’t a better solution be to not get rid of Chataya and Alayaya, and to have the population of the show in general be more racially mixed so that the only black females around are not prostitutes? That makes more sense to me than erasing C & A.

    Chataya views sex work as a noble and thing; it’s respected in her culture. Views on prostitution in our world are also not uniform. So it “looking bad” is subjective. Anyway, we’ll never know, since she was cut.

  7. Michael274
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Adrian,

    Yeah, i love the obviously political corectitudeness around here when it comes to other ethnicities . I love this site and all the articles all wonderfully written but i’m disappointed in this one . It feels like a gathering of a bunch of conservatives .

  8. Balon01
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    So Daenerys shouldn’t free slaves because her skin is white. Lol. What a racist roundtable.

  9. Voiceareason
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I do enjoy the setting, and the way it overturns ideas of race in Westeros, but…
    The story is weak, and setting can only take you so far. Frankly, the Myrcella plot just isn’t that interesting, particularly because it’s with character’s we hardly know, and there is almost no build up to speak of. There still hasn’t been any payoff with the Sandsnakes either, so why even bother introducing them? Why devote so much time and money to these various women, only to have them locked in a tower for the remainder of the plotline? Unless D&D bring on major changes, I see this storyline being poorly received by critics and audiences.
    The characters are mostly bland or cringeworthy. Areo Hotah? Darkstar? Arys Oakheart? Quentyn? Even Arianne arguably.

    The one reason I want Dorne to be adapted, is to see Doran, who is fucking baller. If they can get a strong enough actor for Doran, he may be able to carry it.

  10. zaprowsdower
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Balon01,

    Yup. That is exactly what they said. Good reading comprehension.

  11. Turncloak
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I disagree with a lot of this article. I think the exclusions of minor characters like Chataya, Alayaya, and Strong Belwas were essential. This is the biggest cast on television and those characters are not important in driving the story forward. I also love Thoros of Myr’s performance by Paul Kaye. Could a person of color performed his role? Possibly. But I don’t want to sacrifice acting talent just to fill a quota. When it comes to the Martells, the show should find some excellent diverse actors as I believe this is actually an important part of their story. My dream casting for Oberyn Martell is Antonio Banderas. It would be neat for Tyene Sand to be white while all of her sand snake sisters are of color. That would enrich the diversity. But again, I’m not too bothered by ethnicity as long as the acting is top notch. Nina is golden when it comes to casting.

  12. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Michael274,

    Hmm? Political correctness is a slur typically used by those of an overly conservative mindset, so I’m not really sure where you’re coming from with this statement.

  13. Michael274
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Turncloak,

    I agree that they show needs to make the Dornish as people of color. But , like you i don’t understand why they complain about crappy minor characters that have no purpose in the books . Is it just so they can have more black people ? Because if that’s the reason then it’s absolutely awful !

  14. Turncloak
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    zaprowsdower,

    Yes Strong Belwas was cut according to GRRM. I expect we won’t be seeing him. This is a good thing since Dany already has Barristan, Jorah, Daario, and Greyworm each needing screen time

  15. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m stoked for Dorne too, one of my favourite settings in the books! Though I suspect a good chunk of the Dornish characters will be cut for the sake of keeping things streamlined, I’m hoping the ones included really represent the diversity and uniqueness of the kingdom.

  16. WeirwoodTreeHugger
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Hopefully, Arianne is written as a three dimensional character and not just an “exotic” sex object. I would like to see the Martell family dynamics fully realized.
    Certainly the people involved with making the show are aware that there would be an outcry if they cast wasps in the Dornish roles. I’ll be cautiously optimistic.

  17. Turncloak
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Michael274,

    Exactly. I find it pretty insane when people complain about those exclusions. Really? We are going to waste time on Alayaya and crew? No thanks. Maybe they could have cast Ros as a person of color since she basically represented the brothel prostitutes but that ship has sailed

  18. Voiceareason
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    But who could they have as black in Westeros? It wouldnt make sense to have the peasants as PoC. Maybe some merchants and traders in King’s Landing? Then again, this series has always been about the nobility, so there aren’t many oppurtunities to actually meet the commonfolk.

    Also, I definitely think that having the only two black females in westeros as whores who worship sex would be decried as racist.

  19. BlackTalon
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    This discussion revolving around racism in a FICTIONAL universe is beyond retarded.

    Nowhere in Martins book is there the slightest hint of racism, but the pc jerks apparently can’t help themselves. They are bad enough here, now they are trying to f*ck up Westeros and Essos too.

  20. Khal-A-Bunga
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Straight from George’s (Not a) Blog:

    Most of these people have obviously not read the books.

    If they had, they would know there is no racial component to slavery as practiced on Essos. It is based on slavery as it existed in the ancient world. The Romans and Greek were just as willing to enslave other Greeks and Romans as they were Celts, Goths, Germans, and Africans. It’s on the page.

    However, when you are filming scenes in Morocco, and you put out a call for extras, it’s Moroccans who show up. Most of them are darker skinned than our European actors (though there is actually a lot of different races and ethnic groups represented in the country, including Arabs, Berbers, Africans, French, etc). It is not so different from shooting a scene in Belfast and putting out a call for extras, whereupon a lot of Irish show up.

    We fly our actors from country to country and continent to continent, at considerable expense, but that’s not a practical consideration when dealing with extras. So in any big crowd scene, the prevailing skin color is always going to echo that of whatever the location is that you’re shooting in.

    But just for the record, yes, Dany is white, just as she has been from the beginning, and she may or may not be a savior (the last scene in “Mhysa” is not the end of her journey by any means), but she frees slaves of all colors, races, creeds, and nationalities.

    And another from the comments section on an article discussing this scene…

    “So would this somehow be better if Dany just left the Dothraki and let them continue raping, and left the Unsullied to be slaves? Why is it so offensive that a character with no power at all, who was sold as a sex slave herself by her brother, rose above her situation and is releasing thousands of others from their bonds? This isn’t okay because she’s white? That’s racist.”

    That is all.

  21. LordStarkington
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I find it kind of strange that some of the round table includes mentions of wanting substantive POC characters (which I agree with) and then also includes lamentations over the likes of Jalabhar not being included. Really, what would make the representation of different racial groups better would be to include a character who was never more than a running joke in the books (whose sole positive quality was that he was a good archer, which in itself was meaningless beyond the tournament in book one)? Strong Belwas is an example of a fleshed out POC? Sure, they add “color” to the story (and I mean that both in terms of ethnicity and some flavor), but I don’t think they do much other than that from a substantive point of view, and including them solely because of their race is tokenism.

    Personally, while I definitely fall on the “do right by Dorne” side of things (I’d be a salty Dornishman and have mixed-heritage myself, so I have an irrational attachment to the Martells), I think these issues are just as pervasive in the books. I’ve seen people talk about the ‘whitewashing’ on the show, but the characters that are mourned are always these side characters there weren’t given much attention or fleshing out in the books either. I don’t buy that not having Jalabhar Xho or Alayaya or Chataya or even Belwas (yes he has a couple of cool scenes but otherwise is just a slightly more interesting Areo Hotah) somehow represents very much.

    As for Dany’s storyline in particular, the ‘orientalism’ – intentional or not – in her story has come up more than a few times in book discussions too, I’m hoping the show handles it better at least by the time she gets to Meereen, so we see the various nobles as people rather than venal, short-sighted people like they are in the books, because we only see them through Westerosi eyes

  22. Michael274
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Khal&#ouo45;A-Bunga,

    I love you ! Not in a gay manner obviously ! :)

  23. Calimie
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Turncloak,

    Antonio Banderas would be a terrible Oberyn. Just because someone speaks Spanish it doesn’t make him a poc.

    Naveen Andrews, otoh…

  24. zaprowsdower
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Khal-A-Bunga,

    I think that most people understand the logistic reasoning behind that ending scene looking like that. It doesn’t make it less uncomfortable to watch. For me at least.

    BlackTalon,

    No one said the books are racist. The exact opposite in fact.

  25. meowmix
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I hope they include dornish rules of inheritance and really make a point about that!

  26. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Khal-A-Bunga,

    This is a really good explanation for why that scene is the way it is. There was no intentional racism involved. However, George’s “didn’t read the books” thing, well, some people just don’t, it’s not a bad thing. The show has to stand on it’s own, and unfortunately, there’s no way to really get the reality of shooting that scene across to people just watching the show, so it’s understandable why a lot of people saw it as in bad taste. It’s kind of a weird situation where I don’t think anyone is really to blame.

  27. Rebekah
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I think including minor characters in the show just because they’re not white would be kind of counterproductive. It would be just a way to say, ‘See, were not racist!’, but Chataya and Alayaya are not really that important in the grand scheme. GRRM’s world is a medieval world with a distinct European influence so to a certain point it’s mostly white people in Westeros. I agree that Dorne is full of mixed ethnicities, and when reading the books I imagined the Martells to look more Spanish/Italian or Turkic. (Not the Sand Snakes).
    As for Dany in that last scene, I absolutely didn’t feel it was racist. I get that some people would, but nearly every ethnicity has been a slave throughout time. The Gauls were slaves during Roman times and they were white. No one still has a chip on their shoulder about that. Granted, it was a long time ago, but still! Racism works both ways. Dany was sold herself!
    If people don’t feel represented in a show, remember that it’s not a story based in our world. Would you rather they cast non-white actors in an effort to just fill a quota so people don’t get butt-hurt? I try to be sensitive, I really do. But a lot of people are oversensitive. Loosen up!

  28. Calimie
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Turncloak,

    That’s exactly what they did. They replaced two women of colour with Ros and Littlefinger. Of course that can’t be fixed now but it’s ridiculous that it happened in the first place.

  29. zaprowsdower
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand why people can’t talk about diversity in ANYTHING in pop culture without saying “filling a quota”? I can want talented actors of color on a show that I love without some imaginary freaking quota.

  30. Michael274
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Calimie,

    And what would they add to the show aside from being poc ? Boredom for the audience?

  31. John G.
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I hate Dorne. I find the chapters set there to be by far the worst in the series. The characters, especially the Sand Snakes, are poorly drawn and dull, shallow reflections of single traits assigned to each. The dialogue between the characters is appallingly bad and the story line, particularly Doran’s “plots,” is complete nonsense. I hope the Dorne story line is cut from the show.

    I think it’s also pretty clear that the Dornish are “white” people and considered indiscriminately from other Westerosi; Quentyn’s chapters in A Dance With Dragons make it pretty clear. The way Archibald and Gerris are described (and Quentyn himself by Barristan and Dany) suggests that they are typical Westerosi. Although Dorne has different food it still shares the same religion and language with the rest of the continent and is probably more similar to the Crownlands, the Reach, etc than the North is.

    People can keep arguing about whether they are Spanish (white), Moorish (white), Arab (white), Italian (white), Turkish (white), Greek (white) or whatever type of Mediterranean they are clearly meant to reflect. They’re an amalgamation of different Mediterranean cultures, which makes them white, and the continued use of the ridiculous term “people of color” isn’t going to change that. Vince Vaughn (Syrian) and Ralph Nader (Lebanese) don’t look any different from the rest of white America and neither will the Dornish. Casting an actor like Alexander Siddig doesn’t change the racial makeup of the cast. Dorne is not meant to be India.

  32. Voiceareason
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Calimie,

    “So hey guys, we have an extremely limited budget, but I was thinking we should cast these two whores called Chataya and Alayaya”
    “Are they important?”
    “Err, not really”
    “Are they interesting?”
    “Kinda…”
    “Then why should we cast them?”
    “Ummm, because we need more diversity?”
    “Yup sounds legit. Sorry Esme, you’re fired, Aiden you’ll have to take a break”

  33. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Rebekah,

    Isn’t that the reason for the article though? The show now has a chance to cast major characters, who do have an impact on the story, for reasons other than just having them in there to be inclusive. A chance to show some new real, vibrant characters with their own distinct personalities. I do agree that some of the characters not mentioned are easy cuts from the story, as are many other white characters who have been cut, they just aren’t pivotal enough to the narrative to be included. The Martells, however, are a totally different story.

  34. zaprowsdower
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    John G.,

    GRRM told Janina Gavankar that she looked like Lady Nym. http://ilarge.listal.com/image/4033037/936full-janina-gavankar.jpg

  35. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    zaprowsdower,

    It’s very telling, isn’t it?

  36. WeirwoodTreeHugger
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Khal-A-Bunga,

    Thanks for including that. Because race is a sensitive and weighty subject it’s understandable that people react strongly. However, some people are too quick to assume racism and some are too eager to rail against “political correctness”
    Cutting and condensing minor characters is necessary for the TV show. A lot of white characters get disappeared too. It is important to cast POC as the Martells though. They are not servants or prostitutes. They have power as nobility not as savages. Casting actors of Middle East or SE Asian descent as the Martells would add diversity in a meaningful way.

  37. Turncloak
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Calimie,

    So you are saying Antonio Banderas is not a person of color? You sound ridiculous

  38. Turncloak
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Calimie,

    Chataya and Alayaya were not major players. Cutting them was justified. Game of thrones combined their characters into Ros. And even then Ros wasn’t that great of a character. Bringing those 2 up is not a valid argument as their characters bring very little to the table. Same thing with white characters that were cut like Cheswyck, Weese, Raff the Sweetling, etc

  39. WeirwoodTreeHugger
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I think the issue is, people hear “white” they mostly think European particularly they assume northern European. The thing is, “white” is a constantly shifting definition and it is pretty much fictitious. 100 years ago Irish, Russians, eastern Europeans and European Jewish people were not white. Now they are. Currently the definition of white is expanding to include many Asian people. What “white” really means in our society is “high status ethnicity”. I’m not by the way saying that I agree with the notion that there should be high and low status ethnicities. I’m just pointing out an unfortunate reality.
    Maybe we should clarify that when we say the Martells shouldn’t be white, we mean they shouldn’t be European. Ethnicity and “color” aren’t necessarily the same thing.

  40. John
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Westeros was conquered by the Andals, so all of them are pretty much from the same race. And yes, Dorne has a desert and stuff, but so does parts of the US and Mexico.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t really get the point of the discussion and why people make such a big deal of the last scene. Yes it could be viewed in that “the white savior” sort of light, but it could also be viewed as how GRRM described it (a former slave tries to free other slaves).

    My theory is, that this is a very American discussion. I think in the US it is much more important to show the race diversity, for Europe it would be more about trying to avoid to discriminate a religion. (At least it would be for Germans)
    (Of course I could be wrong, because I’m not American and can’t speak for all Europeans (I’m German, btw.))

  41. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Turncloak:
    Calimie,

    So you are saying Antonio Banderas is not a person of color? You sound ridiculous.

    Banderas is actually a white Spaniard, as I understand it.

  42. Roger König
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    John:
    Westeros was conquered by the Andals, so all of them are pretty much from the same race. And yes, Dorne has a desert and stuff, but so does parts of the US and Mexico.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t really get the point of the discussion and why people make such a big deal of the last scene. Yes it could be viewed in that “the white savior” sort of light, but it could also be viewed as how GRRM described it (a former slave tries to free other slaves).

    My theory is, that this is a very American discussion. I think in the US it is much more important to show the race diversity, for Europe it would be more about trying to avoid to discriminate a religion. (At least it would be for Germans)
    (Of course I could be wrong, because I’m not American and can’t speak for all Europeans (I’m German, btw.))

    John:
    Westeros was conquered by the Andals, so all of them are pretty much from the same race. And yes, Dorne has a desert and stuff, but so does parts of the US and Mexico.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t really get the point of the discussion and why people make such a big deal of the last scene. Yes it could be viewed in that “the white savior” sort of light, but it could also be viewed as how GRRM described it (a former slave tries to free other slaves).

    My theory is, that this is a very American discussion. I think in the US it is much more important to show the race diversity, for Europe it would be more about trying to avoid to discriminate a religion. (At least it would be for Germans)
    (Of course I could be wrong, because I’m not American and can’t speak for all Europeans (I’m German, btw.))

    I totally agree with you. I am also from Germany.

  43. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Turncloak,

    Its interesting that the characters D&D chose to invent (as a one-to-one or one-to-many replacement) all had violent endings and were highly sexualized (Talisa’s derriere could have had its own end-credit given the screen time it got). Unfortunately, they were expendable storytelling devices. Did they do this out of respect for GRRM’s work (to align the inevitable)? Who knows? Perhaps Arianne will be another amalgamation of characters, but hopefully not with the same fate. Hopefully they do Dorne respectfully and tie it to the Targaryen/Andal legacy.

  44. Alen
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I’m a big fan of the books but I don’t think Martin’s saga is as diverse as some of you make it out to be.

  45. Turncloak
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    Banderas is pretty much the definition of “Olive skin”. This guy IS Oberyn Martell. Add to that movie quality acting ability and a big name and you have an excellent Red Viper. My opinion of course but to say that he isn’t a person of color is erroneous

    http://www.google.com/search?q=antonio+banderas&newwindow=1&safe=off&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=qPS9UfHTBum6yAGV0YDQCg&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=320&bih=418#biv=i%7C4%3Bd%7CwYXNYr8EcBTC9M%3A

  46. Omar Brown
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    As a person of color myself, I find the whole application of real world race relations and demograpics onto a fantasy show, kinda rediculous.

    But if you wanna critisize race in fantasy, go watch the stuff Tolkien wrote and then look at ASOAIF.

    Also the final scene in Mhysa was fine, very close to what GRRM wrote, except in the book you didn’t see the crowd of swarthy skinned folks, that is medium translation folks and not everything translates the way you think it will.

    Anyways, RED VIPER! Yeah!

  47. msd
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Re. Chataya and Alayaya

    I wasn’t fussed that they were cut either but I can understand why it came up. To put it another way, let’s say the cast was 98% female and 2% male and they cut a couple of male characters. That would reduce an already small pool to an even tinier pool until there’s barely anything left. When you haven’t got much to begin with in the first place cutting anything represents a much larger proportion overall and has a greater impact.

  48. Turncloak
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard,

    I disagree, Thoros of Myr is an Tom Sevinstrings, Lem Lemoncloak and Thoros. He had not had a violent ending and is not sexualized. Also, Did we need to see Talisa sex? I would say Yes. She was an important part of Robb’s arc and their love eventually lead to his doom. Also Robb had sex with Jeyne Westerling many times so no big deal.

  49. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Turncloak,

    Skin color is not the sole defining aspect of the term “Person of Color.” When I get a tan, I look olivey with my Italian heritage but I’m definitely not a POC.

    As far as him being Oberyn, ethnicity discussion aside I just don’t think he’s a very good actor so he wouldn’t be my dream pick.

  50. Hottenator
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    John G.,

    Pretty sure the Moors were brown… wtf??

    Seriously, I’ll never understand the people on here who get all flustered and fussy at the thought of having non-whites in a medieval setting. Dragons: Check! Zombies: Check! Brown people in Westeros: WHY ARE YOU RUINING MY ESCAPISM.

    Quentyn and his buddies were still considered typical Westerosi because there ARE brown people in book!Westeros. Aside from the Dornish, we have another example: the Spicers who married into house Westerling. Pretty sure Maggy the Frog was brown. Do you really believe this is a one-time thing and that no other brown person ever moved to live in Westeros?? Essosi and Summer Islanders frequent Westerosi ports all the time, why is it so unbelievable that some of them would and HAVE settled in Westeros?

    It’s clearly established that the only reason humans are now populating Westeros is because they came through Dorne, from ESSOS. So you think there was some kind of Brown people filter between Essos and Westeros or can you accept that Brown people crossing the gap is entirely plausible and supported by books elements?

    And as for the variety of people in Essos, the Andals themselves were from that continent originally. And I think the Andals as the blondest, whitest that ever whited, correct me if I’m wrong. Slavery in Essos isn’t only for people of color, white people were enslaved too, and brown nobility exists. Which is why HBO’s rendition of the Mhysa scene looked like a cheesy unicef commercial.

    I know Hollywood has been selling the idea of a completely white medieval eastern Europe for years. Tip: that’s not the way it was. Boats and migration wasn’t only a white man’s thing. And Moorish Spain wasn’t white. Read a book.

  51. Bard
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m not so sure how much of Dorne we’re actually going to see next season besides Oberyn and his paramour, because the Dornish storyline in the books starts right after Oberyn’s death, and I don’t think that this special event is going to happen before Episode 7 (or maybe even later).

    They could change that however, maybe we’ll even witness Oberyns departure from Sunspear (or the Water Gardens) in episode 1. The audience would be introduced to Dorne and characters like Arianne and Doran more early and we would have a seperate Dornish storyline even before Oberyns fatal duel with Gregor. The last three or two episodes could feature Arianne’s failed plan to crown Myrcella as a reaction to Oberyn’s death and the season would end with “fire and blood”.

    I think they have to show us at least a little bit of the Dornish storyline, because Quentin’s story would be a part of Season 5 (I’m sure they will streamline it very heavily though). Although they’re a part of AFFC, the events in Dorne are happening simultaneously with the late ASOS timeline, so it is very well possible. Let’s hope the writers agree with that…

    (Sorry for any grammatical errors, I’m German and not writing in my mother language).

  52. Turncloak
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    I agree as person of color is a very loose and I would argue, ineffective term. But to me that does not matter. if an Actor is ethnically White but looks the part of the character and his acting ability fits the part than he should get the role. For example Sicilians are very tan but are Italian. My argument is that you should choose the best actor for the role regardless of ethnicity. For the Red Viper, his Dornish look is an important part of his history. Weather it’s portrayed by an white person(sicillian/Spanish) or someone else is of little consequence as long as he performs well. I disagree on Banderas and think he would do well on the roll but that I my preference and opinion

  53. Paul
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    It’s strange to think that if they could have rounded up some nearby pasty faces to sprinkle amongst the Dany mhyshas, it would have put the lid on the pot just kept bubbling by those searching for racial insult.

  54. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Paul,

    There were a few people of different skin colours, I noticed. Still, saying people are actively searching to be insulted is kind of silly I think. Just as silly as thinking that the scene set out to be intentionally racist.

  55. VARGOAT
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Martin himself stated that he tried to create a medieval fantasy world. MEDIEVAL!! And I believe he created Westeros as some equivalent of medieval europe with Dornish people in appearance much alike to southern Europeans and northern Africans. Therefore it´s just reasonable that most of the inhabitants of westeros are white. It just reflects the situation like you would see it if you would possess a time travelling machine and go back to medieval europe. I guess you wouldn´see many people of colour either..
    I believe the producers of the show didn´t cut people of colour on purpose. As far as i remember they eve changed some of the characters skin colours >> Xharo Xhoan Daxos, Salador Saan. Of course they should give people of every ethnix group the oportunity to play a role in their show as long as it wouldn´t destroy the picture of westeros. I mean I would love to see asian jamie getting it on with african american Cersei but well I believe the show wouldn´t be as successful as it´s now

  56. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    WeirwoodTreeHugger,

    Totally agree with this!

  57. Meg
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I think the Martell’s family inheritance is not as radically different as the rest of Westeros, and therefore their setting is less interesting to me. The Sand Snakes are an example of this – they are Oberyn’s bastards. A man’s. His lineage is still what matters.

    For all of their bluster about female inheritance, Dorne plays within the patriarchal rules of what makes a “noble family.” They are not a matrilineal or matriarchal culture. When men decide what constitutes a family, we have this:

    *A bastard with no father, but claimed by the mother is not a “family.”
    *A bastard with no mother, but claimed by a father is a “family.”

    It’s a system rigged against women, and the kids, of course. In Dorne, these rules are still decided by the men and set up to benefit noble fathers, not mothers.

  58. Seonaidh Ceanneidigh
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Khal-A-Bunga:
    Straight from George’s (Not a) Blog:

    “Most of these people have obviously not read the books.

    If they had, they would know there is no racial component to slavery as practiced on Essos. It is based on slavery as it existed in the ancient world. The Romans and Greek were just as willing to enslave other Greeks and Romans as they were Celts, Goths, Germans, and Africans. It’s on the page.

    However, when you are filming scenes in Morocco, and you put out a call for extras, it’s Moroccans who show up. Most of them are darker skinned than our European actors (though there is actually a lot of different races and ethnic groups represented in the country, including Arabs, Berbers, Africans, French, etc). It is not so different from shooting a scene in Belfast and putting out a call for extras, whereupon a lot of Irish show up.

    We fly our actors from country to country and continent to continent, at considerable expense, but that’s not a practical consideration when dealing with extras. So in any big crowd scene, the prevailing skin color is always going to echo that of whatever the location is that you’re shooting in.

    But just for the record, yes, Dany is white, just as she has been from the beginning, and she may or may not be a savior (the last scene in “Mhysa” is not the end of her journey by any means), but she frees slaves of all colors, races, creeds, and nationalities.”

    And another from the comments section on an article discussing this scene…

    “So would this somehow be better if Dany just left the Dothraki and let them continue raping, and left the Unsullied to be slaves? Why is it so offensive that a character with no power at all, who was sold as a sex slave herself by her brother, rose above her situation and is releasing thousands of others from their bonds? This isn’t okay because she’s white? That’s racist.”

    That is all.

    This. The ‘white saviour’ stuff is the easiest, contrived and oft abused sort of critique you can make. I laughed a little when I read that Rachel, who opposed it the most vocally and vehemently, was described as being white. It made her so uncomfortable that I can’t help but suspect that she only reacted in such a way because she felt that she had to.

    I also think that it’s the lamest “controversy” in the series so far. Websites haven’t been running full spreads on the issue, no one’s demanded an apology from HBO, it didn’t make the news, nothing but a few notes in reviews and fan message boards from (sorry) some overly sensitive folk or people who are for some reason inclined towards these sort of critiques. No one complained when Daenerys freed and mobilised the Unsullied, who are dark-skinned to a man. I think that peoples’ disappointment with the lack of a cliffhanger/magical element has coloured (no pun intended) their interpretation of the scene.

  59. Omar Brown
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Just like house Tyrell, I only expect one or two people from Dorne to be introduced this season. It makes no sense to jump full steam ahead into that whole house, the show takes its time and we don’t need the others ( Doran and Arrianne ) till S5.

    I would not be surprised if all we get in s4 is the Red viper, it makes sense.

  60. JRR Tzolkin
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Turncloak:
    Calimie,

    So you are saying Antonio Banderas is not a person of color? You sound ridiculous

    No. Ridiculous is your utter and complete lack of world savvy.

    Just because a person’s been born in a Hispanic country, doesn’t automatically mean that all Hispanics belong in the same “person of color” bag.

    As a man of skin white as milk, chestnut hair and green eyes born and raised in a very culturally diverse Hispanic country, I know what I speak of when I say that neither Antonio Banderas or I could ever be considered as “morenos” in our culture (that’s the plural Spanish word for “swarthy” or “person of color”, btw). Not in a million years.

    What’s more, this is not only ridiculous, it’s extremely ignorant, racist and offensive.

  61. db
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Turncloak,

    POC is not a “loose term.” Any one with at least two brain cells can put together that POC refers to people who are basically not white and experience discrimination/oppression/prejudice on a large, systematic scale. It’s really that simple.

    Also I love (as in abhor) how people in this comment thread automatically assume an actor will be dull and boring if they were POC. How do you people not realize how fucking racist you’re coming off as? (Honestly this whole damn show would be better if the majority of characters were different POC instead of your generic white dude but I digress…)

  62. Jay
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    The show runners are faced with a difficult decision here and end up being damned either way.

    Firstly, I’d say for the sake of brevity, there’s no point having all three ethnic descriptions for Dornish people; just keep it to one.

    Should this one ethnic group whom represent the Dornish be non-white? In my opinion, yes. But just one ethnic group; Latino, Mediterranean, Arab, whatever, but pick one and stick with it.

    The problem for the show runners is that they’ve spent three seasons creating this world and – in my opinion – successfully displaying the ethnic diversity of Westerosi to those across the narrow sea, so that now introducing an entirely new Westerosi culture and race might seem a little confusing. In my head, I sort of imagined Dorne a little like Egypt, but if they show it like this on screen it will automatically appear as if we’re across the narrow sea.

    In my opinion they had an excellent opportunity to introduce a Dornish character in Talisa, showing the slight difference in Dornish looks, but that they are essentially the same as other Westerosi in language and culture (I know that this isn’t how it is in the books, but I just think an entirely different culture within Westeros will be slightly confusing).

    Whatever they decide when it comes to Dorne, someone, somewhere will criticise them – there really is no easy way!!

  63. db
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    “You should choose the best actor for a role regardless of ethnicity”
    -The racists’ excuse for casting everyone as a white person.

  64. Redking
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Lots of opinions here about ethnography, cultural biases in film and literature, and dream-casting. Apologies to anyone who brought it up and I missed it, but:

    Real-world production issues matter.

    Anyone remember the odd transformation of the Night Watch’s horses from Irish thoroughbreds in one episode to shaggy little Icelandic ponies the next?

    I noticed. It bugged me. I got over it, because I understood the reality of shooting in various places all separated by water (Ireland, Iceland, Malta, Croatia, Morocco).

    Same with the Dothraki throngs (they look Mediterranean, of course), the slaves of Yunkai (they look North Africa, of course), the down-and-out in Kings Landing (first they had Maltese diversity, now they have Yugoslav diversity), and the crowds in the North and the Riverlands (Irishmen and Icelanders).

    So who will the Dornish look like for the most part? If they plan (or even think its possible) to shoot any scenes in Dorne, the average Dornishman will probably look like a Moroccan (and a Yunkish slave, coincidentally). That, in turn, will probably inform any principle casting decisions they make.

  65. Turncloak
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    db,

    Racist? That’s funny considering I’m Dominican and Puertorican

  66. Huge Floppy Gut
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    i like turtles

  67. Turncloak
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Omar Brown,

    I agree we will probably only get few Dornish characters in season 4. But I think in addition to the Red Viper we will also get Ellaria Sand

  68. Jay
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    To follow up on my last comment… I actually think race has been handled well on the show so far. Summer islanders have been introduced in Salador Sahn, and Volanti in Talisa. There’s no harm in having Dany release a bunch of Moroccan looking slaves if they’re in a part of the (fictional) world that has been established as being of that type of descent. As long as they are consistent then I don’t see a problem… I was disappointed with Daario and Mero being white and having cockney accents but maybe this is the way they’re going with Bravos and Tyrosh – but either way they have to be consistent now.

  69. Coastercrazeie06
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Done, and the Martells, have always been my favorite kingdom and house from ASOIAF. I am, however, a bit disappointed with this roundtable discussion. I didn’t see anywhere in the post (maybe I overlooked it) where the panelists talked about budgeting a massive tv show like Game of Thrones. We cannot realistically expect HBO to have the money to cast every person that shows up in the books. It is not an issue of cutting different ethnic characters it is about cutting characters that are not essential to the story that is being told. How upset would we be if HBO only gave Danny one dragon so that there would be money for Chataya and Alayaya?

    We also cannot be judging a show based on how race relations exist in the US to a show that is based on something else and is being produced somewhere else and is showcased globally. I also thing what is interested is trying to apply American immigration history to a place like Westeros and Essos. King’s Landing is not New York City. There is no great statue opening the doors of a nation to immigrants. It seemed to be as well that many people in Essos don’t really like Westeros all that much and would avoid moving there.

    My family are Berber descendants from North Africa. Yet in the US I am considered “white.” I don’t believe in “white.” You cannot take all the multitudes of ethnicity and cultures and lump them all together into a “white” category, and erase their identities. You can’t do that to any other people either.

    But back to Dorne. I agree that I have always seen Westeros as Europe and Dorne as Spain/Portugal. But also I think a good place to find inspiration for Dorne would be the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans were non-Arab Muslims ruling over an empire of Africans, North Africans, Arabs, Asians, and Europeans. They have their own distinct language and architecture unique to themselves, but were part of Europe for centuries.

  70. Veltigar
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Khal-A-Bunga:
    Straight from George’s (Not a) Blog:

    And another from the comments section on an article discussing this scene…

    That is all.

    I agree with this.

    Also what’s this talk about Thoros of Myr being a PoC (or whatever term you americans invented). He’s clearly white in the books.
    Also do these people read the books?

    Tyene has Valyrian features; Sarella’s mother was a Summer Islander…Oberyn’s children really reflect the vast diversity of the Dornish region.

    Tyene doesn’t have Valyrian features!!! She’s just a blond with blue eyes. And Oberyn’s older children all have mothers from outside of Dorne (except for those he has with Ellaria Sand but they hardly have screentime since they are unimportant), so they don’t represent the diversity of Dorne.
    Really, I want to see Dorne but this is such a turn-off.
    Anyways the Iron Islands are a lot cooler so if they have to cut anything than I hope they cut Dorne.

  71. Family, Duty, Hodor
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Asim Ahmad was originally cast to play Thoros of Myr but they switched to Paul Kaye when he had a scheduling conflict. I thought Paul Kaye was great in the role.

    Personally, I find this ‘people of colour’ discussion incredibly boring. People of colour are people just like white people. Screen writers should write them in exactly the same way that they would write white characters.

  72. John G.
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Hottenator:
    John G.,

    Pretty sure the Moors were brown… wtf??

    Seriously, I’ll never understand the people on here who get all flustered and fussy at the thought of having non-whites in a medieval setting.Dragons: Check! Zombies: Check! Brown people in Westeros: WHY ARE YOU RUINING MY ESCAPISM.

    Quentyn and his buddies were still considered typical Westerosi because there ARE brown people in book!Westeros. Aside from the Dornish, we have another example: the Spicers who married into house Westerling. Pretty sure Maggy the Frog was brown. Do you really believe this is a one-time thing and that no other brown person ever moved to live in Westeros?? Essosi and Summer Islanders frequent Westerosi ports all the time, why is it so unbelievable that some of them would and HAVE settled in Westeros?

    It’s clearly established that the only reason humans are now populating Westeros is because they came through Dorne, from ESSOS. So you think there was some kind of Brown people filter between Essos and Westeros or can you accept that Brown people crossing the gap is entirely plausible and supported by books elements?

    And as for the variety of people in Essos, the Andals themselves were from that continent originally. And I think the Andals as the blondest, whitest that ever whited, correct me if I’m wrong. Slavery in Essos isn’t only for people of color, white people were enslaved too, and brown nobility exists. Which is why HBO’s rendition of the Mhysa scene looked like a cheesy unicef commercial.

    I know Hollywood has been selling the idea of a completely white medieval eastern Europe for years. Tip: that’s not the way it was. Boats and migration wasn’t only a white man’s thing. And Moorish Spain wasn’t white. Read a book.

    lol

    Those of us that read know that on the United States census, “white” refers to anyone of European, Middle Eastern, or North African descent. We also know that Ramses II and Cleopatra were rather pale and may have had strawberry blond hair. It’s unlikely that you’ve met someone from North Africa or the Middle East; I lived there for two years. Upper class natives of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, or Palestine have skin as pale as the Irish. Not that it matters, of course. This entire conversation is ridiculous.

    For anyone “offended” by a white person freeing slaves: Britain was the first country in the world to abolish the slave trade in 1807, and actually intervened in several African countries to eliminate slavery. Not that it matters, of course. This is a ridiculous conversation.

  73. hare
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Thoughtful and insightful roundtable, very much appreciated and crossing my fingers that someone among the powers that be is thinking about these points.

    (The comment thread on the other hand….. O_o )

  74. Arthur
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m more excited for season 4 then I was for season 3 and mainly because of Dorne and The Red Viper. I can not wait to see how D&D have him stir up KL. I’m so sick of the Lannisters owning everyone and having everything go their way.

  75. babar
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    db: (Honestly this whole damn show would be better if the majority of characters were different POC instead of your generic white dude but I digress…)

    THAT is really racitst too, you know?

  76. Hard Truths
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I hope, with the exception of the Red Viper, Dorne is cut from the show. None of the other Dornish characters have done anything that merits their inclusion in the show in my mind.

    The whole race discussion, to me, is extremely misguided. I know everyone has their own impression of what Dorne should be, but I think a lot of people are projecting our politically correct world onto Westeros, which is anything but a politically correct world.

    Because of Dorne’s location there are a lot of different races present, but I never took that to mean the rulers of Dorne were racially different from the other ruling families of Westeros, just that the peasants were racially diverse (I always thought the sand snakes were racially diverse because of their mother’s races, not Oberyn’s race). As with all the other Southern noble houses, the Martells are descendants of the Andals, so I expect them to be portrayed as having the same race as the other Southern noble families on the show.

  77. Michael274
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Turncloak,

    Hah,you owned that dude(woman) with this comment !

  78. walder
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    i believe the appearance of the martels and dornish people were made very clear in the source material.

    for people to try to create ambiguity, controversy and an avenue to change those appearances for their own preferences is about as racist as it gets.

    and that applies to “whites” and “people of color”.

  79. zaprowsdower
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    For anyone “offended” by a white person freeing slaves: Britain was the first country in the world to abolish the slave trade in 1807, and actually intervened in several African countries to eliminate slavery. Not that it matters, of course. This is a ridiculous conversation.

    Thanks for pointing out that white people had and then eventually freed slaves. I think we were all a bit foggy on that one.

    Also, the slave trade in the British Empire was abolished in 1807. Not slavery itself.

  80. Bard
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Btw, no character on the show has said a word about the Rhoynar until now. The phrase has always been “King of the Andals and the First men” if someone was sentenced to die. Does this have any implications for Dorne and the origin/look of its people in the show?

  81. Turncloak
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Michael274,

    Lol I found db’s rant entertaining. Especially since he took everything I said out of context. The main thing I want is for the the character of the Red Viper to be given justice as he is a great character. I don’t mind someone like Naveen Andrews if the crew think he’s the best person for the job. My argument is that the actor’s ability should be the first priority when casting, which I believe will be the case.

  82. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Family, Duty, Hodor:
    Asim Ahmad was originally cast to play Thoros of Myr but they switched to Paul Kaye when he had a scheduling conflict. I thought Paul Kaye was great in the role.

    Personally, I find this ‘people of colour’ discussion incredibly boring. People of colour are people just like white people. Screen writers should write them in exactly the same way that they would write white characters.

    Exactly! They should just be written the same way, but they should be present, to show that very fact. That’s why it’d be cool to have Dornish characters of colour, written just as strongly as other characters. It does a lot to showcase the very fact you mentioned.

  83. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Turncloak,

    Not the response I expected but anyway…Thoros is not a fair “amalgamation” comparison. Thoros is Thoros, a red priest with BwB, not an invented character. Ros (from Winterfell) was not Chataya or Alayaya and her macabre death served to emphasize Joffrey’s sado-masochism. Talisa (and her derriere) was not Jeyne W (thankfully!) and her macabre death served to emphasize the atrocity of the RW. They were invented characters to distinguish them from anything in the books.

    But that is in the past. With S4 & S5, I am wondering if “Arianne” will be an amalgamation of the Sand Snakes and Arianne…maybe even named differently to tie in with RV, Dorne leadership and the fading/resurfacing Targaryen network. On a lighter note, maybe all Dornish will be portrayed as a bisexual, uninhibited culture who challenges the established traditions of morality, ruling heirarchy, and matrimony. :-)

  84. Sam
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    db:
    Turncloak,

    POC is not a “loose term.” Any one with at least two brain cells can put together that POC refers to people who are basically not white and experience discrimination/oppression/prejudice on a large, systematic scale. It’s really that simple.

    Also I love (as in abhor) how people in this comment thread automatically assume an actor will be dull and boring if they were POC. How do you people not realize how fucking racist you’re coming off as? (Honestly this whole damn show would be better if the majority of characters were different POC instead of your generic white dude but I digress…)

    So you call these people racists (and are probably correct) but turn around and say the show would be better simply if it had fewer white people? Sorry, couldn’t help but appreciate the hypocrisy.

  85. vict
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    When I saw that there was a second part to “The importance of Dorne” I got excited. I hoped that the topic would stray away from the question of whether the martells would be cast as white or not. The post sort of did, but only to discuss GOT’s track record on diversity.

    Obviously no one would be happy if oberyn was a white dude, but you guys are beating a dead horse. How about you discuss the history of Dorne, and its relationship with the targs? The importance of dorne doesn’t boil down to “they are not white and oberyn sleeps with dudes sometimes” .

  86. NoOne
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Well, the real challenge the producers have is to make the Dorne storyline interesting and relevant, I somehow suspect that the audience won’t be overly impressed by costume design and racial variety.

  87. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    vict,

    You say “obviously no one would be happy if oberyn was a white dude” and yet there are many people in these comments who would be very happy if Oberyn was a white dude. Scroll up and read. And so I think it’s clear there is a need for this discussion to happen.

  88. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    vict,

    Yeah, I did find the topic of discussion became a little narrow as compared to the first part, though still falling within the grounds of why Dorne’s representation in the show is, well, important. Still, it’s a topic that’s important to a lot of people, and clearly quite charged (as you can always tell by the types of reactions you get in comments), so I think it is worth talking about.

  89. Turncloak
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard,

    I think Arianne will stand on her own but I do think the some of the non essential Sand Snakes will get cut. I think the Dorne story will be prominent in season 5 after s*it hits the fan in kings landing in season 4

    And I do think it will be awesome to have the Dornish portrayed as more progressive in their culture as you said

  90. FictionIsntReal
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    WeirwoodTreeHugger,

    The thing is, “white” is a constantly shifting definition and it is pretty much fictitious. 100 years ago Irish, Russians, eastern Europeans and European Jewish people were not white

    No, European immigrants were always considered white in the U.S. There were legal systems of racialized caste, and they clearly fell within the white boundary. See Fox & Guglielmo.

    You have a bit of a point about asians. Nobody REALLY considers them to be white (east asians are a distinct race, south asian is another story), but they are often excluded from the category of “minority” or “non-white”.

    I enjoyed Paul Kaye’s performance, but it didn’t make sense to me that someone who came over from Myr as an adult would have a Westerosi accent. I know the show isn’t always consistent with different regions in Westeros having certain accents, but before Thoros we had Melissandre, Jaqen & Shae (who is supposed to have immigrated when she was 13) all having more Germanic accents. Varys doesn’t, but he has that background as an actor and we know he’s always putting on a sort of facade, including altering his voice as needed. It’s also true that plenty of people in Essos have had U.K accents, but they still tended to seem distinct enough (even the Spice King, who tells Dany she couldn’t pronounce his name), that they didn’t seem like Westerosi. Thoros just seems like another member of the Brotherhood.

  91. Oi!
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I am gravely disappointed at the blackwashing of characters (Sallador, Xaro) so far in the show, is this Hollywood racism towards white people really necessary?

  92. barack o
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    one day we will achieve social justice by turning white characters in novels to people of color in their hbo adaptions. one character at a time, we will fight the good fight to racial equality. (read from teleprompter)

  93. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Oi!,

    With all due respect, I see what you’re trying to do, but thinking that flipping an equation without regard for context, as if to completely simplify a complex issue through a lazy comparison, is extremely fallacious in how many factors it removes, and it doesn’t contribute anything to the discussion.

  94. vict
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    Yep i was wrong about that. The people who disagree my statement about oberyn seem to fall into 2 categories.

    1. They didnt pick up while reading that the martells dont look like the rest of westoros.

    2. They don’t think its important to cast the actors as the characters in the books.

    The people in category 1 need to do a reread, and the people in category 2 are entitled to their opinion.

    Either way, there is much more to dorne worth discussing other than “they are not white and oberyn sleeps with dudes sometimes” . Maybe if you do a part 3 it could stray from these sort of topics.

  95. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    barack o,

    The characters (at the very least, who even for those with the most steadfast denial, Arianne, who above quotes have specifically mentioned that George has referred to as not so) are not white. Don’t really see your point.

  96. 4serious
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    if the people on this board are so concerned about racial matters, you are entirely wasting your time and efforts by applying your concerns to an hbo fantasy series. if racial matters are really important to you then there are countless third world nations (REAL ONES THAT EXIST IN REALITY) that need your help.

    wouldn’t your time be better used helping them, rather than bickering over the ethnicity of a character in a fantasy series?

  97. sari
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Are you forgetting that Nymeria conquered Dorne w/ tens (or hundreds) of thousands of Rhoynish people?

  98. Turri
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really understand this discussion, I don’t give a damn whether some actor is white or black or purple as long as he is good. It doesn’t affect how I imagine the book characters in my head either, where the Dornish are most like Spanish or Turkish or Arab I guess, certainly not Indian. But they can cast it Japanese-only if they want, not really relevant as long as the plot isn’t concerned.

  99. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    4serious,

    How do you know that they don’t? Personally I think there is value in having diverse representation in popular media, like Game of Thrones, because that’s something people watch a lot. It has influence over real life.
    But anyway, just because we’re discussing a TV show, that doesn’t mean people do not also discuss race issues in real life and care about other countries. Your logic does not follow.

    For that matter,why are you here telling people off on a message board instead of somewhere helping people in other nations? :)

  100. Nyk Giantsbane
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    db,

    I’m not aware of the Dornish people being discriminated on a large scale. So according to your definition they don’t qualify as POC. Wanting to see the best actor for the role doesn’t make someone a racist. In this case part of being the best actor for the part would include dark features and olive skin.

  101. The Kingslayer
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    what about the Iron Islands? i love them more than Dorne. it will be very disappointing if there will be no BAMF Victarion or Euron.

  102. Oi!
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Shmurb,

    No it’s fucking simple those two characters are white in the books and they were cast as black and minus a very few crybabys we all loved the two actors. And now you have the Martells, a Westerosi house that intermarried with other Westerosi houses threw the ages and people are demanding that they be cast as non-white. It doesn’t matter if the actor they choose is a white guy, jew, arab, mixed race, all that it matters is that the actor is quality.

  103. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    4serious,

    Actually this is a fascinating discussion to observe. All opinions matter. Most of us are not really in a position to fly to Addis Ababa to “make a difference.”

  104. Outraged
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    I am so sick of white scandinavian type cultures being portrayed as rapers and pillagers. It is entirely racsit. Just because the Iron Islanders reap the coastlines in their swift boats doesn’t mean they need to be white like the vikings. The Crow’s Eye should be played by a “Person of Color” because I am so sick of seeing all these brutal and cruel characters from the show all being white men.

    …and while we are at it. I demand the Minnesota Vikings change their name immediately. Why do people get upset the Washington Redskins are named after Indians but its perfectly fine for the Vikings to be a mascot?

  105. Michael274
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Like many have said it doesn’t matter what color the characters are as long as they are portrayed by good actors . I’d prefer for the Martells to be people of color too but if the casting people found actors who are good at portraying the characters even if they are caucasian , why does it matter ?

  106. Hottenator
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    John G.,

    “Britain was the first country in the world to abolish the slave trade in 1807, and actually intervened in several African countries to eliminate slavery.”

    Wow such heroes those white british were… but wait… what did they do before that? OH RIGHT, they invaded the entireworld, save for 22 countries, kept the slave trade alive and well for years, stole riches from other countries to fill their museums with, instored classism base on skin color in more countries that could be counted and so on.

    This is why the white savior trope needs to die. It’s an illusion that serves only to make white people feel better about slavery in the real world.

    Having pale skin =/= being white. Japanese people can be milk pale, does that make them white people? Same goes for south-asians. Does havins pale skin change their ethnicity?

    The US census, really? Well if that’s where you get your understanding of ethnicity, that explains a lot. You’re right, this conversation is ridiculous.

  107. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Outraged,

    Blame Canada.

  108. Zaprowsdower
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Outraged,

    Because “redskin” is a racist slur and Viking is not. That has nothing to do with this conversation.

  109. 4serious
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    because i don’t care about the topic of race and i’m getting sick of hearing about it.

    it appears there are those who inject the topic of race into topics where it is not applicable. by doing so it gives them influence and control of an area where they otherwise would not have any by their own merits. “you don’t agree with my view? you’re racist, i win.”

    so if you are truly a person concerned about race, and not just using it as a mechanism to get your way on your favorite tv show, there are surely more productive ways to use your time. there are truly more influential commenting boards where your posts would be more helpful to people of color at large.
    i do not pretend to care about these issues, you do.

    stop injecting race issues in game of thrones before you ruin like you have already ruined so many things.

  110. Dave
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    db,

    “POC is not a loose term” … But anyone who feels oppressed can sign up to it?? You Angloamericans are weird.

  111. FictionIsntReal
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I actually think it would make MORE sense for the ruling class to be diverse than the peasantry. We know that Hungary was conquered by the Magyars and Turkey by the Turks. However, genetically speaking, Hungarians & Turks today seem indigenous. The genetic contribution of the invaders was not very large, presumably because it was a fairly small group of conquerors. Even England seems mostly that way (the further you go from the “Saxon shore”), although the Anglo-Saxons were large enough that the latifundia system of the Romano-Britons had to be broken up.

    An exception to this trend of a small class of conquerors making little genetic contribution is the “New World” of the Americas & Australia. There the indigenous peoples lacked resistance to Eurasian diseases and their populations were devastated. In latin america the invaders were also stymied by disease and (in some parts) altitude like ethnic Chinese are now in Tibet. That’s why there’s more of a mix there. But usually if there’s a mass migration that makes a substantial contribution to the population, it’s because the indigenous people were wiped out (as appears to have happened repeatedly in early European pre-history).

    Another counter-example is India, where the current population can be genetically modeled as a hybrid between “Ancient North Indians” and “Ancient South Indians”. Again the trend of Aryan & Mughal conquerors making little genetic contribution seems to hold, with the Ancient North Indians perhaps being the ancestors of the Dravidian speaking peoples while the Ancient South Indians were closest to today’s Andaman Islanders and marginalized by some disadvantage in agricultural technology.

  112. Oi!
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Hottenator,

    You mean the slavery that thrived in Egypt, South America, Arabia, Black Africa long before white Empires set foot on each of those continents.

  113. John G.
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Hottenator,

    Don’t have the time to pick apart your comment line by line. I’ll just say you’re wrong and move on. You clearly don’t understand history or human geography.

    There’s a class of people who achieve a secondary school level of education and then…stop learning. Enough to grasp the broad strokes but very little else. Unfortunately, those in this situation often compare themselves exclusively to the uneducated, and insist on supreme personal intelligence. It’s likely that you are in this category.

  114. vict
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    The Kingslayer,

    I would be just as butthurt if they combined euron and victarion as if they whitewashed the martells. Maybe more butthurt.

  115. barack o
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    the people have spoken. i have decided to sign an executive order providing a 20% tax cut to HBO if they increase there casting of people of color in Game of Thrones by 30%.

  116. Al Swearengen
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Oded Fehr is The Red Viper !!!

  117. babar
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a suggestion for Part 3: “The importance of Dorne story-wise“…

  118. steve
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    you can tell the people who spent too much time in school because what they write is so long winded and boring that they had to pay people thousands of dollars to read their papers.

  119. Hottenator
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Oi!,

    Yes, people of colour have also been guilty of slave trade through history. What’s you’re point? What does that have to do with the fact that “white people saving brown people” is a tired, embellished and overused hollywood trope?

    Or are you trying to justify the fact that the British Empire partook in slavery? Please, do elaborate.

  120. Hottenator
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    John G.,

    Sure, you “don’t have the time”. I think you just don’t have the arguments. Gotta love a good dose of classism mixed with a big ego.

    PS: Get over yourself.

  121. Oi!
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Hottenator,

    They partook in slavery but they are also the ones that ended it so they were the saviors of “brown people”, the same in USA where WHITE union soldiers paid in blood for abolishment of slavery.

  122. WildSeed
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    Truly insightful Subject Post, with credible points made by the panel you’ve
    assembled. Thanks for posting.

  123. Varamyr Fourskins
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Dorne is a part of Westeros. So, it stands to reason there’d be Westerosis (like the ones viewers have seen on show — i.e. white people) living there. If they make all Dornishmen different from their fellow countrymen, viewers may think they’re from a foreign country, from across the Narrow Sea. Of course, the Martells themselves are more swarthy, but I’d imagine they’ll have to show white “Westerosis” in the Dornish court… just so people can make the connection that the Dornishmen are Westerosis too — cosmopolitan.

  124. WildSeed
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    zaprowsdower,

    I’ve got to re-read, as I gleaned through the subject before comment . I hope what you
    comprehended is not so. If it was correct, I would disagree too.

  125. Zeus
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    John G.,

    John G has it right.

  126. WildSeed
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Turncloak,

    I believe that the onscreen representation of characters or realities of the
    ASOIAF peoples would have enlightened the audience to that effect.
    That’s a significant point to make.

    Okay, re-read post. I did not perceive that point as you did.

  127. DarthRachel
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Seonaidh Ceanneidigh,

    you’re correct of course. i am white, so i’m not allowed to have any opinions about racism.

    though of course it could be that the books are far more self aware and subversive of the white savior trope while the show is not, and that bothered me.

  128. Uncle B
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Fuck Dorne!

    There are too many characters in this show already.

    In the books, Dorne was a big mistake, too.

    Book 4 really sucked.

  129. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Seonaidh Ceanneidigh: . No one complained when Daenerys freed and mobilised the Unsullied, who are dark-skinned to a man. I think that peoples’ disappointment with the lack of a cliffhanger/magical element has coloured (no pun intended) their interpretation of the scene.

    This is not quite accurate. There are several white people among the Unsullied in the show. The man whose nipple was cut off is white, for instance, and there are others.

  130. Zaprowsdower
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    I was being sarcastic! :)

  131. hargrind
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    db:

    It’s still a very, very American concept, just as the American concept of “white”. To me it sounds ridiculous that someone from North Africa can be cast, because he is a POC, while Southern Italian, Spanish or Greek actors whose skin can be just as dark couldn’t be cast, because they’re “white” in the US. People don’t want Antonio Banderas because he’s “white”, while Alexander Siddig doesn’t look in any way darker.

  132. Hottenator
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Oi!,

    I’d never want to take anything away from the individuals who fought and possibly died to end slavery in America. But I hate the image that non-whites were all meekly waiting to be saved by the “nice white saviors”, as if they were never the heroes of the injustice they lived everyday. Even if enough people eventually fought for equality, does that erase what was done from a group of people to another? Do white people fighting for the rights of black people erase the past of a mostly white nation building itself on the backs of slaves of color? I mean I don’t even have an answer but it’s bothering me to no end that a popular trope is accepted as a simple reality to some. When in truth it seems, far, far more complicated to me, imho.

    I hope that’s a good enough answer. I know I’m totally derailing the subject here, sorry guys. :s

  133. WildSeed
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Panelists ; Marissa, Sade, Jonelle, Amin and Miquel really added great
    insights to the post. All panelists expressed reasonable responses to
    Ours is the Fury’s questions, and added further reasoning that were
    intelligent.

    Apparently the controversial ” Myhsa” finale scene, sparked much debate
    and unequal perception of it’s meaning. I was not challenged as many
    were, and I did not add connotations of ” great white hope ” to it.
    Even as a history buff, I failed to grasp the upheaval , in part because
    it represented nothing more than Jubilation. I would expect this
    treatment whether a warrior of liberator , to be lifted by a throng in
    such fashion. However……. the political implications of this scene
    would beg a different perception, not so pure or genuine in spirit.
    Perhaps the producers should have had Danerys continue walking
    among her new people ( shrug shoulders ), would the public outcry
    be any different ? Probably not. The problem is the audience’s onscreen
    perception with the context of the scene. As a reader, I may have missed
    that element, and focused on Danery’s embodiment of a mother-liberator.
    To many enslaved peoples, the admiration includes such language. I can
    not dismiss that as a reality. Historically , rulers/ tyrants, liberators for
    justice/ exalted seekers of good , have been given title as ” father” ” mother ”
    , master” , etc. In some cases they were perceived as gods, or deity.

    What the author’s intent or historical influences were, we will never get an
    answer here. Perhaps in hindsight, Martin may contemplate influences
    pressed upon him from books he’d read while young or a vintage film.
    However, given the books as my only guide to Danerys Targaryeon from
    her campaign through Astapour and Yunkai, I imagined a young woman
    designated ” the mother of dragons…… fire born……. liberator….. and
    futre queen ” . Her striking platinum hair, fair skin and purple eyes did
    not resonante with me , that was just the fantasy concept of her lineage.
    Had she been a dark haired Elf , my response would be the same.

    However, I respect the debate here, and all merits rational discussion.

  134. WildSeed
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Zaprowsdower,

    okay (:

  135. The Red River Viper
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Calimie,

    I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, perhaps I read your comment wrong, but Littlefinger was never a “replacement”, he is a key player in the game. Further, I applaud D&D for building him up more in the show. I apologize in that again, I may be reading into the comment in a manner you did not intend, but why is race even a factor? What should it matter what ethnicity or creed the actor comes from as long as they put on an excellent performance? This isn’t our story, it’s GRRM’s, we’re just here for the ride…..now, you really want to add a character with amazing acting ability, consider Ken Wantanabe (spelling) for the red viper. He is the right age, has the physical ability for the epic scenes that will be required AND he is an exceptional actor, Who IMHO, should have one an award for his performance in the last samurai. Fans will never see it coming and he meets every want and need we could ask for…..thoughts?

  136. Adam
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Things I learned today: “orientalizing” is a word.

  137. db
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    babar,

    Sam,

    Oh you’re talking about racism against white people? The thing that actually doesn’t exist anywhere where you have a culturally mixed society? LOL. Oh man, someone should set fire to this comment thread. Yes actually this series would be better if most of the characters were POC because, get this, most of the people in the world are POC. Wouldn’t that be a better representation of heterogenous planet? (This is partially GRRM’s fault as well) The writers of the show and the writer of the series had the complete leeway to write about characters of any racial creed of their choosing, but somehow ended up with a shitload of characters and were 95% of them were white? LOL.

  138. Ser Justin
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Let me preface this by saying that I am a white male. I was raised by hippy parents in the Bay Area. I was the minority in school and it was fine.. I have never judged people by race, gender or sexual orientation. I don’t feel that I’m ignorant to the fact there isn’t more diversity on the show. But there hasn’t been many major characters cut or changed to this point that were of different race (Strong B. being the exception). I also didn’t think that Dany’s last scene of season 3 was racist. I just thought it was a horrible scene and a disappointing way to end a pretty fantastic season, but I digress. As others have mentioned, GRRM has based this amazing series on the medieval period in Europe. That means there’s going to be a lot of white people. I don’t think that makes GRRM racist or the story any less compelling. Whenever I read or watch something compelling I still can relate to characters even if they’re not white males. Good writing is good writing.

    As for Dorne, I found it to be the most cumbersome of chapters while I was reading. I loved the Red Viper and can’t wait to see him next season, but I really hope that he’s it for Dorne for a while. There are other characters and story lines that deserve more attention (Jon and Tyrion) and some that deserve less (Dany!) in Season 4. We don’t need to over complicate things further for a place and characters that doesn’t serve as much purpose to the overall GoT story.

    And for the record, Dany is my least favorite character and I was happy when Robb died (not Greywind though).

  139. Virtus
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    You Americans sure are obsessed about race. And whatever the show does, it can never satisfy the political correctness crowd entirely: when Chataya and Alayaya were cut, they say it’s racism, but if they’re included then it’s also racism, because black women are portrayed as prostitutes. And if Dany frees the brown slaves, it’s racism because she’s being a “white saviour”, but if she leaves them to slavery, it’s also racism. If HBO uses local Moroccon extras, it’s (somehow) racism, because theyre representing all slaves as dark skinned, but if they fly in a hundred white extras, it’s also racism because that means they’re giving special treatment to white extras and depriving PoC extras of their chance. etc. etc.

  140. WeirwoodTreeHugger
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Outraged,

    Not sure what football has to with this, but actually yhe Redskins is an extremely offensive name. The team used to be called the Boston Braves until it was bought by a virulently racist guy who’s name I can’t remember off the top of my head. He changed the name to Redskins with the intent of being more racist. He also refused to hire any black players until the 60′s when the federal government forced football to integrate.
    For the record, I am a Minnesotan of partial Norwegian descent and I hate the Vikings mascot. The name isn’t offensive but the horns on the helmet are. Vikings never wore horned helmets they were just described that way by monks who wanted to associate Vikings with the Devil. In general, I dislike when Vikings are depicted as savages. However, Americans of Nordic descent are not exactly discriminated against or oppressed. Scandinavians are no longer stereotyped as savage.
    That is why there is such a big difference.

  141. Darquemode
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Re: Dany’s “Mysha” scene…

    I cannot understand how anyone thought that the freed slaves would be anything but mostly native Moroccans… and therefore darker skinned. Especially since they are put into costume and dirtied up. It was always going to be filmed that way because of the logistics of filming in Morocco. Our world is NOT Westeros or Essos and we just do not match up to every aspect of the books – culturally or racially. It was not a “White savior” moment.

    Re: Dorne
    I love Dorne and fond it one of the more interesting locations in the books. Not just because of its ethnic diversity though.

    Personally, while I know the Rhoynish are very dark and more likely POC, every other Dornish group could easily be “white” (a term I hate because it is as vague as POC frankly). Olive skinned with dark eyes and hair can fall into white or non-white ethnicities. Never mind the fact that many mixed heritage people look like one parent or the other and do not show features of both parents necessarily, but nonetheless are in fact still of the mixed heritage of both parents!

    Then add in the act that Dorne is so sunny that even many light skinned people would be tan and look olive-skinned if not darker! I have yet to notice SPF 50 sunscreen mentioned in the books! XD

    GRRM himself uses the phrase “faces burned brown by the hot Dornish sun” to describe Sandy Dornishmen. Are they brown to start with after centuries of exposure to the sun, are they naturally lighter skinned but tanned by the sun, or both? I have white friends who live in California and Arizona that are darker skinned than some Native, Indian, and African-American friends. That does not change their ethnicity.

    Simply put ethnicity is about more than skin color and when dealing with a fictitious culture I find it difficult to eliminate any actor/ actress – no matter their real-world heritage – who fits the physical description of a role!

  142. WildSeed
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    John G.,

    Two years, wow !!!!! Imagine how many centuries of genetic mixing through
    conquest and migration had already taken place , before and after your brief
    stay, I wonder. There’s not much one may ascertain by observing skin color alone,
    and convenient labeling serve little purpose except to perpetuate ignorance
    on the subject.

    I grew up among green and amber eyed and red haired persons with very dark skin,
    blue eyes were less common but not unheard of. It takes generations of gene
    mixing to establish certain traits standard within an ancestral or DNA profile.
    Omitting debate for thorough examination of accurate facts for discussion ,
    withstanding, implying partial truths or what is observed with the naked
    eye proves nothing more than presumption than truth. Best to leave such
    judgements of human classifications to the Geneticists, and describe people
    according to their country of origin and appropriate physical description.
    Biologic Essentialism is a touchy subject and utilized by some for political
    means . Matters of ” race’” only breed controversy and exacerbate
    misinformation. Blond hair and blue eyes does not make a person ” white “,
    whatever that means. As someone whose “racial designation ” having changed
    several times , in accordance with the labeling system, the notion is not only
    offensive, but frustrating as it exacerbates both politics and ignorance.

    I found GRRM’s collage of people a worth while concept, for his writing
    purpose, and cringe at these often murky discussions to purport his intent.
    I wholly enjoy his take on a diverse world , whether fantasy or not.

  143. Virtus
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    db,

    The real racists are those who think that a person’s worth is determined primarily by race rather than merit. Affirmative action is a blatant example of racism. The ironic thing is that the people who call themselves liberal are also the last people who would support a colour-blind society, because that would mean an end to affirmative action.

  144. babar
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    db,

    I have a shocking news for you: Westeros isn’t supposed to be a representation of our modern world.

    “LOL.”

  145. Nagga's Kin
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Before the industrial revolution, humans were the only source of mechanical labor featuring fine motor control. Aristocrats, clergy and wealthy burghers all needed cheap labor, mostly in agriculture, so they obtained it via tithes, serfdom, the slave trade or by taking prisoners of war. Of course, they also created ideologies of social stratification and associated laws that declared these practices were just and legal even though they patently were not. Ethnicity really only factored into that equation if/when nearby sources of cheap labor dried up and it had to be imported from further afield.

    In other words, the origin of discrimination against entire groups of people lies in economics, not in skin color. Chances are, it’s been around since the dawn of agriculture, about 10,000 years ago. Unfortunately, overt oppression didn’t magically disappear with the arrival of farm machinery. Sadly, it remains very much alive and kicking to this day. As the above thread shows, even a person who considers him- or herself to be enlightened can easily make a comment they consider innocuous and have that come across as derogatory to a person who identifies strongly with a group that had been brutally oppressed in the past. Context and subtext are everything.

    So what, if anything, does that tell us about GRRM’s world in general or Dorne in particular? First, it’s a fictional fantasy place so 1:1 correlations would be inappropriate. Second, though, the readers’/viewers’ emotional engagement with and enjoyment of the narrative is tied to how “believable” it is, i.e. to existence of analogies to real-world history. To someone in e.g. India or Africa, the idea of a non-white aristocrat is probably intuitive. Discrimination there is/was based on caste, tribe or other factors besides skin color. To someone in the US or another Western country, a black or brown person in a position of power may be more of an abstract concept in a quasi-medieval context. For example, the BBC series “Merlin” cast a black actress for the role of Guinevere – a politically correct modern choice, given the narrative. GRRM’s world is different in that its geographic scale is so much larger than Great Britain. Therefore, it’s more “believable” that there would be entire kingdoms ruled by people who look very different from the Starks and the Lannisters.

    For that reason, rather than for equal employment opportunities or to satisfy the aspirations of ethnic minority viewers, I agree that casting non-white actors for House Martell and associated roles would enrich GoT. Proviso: their stories must be just as interesting as those we’ve already been told. We’ve been spoiled rotten and we like it!

    Third, distant kingdoms should feature different languages, faiths, laws, customs etc. The show has gone to great lengths to achieve that for Essos, which is separated from Westeros by a narrow but dangerous open ocean. To a much lesser extent, this is also true of the Iron Islands. By contrast, Dorne can more easily be reached via mountain passes and by small sailing vessels hugging the coastlines, which was the safest way to navigate in the Middle Ages. These geographic facts imply more active trade in goods and ideas but also more intermarriage and more frequent diplomacy / military conflict in living memory. Still, the show has implied that Dorne is at least somewhat remote and removed from the rest of the realm.

    Beyond obvious ethnic differences, I would therefore expect numerous lesser idiosyncrasies for Dorne :

    - If they speak the Common Tongue, they should do so with a unique dialect and/or inflection. No Queen’s English (cp. the Spice King of Qarth), please! There should also be noticable quirks in vocabulary and idioms, perhaps even subtle differences in grammar. In remote rural areas, e.g. in mountain valleys or on islands, older languages may still be spoken. Foreigners from Essos and the Summer Islands may give the harbor towns a more cosmopolitan feel than King’s Landing, which has disappointed on that score. The Martells and lesser local nobles might also retain the language of their origins for official business and/or in their literature and poetry, if only to showcase their political autonomy. Depending on the history, that need not be High Valyrian.

    - If they follow the Faith of the Seven, the clothing, rituals and perhaps even the sacral architecture should differ from what we’ve already been shown. Also, the clergy might be far more influential in Dornish politics than elsewhere in the realm. On the other hand, the Dornish may have fled religious persecution and now maintain an even stricter separation of church and state than everyone but the Ironborn. Book readers already know the answers, of course. The Unsullied will just have to wait and see.

    - The economic system should also be a little different. Beyond coinage and inheritance law, there ought to be some unusual local rules – some unwritten – regarding trade, property and marriage/family. Conflicts may well be resolved differently: there may be no courts nor formal trials in Dorne.

    - Secular architecture, transportation technology, clothing, cuisine etc. should all be tailored to the local climate and available raw materials. Dorne may well trade more extensively across the sea than anyone else in Westeros, therefore “exotic” fabric and spices might be fairly common there.

    - Entertainment for the masses should be unique, too. Instead of jousting knights, there might be racing or else a blood sport.

  146. Virtus
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    “Rachel: Well I won’t lie I was absolutely shocked that Thoros of Myr was a white guy.”

    She’s probably the only one, since all the pictures uploaded to Wiki of Ice and Fire depict a white guy: http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Category:Images_of_Thoros_of_Myr (all predate Season 3)

  147. db
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Virtus:
    db,

    Affirmative action is a blatant example of racism.

    Oh my god… I’m loosing brain cells reading these comments

  148. Virtus
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    db: Oh my god… I’m loosing brain cells reading these comments

    It’s spelled “losing”.

  149. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Believe me, when the dragons D, V and R start maturing and begin feeding on the recently-freed, multi-ethnic people of Yunkai/Meereen, then I doubt Dany will be considered a “white saviour” anymore (if she ever was).

  150. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Virtus,

    And? The asoiaf wiki also has a white man in the fan art for Grey Worm, yet GRRM himself stated he had no skin color in mind for Grey Worm when asked and that it was unimportant. (I’m paraphrasing. This is the So Spake Martin entry.)The artist then chose to make him white. You can’t take everything in the ASOIAF wiki as gospel which is a point brought up in the roundtable, actually. It’s a great resource but created by the fans, ultimately.

  151. Adam
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard:
    Believe me, when the dragons D, V and R start maturing and begin feeding on the recently-freed, multi-ethnic people of Yunkai/Meereen, then I doubt Dany will be considered a “white saviour” anymore (if she ever was).

    Yep – then it’s going to mean the dragons are racist.

  152. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    4serious: because i don’t care about the topic of race and i’m getting sick of hearing about it.

    Posting in this thread under five different names is a funny way of showing it. Don’t do that. Commenters are not allowed to post under multiple names here.

  153. MDS
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Probably off topic, but I’m gonna go ahead and suggest Isabel Lucas as Tyene, I think it’d be perfect

  154. WildSeed
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Darquemode,

    You express yourself well, and highlight also the rationale for GRRM’s
    diverse distinctions for Westeros and Essos. Those from the States
    are really hung up on biologic essentialism, a if it defines them for
    political privilege or otherwise. The concept has spread deeper across
    the globe, to punctuate myths and long standing prejudices . Rascism
    exists because people will not acknowledge it and perpetuate the damaging
    effects. Accountability always begins with the individual.

    LOL, my colleague is of Chinese ethnicity and darkens more than I do when
    exposed to sunlight. That evidence alone does not make her less Chinese,
    however she’s a practicing Medical Geneticist, and understand well the
    proven concepts that refute pure genome . Polygenism is a 19th century concept.

  155. WeirwoodTreeHugger
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Virtus:
    db,

    The real racists are those who think that a person’s worth is determined primarily by race rather than merit. Affirmative action is a blatant example of racism. The ironic thing is that the people who call themselves liberal are also the last people who would support a colour-blind society, because that would mean an end to affirmative action.

    Are you really trying to claim that white privilege doesn’t exist in the United States? The New Deal which lifted vast numbers of people from the lower to middle class was racially segregated. Despite popular “American Dream” mythology it is actually quite rare for anybody to move up the socioeconomic ladder. Affirmative action is an attempt to make up for the huge wealth gap that exists. It isn’t that white liberals think people of color are too inferior to compete in a meritocracy. The fact is we don’t live in meritocracy.

    Sorry to keep going off topic, I just can’t let people get by with making so many ignorant comments.

  156. john
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    What a disgusting round table discussion. Listing peoples ethnicity? What the fuck. This has to be some kind of American PC thing that I am not accustomed to. I freaking hate when people bring their politics into tv-shows.

    There was no real discussion either. It’s like you brought in a bunch of like-minded liberal sociology students to have a circle-jerk in PCness. No dissent at all.

    The last paragraph by Marissa is offensive:

    “Hire some writers of color or at least some white writers who are knowledgeable about avoiding embarrassing and offensive racial tropes. ”

    Vomit.

    By the way, where are the transgender characters in GoT???

    The idea that the general population actually gives two shits about things like this when it comes to GoT is laughable. There were many suggestions (blackmail) in the panel that the show would ONLY be succeful and ONLY remembered in a good light if the show runners implemented some kind of aggressive affirmative action when it came to writing/casting. Gimme a break.

    Usually your articles are good WiC but this is a freaking joke.

  157. Adam
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    So I think this post showed one of the pitfalls of taking racial diversity to be the only or most important kind of diversity. We were told the panelists’ races, but not their backgrounds or their political beliefs or their personal philosophies. When those did come through, for most of the panelists they seemed… well, pretty similar.

    For example, not a single panelist expressed the not-at-all-irrational opinion that it was sensible to drop Chataya, Alayaya, and Jalabhar Xho. Which is fine – if that’s not an opinion held by any of the panelists (or not held strongly, at least), then hey, cool. That’s the way the cookie crumbled.

    But it does strike me as somewhat strange that so much effort went into casting a meticulously racially diverse panel when other, equally or more important kinds of diversity were notably absent.

  158. Macha
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I was really sad we didn’t get to see Jalabhar Xho on the show.
    I was really looking forward to that really great scene where he ……………….. uhm …………..Or that time when he………………hmmm…….wait, I’m sure I can think of something eventually.

  159. WildSeed
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Virtus:
    db,

    The real racists are those who think that a person’s worth is determined primarily by race rather than merit. Affirmative action is a blatant example of racism. The ironic thing is that the people who call themselves liberal are also the last people who would support a colour-blind society, because that would mean an end to affirmative action.

    Affirmative Action is a court ordered policy , practiced in various countries, instituted
    to correct or balance the unequal treatment of peoples discriminated against.
    Individuals, whom may be homosexual, female, ethnically dissimilar to
    privileged segments , continue to be discriminated against. Thus need for such laws.
    In it’s promoted practice, those whom find lessened advantage often recite reverse
    discrimination , which further exacerbates ignorance on the subject. Until
    equality becomes common practice in hiring and other fields the law is applied,
    the need for such legal protections must persist.

  160. Easteros bunny
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Facepalm!

    The only important Dornish character to the story in the show is obyern. The rest are disposable.

    The show won’t cast every single sand snake. Get realistic folks.

  161. Mormegil
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Family, Duty, Hodor:
    Asim Ahmad was originally cast to play Thoros of Myr but they switched to Paul Kaye when he had a scheduling conflict.

    Pretty certain he wasn’t.

    Asim Ahmad goes around claiming to be in lots of stuff that he isn’t. The latest one from last December was that he was going to to be in the next Spiderman film (He Isn’t).

  162. Braincandy
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Khal-A-Bunga:
    Straight from George’s (Not a) Blog:

    And another from the comments section on an article discussing this scene…

    That is all.

    This clears things up a bit.

    I think interpretation is in the eye of the beholder:
    Sallador Saan- crafty philosophizing pirate (far more likable than any Greyjoy, with the exception of Asha)
    Ducksauce- successful merchant
    Melisande- linguistics expert
    Grey Worm- weapons expert
    Then we have some main characters of note:
    Cercei- bad mother
    Cat- good mother
    Tyrion- badass motha’
    Bronn- funny asshole
    Ros- smart whore
    Brienne- virgin juggernaut
    Arya- tough girl
    Hot Pie- weak boy

    I could go on but I think I’ve made my point. I see a lot of diversity in the characters on the show (and more so in the books). That being said I would like to see Dorne as a place of color because it would be a reflection of reality (both in the real world and in the books) that would add a great layer of richness to the landscape.

  163. Virtus
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed: Until
    equality becomes common practice in hiring and other fields the law is applied,
    the need for such legal protections must persist.

    You can’t put out a fire with more fire and you can’t end discrimination by adding discrimination. Equality means that all runners start at the same line, not that all runners finish at the same time. The fact is that the notion of a colour-blind society is expressly rejected by modern liberal ideology. Modern liberals instead believe in the concept of the “sins of the fathers”, whereby 21st century white people are deemed guilty for something that happened a fifty or a hundred years before their birth.

    When you think about it, affirmative action in itself actually promotes the “white savior” legend: it presupposes that minorities are too weak to make it by themselves without a lower threshold.

    The absurd thing is that a person who says “I believe everyone should be treated equally according to their individual merits and regardless of their ethnic background” would have been considered by all to be a liberal fifty years ago, but nowadays the so called liberals consider that to be a reactionary statement. That’s some Newspeak.

  164. Darquemode
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Mormegil,

    Agreed.
    I was not going to comment and give him more press, but I received about a dozen emails and comments to my casting thread (last year’s not this years) about Ahmad making false claims and even Photoshopping images on his pages. I did not bother to examine his photos so I don’t know if that is true, but what is true is that he made many false claims about his Thrones role and past roles he never had.

  165. Virtus
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    john:
    By the way, where are the transgender characters in GoT???

    Or the inuits. Is the show anti-inuit?

  166. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Virtus,

    Lots of extrapolation based on nothing there, eh?

  167. hare
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    lol db this may help put it in perspective: http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/.a/6a00d834515c2369e2014e86a3b798970d-popup

    seriously, you could fill several bingo cards just with this comments section (although hopefully at least one or two are just trolling under multiple names.)

    Although one benefit is that it’s sent me down an internet rabbit hole regarding people of color’s presence in Europe and the UK during the Middle Ages and earlier.

    This is an interesting collection of artistic depictions: http://medievalpoc.tumblr.com/
    and here are some more: http://tal9000.tumblr.com/post/27347565027/poc-in-europe-masterpost
    scroll down: http://girljanitor.tumblr.com/post/50422373935/innocent-bystanders-inc-nudiemuse

    Also from the National Archives: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/blackhistory/early_times/moors.htm

    and

    http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http:/www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/blackhistory/early_times/romans.htm

    So far I’m discovering a pretty interesting mish-mash of traders, slavery (on the ancient model, i.e. vikings & romans grabbing all kinds of people), travelling nobility, saints, artisans/entertainers, and empires expanding (Romans-including those of African descent, and Mongols having a particularly far-flung reach).

    For me part of the appeal of the ASOIF books is that they borrow a lot from historical precendent, including the complexity of cultural interactions and individual lives. I love when the show reflects this (and as pointed out, this isn’t necessarily a budgetary issue, Spartacus and Merlin have lower budgets as far as I know, but still reflect complexity in their casting — although it’s an interesting question if it might actually be more cost effective to have diversity in the primary cast than in some scenes with very large groups of extras depending where they are shot? )

  168. oftheforest
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Easteros bunny:
    Facepalm!

    The only important Dornish character to the story in the show is obyern. The rest are disposable.

    The show won’t cast every single sand snake. Get realistic folks.

    I’m sorry, what? So the two actual point-of-view characters from Dorne, Arianne and Quentyn Martell, aren’t important? Doran Martell isn’t important? No, you’re wrong. There’s pretty much no point at all in including Oberyn if they’re not going to go into the other Dornish stuff at some stage.

  169. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink
  170. Bard
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t mind if the Martells and the people of Dorne are depicted as “people of color” (to be honest , I’m not an American and I’ve never heard or read about that term before, I also think the whole discussion is pretty US centric). However, I don’t think they should exclude decent actors simply because they’re “white” or because they have an European background. If a Spaniard or an Italian or any other actor who is not a “POC” should appear to be a good choice for a certain role, they should still be able to cast him. I think the Dornish (or most of them) should have a certain “southern” look to distinguish them from the rest of Westeros. But that’s about it. Please don’t cast people simply to have more non-white people on the show (although, as I said, I wouldn’t mind if they are).

  171. Virtus
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    hare,

    Eh, you really think this is an authentic representation of Medieval Europe? http://25.media.tumblr.com/9942fdd58dfe7669b74ec5dfe8dabb03/tumblr_mm4gddZ0bt1rvmzslo1_1280.png

  172. Darquemode
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    hare,

    Some interesting bits there thanks.
    History is just so complex and made even more so by the fact that histories are often written by the victors of wars and what limited sources we have can be biased or just ignorant.

  173. Kate
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed: Affirmative Action is a court ordered policy , practiced in various countries, instituted
    to correct or balance the unequal treatment of peoples discriminated against.
    Individuals, whom may be homosexual, female, ethnically dissimilar to
    privileged segments , continue to be discriminated against. Thus need for such laws.
    In it’s promoted practice, those whom find lessened advantage often recite reverse
    discrimination , which further exacerbates ignorance on the subject. Until
    equality becomes common practice in hiring and other fields the law is applied,
    the need for such legal protections must persist.

    Affirmative action is stupid. Particed in various countries, but luckily not practiced in most. You can call it as you want, but it’s actual reverse discrimination at an individual level and sacrifices meritocracy for allocated quotes.

  174. hare
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Virtus,

    Hence the note to scroll down, for some reason I couldn’t find the direct link to the comment which posts the historical artworks.

    Though as an aside personally I think those top paintings are pretty cool as contemporary fantasy artwork.

  175. Jinete
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Being Hispanic I can tell you we come all shapes, sizes and colors. I think GRRM has the Dornish filling the classic Mediterranean role. For instance if one went to Spain or Italy then the more fair skin and lighter color one has while the further south one goes the darker one is. I see Dorne at the time of the Reconquista with the darker Dornish living on the coast with the fairer Dornish living further away from the coast..

  176. oftheforest
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    There seem to be a few people in here saying that the Dornish should look like stock-standard Westerosi just because they’re part of the continent? Have you… read the books, or even read anything about Dorne before? Dorne is very different from the rest of Westeros- in terms of ethnic make up, customs, architecture and culture.

    They’re not just the same Andal/First Men stock as the rest of Westeros. The Rhoynar fled to Dorne while the Valyrians were taking over Essos, led by Nymeria. It was a mass evacuation. Nymeria herself made a marriage alliance with Mors Martell (who was a lord of a city-state in the province) and they conquered the rest of Dorne together. The rest of the Rhoynar intermingled with the Andals and First Men in Dorne, which is why most of the people in Dorne looks so different from the rest of Westeros. But Dorne was never conquered or invaded by any other army. They’re not the same ethnic mix as most of Westeros.

    Most of the people of Dorne look different. The Martells definitely look different from the other noble families. Their culture, food, and customs are different. They should not be played by white actors.

  177. omie
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Oh, man. These comments are so disappointing. The roundtables were fantastic though. I really hope the casting directors are better than the misguided people posting here and they make sure not to whitewash the Martells. I mean, honestly, I’m genuinely embarrassed on behalf of a lot of people in these comments. Ugh.

  178. zaprowsdower
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    omie,

    You and me both. Embarrassed and disgusted.

  179. Michael274
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    omie,

    Then don’t post here anymore if you are so “offended”. Typical american bullshit , it’s fine for you to make fun of somebody else, but when someone says something you don’t like, you pull the offensive move .

  180. babar
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    oftheforest,

    How was Quentyn important?

  181. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    hare,

    The bingo card is awesome! It kind of applies to other controversial topics too. I think if you can’t try to see where another person is coming from without some quick easy dismissal, trying to take their perspective into account before you make up your mind against something, then those are pretty quick (and chocked full with logical fallacies) shortcuts to not really having to think that hardly about anything at all.

    My position: I see why the minor characters mentioned in the article were cut, I do not think it was malicious, like others have said, they weren’t major, many other non-POC characters were cut as well. However, the Martells are fairly major, and there’s a chance for brilliant POC actors to play them, I don’t see what’s wrong with people wanting that to happen. The main argument I see here is “It should be the best actor, skin colour doesn’t matter”. Ok, but really, do you think that Nina Gold and the producers, who have done an exceptional job casting so far, are going to just cast sub-par actors to be inclusive? I don’t see any past evidence that would suggest this. There are many talented actors out there, and given how many roles in GRRMs stories ARE white, there’s limited chances for people of different background to get in on the action. So, here’s their chance, and people are stating that they’d like to see it.

    Is there a problem of context here? Think about the Peter Dinklage thing, where he’s talked about what the role has done for the acceptance of people with his condition. Media does influence perception, in very powerful ways. Think of the past, where people with dwarfism were regularly stereotyped in the acting roles they could get. There seems to be a kind of denial here that various POC have been typecast in the same way, or that stereotyping on this still exists. Media has influence to help change these perceptions. So while I don’t agree that Alayaya or Jalabar Xho should’ve been included just because of their skin colour (especially not just because of their skin colour! There is just logical plot and production reasons to keep the number of minor characters to a minimum), I feel like this part of the article is being used way to frequently by some comments above to try to just ignore the other points made; that it would not be a bad thing to see great POC actors get a chance to shine in this huge, currently culturally relevant show.

  182. Jinete
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    oftheforest,

    I agree with you but up to a point. The Dornish should be played as traditional Hispanic which is a mix of ethnicities.

  183. Anoushka
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Seonaidh Ceanneidigh: No one complained when Daenerys freed and mobilised the Unsullied, who are dark-skinned to a man. I think that peoples’ disappointment with the lack of a cliffhanger/magical element has coloured (no pun intended) their interpretation of the scene.

    Nah. People complained (lol how legitimate critiques get labelled as such) then too. You might not have seen it, but people brought Friere into it, even, during the analysis of the scene and it was fantastic analysis, I might add. Only with the finale scene, even the most obtuse, even those outside the analytical, marginalized and critical-thinking populations woke up and saw it.

    I’ll say only this about what GRRM said. Many educated people, many colonized people, who’ve *gasp* have read the books have been talking about the humanistic imperialism in Dany’s storyline for a long time. White Savior doesn’t mean what GRRM hilariously misinterpreted it as meaning. And, authorial intent doesn’t matter. If many readers who know what they are talking about point out the problematic nature of Dany’s savior arc, it does exist, whether the author intended it or not.

    I find it shocking if he didn’t intend it at all. I find it shocking because as many have pointed it out, you don’t even need to find real world correlations for it be conceptualized in Dany’s arc. The fact that GRRM wrote Dany’s ancestors, the Valyrians, as the original colonizers and enslavers of the region that she tries to save with her misguided good intentions and nothing else, not even a plan, literally makes her a white savior. The aspects of neo-imperialism exist in her arc, and I’d thought that GRRM deliberately and progressively wrote that in, so he could critique it, even obliquely, by having Dany fail in ADWD. How disappointing to see that that was apparently unintentional.

    And for the record, “white savior complex” is a phrase describing a process. It’s meant to evoke the problematic phenomena among the First World, Eurocentric, and coded-white societies when they interact with their former colonies to “save” them from their backward ways, ways that many times came about from the devastation left by the colonizers (ahem Slaver’s Bay wouldn’t have been Slaver’s Bay if not for the Freehold’s dragons burning down their crops and ensuring that slaves would become the main commodity).

    It does not literally mean that everyone who operates as a white savior is white, or that fantasy characters are free from real world analysis. Anyone who has internalized Eurocentric culture can be a white savior and they can excuse it or be in denial of its existence. At one time, even I as a person of color who now is nauseated at the thought, entertained the possibility of working with some First World NGOs which I know now to be very damaging to native populations. Also, media doesn’t exist in a vacuum, as they are written by real people of all biases that they inadvertently will bring into the literature. GRRM depicts a very Eurocentric world, and he has a typical Eurocentric fantasy trope that existed in Eurocentric fantasy way before ASOIAF came out (white blonde hair, otherwordly beauty, purple eyes) and yes, the otherizing of the Essos, in comparison to Westeros, is alsopart of his Ethnocentrism. This is not an attack on GRRM, but I’m just saying that it is what it is, as he writes what he knows. This doesn’t make Dany less of a worthy character. What it does do is, apparently, bring out people who think that media exists in a vacuum, that if something is unintentionally problematic or racist, then it’s okay because it wasn’t intentional etc. lol ok. Intentions don’t matter. Oh, and I’m a brown woman who has a lot of opinions about colonization and neo-imperialism because I am from and live partly in a country who was ravaged by colonizers and who still have to deal with their descendants coming back to “save” us. I work with NGOs professionally, so my opinions, I like to think anyway, are backed up by my years of experience in the field and in academics.

  184. Nagga's Kin
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Easteros bunny: Facepalm!

    The only important Dornish character to the story in the show is obyern. The rest are disposable.

    The show won’t cast every single sand snake. Get realistic folks.

    Considering how long GRRM is taking to write the next book, it’s possible the showrunners could expand on his version of Dorne lest they catch up with him too soon.

    They already expanded the level of detail of Robb’s and Theon’s arcs because they liked the actors. They also invented new characters to replace (Talisa) or amalgamate (Ros) those in the books. IFF they get the casting right and come up with some compelling story twists, why not spend some extra screen time in a place many book reader fans loved more than you did? I’m an Unsullied myself, so I don’t mind twists and turns and bold plans that turn to dust – as long as I’m kept guessing.

    If nothing else, Dorne could be a device for elaborating on the recent history of Westeros, which has received only perfunctory attention in the show proper (with Blu-Ray extras filling in the blanks). Shireen Baratheon may be fascinated with Aegon the Conqueror, but her (official) cousin Myrcella probably cares more about the real reason she was the subject of a hastily arranged betrothal to a Dornish prince. With the Battle of Blackwater looming, Tyrion’s assertion to Cersei that she would be safer there than in KL was accurate enough, but surely she would have been safer still in Casterly Rock or in a loyal Lannister bannerman’s keep. In the feudal society of the realm, the hand of a highborn in marriage is political currency, so the showrunners still owe us a credible explanation.

    In the course of that reveal, we may learn more about Lyanna Stark and Dany’s father, whose actions prompted Robert Baratheon to ultimately usurp the Iron Throne. What, if any, role did the Martells play in all that? Also, what is their take on the rumors of Cersei’s twincest and Ned’s / Stannis’ assertion that Joffrey is a bastard child? And if that were true, what of Myrcella, their precious son’s bride-to-be?

    We’ve also heard precious little about the ancient history of the continent. The Dornish probably have their own stories, prophecies and prehistoric artifacts. Some of these might take on fresh significance to a maester or a clergyman there in light of the White Walkers’ return. Specifically: what forced them to retreat back to the icy lands far beyond the Wall the last time?

  185. WildSeed
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Anoushka,

    Well said.

  186. Virtus
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Anoushka: The fact that GRRM wrote Dany’s ancestors, the Valyrians, as the original colonizers and enslavers of the region that she tries to save with her misguided good intentions and nothing else, not even a plan, literally makes her a white savior.

    So it would have been better for the slaves of Astapor and Yunkai that Dany had just moved along and done nothing?

  187. oftheforest
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Bard:
    …Please don’t cast people simply to have more non-white people on the show (although,as I said,I wouldn’t mind if they are).

    When every single other major character in the show would have been cast partly because they were caucasian (would a person of colour ever have been cast as Ned? Or Cersei? Or Arya? NO, even though people of colour can have traits associated with whiteness, like fair skin, or blue eyes, they sure as hell never would have cast any other major character thus far with an actor that looked non-white), why can’t someone be cast partly because they’re not?

    The fact that so many here are implying that they would cast someone ‘just because they’re brown’ is racist as hell. Do you honestly think that all non-white people can’t act? Or that a white actor would be automatically better for the role? Race factors into casting, what are you even talking about. If it didn’t, then most casting calls wouldn’t ask specifically for caucasian actors.

    It’s easy for a lot of people here to say ‘don’t cast someone just because they’re brown’ because, chances are, you watch shows where 95% of people already look like you! Even if the Martells weren’t obviously not-white (and they are pretty obviously not-white), I would still be ecstatic if they were cast that way. Representation in media matters. Diversity in media matters. This is not set in medieval Europe, and even if it were, we’d be seeing a lot more diversity in this show than we have up until this point.

  188. babar
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Anoushka: Oh, and I’m a brown woman who has a lot of opinions about colonization and neo-imperialism because I am from and live partly in a country who was ravaged by colonizers and who still have to deal with their descendants coming back to “save” us. I work with NGOs professionally, so my opinions, I like to think anyway, are backed up by my years of experience in the field and in academics.

    Which country is that?

  189. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    Hey WildSeed, this may get buried, but I found this comment really interesting. I’ve never really thought about essentialism as it relates to these issues (well, I suppose in vague terms, but never really under the framework of that term). Do you have any reccomendations of good sources I could read about the topic?

  190. Shmurb
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Anoushka,

    Unbelievably well said!

  191. WildSeed
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Virtus,

    Sad that you miss the point of educating those who wish to end it. As long as myths
    and ignorances persists in this world, we continue to have need of those who
    champion the purpose of equality. We’re not talking about the law of nature
    here, just the human element of ignorance that’s enacted in the daily practice of
    irrational fears and violence. As a result, the world is not colorblind or fair,
    after all this time, there are laws that help some achieve an even footing
    with those whom dominated privileges. And we all know there are ways to
    circumvent Affirmative Action Laws, haters you see, will never easily give up
    what they feel is theirs alone. Thankfully, ethnically classified, homosexual
    and gender bias is recognized as unfair and unjust by many people unaffected,
    and those whom mandate such laws in practice.

    Anyways, philosophy and genetics are meaty topics, I’d hope to continue discussion
    of Dorne and GoT, than these we’ve veered off into.

  192. WeirwoodTreeHugger
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Virtus,

    That would be a good point if we actually lived in a meritocracy. We do not. If people were judged on their own merits there would be no need for affirmative.
    Also, why do so many people who hate diversity and “political correctness” so often assume that hiring actor aren’t European to play the Martells is affirmative action? Let’s not assume that a white actor is always the best one for the job and casting anyone who isn’t white means political correctness? Why is diversity threatening or annoying if you are so enlightened?
    I would have hoped fellow fans of ASOIAF would be too intelligent to parrot the talking points of Rush Limbaugh. Too bad I was wrong.

  193. Lars
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    This conversation reminds me of all the discussion by people who wanted to increase the casting diversity (& be more accurate to the books) by making all the Dothraki east-Asian.

    Can you imagine the s**tstorm that would have created if all the rapers where Asian??? Omg… They do have a fine line to walk.

    And just to be clear… The source material IS FAR FROM PERFECT in this regard. Dany IS the white savior trope personified throughout ASOS. GRRM also has a tendency to add “civilized white” cities in the middle of regions with more darker skinned inhabitants. (Qarth anyone?)

    To conclude, as “european american” I do want to see a more diverse looking Dorne, but people are kidding themselves if they think that the 3 racial types (if accurate) of Dorne will be represented.

  194. Matt Chung
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    … I’m still convinced that Grey Worm is Quentyn Martell.

  195. Adam
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    oftheforest,

    Be fair to your opposition here. I think you know that no one commenting here believes “all non-white people can’t act,” and claiming otherwise is making a bad faith argument – as is calling the person you’re talking to “racist as hell.”

    From what I can tell, Bard was making a distinction between two different reasons to cast actors of color using their skin color as a factor:

    1) Because their role is that color (the same reason, as you correctly pointed out, roles like Ned and Arya went to white actors), or
    2) Because the producers want to up a “diversity score” measured by some complicated (and unwritten) metric of how many actors of color a show has, the sorts of roles they play, etc.

    It’s not an unreasonable thing to think that an actor’s race should only matter if 1) is a factor, and that 2) should be irrelevant to casting. Take for example the new Doctor Who lead they’re currently searching for. I would love for them to cast a non-white actor – as long as the reason is because he’s the best damn person they could find to play the role. In the end, my enjoyment of the show will have nothing to do with the actor’s race and everything to do with how well he fits into the role.

    Is that a realistic concern? I have no idea. I really don’t know if casting directors are ever actually saying “well, we have these two actors, and we like Actor A better, but he’s white and we really need some more diversity so let’s go with Actor B.” Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. The opinion I think Bard was expressing is that casting directors (or producers or whoever) shouldn’t do that.

    It’s not an unreasonable opinion at all, but nor is it a trivial one. It’s one that I think a lot of people on this panel – unless I read it wrong – would disagree with. It has nothing to do with whether non-white people can act (come on now) and all to do with the role diversity should play in casting – which is contentious, and on which people can disagree with you without being racist (as hell).

  196. Nagga's Kin
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    oftheforest: [...] Even if the Martells weren’t obviously not-white (and they are pretty obviously not-white), I would still be ecstatic if they were cast that way. [...]

    No, the casting needs to be consistent with the narrative. Sometimes ethnicity doesn’t really matter one way or the other, in those cases a wide net should be cast even if it means the story has to be tweaked. Usually, though, a character is written with a specific ethnic and social background in mind and hiring someone who doesn’t match that profile would require either a major rewrite or an audience that is willing to look beyond the mismatch. The example I quoted earlier was the character of Guinevere in the BBC show “Merlin”. Angel Colby’s a lovely actress, but King Arthur marrying a black woman? In terms of the legend, that’s a very modern/PC interpretation. Luckily for the producers, audiences were prepared to roll with it.

    The real answer to the dilemma is writing meaty characters with minority actors in mind, which is exactly what most commenters here argue GRRM has in fact done. If so, hiring majority (i.e. Caucasian) actors for these particular roles would be a disservice to the source material. Even if you believe there is endemic racism in the TV industry, the yardstick of success remains how well a story is told and, HBO does that better than most. With no Nielsen ratings and skittish advertisers to worry about, there’s reason to hope they will be faithful to GRRM’s vision wrt Dorne. I for one trust Nina Gold to get this right.

  197. Arthur
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Off topic:

    Showtime canceled The Borgias… =(

    Despite its lack of ratings I thought it was a great show.

    That sucks for me, now my 2014 Springtime Sunday nights will have a void.

    Used to watch GoT, Vikings then Borgias…

    We all know GoT isn’t going anywhere for at least 7 seasons and Vikings has been renewed so that is good. Just hope Showtime puts another cool time period piece in The Borgias place for springtime Sunday nights.

    Anywho,

    When you look at the ratings Borgias has rec’d over the years then compare it to the ratings GoT gets it really puts the numbers in perspective on how high GoT ratings are for a premium cable show… GoT has been getting some pretty amazing viewership.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Borgias_episodes

  198. Lina
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    It didn’t bother me that Dany was a white woman saving people of color in the books, because not all people of color in the books were poor helpless slaves or immoral killers. There was a wider diversity than it usually is. The show however, it’s a mess on that part. Benioff and Weiss really managed to minimize women and non-whites, throughout the show poc have been displayed as savages, whores, pirates, slaves, slave-owners and so on. That’s why the last scene bothered me, the diversity that existed in the books didn’t exist in the show and it made everything much worse. That’s why Dorne is so critical to be right for me. Women and non-whites are not always oppressed victims or evil savages, and I should know since I’m an arab woman(and when have we EVER not been displayed as either evil or oppressed?).
    Even if the people in Dorne are believed to look like Indians or whatnot, it’s still freaking refreshing.

    Don’t you dare take this away from me Benioff/Weiss!

  199. WeirwoodTreeHugger
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    As to the importance of Dorne to the story, it’s silly that people are assuming it’s not important or that only Oberyn ever needs to be cast. We won’t know until the last books are published how or if the Dornish storylines will pay off. Here is why I think they are going somewhere:
    We know from the TWOW Arianne chapter that she is heading to Aegon, who has conquered a few places in the Stormlands already. Since the Martells still want vengeance against the Lannisters it seems like they will probably want an alliance with Aegon.
    The rejection of Quentyn’s marriage proposal and his subsequent death complicate things for Daenerys when she finally heads to Westeros. Now they could very well decide not to ally with her and to throw their support to Aegon.
    The Queenmaker plot could be shortened a bit. I think it’s important for character development and Dornish world building. Gender politics are more progressive than in the rest of Westeros but, not so progressive that Arianne doesn’t fear that her father wants to make Quentyn his heir. They could illustrate this another way. However, the injury of Myrcella could be important as well. There will most likely be wrath when Cersei finds out. With the creation of FrankenGregor it’s too early to count Cersei out of the game.

  200. john
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Lina,

    Yeah, the “white people” in the show are such nice people. Give me a break.

    There is such a ridiculous amount of racists in this thread that apparently sees race everywhere. Even in a TV-show about a fictional world.

    If you think the show-runners are going to fly in extras from all over the world to appease your demands for “ethnic quotas” you’re dead wrong. I’d rather have them spend their money on something that is actually going to make the show better.

    By the way:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/files/2013/05/racial-tolerance-map-hk-fix.jpg

  201. Virtus
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Lina: the show poc have been displayed as savages, whores, pirates, slaves, slave-owners and so on

    I think the hill tribes Tyrion encounters and recruits are depicted as among the most savage peoples. And so are the Wildlings beyond the Wall, who in the books are barely familiar with iron. Both of those groups are white. The Ironborn are essentially pirates and they’re white. Most whores shown on screen have been white. As for slave-owners, Jorah was exiled for being one and he certainly is white.

  202. Pau Soriano
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Turncloak:
    Ours is the Fury,

    Banderas is pretty much the definition of “Olive skin”. This guy IS Oberyn Martell. Add to that movie quality acting ability and a big name and you have an excellent Red Viper. My opinion of course but to say that he isn’t a person of color is erroneous

    http://www.google.com/search?q=antonio+banderas&newwindow=1&safe=off&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=qPS9UfHTBum6yAGV0YDQCg&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=320&bih=418#biv=i%7C4%3Bd%7CwYXNYr8EcBTC9M%3A

    Banderas IS NOT a person of color…he’s a white spaniard.

    A person of color would be a latino, that is mainly someone that comes from the mix of the europeans invaders+the native tribes that live in central and south america (and in some cases, like cuba, + the slaves that they brought from Africa)

    Another thing is that he looks like a Martell ’cause he has olive skin and black hair…like 80% of spanish, italians or greeks…but he is white dude.

    Jinete:
    oftheforest,

    I agree with you but up to a point.The Dornish should be played as traditional Hispanic which is a mix of ethnicities.

    Again, no…if something, the Dornish are middle-eastern, arabic or maybe even indian, but NOT Hispanic. Spanish, yes, but not Hispanic…

    “Hispanic” is such a broad term than in terms of skin color will match the dornish, but certainly not the ethnicity/ethnicities, wich again is as diverse as pre-columbian cultures existed. And certainly Martin wasn’t thinkin about those pre-columbian ethnicities when he was thinking about Dorne, he was thinking about Al-Alandalus

  203. babar
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Virtus: As for slave-owners, Jorah was exiled for being one and he certainly is white.

    And there were a lot of white slave traders in Astapor, too.

  204. Arthur
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Since Showtime canceled The Borgias, is there anyone from that cast that could get gobbled up by D&D to play a new character role in GoT?

    Now we have two shows with great actors possibly looking for work, Spartacus and The Borgias…

    How about the actor who played Crixus in Spartacus? The undefeated Gaul for The Red Viper? I remember him having dark skin…

  205. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Virtus: I think the hill tribes Tyrion encounters and recruits are depicted as among the most savage peoples. And so are the Wildlings beyond the Wall, who in the books are barely familiar with iron. Both of those groups are white. The Ironborn are essentially pirates and they’re white. Most whores shown on screen have been white. As for slave-owners, Jorah was exiled for being one and he certainly is white.

    Sure there are savage white people. But the point people are trying to make is this: there are also white people on the show that are kind and multifaceted characters with full character arcs and background stories. Whereas the darker-skinned people have been relegated to the role of savage, in strictly servile roles, or been erased altogether. (Xaro was a positive change in visibility, but then, his character was stuck in a vault in a major change from the books.) No one is arguing that there are cruel white characters on the show, but there is more balance when it comes characters that are played by white people.

  206. Fire And Blood
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    As a person who enjoys debate, I’m glad we’re having this discussion in the first place. Count me in as one of the people who thought the posh British Spice King from season 2 (with a name Dany couldn’t possibly pronounce) was just ridiculous. It just completely took me out of the scene.

    Different people have different levels of tolerance for that kind of thing. I harp on believability more than any kind of racial equality where casting is concerned, and I truly believe the Martells being PoC is important—not just for the obvious reasons, but because the Dornish have been painted by the show as being “different.” I want to see that.

    Dany’s crowdsurfing scene did make me wince, mostly because I knew they were already treading thin ice with the whole “white savior” trope. It’s canon in a sense that Dany is white (seeing as Targaryens are about as white as white can be) and a savior, of sorts, but I would have preferred to have seen a multicultural assemblage of freed slaves.

    That said, I’m siding with GRRM on the particulars. If you’re shooting in Morocco, and you’re calling for extras, chances are most of the extras will look Moroccan. And yes, I do remember that call for extras in particular—I seem to recall they specified they needed extras of all ethnicities. But obviously what they got in the end were a lot of brown-skinned people. And you can’t “ship in” white extras, because (I’m 95% sure) that automatically makes them “featured extras,” which requires a lot more money, and would garner even more accusations of race-based favoritism from the non-white extras.

    So GRRM is right: you’re stuck with what you get. The best you can do is put the call out and hope for the best.

  207. Fire And Blood
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and thank you, Fury, for finishing this sucker for me! Gratitude!

  208. Omar Brown
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Khal-A-Bunga:
    Straight from George’s (Not a) Blog:

    And another from the comments section on an article discussing this scene…

    That is all.

    Dropped the mic, goodnite everyone!

  209. Adam
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Pau Soriano: Banderas IS NOT a person of color…he’s a white spaniard.

    A person of color would be a latino, that is mainly someone that comes from the mix of the europeans invaders+the native tribes that live in central and south america (and in some cases, like cuba, + the slaves that they brought from Africa)

    Another thing is that he looks like a Martell ’cause he has olive skin and black hair…like 80% of spanish, italians or greeks…but he is white dude.

    Again, no…if something, the Dornish are middle-eastern, arabic or maybe even indian, but NOT Hispanic. Spanish, yes, but not Hispanic…

    “Hispanic” is such a broad term than in terms of skin color will match the dornish, but certainly not the ethnicity/ethnicities, wich again is as diverse as pre-columbian cultures existed. And certainly Martin wasn’t thinkin about those pre-columbian ethnicities when he was thinking about Dorne, he was thinking aboutAl-Alandalus

    Can someone explain to me why Banderas’ ethnic origin matters at all in casting him? Skin color I get, but if he has the right look for a Dornishman, who cares where his parents and their parents came from?

  210. King Tommen
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    The best roundtables (on any subject) are those which have participants that have differing points of view so that an actual (civilized) debate can occur. To me, this entire article appeared to be intentionally or not, less of a discussion than the forwarding of a very specific agenda from a group of people that really want their voices heard.

    I really don’t think this particular issue is as widespread and all-encompassing as has been presented here and I don’t believe spending this much time going over a specific agenda that I can tell is a point of passion for the handful of those involved is really something worth doing.

    I appreciate the passion but I think we can just accept that there is a small group of people that have very strong feelings on the subject and move on because I don’t think the mass audience of the show really cares that much about it.

    This kind of feels like a Tumblr thing…

  211. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Omar Brown,

    Not quite. GRRM is stating that Dany freed people of all races, but that isn’t what we saw. That is the problem. And everyone has acknowledged the problem with them being in Morocco and having limited access to a variety to extras. There is also the fact that authorial intent is not the be-all end-all. Martin has made mistakes and received a fair amount of criticism for years for his depictions of race, particularly when it comes to the Dothraki. His word is not law, not when it comes to the TV show when what we see is a script being written, directed and acted by other people.

  212. WildSeed
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Shmurb:
    WildSeed,

    Hey WildSeed, this may get buried, but I found this comment really interesting. I’ve never really thought about essentialism as it relates to these issues (well, I suppose in vague terms, but never really under the framework of that term). Do you have any reccomendations of good sources I could read about the topic?

    I came across many academic texts while studying , but almost any University
    campus bookstore may have texts within the Human Origins studies, which
    include some aspect of Genome Studies and Epidemiological Research. Some
    of these were required reading for me, even though I now practice Molecular
    Medicine. Work study , prior to internship, lent me a couple of years under
    the tutelage of a research Geneticist whom fueled my passion for human
    genetics.Before that, it was just textbook concepts and white coats.
    Becoming a member of the Institute for Human Origins really opened my
    awareness and better understanding of Biologic Essentialism , as many
    on the council were practice as public educators and political advocates ,
    in addition to their field of Archaeology. Dr Donald Johanson has several books
    on related topics.

    More to your question, try looking up anything by Dr Stephan Palmie or
    Imani Perry or Zeresenay Alemseged, to name only a few. If you get your
    hands on the American Journal of Human Genetics ( I’ve tossed out my
    recent copy ), there’s bound to be an abstract written or query from those
    interested in furthering interest in Hooton or Templeton’s faction of
    redefining social constructs. Needless to say, many racist use their work as
    proof of some sort, even if their intent was to challenge existing perspective.

  213. Lina
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    john,

    It doesn’t lack importance just because it’s a fictional world, on the contrary. Don’t minimize it just because it’s fiction, it’s not something that should be underestimated.

    john and Virtus,

    it doesn’t matter that white people are displayed as savages, whores and pirates too, because they’re not only displayed as such. You’re not really proving your point when you’re basically saying “look white people can be bad too”, give me the opposite example instead, (that is not Talisa).

    and john, I live in Sweden, they may say that they tolerate all races but that’s not what the reality looks like. In the big cities the neighbourhoods are extremely divided by race. But, this discussion doesn’t belong here and I won’t answer anything related to it.

  214. Khal-A-Bunga
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Fire And Blood,

    Any way you could set up a part three that discusses how Dorne (and the various characters associated with the kingdom) could be implemented into the story line of the show? Because this discussion – while certainly fun for some – is mainly just a bunch of white folks discussing how offended they are for all of these “P.O.C.’s”, which strikes me as a bit pointless and – more importantly – counter-intuitive to the entire purpose of this manufactured ‘controversy’.

    Also, Amr Waked for the Red Viper! Dude is a fantastic actor.

    http://tinyurl.com/lhj8kbx

  215. Seonaidh Ceanneidigh
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Arthur:

    How about the actor who played Crixus in Spartacus? The undefeated Gaul for The Red Viper? I remember him having dark skin…

    Fantastic actor, but not sure if he can play ‘sly’. He can do savage and heartfelt like no other, though. I’d love to see any of the Spartacus folk in GoT. Simon Merrells would be great; guy has ice cold eyes.

    I’ll be crucified for this, but I saw Benedict Cumberbatch and thought he’d be a great Oberyn: tall, with long limbs and he looks like a damn viper: high cheekbones, slit-eyed stare, a mouth that can look cruel. Yet also highly charismatic. He’s a white Englishman, so I imagine folk would be displeased; but I always look more to the performance than anything else. It won’t happen but I thought he could do charming and menacing all in a stroke.

    *prepares to be lambasted* :(

  216. WildSeed
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Arthur,

    Switch next season to watching ” Da Vinci’s Demons “, on Starz
    and ” Orphan Black ” on BBC America. All set. There are also
    2 new shows on Starz network , called ” White Sails ” and a
    pirate production whose name I don’t remember.

    I really tried to find interest in the ” Borgias “, but Jeremy Irons really sleep
    walked through that role, as if unchallenged by it. And I found the
    remaining cast embarrassing to watch. I may be too harsh though, having
    seen Irons in much better roles, and being spoiled by GoT.

  217. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Khal-A-Bunga,

    A bunch of white folks? Of the roundtable, only 2 are white. The other 6 are not. In comments, several people have also identified themselves as people of color. (Some disagreeing with roundtable points.) Perhaps you want to listen and take their opinions into consideration since they are able to speak on their own behalf?

  218. LordStarkington
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury: No one is arguing that there are cruel white characters on the show, but there is more balance when it comes characters that are played by white people.

    This is sort of a fair point but I have a few quibbles with it within the context of statements made in the round table.

    Also, to note, I am firmly on the “I’d like the Martells to be at least Mediterranean-looking in origin” camp, I just find quite a bit of the rest to be problematic. Disclaimer, if it matters, I’m of mixed-race background (although given my skin color, I would say 99.9% of people who don’t know me personally would regard me as a “person of color”).

    (1) None of the cut characters from the books fit the bill of being balanced or particularly nuanced characters. Belwas is popular, yes, but he has almost no depth to him. Jalabhar is a joke. Alayaya and Chataya are ‘deep’ only in that they’re not just whores, they’re classy whores (and speaking of potentially uncomfortable scenes, I’m not sure seeing Cersei being abusive or threatening Alayaya would have necessarily gone over well either). Or, put another way, I tend to agree that there aren’t many deep/multi-faceted minority characters, but the ones from the books that are brought up are throwaway/minor characters at best and problematic in their own ways.

    (2) Due to how far along in the source material it is, the show really hasn’t had the chance to flex its ability to have characters from other ethnic backgrounds, although they did dramatic improve Xaro (who in the book always struck me as a bit of a caricature given his homosexual tendencies) and expanded his role, even if the storyline as a whole wasn’t entirely successful. That being said, they have a real opportunity to improve the Dany in Mereen storyline in seasons to come, for example.

    (3) Tokenism. Literally speaking, yes, they could have thrown in a few minority characters here and there on the side, but does that really substantively ‘improve the situation’, as it were? Does having Jalabhar in the background of the King’s Landing scenes really broaden the viewers’ understanding of the GoT world as a whole? Does having a black woman who’s a classy whore bring more depth to the storyline?

    Given enough time and energy spent on them, maybe, but given the time/technological/budgetary constraints on everything they do, is it really worth it? Especially when these characters are not, in my mind, particularly good examples of well-written or compelling in the books?

    As I said in my previous post, I think the show actually has the chance to greatly improve on what I saw as a sometimes grating/uncomfortable depiction of Essos in the Dany storyline going forward.

    My two cents, at least.

  219. Darquemode
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    WeirwoodTreeHugger,

    For me Quentyn helps to illustrate a few somewhat important points.

    - Having some Targaryen blood is not enough to control or even be safe from the dragons. It may seem like a simple concept, but it needs to be shown and could prove more important in the future if the “dragon has three heads” prophecy comes into play.
    - He helps show how immature Dany is and how she cannot see past his unattractiveness. That can lead to her redemption arc later if she changes her ways.
    - Like you mentioned Quentyn serves as a possible wedge between the Martells and Dany which could lead to the support of Aegon
    - Quentyn leads to the dragons being set free.

    Arianne’s upcoming chapters may or may not lead to her being a a major player, but she cannot be ruled out at this point. The Sand Snakes will probably be less important, but have roles to play from assassination, imparting knowledge to more key players, or deaths that move the story in needed directions.

  220. lady
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    I’m not going to read the comments. But I’m sure they are all mature and thoughtful

  221. Khal-A-Bunga
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    I have listened (well, read) [to] both the article itself and the comments, and the conclusion I keep coming back to is that it’s becoming incredibly tiresome for a fan site for a television show to consistently have these debates on race. My father is white, my mother is black – which would technically (I guess) make me a “P.O.C.” – and I still find this continued dialogue more offensive than anything I’ve seen on the show or in the books. What, exactly, is it that I’m supposed to be listening to? What revelatory opinions are being offered up here that I should take note of? I

  222. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Khal-A-Bunga,
    You said you didn’t want to see a bunch of “white folks” talking, I merely pointed out it wasn’t a bunch of white folks. If you aren’t actually interested in reading their thoughts, then never mind.

    No one is forcing you to participate. It says in the initial post what the focus of this roundtable part 2 is, so there’s no deception, no bait-and-switch. If you’re tired of it, why read it and get involved in comments?

  223. WildSeed
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    I would hope that in whatever premise the GoT production decides for
    Oberyn Martell, that he his not portrayed as a one sided theatrical buffoon.
    He was not only clever at swordplay and cheeky, but quite observant and
    sharp in intelligence. Those chapters of Dorne where Doran described
    his brother, really had me appreciating him more. GoT will certainly
    highlight his machismo and lusty nature, and that’s all good too,
    just don’t make him out to be a one dimensional idiot that gets killed.

    Someone mentioned that the Dorne story was bloated, or only interesting
    because of the Arianne’s sisters. Through Doran, we learn of many
    relevant facts and essential principles to the Westeros’s political culture.
    I was as surprised as any with Doran’s account of many little known facts
    and his brother’s role in them.

  224. Arthur
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Seonaidh Ceanneidigh,

    I would be very happy with Manu Bennett, who played Crixus. I love that guy, when Andy passed away and they got the new actor to play Spartacus it took a while for him to grow on me but during that time I would tune in just to watch Crixus because he became my favorite.

    If Manu Benett can pull off the witty cockiness of The Red Viper he would be perfect.

    Hope D&D approach him for a reading or how ever that works to give him a shot…

    http://spartacus.wikia.com/wiki/Crixus

  225. Arthur
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    I couldn’t get into that Da Vinci series but I do remember seeing some promos for a pirate series coming out that I will watch. I saw Karen’s sex addict boyfriend (from Shameless) as one of the long haired pirate guys and got all excited lol…

    I’m looking forward to Newsroom season 2. Ill watch True Blood but I don’t look forward to the show on Sunday nights, it’s just there…

  226. Khal-A-Bunga
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    I’m just pointing out the irony of this whole debate, because I’m pretty sure the majority of the people commenting are white, and I find it more offensive that they’re offended for ‘me’ (or, as I’m known in this thread, a “P.O.C.”) than I even thought to be about the final scene with Dany. Like I said, seems a bit counter-intuitive to take the show to task for (apparently) playing on the ‘white savior’ trope, while the same thing is happening in the discussions about it.

  227. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    john:
    Lina,
    By the way:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/files/2013/05/racial-tolerance-map-hk-fix.jpg

    In what context was that illustration presented? Who was polled? Frankly, it is hilarious. What do people have against living near people from India? Does the world dislike the smell of curry that much? :-) (Sorry for the stereotype but I love curry) South Koreans? French? Iranians? Saudis? Egyptians? Nigerians? They all got bad raps (according to the map).

    Again, who was polled? Were they folks who have never travelled, only read sensationalized Fox news trash? Have they ever visited East LA, East St. Louis, Newark, or urban Detroit for comparison? Some of my former “redneck” neighbors were the most hypocritical and bigoted people I’ve ever met.

  228. Darquemode
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Khal-A-Bunga,

    He’s certainly one of my favorites for the role.
    I’m not sure about his stage combat training if that is even important… I think everyone wants the trial by combat to be impressive and awesome, but I’m not sure we need a martial artist or action hero in place of a great actor.

  229. Adam
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard: In what context was that illustration presented? Who was polled? Frankly, it is hilarious. What do people have against living near people from India? Does the world dislike the smell of curry that much? :-) (Sorry for the stereotype but I love curry)South Koreans? French? Iranians? Saudis? Egyptians? Nigerians? They all got bad raps (according to the map).

    Again, who was polled? Were they folks who have never travelled, only read sensationalized Fox news trash? Have they ever visited East LA, East St. Louis, Newark, or urban Detroitfor comparison? Some of my former “redneck” neighbors were the most hypocritical and bigoted people I’ve ever met.

    It means that (for example) 43.5% of Indians polled answered that they wouldn’t want to have “people of another race as neighbors,” not that a lot of people don’t want Indian neighbors :) The article that picture is pulled from is here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/05/15/a-fascinating-map-of-the-worlds-most-and-least-racially-tolerant-countries/

  230. Cat of the Canals
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    (Reading the comments)…. what the fuck?

  231. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Adam,

    Geez, I totally misinterpreted that graphic. All apologies. I rescind my last comment (sorry, can’t delete it) pending further research.

  232. zaprowsdower
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    john,

    Adam,

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/05/17/5-insights-on-the-racial-tolerance-and-ethnicity-maps-from-an-ethnic-conflict-professor/

    A follow up to that graphic pointing out why it’s flawed.

    I’m not really sure why it’s even in this discussion.

  233. Kevin
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    You people seriously? Complaining too many white people? Really?

    Stop bringing in earth world poliltics and let the story be told. Dornish girls are different and olive skinned black hair. Let them do it. Don’t try to push your wants of race one way or another on the show or books.

  234. Zeus
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    It just seems to me like there are a lot of Americans here who don’t understand what people in Europe look like. In all Mediterranean countries you have the mix of various Dornish as described in the book. I’m Greek but would be a stony dornishman. Drink is probably the character I resemble most. Most Americans think all Greeks are dark and swarthy while there is a true mix. Italy Spain Portugal Bulgaria turkey Algeria and Tunisia all have these mixes from the places I’ve been to. These aren’t heterogeneous areas like some would like to believe. The sea has been making people interbreed for thousands of years. Dorne clearly reflects the Mediterranean. We are all mixes here and the term POC I’d frankly pretty offensive. As a northern greek I have color too. Just more pink.

  235. Kevin
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    WildSeed: Affirmative Action is a court ordered policy , practiced in various countries, instituted
    to correct or balance the unequal treatment of peoples discriminated against.
    Individuals, whom may be homosexual, female, ethnically dissimilar to
    privileged segments , continue to be discriminated against. Thus need for such laws.
    In it’s promoted practice, those whom find lessened advantage often recite reverse
    discrimination , which further exacerbates ignorance on the subject. Until
    equality becomes common practice in hiring and other fields the law is applied,
    the need for such legal protections must persist.

    However to some of us, killing to right killing is still wrong. discriminating to prevent discriminating is still wrong.

  236. John G.
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Zeus:
    It just seems to me like there are a lot of Americans here who don’t understand what people in Europe look like. In all Mediterranean countries you have the mix of various Dornish as described in the book. I’m Greek but would be a stony dornishman. Drink is probably the character I resemble most. Most Americans think all Greeks are dark and swarthy while there is a true mix. Italy Spain Portugal Bulgaria turkey Algeria and Tunisia all have these mixes from the places I’ve been to. These aren’t heterogeneous areas like some would like to believe. The sea has been making people interbreed for thousands of years.Dorne clearly reflects the Mediterranean.We are all mixes here and the term POC I’d frankly pretty offensive. As a northern greek I have color too.Just more pink.

    Italy is a great example, with Northern Italians closely resembling the Swiss (pale, red or blond hair, blue eyes). The Northerners even created the “Northern League,” a large right-wing political party focused on separating from Southern Italy. Sicilians would be the “salty” to the “stony” Northerners, with more olive skin and darker hair and eyes. Spain is another country with similar regional differences.

    If Benioff and Weiss decide to bring Dorne to the screen beyond Oberyn (which they shouldn’t), it’s not important that the actors represent specifically non-European heritage. Casting actors like Alexander Siddig and Giancarlo Giannini as brothers would be fine. Both would be considered white by American standards, but it really doesn’t matter. The difference between European and non-European is irrelevant here.

  237. Mummer's farts
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Make the Dornish Purple aliens and end the debate already!

  238. Family, Duty, Hodor
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Mormegil,

    Lol, if that’s true, what a loser. But yeah, I shouldn’t have assumed that what he says on his twitter account is necessarily reliable.

  239. Rygar
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Omar coming. Just saying.

  240. sunspear
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Glad I was not the only one who thought that Thoros was white in the books. People on this thread are going to ridiculous lengths to justify adding token nonwhite people onto the show. I do want nonwhite Dornish, but saying the show isn’t doing a good job on race because they didn’t include two whores, the single most useless character in the books, a character who was assumed to be white in the first place, and backround extras is ridiculous.

  241. Turncloak
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    sunspear,

    This

  242. Turncloak
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Arthur,

    Crixus and Deathstroke. Manu Bennett has the “badass” gene

  243. Rygar
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Thoros is a wight? WTF?

    Omar comin’ yo.

  244. Arthur
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Turncloak,

    Well, someone better let D&D know he’s got the badass gene so they can ask him to do a script reading…

  245. A Storm of S-Words
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m all for including Dorne if they can put another story line on hold for the season (I’m sure they can). I don’t like having just five minutes per story line per episode.

    As for the last scene of the season finale (where most likely the producers put out a call for extras and this is who showed up), I wonder if Moroccan viewers are saying, “why do you keep saying we’re all brown people, geez you Americans think we all look alike… “

  246. Dany's 4th dragon
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Arthur,

    the undefeated gual was played by Manu Bennet
    that would be soooooo badass!

  247. Atomix
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m really disappointed by this conversation. Especially this Rachel. Its so silly. Oberyn should be cast as he is described – a guy with black hair and a tan that looks intimidating and tough. Lean and Swarthy. Does it matter of he’s from Canada and his grandmother was Ameri-Indian? or Latin? Or or if the actor is Lebanese? or Irish even? It doesnt matter. Diversity doesn’t need to be given an opportunity, you cast the people who suit the role and the roles are diverse. Thoros of Myr as a opportunity to cast black guy because he is from Essos? Ridiculousness. The guy who got the ole is good, thats it. Getting into the show and the books and the lore, The Targaryans are from Essos East and South of where Myr is and they are pale with platinum hair and violet eyes. The Pentoshi and Bravvosi and Lorathi are all white on the show. Sallador Saan is from Lys, but so is Varys.

    Oh and that Khal-A-Bunga is dead on accurate. ++

  248. Rygar
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Ok so watching Family Tree on HBO, I MUST SAY, ed Begley Jr for Doran Martell or Christopher Guest. Either one.

    When is a wight not white?

  249. Arthur
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Dany’s 4th dragon,

    I agree! =]

  250. Serjeant Grumbles
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury:
    Turncloak,

    Skin color is not the sole defining aspect of the term “Person of Color.” When I get a tan, I look olivey with my Italian heritage but I’m definitely not a POC.

    And that is why it is not a very good term, among other reasons.

  251. Rygar
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    Most Sapitos are green, and we all know it aint easy bein’.

    Omar comin’

  252. Serjeant Grumbles
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    VARGOAT,

    I don’t expect to see any African-Americans playing a role on GoT. Plenty of Black British actors, after all. :)

  253. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    The article and most of the discussion are not from the world I recognise. First of all, I am quite shocked how obsessed the Americans (I assume most of you are) are about race. Still. Thank God I am European.

  254. Rygar
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    If youre American in the bedroom what are you in the bathroom…

    Omar…

  255. Arthur
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Rygar,

    European!!!

  256. The Laughing Storm
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    I’ve been to Essaouira, Morocco. It’s pretty obvious the showrunners along with the casting directors didn’t really make it a priority to cast a diverse crowd of extra for the final sequences of S3. Are they saying they couldn’t find 20 (European) tourists willing to take part in a GoT shoot? I’ve been to plenty of cities throughout Morocco and there is no shortage of tourists and considering many of the places they filmed for S3 were actual “tourist” destinations.

    Final thought though, it’s pretty clear a few of the folks who have spammed their way into the comment section, converged from a single forum or website. They must have gotten a whiff of another rountable talk about “diversity”. They’ve clearly “articulated” their views well enough.

    But seriously, I appreciate the effort in bringing this roundtable together, WiC staff and Ours is the Fury. A big respect to the guests as well. Always enjoy these forums and hope you guys will have more in the near future.

  257. Rygar
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Artie,

    And Bingo was his name O. mar.

  258. WildSeed
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Arthur:
    WildSeed,

    I couldn’t get into that Da Vinci series but I do remember seeing some promos for a pirate series coming out that I will watch. I saw Karen’s sex addict boyfriend (from Shameless) as one of the long haired pirate guys and got all excited lol…

    I’m looking forward to Newsroom season 2.Ill watch True Blood but I don’t look forward to the show on Sunday nights, it’s just there…

    Da Vinci ‘s Demons took a few episodes for me to come to appreciate it. Like the
    ” Vikings ” series on the History Channel, which took more than 3 episodes for
    my appreciation, your influencing me to give a second try and came to like.
    It’s not great, but has some intriguing moments, and I like perceiving a historical
    great like Leonardo Da Vinci perceived as a bad ass. The Medici brothers are
    quite insipid at times, but the Roman contingent is anything but that. Some fine
    actors and very real inventions bandied about.

    I like ” Newsroom ” despite criticisms of the production head. I never saw Sorkin’s
    other works so I haven’t a bias. I gave up on ” True Blood ” porn years ago, too
    stupid enjoy. It didn’t help that I read the Sookie Stackhouse book series beforehand.

  259. Apulia
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know what Martin has in mind for Dorne, but the map of Dorne makes me think of Italy.

    Instead of a boot with the island of Sicily at its toe, the map of Dorne looks like a foot with a small island at its toe.

  260. Rygar
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    Miss you more than you know.

  261. Arthur
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    I’m in the same boat as you as far as Vikings goes. I just watched it because I had a bromance with the lead character Ragnar Lothbrok, something about his calm brutality fascinated me. His on screen presence felt to me like the on screen presence the original Spartacus lead had (I still miss Andy). It was so powerful. So I kept watching. But then episode 4 came and was such a huge payoff type episode I was hooked…

    Ill give Da Vinci another go, has to be better then True Blood.

    What do you think of Crixus as The Red Viper? Manu Bennett… I think he would be obtainable and could fill the role rather nicely. James Purefoy has the attitude but Manu has more of the look and if he can pull of witty cockiness he’d be perfect IMO.

    http://spartacus.wikia.com/wiki/Crixus

  262. Wolfman27
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    So am I the only one who never even had the thought occur to them that the scene with Dany and the slaves could even be interpreted as racist? Some people just need to find the littlest things to complain about.

    Also, Chataya and Alyaya? Really? Who cares.

    Dorne is great, but these are just ridiculous things to complain about or use as reasoning as to why Dorne is so important.

  263. WildSeed
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    Lina: It didn’t bother me that Dany was a white woman saving people of color in the books,

    And here I am thinking she was a silver haired girl with purple eyes from some
    place named Valyria. I’ll bet her ancient ancestors were Elfen and her pointy
    ears became a recessive trait over time. I’d wager those dragons of hers are
    related to Tyrion in some way . Hmmmm……… Let’s move on from this subject
    before it’s trivialized any more than it’s become.

    The topic, and particularly the subject of Dorne ‘s placement on GoT is something
    everyone here can unify over. That doesn’t exclude their feelings about the production
    so far. The issue of ancestry and other thoughtful subjects is difficult to discuss with
    any appreciation unless their is respect for the subject or willingness to gain learning
    insights. Any ways……………

  264. WildSeed
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Arthur,

    nice, Crixus looks like a contender. Does have a commanding presence about him ?
    I’m trying to remain open minded about the casting, but Siddig or Fehrer are 2
    that remain in forethought .

  265. WildSeed
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    Rygar:
    WildSeed,

    Miss you more than you know.

    Who are you ?

    Supracalifragilisticexpialidocious , is all I have to say for that ,mate .

  266. WildSeed
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    Apulia:
    I don’t know what Martin has in mind for Dorne, but the map of Dorne makes me think of Italy.

    Instead of a boot with the island of Sicily at its toe, the map of Dorne looks like a foot with a small island at its toe.

    You wouldn’t be the first making the attempt to match the region with a country
    or continent. I was obsessed with this and other theories that distracted me
    from just accepting what the author wrote. Second guessing an historical
    -political period or whom begot whom can be maddening. Not so, if this
    prompts you to review your history studies or read a historical novel based on
    very real events. Me, I’m into Wizards and Doctor Who. Nothing is as mind
    boggling than Timey -Wimey.

  267. WildSeed
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    sunspear: Thoros was white in the books.

    Really, another explicit description I missed. I kept focusing on his faded red
    cloak or was it chain mail ? Anyways, when I re-read in the very distant future,
    I’ll make it a point to focus on his race designation, and not his role with
    Lady Stoneheartor previous association. Let’s agree that his religious
    affiliation played a much larger role than his appearance. Moqorro
    on the other hand was very much indeed described in physical appearance.
    If the GoT production changes this, I would only be disappointed because of
    their uneven representation throughout the cast thus far, with specific characters.
    Not a deal breaker, but the pick had better own the role as Hidebrand did in Mereen.

  268. WompWomp
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Wolfman27:
    Also, Chataya and Alyaya? Really? Who cares.

    Dorne is great, but these are just ridiculous things to complain about or use as reasoning as to why Dorne is so important.

    Couldn’t agree more. Only GRRM can convince me of Dorne’s overall importance. I mean, of course it’s important, but the demanded fidelity to the book material cannot be justified by this collection of opinions. This post comes off as a reverse straw man maneuver assembled to vindicate Dorne fans.

    Speaking as a person of color with little interest in forced diversity on this program. Only as needed, please, and I doubt anything they’ll include on the show will be as effectively repugnant as GRRM’s own liberal use of orientalism. I wasn’t offended by it, but can any reader deny it? The worst sin in Dany’s S3 finale scene was its maddeningly mediocre execution.

    Speaking of the legacy of the novels as one Dornivangelist mentions, AFFC/ADWD honestly made me question the potential legacy of ASOIAF as a series. I’m of the opinion GRRM’s writing suffered greatly in those novels, to the point I thought he was parodying himself with worn turns of phrase filling those chapters of water treading. The freshness of the first three books was largely absent in the latter installments. I hope the next books reframe it all as some intricate setup, and some of that is bound to happen, but it is GRRM’s future output and not the content of AFFC/ADWD and the impassioned cries of mobilized Dorne adherents that will convince me of the value of the storylines in question to the show.

  269. The Laughing Storm
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Khal-A-Bunga:
    The Laughing Storm,

    http://winteriscoming.net/2012/09/day-64-casting-extras-in-morocco/

    I’m fully aware of the casting call and I read that very article when it was published, which at the time, made me very optimistic. But unless you’ve been there, its quite impossible to believe that the end result was an almost fully Moroccan roster of extras.

    Like I said, and I’ll say again, they didn’t need to fly in European extras, since most of the locations they shot at, were high end tourist destinations. It’s one thing to ask for diversity, and another thing to make excuses when you find the exact opposite with the final outcome. I’m calling bullshit.

  270. The Laughing Storm
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    Also, Alexander Siddig for Doran Martell (which increases the possibility of him appearing as the Prince of Dorne, since it will be less likely to conflict with his schedule on Atlantis as he will assuredly appear in S5 or S6.)

    And Oded Fehr for Oberyn Martell.

  271. NoOne
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    WompWomp,

    I have to agree with this, I’ve mentioned it in another posts, He really needs a brave editor or we are not seeing the big picture, it all depends on TWoW, I still have hope.

  272. jonathan
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    More “diversity” …We should go back in time to the 1300 England, say: HEY… where are the black people, people of color…why is everyone here soooo white?? Seriously people.. Talking about those two chataya and alaya or whatever the names are…and that summer ilse prince.. Who gives a crap..honestly!? What part to they play in the story at all?? Id rather see people who actually have a part to play in the arc of the story. Not some random person mention 2 times per book. Get over it. The Martells should be cast how they were written. Semi middle eastern/spanish/deep Mediterranean even.

    Michael274,

  273. jonathan
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    Wolfman27,

    agreed

  274. jonathan
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    Atomix,

    Totally agree with all of that. The post is just lame. Could have been a good topic on why Dorne is important to the story (better…why it MIGHT BE) So far.. its really not though…like…at all…

  275. WildSeed
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    Lina:
    john,

    It doesn’t lack importance just because it’s a fictional world, on the contrary. Don’t minimize it just because it’s fiction, it’s not something that should be underestimated.

    john and Virtus,

    it doesn’t matter that white people are displayed as savages, whores and pirates too, because they’re not only displayed as such. You’re not really proving your point when you’re basically saying “look white people can be bad too”, give me the opposite example instead, (that is not Talisa).

    and john, I live in Sweden, they may say that they tolerate all races but that’s not what the reality looks like. In the big cities the neighbourhoods are extremely divided by race. But, this discussion doesn’t belong here and I won’t answer anything related to it.

    I agree with you , to a point. It serves to lend openness to discussion that viewers or
    readers find offensive or questioning , on behalf of the televised series or the author.
    I think Ours is the Fury summed it up better than I did about some elements of
    GRRM’s work sparking thoughts that emphatically called to question his many
    depictions of race and conquest. Reasonable discussion without insult should
    be able to enlighten and inform, but not eliminate the need to move beyond
    this format for self education. Although I missed the taking in that finale
    scene as many here saw differently , I respect the exchange of historical
    premise. Some of us are caught up in the ASOIAF world too snugly at times,
    and need to be jarred back to reality of it’s implications. Depictions of
    certain themes are relevant to the subject post.

    That said, taking meaty subjects of history and biology can get out of hand
    in a forum of this design, and it’s difficult at times to ascertain the tone
    or intent of the commenter. I fear that some have either left the discussion
    entirely because of this tautological discussion we’re having ad infinitum.
    A few have struck out uncharacteristically just to voice their disgust. I’ve
    contributed to this , adding to the diatribe. For that I apologize with a whole heart.

    I hope your intent is good to press these points, is all I can say.

    You speak true of issues in certain regions of your country, although I was
    treated kindly when I stayed there for a short trip. It was an outrage however,
    that the Swedish Minister of Culture ( Liljeroth ) participated last year in
    such a racist act ( April 2012 ). I was saddened to learn of it. Ignorance his
    a stubborn weed that continues to find a crack to emerge through. And weeds
    ( as any ignorance ) are everywhere , ready to be pulled up. I make some into a
    salad and kill the vile ones. *>*

  276. Khal-A-Bunga
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    The Laughing Storm,

    Right, because that’s what people want to do on their vacations in Morocco – spend five full days (because it’s surely not an afternoon gig) filming on location for Game of Thrones. I absolutely love the show and the book series, but I wouldn’t have done it. I’ve been on film sets before that needed to use a fairly large number of extras, and it’s not nearly as leisurely (or glamorous) as you might imagine, though it could also be quite fun. Long days, as well. And, depending on how the extras were compensated, it may have been required that they be local citizens. Any number of factors. In any case, it was an open call for extras – they weren’t going out to find anybody. Also, one last also: it’s unlikely that D&D nor Nina Gold had any involvement with coordinating the casting of these extras – that was probably handled by a local agency in conjunction with the first assistant director of the episode.

  277. WompWomp
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    NoOne,

    “NoOne” agrees with me. XD

    I wanted to love every word, but there was so much fluff and thumb twiddling. I do not buy the too-much-for-one-book reasoning at all. There were some stirring passages, but the books just weren’t well-structured, particularly ADWD.

    Back to the broader issue of race in GoT, and not specifically the Dornish, who are Westerosi and thus inarguably within the realm of our concern. Honestly, I think I’ll barf if they start shoehorning minorities into the show for its own sake. It’s like those outlier critics saying GoT is maliciously misogynistic. To a degree, that should be expected, though not ascribed as malicious intent on the part of the writers and showrunners, a claim which is simply defamatory. Some degree of misogyny is a part of this show’s world, as it was during the portions of human history GRRM drew his inspiration from. As for ethnic diversity on the show, I’m sure not clamoring to see more of my skin tint on the screen for its own bleeding sake. All the real players in GoT are white, and there is nothing wrong with that. What’s next, people clamoring for Latino elves in the next Hobbit films? Black dwarves? A Chinese Smaug? As for people of color being portrayed badly in the show, cruelty and mischief runs deep in peoples of all nations. It makes perfect sense to me that the slaver cities in mainland Essos enslave locals. There is certainly enough historic and modern precedent backing this brand of internal betrayal based on ethnic hierarchies and advantageous access to technology and business relationships. If you want more feel-good colored characters on GoT, you invite their inclusion at the cost of diluting the core narratives, as well as the show’s historic heritage. Watch Merlin if you want a black knight (and I have watched Merlin, solid young adult feel-good fantasy). Westeros is our main concern, not the Summer Isles. Chataya isn’t important enough to be cast, as are many white characters that happened to be cut. I’m surprised this is an issue at all.

    There was so much more that actually fell flat in the Mhysa scene. Like the shockingly weak build-up to the cries of the freedmen. Where was the politically correct outcry when we discovered the Unsullied were an army of color?

  278. WildSeed
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    WompWomp: Only GRRM can convince me of Dorne’s overall importance

    He did give a bone to chew on with Doran’s accounts of what has happened, and
    the role in upcoming chapters. Until the books pushed further, I was sort of
    floating on yet another story to define . Many here have expressed sole interest
    in the ” Sand Snakes “, from previous discussion threads. I’m only interested in
    the larger picture of Dorne’s impact on the future. Doran Martell ‘s character had
    better become a wise pick among actors. Perhaps Irrfan Khan or Ben Kingsley ,
    to begin the hype.

  279. WompWomp
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    Doran is my favorite Martell. I find his chronic pain and infinite patience quite sympathetic.

    The Sand Snake plants are certainly intriguing. Again, my judgment is admittedly limited to what is available to us. I hope the payoff is swift and fierce, but I stand by my opinion of ADWD in particular. Book was just plain bloated and floating.

    Haha, I don’t think I could take Ben Kingsley in such a role. Seems a bit too close to type after IM3 and PoP.

  280. Khal-A-Bunga
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:39 am | Permalink
  281. WildSeed
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    Virtus: That’s some Newspeak

    Nope, that’s something else entirely, and possibly made up, like your preconceived
    thoughts. Catchy word though, I’ll add it to ” globish “

  282. Bill Volk
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    There’s no pleasing the people who keep score about race. If Strong Belwas did appear on the show, fans would be complaining that he’s a racist caricature. If some of the Ghiscari in the final scene had been white, people would be complaining that it’s whitewashing the cast and not accurate with the books. Try hard enough, and you can manufacture outrage out of anything. And no matter how Dorne is portrayed on the show, someone will be able to get outraged at it.

  283. WildSeed
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    Khal-A-Bunga:
    WildSeed,

    I always thought Alexander Siddig would play Doran perfectly.

    http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/15500000/Alexander-Siddig-star-trek-actors-15541999-468-600.jpg

    He’s starring in a couple of series, ” DaVinci’s Demons ” and another mentioned
    in the subject post. Yet these do not require his full time involvement in those
    projects. I hope he finds the series worthy of of an appearance, or enjoys
    watching it at least.

  284. WompWomp
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    Bill Volk:
    Try hard enough, and you can manufacture outrage out of anything.

    Too true not to quote, though all your other points rang true.

  285. WildSeed
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Bill Volk,

    True, and without credible resources meant to educate those lacking, misunderstandings
    and certain ignorances continue to grow. I hope people don’t draw the line here, and
    discount their own study. Without refs of accuracy or true facts, ignorance spreads
    and exacerbated to the point of danger.

    Forums such as this may enlighten and challenge
    preconceived thoughts but not alienate those hoping to discuss the series.

  286. monsieurxander
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Family, Duty, Hodor:
    Asim Ahmad was originally cast to play Thoros of Myr but they switched to Paul Kaye when he had a scheduling conflict. I thought Paul Kaye was great in the role.

    He most certainly wasn’t. He’s never been anything more than an extra. He lies about being cast in various projects in an attempt to raise his profile.

  287. jonathan
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    Shmurb,

    apparently thats what he was thinking as he was writing. And she’s gorgeous. very telling…how exactly?

  288. Lex
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    The one thing I take away from this post:

    I will need to avoid these forums like the plague next year, because no matter what happens with Dorne, it’s clear that there will be TONS of controversy and outrage. It’s a year away, and I’m already bored sick of it.

  289. WinterRose
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 3:30 am | Permalink

    “People of Color” must be a very harmless expression in English indeed, since I see you all saying it here all the time without much (actually, any) worrying.

    Its translation is so offensive in my native language (Brazillian Portuguese), though, that I could hardly bring myself to the middle of this post. It disturbs me every time I read it.

    And it’s offensive simply because of the fact that it puts ALL ethnicities into one big jumble with no regards for their distinctions except for the fact that they are all non-white.

    What the hell does it mean one someone says “Dorne should have actors who are people of color”? Because, seriously, for me, it could mean ANYONE of any ethnicity or skin color. It’s not only disrespectful, it’s a very innefective term. Why use it?

    I personally don’t care how the actors playing Dornish roles – if they’re even cast – look like as long as they’re good. Dorne is described as diverse, as you all pointed out, and allows for some flexibility.

    But, in any case, the fact that most Americans can’t distinguish Middle-Eastern, Indian and Latino people from each other doesn’t mean that they should all be described as simply “non-white”.

  290. WinterRose
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    “Also there are people who aren’t white and have “fair” skin ” –> Seriously, what does this sentence mean? I swear I don’t understand it. What is the definition of being white for you? Fair skin + born in the rich parts of the planet?

  291. Red Hound
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    Dorne to be as rich and diverse and just damn interesting as it is in the books

    I may have been reading different books…

    Some of the comments are amusing, as the entire discussion(?) in the general post. The unintentional comedy coming from Rachel made it bearable.

    No matter what decision is made, it will be wrong in one way or another. I absolutely trust Nina Gold. Thankfully, the Greyjoys and the rest of the Ironborns are easier to cast…

  292. WompWomp
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    WinterRose,

    I reside stateside, and our cultural situation is a far cry from yours, for better or worse. I understand Brazilians are Brazilians no matter what color their skin is (as my late Colombian friend explained), but we don’t have that broad cultural unity among our various ethnicities here, at least not to the same extent as Brazil. Consider yourself fortunate, but try not to talk down to us for using the historic tropes of our speech, as unfortunate as they can be. There is a Korean barber shop nearby named Kaka Boka, and no matter how foul it sounds as phonetic Spanish, you don’t see the owners met with veiled condescension from those who hear something beyond their basic intentions.

  293. WompWomp
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    WinterRose:
    “Also there are people who aren’t white and have “fair” skin ” –> Seriously, what does this sentence mean? I swear I don’t understand it. What is the definition of being white for you? Fair skin + born in the rich parts of the planet?

    On a tangentially related note, I find the politics of fair skin in non-Caucasian cultures interesting. There is a historic preference for it in Asian cultures as it often denoted the wealth of an individual who could afford to live a life of leisure indoors. Meanwhile, to this day, albinos are seen by some Africans (namely witch doctors and their adherents) as walking alchemical ingredients. It’s pretty horrific.

  294. hare
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    WinterRose if you are interested here are some articles that talk about the origin and the use of the term in the United States:

    http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/03/26/loreta-ross-on-the-phrase-women-of-color/ (this one might answer your ‘why use it’ argument).

    http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/20/magazine/on-language-people-of-color.html (written in 1988 and refers back to some of the earliest usage.)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Person_of_color

  295. babar
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    If they can do it on low-budget hokey fantasy shows like Merlin and Xena they can do it on Game of Thrones!

    Seriously, Rachel.. Do you really think this is a valid argument?

  296. WompWomp
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    babar,

    Yeah, right? I do hope the Dornish are distinct, but Merlin is an awful comparison. It’s a show overflowing with anachronisms and modern flourishes, including the unquestioned equal footing its black characters have. That works for Merlin just fine. The show is lovely viewing for older children and up. You simply can’t compare its world with GoT, where sex, race, dwarfism, and other labels carry much harsher meanings.

  297. babar
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    WompWomp: It’s a show overflowing with anachronisms and modern flourishes, including the unquestioned equal footing its black characters have.

    Yeah.. I mean, this is one of the reasons why those shows are considered “hokey” in the first place. The last thing we want is for GOT to try to mimic them.

  298. Bard
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:53 am | Permalink

    Adam: oftheforest,

    Is that a realistic concern? I have no idea. I really don’t know if casting directors are ever actually saying “well, we have these two actors, and we like Actor A better, but he’s white and we really need some more diversity so let’s go with Actor B.” Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. The opinion I think Bard was expressing is that casting directors (or producers or whoever) shouldn’t do that.

    Thanks for your comment, that was exactly my point.

    I think Dorne is a good opportunity to cast actors of color, but they don’t HAVE to be POC, as some members of the roundtable claimed. If they find someone for the role of Doran or Arianne who doesn’t fit into the category of “person of colour”, but is the best choice as an actor, they should cast him (or her)! If that person turns out to be a Latino or an Indian actor or an Arab etc., I’m fine with that. There are tons of great non-white actors I would love to see on the show.

  299. vlad
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    So, I’ve read both discussions …. why of WHY did this turn into a racial discussion??? With the exception of Oberyn’s character everything is about skin color. I was hoping for a discussion on the awesomeness of Dorne, of its importance in the plot… and what do I get??? It is a medieval show, of course most of the cast will be white, JUST LIKE IN THE BOOKS!!! Would you have preferred to make up some new characters, or change existing ones just because we should have more ethnical diversity?? Alayaya, Chataya, Belwas are really unimportant to the greater story. As for Thoros of Myr… he comes from Myr, one of the Free Cities, which were most likely modeled from the Italian maritime republics. Why would he be black?? right next to the East of Pentos and Myr sits Andalos, the birth land of the Andals in Westeros.

    Yes, Dorne will be in the show, don’t worry and the Martells won’t look Scandinavian :). And the only problem with Dany’s scene is that there should have been some white slaves as well, otherwise, the scene was the same as in the books. Maybe I was a little harsh, but I love Dorne, second only to the North, and I see this discussion as a waste. Why skim over what is really great about Dorne??

  300. Seonaidh Ceanneidigh
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Turncloak:
    Arthur,

    Crixus and Deathstroke. Manu Bennett has the “badass” gene

    He is also Azog the Pale Orc in The Hobbit. I’d rather he was Khal Jhogo or something; Oberyn is a sleek sort of character that I just can’t picture Manu playing, as awesome as I think he is.

  301. Bard
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    vlad: So, I’ve read both discussions …. why of WHY did this turn into a racial discussion??? With the exception of Oberyn’s character everything is about skin color. I was hoping for a discussion on the awesomeness of Dorne, of its importance in the plot… and what do I get??? It is a medieval show, of course most of the cast will be white, JUST LIKE IN THE BOOKS!!! Would you have preferred to make up some new characters, or change existing ones just because we should have more ethnical diversity?? Alayaya, Chataya, Belwas are really unimportant to the greater story.

    Yes, Dorne will be in the show, don’t worry and the Martells won’t look Scandinavian :). And the only problem with Dany’s scene is that there should have been some white slaves as well, otherwise, the scene was the same as in the books. Maybe I was a little harsh, but I love Dorne, second only to the North, and I see this discussion as a waste. Why skim over what is really great about Dorne??

    I agree , there are so many other interesting aspects about Dorne we could talk about, instead of constantly calling each other racists and throwing dirt at each other.

  302. babar
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    I like that George created the various groups of people in Dorne and lay down a spectrum of ethnicities that many of us can personally identify with.

    To Amin: Do you only identify with people who share the same skin color as you? Is your skin color the only thing that defines you?

    What about personality? Motivations? Worldview?

    Do you really think “Ha! Darker skin, that’s totally me” everytime you see a POC (what a terrible generic name, BTW) on screen?

  303. Adam
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    babar: To Amin: Do you only identify with people who share the same skin color as you? Is your skin color the only thing that defines you?

    What about personality? Motivations? Worldview?

    Do you really think “Ha! Darker skin, that’s totally me” everytime you see a POC (what a terrible generic name, BTW) on screen?

    This.

    I found that to be one of the strangest comments because as a white dude, I don’t really personally identify with anyone on the show. I’m white, but more importantly I’m a Jew from New York. How would I identify with someone from as different a background and culture as Ned Stark or Littlefinger? Sure, I (or anybody else) can identify with all sorts of little bits of motivation, personality quirks, and so on from many characters, because GRRM’s characters are so damn human, but that’s largely independent of ethnicity or background.

    In the end (somewhat related), my real disappointment with this panel is, as I’ve said earlier, that despite the pains taken to show us how racially diverse the panelists were, the things they were actually writing weren’t all that diverse at all.

    (EDIT: I wonder if by the logic of this panel, I should be decrying the totally uncool lack of Jewish-inspired characters in the series.)

  304. javimgol
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    As a Spanish, from Spain, Europe, I strongly disagree with most of the stuff you’ve said (and I’m quite sure you should really read more about both Europe and Spain).

    In Spain, most of the people are white. I’m white, maybe 80% of my friends are white. And a lot of them with brown or light hair. In the south (Andalucía, Extremadura), what you called “Moore Spanish”, most of the people (maybe a ratio of 60-40) are also white.

    When you talk about Moor Spain, you are also wrong. Moorish invaders were a minority: even after they marry with the Visigoths and other Goths who lived here before, white people were the majority. Mostly due to the fact that 2hat you call Moor Spain received more inmigrants from Castilia (white people) than from Africa.

    In my opinion Dorne should present both white and brown-skinned people (to give the Indian-Moore style), in a similar ratio. Or at least keep 20-30% of them Stony Dornishmen, or what it means: white man. You can not make Darkstar, Tyene Sand or tons of more Dornishmen with dark skin.

    The show should not include black Dornish men. Not because of racism, of course, but to be faithful to book canon. There is not a single totally black Dornishmen (à la TV Xaro Xhan or Salladhar) in the books, except those who are stated as sons of Summer Islands.

  305. ricciolineri
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    John G., True to an extent. In Sicily there are also a lot of people with fair skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. Several regions of Italy were ruled by normans, germans, arabs, spanish people and so we are a melt’n pot with a lot of type of skin and hair color.
    I’m from tuscany, with black curly hair and medium skin color while my husband is from sicily and he’s fair skinned, dark red haired with lot of freckles!!!!!

  306. Rygar
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Allow me to digress. I have been watching probably the greatest cop show ever, The Wire. For those that have not seen this show, I will not spoil anything, but I find that I have a connection with one of the main characters, Detective McNulty. It just so happens that he is played by Dominic West and is a moppy haired white boy, just like me. However, that’s not where I draw my connection. I too am an alcoholic womanizer who questions authority. So you see, it’s not about race, it’s about Omar comin’.

  307. Unbowd UnbentUnHodor
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    vlad:
    So, I’ve read both discussions …. why of WHY did this turn into a racial discussion??? With the exception of Oberyn’s character everything is about skin color. I was hoping for a discussion on the awesomeness of Dorne, of its importance in the plot… and what do I get??? It is a medieval show, of course most of the cast will be white, JUST LIKE IN THE BOOKS!!! Would you have preferred to make up some new characters, or change existing ones just because we should have more ethnical diversity?? Alayaya, Chataya, Belwas are really unimportant to the greater story. As for Thoros of Myr… he comes from Myr, one of the Free Cities, which were most likely modeled from the Italian maritime republics. Why would he be black?? right next to the East of Pentos and Myr sits Andalos, the birth land of the Andals in Westeros.

    Yes, Dorne will be in the show, don’t worry and the Martells won’t look Scandinavian :).And the only problem with Dany’s scene is that there should have been some white slaves as well, otherwise, the scene was the same as in the books. Maybe I was a little harsh, but I love Dorne, second only to the North, and I see this discussion as a waste. Why skim over what is really great about Dorne??

    This…enough said

  308. Rygar
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Just miss ya at the forums. And thanks. For the Julie Andrews reference. :)

    WildSeed: Who are you ?

    Supracalifragilisticexpialidocious , is all I have to say for that ,mate .

  309. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    WompWomp: I do hope the Dornish are distinct, but Merlin is an awful comparison. It’s a show overflowing with anachronisms and modern flourishes, including the unquestioned equal footing its black characters have. That works for Merlin just fine. The show is lovely viewing for older children and up. You simply can’t compare its world with GoT, where sex, race, dwarfism, and other labels carry much harsher meanings.

    babar: Yeah.. I mean, this is one of the reasons why those shows are considered “hokey” in the first place. The last thing we want is for GOT to try to mimic them.

    Merlin and GoT are both fantasy shows. I agree that Merlin is more suitable for children (and frankly not nearly as good as GoT) but the fact that they have black people on equal footing is not hokey. It’s a fantasy show. Why are dragons and magic so easy to accept but not black queens and knights? GoT’s dragons and white walkers don’t seem absurd but black noblemen in Westeros would be hokey? The fact is there were black people in Britain long before most people realize there were and no, not as slaves.
    With GoT being not even set in Britain, only borrowing from its history, there’s no reason the show can’t be more diverse.
    What I wonder is this: why do some people argue so hard against diversity? In a show with hundreds of speaking characters (over a projected 7 seasons), why is it such a problem to have the cast not be so very white?

  310. Arnel
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    BlackTalon,

    There are racist characters in the books, though way less than you’d expect. I think Leo Tyrell straight up calls Alaras a monkey at one point (definitely calls him a mongrel). The Dothraki call the Qartheen “milkmen” and and the people of Slavers Bay regularly call the Westerosi “savages” (though I would attribute the latter two examples more to xenophobia).

  311. queenofthorns
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to a similar discussion about the importance of the Ironborn.

    IMO, the show needs to cut and cut hard, and to me that means cutting as many of the Greyjoys AND Dornish as possible. However, I’d like to hear some discussion from the opposite side. Anyone think it’s important to keep the three Greyjoy bros? What’s your rationale?

    I do think it would be unfair (and maybe a bit racist) to cut most of Dorne but NOT to cut most of the equally redundant/pointless Greyjoys.

  312. Turncloak
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    queenofthorns,

    I would like to keep Euron and Victorian but I can see them cutting Victorian and having Euron take his role. The Damphair is not necessary

  313. sunaeryn
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    So many people arguing against skin pigmentation is disturbing.

    My fantasy casting would be Omar Sharif as Doran Martell, and Amr Waked as Oberyn.

    I have no fantasy casting for Arianne, but Naomi Scott would fit the bill, imo.

  314. outdoorcats
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I love, love, love these roundtables. However, with that in mind, I have to say, there are some comments here, all belonging to one White New Yorker named Rachel, which do not belong in any kind of intelligent discussion, to put it mildly.

    I’m just really shocked that they had Emilia in that white wig get carried around by a bunch of non-white appearing extras and thought to themselves, “Yea. That looks good. That’s a good savior shot that is not at all horrible.” After I watched that ending scene my hopes for the Dornish to be anything but colonial accessories dropped.

    Rachel: Maybe this was meant to be a much more critical scene than it first appears to be. I’ve been enjoying the show but I found that scene with Dany to be so heavy handed and unaware of the imagery that I almost couldn’t believe it. Is it actually possible that everyone involved in making that scene happen did so without a thought to how imperialistic and racist it was? I’m totally willing to give the show runners the benefit of the doubt. Maybe this is a critique of Dany’s own storyline that will be more fully revealed in future seasons as we all know.

    Yes, of course, it’s ‘imperialistic’ and ‘racist’ to show a White woman freeing Brown slaves and being hailed as a messiah for doing so. How does that make any sense in a fantasy context without any White vs. Black imperialism in that universe? Why are you projecting our racial politics onto a fantasy show when there is no basis for doing so?

    Let’s examine the other facts: Dany might be a White girl with white hair thanks to her parents and her genes, but she’s never even spent a day on Westeros. She was born on Dragonstone and immediately spirited away to Essos, where she spent most of her life as a beggar before being sold AS A SLAVE WOULD BE SOLD to a Dothraki warlord. For all intents and purposes, not only is she not an outsider but a native to Essos, she has quite a bit in common with the people she’s freeing. So much so that harping on her race is petty and says more about the commenter than the show.

    And finally, what do the slaves call her? Do they worship her Whiteness, call her a God, see her as an outsider, see her as ‘apart’ from them in any way?

    No–they call her ‘mother.’ They claim her as one of their own, and she accepts.

    I’m frankly embarrassed for whatever viewers and critics were so distracted by their own racial hangups (I suspect they are almost uniformly White, but admit I could be wrong) that they couldn’t appreciate a beautiful scene for what it is: a beautiful scene.

  315. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    outdoorcats,

    You’re very wrong about the uniform whiteness of the critics and fans who had problems with that scene, I will tell you that right now.

  316. Seonaidh Ceanneidigh
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    What I wonder is this: why do some people argue so hard against diversity? In a show with hundreds of speaking characters (over a projected 7 seasons), why is it such a problem to have the cast not be so very white?

    It’s not a problem. I haven’t seen comments saying that the show shouldn’t have diversity; many of the arguments are more complex and multi-faceted than that. A lot of folk don’t think it’s an issue.

    outdoorcats:

    Let’s examine the other facts: Dany might be a White girl with white hair thanks to her parents and her genes, but she’s never even spent a day on Westeros. She was born on Dragonstone and immediately spirited away to Essos, where she spent most of her life as a beggar before being sold AS A SLAVE WOULD BE SOLD to a Dothraki warlord. For all intents and purposes, not only is she not an outsider but a native to Essos, she has quite a bit in common with the people she’s freeing. So much so that harping on her race is petty and says more about the commenter than the show.

    I’m frankly embarrassed for whatever viewers and critics were so distracted by their own racial hangups (I suspect they are almost uniformly White, but admit I could be wrong) that they couldn’t appreciate a beautiful scene for what it is: a beautiful scene.

    I didn’t see a legion of complaints and critiques slamming the show for having Daenerys free and mobilise the dark-skinned Unsullied from the nasty, foul-mouthed dark-skinned slaver – and that’s because people understand Dany and her motivations. I can’t help but think that the ‘outrage’ surrounding the final scene is largely artificial, and has only managed to profligate due to more legitimate concerns about the scene’s effectiveness.

  317. outdoorcats
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    queenofthorns,

    I believe it’s important to keep all three Greyjoy brothers (Victarion, Euron, Aeron) because I believe all three of them will have hugely important roles to play in the final two books. Have a little faith in GRRM – he doesn’t introduce that many POV characters all in the same place just for a little variety. The Ironborn are the Starks of ‘Phase II’ of ASoIaF. Euron is probably the closest thing we’ll get to a ‘main [human] antagonist’ in the series and I suspect the last two books will come down to him being pitted against Dany, especially if you consider that Euron might want to bring slavery to Westeros, and the fact he’s swiftly conquering much of the continent. Victarion and Aeron I suspect will be two of the few characters that will actually be left alive at the end of the series in addition to having big arcs and important roles to play–I’m not sure what (maybe Victarion will have some kind of redemption arc–maybe he’ll just get worse–either way, I want to see what happens).

  318. outdoorcats
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    It makes no difference to me, or the point I’m making.

  319. Joshua Taylor
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Rygar,

    Mary Poppins is hot. It is Known.

  320. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    queenofthorns,

    Oh…that hurt, queen. No Dorne? No Ironborn? I think that would be tragic. It would be a screenwriter/adapter’s dream and challenge to creatively include their storyline and continue to visualize what a robust and beautiful and diverse land that is Westeros….but just like our world, the folks that inhabit these fictional areas don’t really get along with each other. Yes, GRRM could have tightened his storyline in his wonderfully rambling AFfC & ADwD text…but that will be done for the show.

    I can’t wait for the multi-cultural threads to start coming together in TWoW.

  321. Put The timer Back
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Turncloak:
    queenofthorns,

    I would like to keep Euron and Victorian but I can see them cutting Victorian and having Euron take his role. The Damphair is not necessary

    NOOO! They have to have Both! If they cut Victarion there is no longer any point in me watching… He is after all my favorite POV character. Along with Euron and his Silence. No cutting of pirates please. We have so few pirates now and they are not nearly as badass as Vic and Euron. I believe it would hurt the show more leaving them out.
    Meh, Damphair can eat it, I don’t mind if he isn’t shown.

    The lack of Strong Belwas was hard enough to take, but understandable seeing as he is a replaceable side character.

  322. Seonaidh Ceanneidigh
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    If I recall, Tyrion mentioned Theon’s “uncles” in season 1, as he left Winterfell. I think they’ll both be in. Hopefully.

  323. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    outdoorcats,
    People are not too stupid to appreciate the “beauty” of the Mhysa scene. They don’t agree it’s beautiful. Do you see the difference? I think it’s very easy to complain about racial hangups if it’s not your life.
    A comedian posted a short article over at io9 about the Mhysa scene that may be of interest to people who just don’t understand why some people don’t like the scene.

  324. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I have a hard time imagining how Victarion and Euron could be merged into one character, as has been suggested. They work against each other and that drives the story. I think it would ruin the Iron Islands storyline completely, making it pointless to even show.

  325. Arnel
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Meg,

    I would disagree slightly. It seems like that currently because a man (Doran) is the head of the family as the ruling Prince of Dorne. If Arianne inherits, her husband will be her consort and her children will inherit from her line.

    As for Oberyn’s bastards, I think it was more a matter of class than sex. Oberyn’s a prince and he wants his children, he’ll take them. Simple as that. I think there is a female lord in the Arianne sample chapter, if I remember c0rrectly. That would show how it would work with a woman at the head. I pretty sure they still would discourage woman from martial pursuits though.

  326. Put The timer Back
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury:
    outdoorcats,
    People are not too stupid to appreciate the “beauty” of the Mhysa scene. They don’t agree it’s beautiful. Do you see the difference? I think it’s very easy to complain about racial hangups if it’s not your life.
    A comedian posted a short article over at io9 about the Mhysa scene that may be of interest to people who just don’t understand why some people don’t like the scene.

    I do not agree with the article (mostly the racism issue, Dany’s story is a bit off track). The peoples and cultures that have more exposure to sunlight over generations will have darker complexions. I know he want to say it is a way to bash another race. But the Dothraki are constantly on horseback in the sun. If they were white people it just wouldn’t make sense, logically. He is out in the sun all day yet his skin is still pasty white? What gives?

  327. Rhys
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury:
    Why are dragons and magic so easy to accept but not black queens and knights?

    You’re just arguing for the sake of it now. At best that is disingenuous, and you know it.

    You can’t compare the realism of fantastical elements to the fact that Westerosi are all white. You wouldn’t make the argument, “well, if you can accept dragons and magic, why can’t you accept [insert massive plot hole here]“.

    Casting black people as Westerosi would be more like the equivalent of having some random guy in King’s Landing speaking in a thick Californian accent. It just wouldn’t fit right.

    I’m willing to suspend my disbelief only so far. When I’m watching Stargate I can only suspend my disbelief that humans from other planets have American and Canadian accents for so long. But GoT has a higher level of artistic credibility, and suspension of disbelief should never have to play a part. It should just all feel and be right. And for the most part, it is. More so than anything I have ever seen, at the very least.

  328. Rhys
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury:
    I have a hard time imagining how Victarion and Euron could be merged into one character, as has been suggested. They work against each other and that drives the story. I think it would ruin the Iron Islands storyline completely, making it pointless to even show.

    I don’t think anything can ruin the Iron Islands storyline except for the fact that it actually exists.

  329. fuelpagan
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    queenofthorns: I do think it would be unfair (and maybe a bit racist) to cut most of Dorne but NOT to cut most of the equally redundant/pointless Greyjoys.

    Unfortunately without knowing the end game we have no idea what is actually redundant/pointless.

    But we already have the Iron Islands and the Greyjoys. Technically we already have Dorne as the show has mentioned it several times. The only question I have left is how prominent will Dorne be as a location. To which I see about as much time spent as we’ve spent on the Iron Islands…meaning not much at all.

    We’ll have Sunspear and will meet a few characters to drive Dorne’s part in the story when needed.

  330. Put The timer Back
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Aren’t the people in the salve cities supposed to be that orange color anyway from all the red dust?

    Rhys: I don’t think anything can ruin the Iron Islands storyline except for the fact that it actually exists.

    Boooo, Booooooo I say! You may not like it but there are other of us who would like to see our favorite pirates.

  331. Rhys
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Put The timer Back:

    Boooo, Booooooo I say! You may not like it but there are other of us who would like to see our favorite pirates.

    Not to be disrespectful, but, I mean, this is a culture of people for whom performing rape is like an initiation. None of it should ever have been written.

  332. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Rhys,

    I have said nothing that is disingenuous and I do not like your implying otherwise.

    This is a fantasy show. There are canonically nonwhite people running around Westeros. There are Dothraki in Vargo Hoat’s band. There are Dornishmen at the Wall. There are Summer Islanders traveling all over, stopping at ports throughout Westeros, settling in KL (Chataya etc) or living in Dorne (Sarella, half-Dornish yes, but described with dark brown skin). There are people from Myr, who are described as having black hair and dark eyes, and dusky skin in canon. There is Maggy the Frog, who married into the Westerlings. My point is, Westeros is a huge continent, with a lot of immigration mentioned in the books. People migrate, they have sex and make babies. It’s just not that weird if not everyone is white. Westeros is the size of South America. It’s not a massive plot hole if not everyone is white in this huge place.

    If you can’t suspend your disbelief enough to accept black people in Westeros, that shouldn’t be everyone else’s problem.

  333. Seonaidh Ceanneidigh
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    The article says that Dany’s story is racist because the Dothraki have dark skin. They’re from a Mediterranean-inspired continent, of course they have dark skin. Martin’s inspiration I believe were the Mongols and Huns, as well as Native Americans. All of the aforementioned groups were dark, olive, or red-skinned. He talks about it here: http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/6040/

    Maybe I’m wrong for thinking that GRRM was tackling issues of culture rather than issues of skin pigmentation.

    the Dothraki storyline is just a stepping stone for Dany’s overall storyline which is more deeply racist – essentially, a liberal white woman who goes around saving and civilising brown people

    Dany’s liberal? Because she’s anti-slavery? She also believes in her divine right to rule due to bloodlines, and will immolate any competitive element. I don’t think tags like ‘liberal’ will ever apply to this world. Slavery is a lynchpin for Essos’ culture and economy and it’s interesting to note that it is Daenerys who is identified as the savage in the novels for disrupting this staus quo. It’s not as simple as “saving and civilising brown people” at all.

  334. Rhys
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    Fury, you said “black queens and knights,” to me that implied major characters not characters to make up the sundry.

    Also, as an aside: at the bottom of the website it says “How would you rate episode 30, “Myhsa”?”

  335. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Seonaidh Ceanneidigh,

    Yes, GRRM did base the Dothraki on those groups. But he could’ve based the Dothraki on any historical groups. He could’ve given them any skin color. He made a choice to base them on and present them as darker-skinned people and it’s been criticized for a long time as having racist tones. That part of the article isn’t really presenting a new argument. (I’m not agreeing or disagreeing. That’s a lonnnng tangent I don’t feel like getting into at the moment.) The part that is applicable to this conversation is the segment on the Mhysa scene.

  336. Oi!
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    Pathetic how a few people, virtually a drop in the number of GoT viewers have hijacked this site for their own sociopolitical views. Fighting for “social justice” on a Medieval Europe based fantasy show is just beyond words and crying about misogyny, racism etc…

  337. shywalker
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Rhys:
    Ours is the Fury,

    Fury, you said “black queens and knights,” to me that implied major characters not characters to make up the sundry.

    Also, as an aside: at the bottom of the website it says “How would you rate episode 30, “Myhsa”?”

    There definitely have been opportunities for some of the larger supporting roles to have gone to ethnically diverse actors. Thoros and Davos come to mind immediately. Both men have very vague descriptions in the book, and both trend toward the “good” side in the larger context of the story.

  338. fuelpagan
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury: GoT’s dragons and white walkers don’t seem absurd but black noblemen in Westeros would be hokey? The fact is there were black people in Britain long before most people realize there were and no, not as slaves.

    I’m guessing these black people in Britain weren’t noblemen either or they would have been realized sooner.

    They’ve already established that Dorne is racially different, otherwise Tyrion’s joke about eating a Dornish girl in season 1 wouldn’t have made sense to Yoren. The Martell’s will not be black either. Young Griff being a fake Aegon wouldn’t make sense at all if Young Griff wasn’t also half black. How the Martell’s tie into the story, their race isn’t one you can just decide to switch like they did with Xaro. I’m imagining more of a Latin look for the Martell’s.

  339. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Oi!,

    Cross-cultural interaction and portrayal is always a major discussion point for the literary and visual media, fiction or non-fiction. This discussion is nothing compared to the “socio-political” debates we had concerning the “Wizard of Oz” in a few college courses. Whether he intended it or not, Frank Baum (and GRRM) created a platform on which major cultural relations and symbolisms can be dissected and analyzed. Carry on, my friends!

  340. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Oi!:
    Ours is the Fury,

    Pathetic how a few people, virtually a drop in the number of GoT viewers have hijacked this site for their own sociopolitical views. Fighting for “social justice” on a Medieval Europe based fantasy show is just beyond words and crying about misogyny, racism etc…

    I don’t see any hijacking. FaBio conceived of the roundtable and wrote the questions and invited people, and I invite a few more, so no one’s “hijacked” anything. The goal was to provide some interesting conversation and I think the pieces have done that. The season’s over; may as well discuss something. And if you don’t like to discuss Dornish ethnicity issues, no one is forcing you.
    But you know, the funny thing about TV shows is, even fantasy ones, is they tend to reflect real life. That’s what makes them relatable and important to us. Why we love them. That’s why sexism and racism and all that stuff you get mad to see people talk about? It matters. But they are tricky subjects and not the lightest conversation fodder. I don’t blame people for not participating. But I would like for people to be respectful of those who do choose to engage in the conversation, whether they agree or disagree with the opinions in the post or comments.

  341. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    fuelpagan: I’m guessing these black people in Britain weren’t noblemen either or they would have been realized sooner.

    Actually…Analysis of Roman Grave reveals that York was a Multicultural Society

    “Archaeologists have discovered that wealthy black Africans lived in Roman Britain in one of the country’s earliest examples of multiculturalism.” 4th century AD.

    (Source is really the Times but you have to pay to get into the archive, but other sites have copied the article.)

  342. KatieJo
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    outdoorcats,

    Yes, of course, it’s ‘imperialistic’ and ‘racist’ to show a White woman freeing Brown slaves and being hailed as a messiah for doing so. How does that make any sense in a fantasy context without any White vs. Black imperialism in that universe? Why are you projecting our racial politics onto a fantasy show when there is no basis for doing so?

    I honestly don’t understand how you could be serious with this comment. Yes, it’s a fantasy series, and the world is entirely fictional. But both the show and the books are inspired by the culture we live in today, which is still influenced by the wars fought hundreds of years ago (including the time period on which the culture of the series is loosely based.) Can you honestly tell me with absolute conviction that the creators of this series in both incarnations are not influenced by current political and social politics? Not to mention, they are writing this fantasy for an audience of people who live in THIS WORLD. Not Westeros. Not medieval Europe. This one. As such, attitudes and sensitivities of race and gender are very relevant to the show they are producing. If your audience can’t relate to your world, you are dead in the water.

    You know what I think is ridiculous? People willfully ignoring the commentary of their fellow fans about an issue that is clearly problematic, otherwise this discussion wouldn’t even be happening. Worse, you’re making the dissenters feel as though their viewpoints are invalid, and they are uneducated or underdeveloped thinkers for having them. Take a step back, look at these scenes from the viewpoint of the people who are having an issue with them, then come back to the table and try to have an open conversation about this topic. Do not try to give everyone a reality check and say that this is a “fantasy,” and therefore real-world cultural hang-ups don’t apply. THAT is an underdeveloped idea right there.

    P.S. Why is it relevant that Rachel is a “white New Yorker?” Please, have the balls to explain your motivations for pointing that out. Educate us all on the fact that the intelligent woman you’re referring to has no right to comment on race issues because she’s not the right skin color. I dare you.

  343. Rygar
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I much preferred this topic when it was about vaginas.

  344. Big Bad Wolf
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    You can’t imagine how appaling this thread sounds to an European person…

  345. T. K. Odom
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Virtus,

    “Rachel: Well I won’t lie I was absolutely shocked that Thoros of Myr was a white guy.”

    She’s probably the only one, since all the pictures uploaded to Wiki of Ice and Fire depict a white guy: http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Category:Images_of_Thoros_of_Myr (all predate Season 3)

    FWIW, She’s not the only one. When I read the books years ago, I always pictured Thoros as black.

  346. KatieJo
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Big Bad Wolf,

    Which part of it?

  347. Oi!
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    So a roundtable of people of the same opinion on the matter of Dornish ethnicity is a discussion. Again if anything this show has had two cases of “Blackwashing” of characters (which Hollywood loves to do in the recent years to appease the multi-kulti crowd). And i guess i will never get over the fact how Oded Fehr (a tanned jew) is somehow appropriate for RW then lets say Antonio Banderas (a tanned Spaniard) isnt, even though visually they are more than similar.

  348. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Big Bad Wolf,

    Really…you’re going to go there with the European elitism, claiming your “above” the racial/cultural debate? Shall we discuss the millenia-old cross-cultural “hatred” that has existed in Europe? If anything, this discussion is more relevant in Europe than anywhere else.
    For example….

    -In the 30s, Hitler (the ultimate hypocrite) tried to wipe out anything that wasn’t indigenously Germanic and almost succeeded.
    -When the Soviets left Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia in the 80s, the world immediately saw how much the local cultures hated each other.
    -In Spain today, Catalonia is ready to secede because of socio-economic differences. In fact, Spain may be headed for a collapse due to the cross-cultural in-fighting and economic woes.
    -Many European nations are actively trying to address racism and nationalism as their inherent cultures are starting to thin because of inevitable intercultural marriage and breeding.

    I think you should get off your high horse and look in the mirror. In many ways, Europeans are progressive and open-minded, yet please do not think they are above the issues being presented here.

  349. KatieJo
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Oi!,

    Oi!: Again if anything this show has had two cases of “Blackwashing” of characters (which Hollywood loves to do in the recent years to appease the multi-kulti crowd).

    Wow. I can’t believe you just wrote that.

    Also…

    Oi!: And i guess i will never get over the fact how Oded Fehr (a tanned jew) is somehow appropriate for RW then lets say Antonio Banderas (a tanned Spaniard) isnt, even though visually they are more than similar.

    What RW are you talking about here? I’m assuming you’re referring to Oded Fehr being fancasted for Oberyn over someone akin to Antonio Banderas, but as your sentence was unclear I had to check. It’s possible I was blinded by the blatant racism of your first paragraph.

  350. Oi!
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    KatieJo,

    RW = RV (red viper).

    Racism? What racism, you mean the production deciding to cast two black actors for characters that are in the books clearly white. Yeah efing racist. Or the fact that Hollywood loves to “reinvent” characters that are white in mythology, comics, books as blacks. IF we’re already throwing the word racism around like it means nothing.

    And yet i still didn’t get an answer as to why a tanned jew or arab is more appropriate for a Dornish role than a tanned white guy, looks wise basically the same.

    Mind you Msamati is one of my side role actors on the show and i would actually love to see him in more scenes.

  351. David Marcenaro
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Seriously! I can’t believe how racist everyone’s reactions to the “Mhysa” scene were! I thought it was a beautiful and touching scene, because when I watched it, I didnt see “white” people or “brown” people, I just saw PEOPLE. People who had probably been enslaved all their lives set free by someone who identifies with them because she was herself a slave. It’s meaningful to Dany because she hates slavery and because she believes she’ll never have real children, so she wants to take care of her dragons and her followers. Are people trying to say that they shouldnt follow her because she’s not the same race as them? That is horribly racist, and wasnt something that ever occurred in the books. There is nothing imperial or white-supremacist about it because there is no british empire or white dominance in Essos. And while its true that the Valyrians fought and beat the Ghiscari, they both had vast empires, and neither was depicted as being heroic, both had brutality and good aspects, and neither of them was racially motivated; in fact they were very cosmopolitan racially. I just really cant believe how many people are sulkying what should have been an uplifting moment with their racism (and yes “white guilt” or whatever you want to call it is racism too). Barack Obama had legions of cheering followers; hell in 2008 I was one of them; I didnt see it as a black man leading a bunch of white people; I saw it as a leader leading people.
    Balon01,

  352. CynicalScotsLass
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m not impressed with this panel for a number of reasons. First, the story is clearly based in North Western Europe in the Medieval period, especially Britain it seems, and I don’t know what type of books the panel have read but from the highest nobility to the common people, 99% of N.W Europe was white skinned with European ancestry/DNA going back to the Stone Age. The panel should research how badly European Jews and other ethnic groups were treated to see just how ‘diverse’ our society really was (except Rachel who would probably have a heart attack). The results would shock them more than a white skinned girl freeing brown skinned slaves in a fantasy story because they clearly have no idea what modern Europe let alone Medieval Europe is like. I think if there are going to be panels dissecting the work of GRRM and HBO at least make sure these people have READ and UNDERSTOOD the story first. Anyone seriously offended at Dany’s final scene clearly has not been paying attention to the story or her character, they have imposed their own insecurities and political agendas onto her scene to make it seem sinister for all the wrong reasons when it really isn’t. Of course the majority of slaves/citizens in a vast desert area would be people of that ethnicity, and Dany herself is not some anointed white Empress sweeping in and freeing these slaves with a majestic flick of her wrist, as people have brilliantly pointed out (and GRRM coming out to defend it and rightfully so), she herself was sold and does not have one memory of Westeros, she is virtually one of the people she is freeing, and they are not worshipping her ‘whiteness’ they are looking at this amazing young girl with a powerful army and dragons at her command. Another thing is, why is it OK in the panel’s eyes for Sallador to become black when he is white in the books, but it’s an outrage for Thoros of Myr to be white in the TV series when in the book he is not described as being black or much different from the average Westerosi, seriously; “whitewashing”? This is nothing but racism and political posturing. I also don’t want to see characters clogging up valuable screen time just because GRRM described them as black in his books, if they add to story fine but the characters the panel were whining about were hardly game changers so why shouldn’t they get exactly the same treatment as white characters that have been cut? It’s also entirely plausible the black woman was in that brothel because she would have been seen as exotic to Medieval European eyes which once again shows this panel knows sweet FA about the entire continent of Europe. I found the change of Jeyne Westerling to a common foreign woman to be unrealistic in terms of the marriage to a nobleman (Stark) and the sort of cheap class war/reverse racism the BBC like to employ but the panel were happy with it just because Talisa was darker skinned and obviously ‘foreign’ so for me, all their credibility and claims of knowledge of the parallel historical period to GoT has evaporated. Overall I’m happy with HBO’s realistic way of doing things; I hope with Dorne they choose the actors based on their acting ability and what seems like a logical fit with the Dornish and nothing political.

  353. KatieJo
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Oi!,

    Yes, Hollywood LOVES to cast non-white actors in “white roles.” Nevermind that most starring roles in Hollywood are for white actors. Or that we’ve had five black actors who have won Oscars in leading roles, and four of those were men. Five. Please, tell me more about how Hollywood likes to make it EASIER for non-white actors to get roles other than those of the sidekick. I’m in the mood for some tone-deaf commentary today.

    By the way, one of those roles that you’re referring to is barely in the show at all, but the actor playing him is delightful and I’m glad he’s a part of the show in any capacity, though I wish he had more to do than he does. (I’m talking about Msamati here. At least we agree on that.) The other role went from a gay character to a straight character, who was yes, cast as a black man (who by all accounts earned the part,) but was then turned into the bad guy when the actual character switches sides to please his interests, and is subsequently killed at the end of the season. Yes, that role really took this gentleman far, didn’t it?

    As for Oded Fehr, he’s Israeli. He’s made his career playing middle-eastern roles. I’m not saying that his casting isn’t also tone deaf, because his family does trace their heritage back to Germany and the Netherlands (however many generations back,) but it’s at least a bit more on track than say, Antonio Banderas, who is a white Spaniard. Neither is a perfect fancast, but I would think where the idea came from was fairly obvious.

  354. Idaan
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Disregarding all this stupid talk of racism vs political correctness, it just occured to me that it wasn’t to my knowledge ever explained where the Daynes got their Valyrian features. The house was established before Aegon’s conquest, wasn’t it?

  355. David Marcenaro
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Seonaidh Ceanneidigh,

    The Dothraki, like the Ghiscari slaves Dany frees, also spend all their time out in the sun, so regardless of “race” theyre probably going to be tan. The Dothraki wedding in the pilot shows them as being multi-racial by Earth standards, but are considered one ethnicity

    PS (unless theyre gingers, but maybe if theyre daywalkers)
    PPS (just kidding)

  356. David Marcenaro
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Wolfman27,

    I never thought anyone would bring race into it, and its not like I’m sheltered from racism in my life. I live in DC, one of the most segregated cities in the nation, but I never thought anyone would sully what I thought was a beautiful scene with outright racism and try to make it seem like Dany’s liberation of slave cities is akin to a British Empire or something

  357. Atreyu
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    It’s odd that a site filled with people so willing to throw down over the possible skin color of fictional characters is absolutely silent when one poster calls another poster an Uncle Tom. But, I guess people so heavily invested in a TV show have got to pick their battles.

    Nice priorities.

  358. David Marcenaro
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Hard Truths: Asim Ahmad

    The Martells were Andals, until they married Nymeria, who was Rhoynish, and whose people populated most of Dorne. Now the ruling families and commoners alike are very mixed, and it wouldnt make sense to portray them as looking like Andals. In the books, even the Targs varied in appearance due to intermarrying with the Dornish, and they have crazy magic genetics that somehow keep most of them looking the same

  359. KatieJo
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Atreyu,

    Where did this happen? I honestly didn’t see it. Point it out and flag it, that shit’s not okay.

  360. Atreyu
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    KatieJo,

    It occurred in the last Twitter recap post. I assumed the mods were aware of the post as it’s a popular thread and just … let it go. I don’t make it my business to get offended on another’s behalf, but I thought it bears bringing it up given all the hand-wringing going on in this thread over race when there’s a real-life example of racial stereotyping happening on this site.

    You’re right, that shit’s not OK.

  361. WinterRose
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    WompWomp:
    WinterRose,

    I understand Brazilians are Brazilians no matter what color their skin is (as my late Colombian friend explained)

    Not exactly true, since people from African descent are still VERY discriminated in Brazil.

    All I’m saying is that the topics tackled in this panel are based on one very tricky premise upon which nobody (justifiably) can agree: the definition of whiteness. I understand that for most Americans it necessarily means having an European heritage, which is not the case for the Europeans themselves, who seem to disagree with this notion (at least based on the comments I saw here). I completely disagree too.

    This is why this discussion is pointless and borderline disrespectful to many people: why can’t I, a Brazillian woman with Italian, Dutch and Native Brazilian descent, identify with Arya? Am I necessarily obliged to identify only with roles played by latina actresses? Arya even has dark hair, for that matter. Like mine, if that was even the case. But, by your definitions, she’s still a white person and is not representing me.

    YES, I understand the Martells and most Dornish are described as different from most Westerosi. That doesn’t mean that they should be cast by non-European actors or by actors with non-European descent. If they will be seen as white or “people of color”, or if this so-called “people of color” viewers will feel “represented”, depends exclusively on each viewer individually.

  362. Big Bad Wolf
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard:
    Big Bad Wolf,

    Really…you’re going to go there with the European elitism, claiming your “above” the racial/cultural debate? Shall we discuss the millenia-old cross-cultural “hatred” that has existed in Europe? If anything, this discussion is more relevant in Europe than anywhere else.
    For example….

    -In the 30s, Hitler (the ultimate hypocrite) tried to wipe out anything that wasn’t indigenously Germanic and almost succeeded.
    -When the Soviets left Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia in the 80s, the world immediately saw how much the local cultures hated each other.
    -In Spain today, Catalonia is ready to secede because of socio-economic differences. In fact, Spain may be headed for a collapse due to the cross-cultural in-fighting and economic woes.
    -Many European nations are actively trying to address racism and nationalism as their inherent cultures are starting to thin because of inevitable intercultural marriage and breeding.

    I think you should get off your high horse and look in the mirror. In many ways, Europeans are progressive and open-minded, yet please do not think they are above the issues being presented here.

    I could agree about all those issues, but the main thing here is…

    PEOPLE ARE ARGUING ABOUT FICTIONAL CHARACTERS NOT BEING “BLACK ENOUGH” OR “WHITE ENOUGH”. It’s utterly STUPID. I come here to read about a book/TV series I love and care about, and today I find this nonsense! I couldn’t care less about a person’s ethnicity, but for these people it seems to be the most important trait ever! I’m amazed and appalled at this behaviour.

    If this is the reaction for a 5 minutes scene like the one for “Mhysa” (which I found weak and boring but never racist), then I should be scared for the whole Dorne stories to come. Sorry, but I’m outta here before it gets worse.

    By the way, about one of those European issues… don’t talk about things you haven’t got the slightest idea about.

  363. WinterRose
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    THIS. No more.

    John G.: People can keep arguing about whether they are Spanish (white), Moorish (white), Arab (white), Italian (white), Turkish (white), Greek (white) or whatever type of Mediterranean they are clearly meant to reflect. They’re an amalgamation of different Mediterranean cultures, which makes them white, and the continued use of the ridiculous term “people of color” isn’t going to change that. Vince Vaughn (Syrian) and Ralph Nader (Lebanese) don’t look any different from the rest of white America and neither will the Dornish. Casting an actor like Alexander Siddig doesn’t change the racial makeup of the cast.

  364. hargrind
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard,

    I think it’s mostly the race talk that sounds so odd. The whole official race classification thing is very American, as is the concept of POC. Not that there isn’t any racism and xenophobia in Europe, on the contrary, there always were just far more reasons to hate and murder each other than just skin colour.

    Also two things:

    -In the 30s, Hitler (the ultimate hypocrite) tried to wipe out anything that wasn’t indigenously Germanic and almost succeeded.

    That’s not true at all. He wanted to exterminate Jews and Roma/Sinti while most Western and Eastern Slavs were to be exterminated or deported while the “lucky” rest was to serve the German people as a race of slaves. There was never anything similar in store for Western, Northern and Southern Europeans.

    -When the Soviets left Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia in the 80s, the world immediately saw how much the local cultures hated each other.

    The Soviets were never in Yugoslavia, it was a seperate communist country that kept itself consciously distant from the Soviet Union. And in contrast to Yugoslavia, Czechs and Slovaks split quite peacefully and there isn’t any particular ethnic tension between both people today (in contrast to, say, Slovakia and Hungary f.e.).

  365. KatieJo
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Atreyu,

    I just saw what you’re referring to. Whoa.

  366. Winter Is Coming
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Atreyu, do you have a link to this comment? That definitely is one I would have deleted if I had seen it.

  367. Winter Is Coming
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Atreyu,

    Thank you. The offending comment has been removed.

    And let me use this opportunity to state that if any one sees a comment they think crosses a line, please don’t hesitate to use the contact form and let us know. Don’t just assume we see every comment since there are a lot, especially during the season, and we are likely to miss some.

  368. Asha Karina
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Rygar:
    I much preferred this topic when it was about vaginas.

    Me too, peachy, me too…

  369. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    WinterRose: Not exactly true, since people from African descent are still VERY discriminated in Brazil.

    All I’m saying is that the topics tackled in this panel are based on one very tricky premise upon which nobody (justifiably) can agree: the definition of whiteness. I understand that for most Americans it necessarily means having an European heritage, which is not the case for the Europeans themselves, who seem to disagree with this notion (at least based on the comments I saw here). I completely disagree too.

    This is why this discussion is pointless and borderline disrespectful to many people: why can’t I, a Brazillian woman with Italian, Dutch and Native Brazilian descent, identify with Arya? Am I necessarily obliged to identify only with roles played by latina actresses? Arya even has dark hair, for that matter. Like mine, if that was even the case. But, by your definitions, she’s still a white person and is not representing me.

    YES, I understand the Martells and most Dornish are described as different from most Westerosi. That doesn’t mean that they should be cast by non-European actors or by actors with non-European descent. If they will be seen as white or “people of color”,or if this so-called “people of color” viewers will feel “represented”, depends exclusively on each viewer individually.

    Finally some sensible words. Some commenters like Ours Is The Fury make me feel sick. I didn’t realise how much the Americans are still obsessed, I mean OBSESSED with race and racial definitions and words like “people of colour” (quite an appalling word to me).

    If I was to believe the panel and some commenters, when watching “Across 110th Street” I should identify myself with the appalling Capt Mattelli (Anthony Quinn), not the (black) hero played by Yaphet Kotto. Same goes when I watch, for example Eddie Murphy or Samuel L. Jackson films or Chinese wuxia. I identify with characters who may have (or not) some similarities or experiences with me, regardless of their “race” or ethnicity. And film studies concerning reception agree with me, largely. I, being Northern European, have no difficulties with identifying with the obviously Mediterranean/Arabic Martells because I understand their sorrow over their lost family members, dreams of vengeance, I am in terested in Dornish fashion, food, architecture, and their liberal sexual practices, gender equality etc. On the other hand, I may feel sympathy for Daenerys, although the world of teenage girls may be foreign to me, regardless of her alleged “whiteness”. Funny thing BTW that the Valyrians have become apparently “über-White” although there are no such ethnicity in our world (silver hair and lilac eyes?!)

    Some people have accused the show of “whitewashing” (in the context unfamiliar to dictionary meaning, BTW), when there has been actually “blackwashing” (Xaro Xhoan Daxos (whose features and fashion clearly indicates somewhere around Persia or Indian sub-continent) and Salladhor Saan). But equally wrong was Daxos’s representation as heterosexual). I find both changes unnecessary and contrary to canon. On the other hand, I was disappointed of the omission of Chataya and her daughter and Jalabhar Xho (who are Summer Islanders and supposed to correlate with our world’s sub-Saharan Black). And yes, there could’ve and probably should’ve been some odd Black or Middle-eastern characters as inn keepers or sailors and other common folk in King’s Landing but not in the extent of being clearly as an established part of population. But no way there are Summer Islander peasants or nobles in the Riverlands. Maybe in 200 years if there is substantial immigration to Westeros but even then there should be some explanation to that (economic/natural disaster in the Summer Islands, extensive need need for agricultural or industrial labour, large uninhabited tracts of land which needs to be colonised etc.

  370. Asha Karina
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Big Bad Wolf: I could agree about all those issues, but the main thing here is…

    PEOPLE ARE ARGUING ABOUT FICTIONAL CHARACTERS NOT BEING “BLACK ENOUGH” OR “WHITE ENOUGH”. It’s utterly STUPID. I come here to read about a book/TV series I love and care about, and today I find this nonsense! I couldn’t care less about a person’s ethnicity, but for these people it seems to be the most important trait ever! I’m amazed and appalled at this behaviour.

    If this is the reaction for a 5 minutes scene like the one for “Mhysa” (which I found weak and boring but never racist), then I should be scared for the whole Dorne stories to come. Sorry, but I’m outta here before it gets worse.

    By the way, about one of those European issues… don’t talk about things you haven’t got the slightest idea about.

    Just one ? but i’m a damn european elitist so ….

  371. egoogle123
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I liked Dorne before. But you’ve made me LOVE IT! I want freaking Dorne too FABIO. I also really want at least one Sand Snake, preferably Nymeria, they could just refer to her as The Sand Snake too, which could be cool. Dorne names would be The Red Viper, The Sand Snake, and Darkstar, who is of the night.

  372. fuelpagan
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    Very interesting article, but wealthy doesn’t equal nobility.

    Either way, if D&D wanted to have Jon Connington be black it wouldn’t bother me since his race doesn’t really matter to the story the way the Martell’s race does.

    Personally I think the message is stronger if after the White Walker World War, Westeros grows into a multicultural society as I suspect the Summer Islanders have a major role to play in the story’s future.

  373. hare
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    KatieJo,

    AMEN!

    (Seriously I’ve been reading the comment thread responses here to a thoughtful and insightful roundtable with my jaw dropped for two days. I guess I can understand why it might be threatening to some that the round-table and larger conversation in mass media/journalism about these issues is even taking place, but it’s made me really sad.)

  374. Seonaidh Ceanneidigh
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury:
    Seonaidh Ceanneidigh,

    Yes, GRRM did base the Dothraki on those groups. But he could’ve based the Dothraki on any historical groups. He could’ve given them any skin color. He made a choice to base them on and present them as darker-skinned people and it’s been criticized for a long time as having racist tones. That part of the article isn’t really presenting a new argument. (I’m not agreeing or disagreeing. That’s a lonnnng tangent I don’t feel like getting into at the moment.) The part that is applicable to this conversation is the segment on the Mhysa scene.

    He could’ve based them on anybody, but he found those groups in particular to be interesting. Many of them, besides their more violent behaviour, were quite accomplished in their respective fields, as are the Dothraki. I think that’s as far as it goes. He could’ve given them any skin colour, but skin colour wasn’t his point: if they resembled Asians of any sort, he’d be called racist. If they were African-like, he’d be called a racist. If they were white… well, he’d probably be called racist for excising darker skinned characters from major roles. People would probably decry him for basing the Dothraki on Mongols and Native Americans but having them appear white. He seems damned either way. Sometimes a cigar’s a cigar, and not every skin pigmentation choice is a racist statement, intentional or, as the debate-stopping kikcer goes, “unconscious”.

  375. Voiceareason
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    It already was pointless, even more so than the Dorne plotline. Diversity isn’t the issue (for me in any) case with regards to Dorne, it’s that the storyline and characters are unengaging and it seems to disconnected from the main plots. If D&D can spice up the storyline and make the audience connect better, then fine, I’d love it to be in! Expanding Doran and Oberyn’s involvement would certainly help,( isn’t Oberyn in only three scenes? That needs to change), and maybe making Arianne more interesting, because she seems to be lacking depth at this point. Introducing her earlier would certainly help, maybe have her travel to KL with Oberyn as some have suggested. Maybe a few scenes of the Sand Snakes actually doing something.

  376. Bard
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    CynicalScotsLass: I’m not impressed with this panel for a number of reasons. First, the story is clearly based in North Western Europe in the Medieval period, especially Britain it seems, and I don’t know what type of books the panel have read but from the highest nobility to the common people, 99% of N.W Europe was white skinned with European ancestry/DNA going back to the Stone Age.

    Well, during Roman times people from the North African and Middle Eastern parts of the empire were moving to NW europe (parts of Britain, Germany or the Netherlands were Roman provinces during that time period). So “99% since the stone age” is probably not entirely true. However, even then the vast majority of the population was probably white.

    If Westeros as a continent in a fantasy world is based on Europe (especially mediveval Europe), it’s logical that the majority of the Westerosi (the Dornish aside) are white. However, it would make sense to show at least a little bit more diverse population in large cities like KL, who constantly trade with other cities in Essos or with the Summer Islands etc. But that’s more of a detail, I think.

  377. WildSeed
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    KatieJo,

    Thank you for stating this. Every word I emphatically support.

    On a different note, and considering a comment responding to my earlier post,
    someone cited ” Affirmative Action Policy ” as reverse discrimination ( I know
    it was way off the subject, but I took the time to paraphrase the essential elements
    of the court ordered mandate with respect to all groups affected. ). I was reaching
    for the mention of women, in particular .

    I prefer to read the actual document, in addition to credible additions or rebuttal,
    it makes for through insight. Some here may prefer to stubbornly argue myth
    or personal misguided conjecture. A fair number quietly bow out due the turn
    of events, disgusted that a meaningful topic had been hijacked by a flow of
    diatribe. It’s difficult to assert a balanced point of view, because it’s easily
    passed over, even if links are given to scholarly references. Perhaps they
    prefer something animated or a TV movie to attract their attention.

    So, on that latter note ( and having given up commenting yesterday ), found
    myself watching ” the Contender “, starring Joan Allen and Gary Oldman.
    Although fictional, I was moved by a singular conviction of a powerful and
    ignorant man ( Rep Sheldon Runyon ), whom emphatically stated that
    Affirmative Action is wrong. He went on to express that women should not
    be allowed to be on equal footing as men, and especially in high office. “This
    is what AA allows….. everyone would find a reason to challenge the status
    quo, which must be protected “. I wish a few whom raised the argument
    against, would have seen this film. It was quite powerful, and easier for
    some to digest.

  378. john
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    The fact is that WiC.net crossed the line with this article. The author brought in their own left-wing feminist political agenda in this article. Please call me out if I am wrong about your political views, I really doubt it.

    There was no dissent in the panel. Talk about preaching to the choir. A bunch of people slapping each others backs competing in who could win at being the most PC.

    The reasoning behind the discussion also comes out as very foreign to your European readership.

    Please stick to reporting the “facts”.

  379. Joey
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Lord Stonefield,

    Ours is the Fury isnt a commenter, Ours is the Fury is the author of the article. If the authors comments make you sick stay of the site.

  380. Winter Is Coming
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    john:
    The fact is that WiC.net crossed the line with this article. The author brought in their own left-wing feminist political agenda in this article. Please call me out if I am wrong about your political views, I really doubt it.

    There was no dissent in the panel. Talk about preaching to the choir. A bunch of people slapping each others backs competing in who could win at being the most PC.

    The reasoning behind the discussion also comes out as very foreign to your European readership.

    Please stick to reporting the “facts”.

    You’re wrong. And we will continue to report the “facts” as well as offer editorial posts intended to provide commentary and opinions while sparking discussion.

  381. Adam
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    KatieJo:
    Oi!,

    Yes, Hollywood LOVES to cast non-white actors in “white roles.” Nevermind that most starring roles in Hollywood are for white actors. Or that we’ve had five black actors who have won Oscars in leading roles, and four of those were men. Five. Please, tell me more about how Hollywood likes to make it EASIER for non-white actors to get roles other than those of the sidekick. I’m in the mood for some tone-deaf commentary today.

    By the way, one of those roles that you’re referring to is barely in the show at all, but the actor playing him is delightful and I’m glad he’s a part of the show in any capacity, though I wish he had more to do than he does. (I’m talking about Msamati here. At least we agree on that.) The other role went from a gay character to a straight character, who was yes, cast as a black man (who by all accounts earned the part,) but was then turned into the bad guy when the actual character switches sides to please his interests, and is subsequently killed at the end of the season. Yes, that role really took this gentleman far, didn’t it?

    As for Oded Fehr, he’s Israeli. He’s made his career playing middle-eastern roles. I’m not saying that his casting isn’t also tone deaf, because his family does trace their heritage back to Germany and the Netherlands (however many generations back,) but it’s at least a bit more on track than say, Antonio Banderas, who is a white Spaniard. Neither is a perfect fancast, but I would think where the idea came from was fairly obvious.

    Why does an actor’s family heritage matter for anything? Seriously, accusing people of racism and then screening actors based on their ethnic heritage is weird.

    If this is all about representations of diversity, then surely having an actor who looks non-white should suffice, no?

    (Not to mention: if being a “PoC” is, as has been suggested here, all about historical ethnicity-based persecution, being a Jewish actor should be top of the PoC list, no? And I don’t know of any other Jewish actors in big roles on GoT. Big diversity points to Oded Fehr!)

  382. KatieJo
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Adam,

    I was responding to a question that this person asked me. I’m not screening Fehr based on his ethnic heritage. The only reason I brought that up was to anticipate what “Oi!” was going to say to me, and dispute it. My original thought was to ignore the question entirely, because as you’re implying, it was a pretty asinine thing to inquire about.

    I do find it interesting that you approached me about my comment, but said nothing to “Oi!” about his own classifications of Fehr’s background.

    Also this comment?

    “If this is all about representations of diversity, then surely having an actor who looks non-white should suffice, no?”

    WHOA. As long as he doesn’t look white it should work? Seriously dude?

  383. Put The timer Back
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Rhys: Not to be disrespectful, but, I mean, this is a culture of people for whom performing rape is like an initiation. None of it should ever have been written.

    I don’t get your point, there are people somewhat like this in the world. Be a shame not to include all the kittens with the rainbows and sparkles…

  384. javimgol
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard,

    Catalonia ready to secede??? Hahahaha, give me a bit of your pot, bro.

  385. KatieJo
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    john,

    Ours Is The Fury wasn’t the original author of this piece. She wasn’t the one who picked the panelists, created the questions, or organized the article’s structure. She was not the one who came up with the idea in the first place.

    Nice try, though.

    Winter Is Coming: You’re wrong. And we will continue to report the “facts” as well as offer editorial posts intended to provide commentary and opinions while sparking discussion.

    Well said.

  386. Adam
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    KatieJo:
    Adam,

    I was responding to a question that this person asked me. I’m not screening Fehr based on his ethnic heritage. The only reason I brought that up wasto anticipate what “Oi!”was going to say to me, and dispute it. My original thought was to ignore the question entirely, because as you’re implying, it was a pretty asinine thing to inquire about.

    I do find it interesting that you approached me about my comment, but said nothing to “Oi!” about his own classifications of Fehr’s background.

    Also this comment?

    “If this is all about representations of diversity, then surely having an actor who looks non-white should suffice, no?”

    WHOA. As long as he doesn’t look white it should work? Seriously dude?

    I didn’t follow your thread with Oi too closely, sorry. Any particular comment of his/hers you think I should be replying to? Calling Fehr “a tanned jew,” or something different? Link me if it’s something else.

    As for that quote about non-white actors – well, I don’t know! I’m going by what I’ve read in the article and in the comments here, which is that people seem to be concerned with Westeros being represented as a diverse world. In which case, sure, if an actor passes for non-white, then that ups how diverse Westeros looks. It’s a TV show – most people don’t spend too much time digging into the actors’ family backgrounds. If the goal is having people look at TV Westeros and say “ah, look, it’s not all white people, there’s people of different ethnicities in important and admirable roles” then the actor’s family background should be meaningless.

    Now, if your goal is giving acting jobs to people of diverse origins, then fair enough, “looking non-white” obviously doesn’t cut it. But is that your goal? I can’t tell.

  387. KatieJo
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Adam,

    That was the comment. To me that was pretty tasteless, but it depends on everyone’s tolerance level. Mostly it was the intent behind it, following having to read the word “blackwashing” one too many times.

    In terms of my intentions, yes, I do feel that diverse casting within this television series (especially in terms of Dorne) should mean, in addition to giving roles to the people who most earn the part, giving roles to (using your phrase) “people of diverse origins.” To me, based on my readings of the book, that is what represents Dorne. Is it a mixed-race, multi-ethnic society, and should be represented as such. I happen to enjoy Oded Fehr and would like to see him on the show. I think he would do a good job. I would also love to see Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell, because I think he’d knock it out of the park, and Janina Gavankar as either Arianne or one of the Sandsnakes. Not only would she do well, she loves the series. She’s a fan just like us.

    Dorne should be about casting people from all walks of life, which has not been represented on the show thus far. That, in my opinion, is what this panel is all about.

  388. Josla
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Balon01: So Daenerys shouldn’t free slaves because her skin is white. Lol. What a racist roundtable.

    That’s what I think too. I have olive skin and didn’t find that last scene racist at all
    Oh well, some people will allways find racism and whatnot wherever they can. Sigh :-V

  389. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Joey:
    Lord Stonefield,

    Ours is the Fury isnt a commenter, Ours is the Fury is the author of the article. If the authors comments make you sick stay of the site.

    I didn’t notice that he/she was the author, it was just that his/her comments here deny any logic or taste. But maybe I should really stay off the site if tolerance for differing opinions are on this level.

  390. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Adam: Why does an actor’s family heritage matter for anything? Seriously, accusing people of racism and then screening actors based on their ethnic heritage is weird.

    Agreed.

  391. Josla
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Khal-A-Bunga:
    Straight from George’s (Not a) Blog:

    And another from the comments section on an article discussing this scene…

    That is all.

    Thank you sir and thank you GRRM. Sometimes people complain just for the sake of complaining it seems.

  392. Adam
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    KatieJo,

    Well… Oded Fehr is tanned, and he’s Jewish. I’m also a tanned Jew – at least, I’m tanned when I spend a bit of time in the sun – and didn’t find anything wrong with it. I find myself reasonably sensitive to anti-Semitic comments and personally didn’t find a hint of it in that comment. As I saw it, Oi was commenting on the fact that Fehr and Banderas are both tanned (which was meant as shorthand for “don’t look white like the other GoT actors”), under the impression that you’d prefer Fehr (who’s Jewish or Middle Eastern) to Banderas (who’s Spanish) when they both satisfy the looks criterion.

    So I agree with you about how Dorne should be represented. But representation is all about what’s on the screen. Because, let’s be honest, the vast majority of fans aren’t going to go looking up an actor’s family history on Wikipedia, and many of the ones who do won’t care – or should they? If you look at Dorne with – say – Oded Fehr playing one role and Antonio Banderas playing another, if they have the right look to represent Dorne, why would it matter what countries their parents or grandparents came from?

  393. Jay
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    While I think all of the aforementioned candidates would be great, I can’t help but notice that nobody has thought about Bollywood actors.

    If anyone has seen Life of Pi or the new Spider Man, you might remember Irrfan Khan (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0451234/). He is a great actor, and I would definitely consider him as Doran Martell. He speaks excellent English, he has played in action movies as well as dramatic roles. His demeanor is perfect for Doran.

  394. JRR Tzolkin
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming: You’re wrong. And we will continue to report the “facts” as well as offer editorial posts intended to provide commentary and opinions while sparking discussion.

    I can see where you’re coming from here, but john’s not as wrong as you might think.

    The panel is comprised of Americans only, their family origins not withstanding. As such, their opinions are heavily influenced by the culture they’ve lived in all their lives. Alas, opinions are not facts.

    This is what makes no sense to many (if not all) of us non-U.S. readers. We certainly may see the “social commentary” that may derive from the story under a completely different light than an American thus we don’t necessarily understand or share the opinions of the panel.

    In my case, I come from a culture where socio-economic prejudice has always been much more of an issue than racial discrimination. Hence I find the way that highborns in Westeros piss on lowborns (and don’t even get me started on the way ALL bastards are treated, regardless on who fathered them) much more disturbing than the whole “white savior riding on a wave of swarthy folk” thing: I can relate to the former much more than to the latter. And I’m certainly not alone in thinking this.

    Varys’s speech to Shae in the last episode seemed to make this point clear as daylight. There’s no way that scene would have been there (especially when it’s not in the books) if socio-economic discrimination was not the real issue in Westeros, as opposed to racism, at least in the eyes of D&D if not GRRM himself.

    Sparking discussion and debate is a very productive and positive exercise, no doubt. But it’s even better when the facts or opinions presented in the original article are as informed, accurate and most of all, truly diverse as possible. If any of the panelists came from a culture similar to mine, they would know that socio-economic discrimination is just as bad as racism. Surely, one of them would have made mention of it, at least. Sadly, this was not the case.

  395. Lex
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    JRR Tzolkin: I can see where you’re coming from here, but john’s not as wrong as you might think.

    The panel is comprised of Americans only, their family origins not withstanding.

    Wrong. Amin is Canadian.

  396. Katie
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Adam,

    Again, at that point Oi! had made a few comments regarding racial casting that put me on edge. I’m glad you weren’t offended by the comment. I was fed up with him in general by that point.

    Having the right look is part of it. I have to say though, the show has already got rid of roles that could have gone to non-white actors, and/or given the non-white actors they have reduced or shitty roles. Here’s this fantastic show with a fully realized world, and in staying pretty uniformly white in the major roles on the show, they’re actually shrinking the scope of the universe they’re writing about. It’s doing a disservice to the show, and to the audience. Here you have Dorne, which is the best opportunity to show a much more diverse family of nobility. People want to see that represented . I’ve seen people fancast James Purefoy as Oberyn, which is just ridiculous to me. That’s staying in line with the established habit of recasting non-white roles with white actors. Why do it when you don’t have to?

    On a completely different note, can we please take Antonio Banderas off the table for being a fucking clown? God knows I find him endearing, but as Oberyn? No.

  397. hare
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m wondering if some of the commenter’s asking ‘why does it matter?’ or ‘why does it matter as long as they kinda look the part?’ might be missing the part of the equation where this discussion doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but comes with a ton of history surrounding the depiction of nonwhite characters in hollywood in both fictional and nonfictional roles.

    http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2013/03/25-minority-characters-that-hollywood-whitewashed/

    The photos tell the story, but also from the link above: The major problem with racebending and whitewashing—aside from, you know, it being deeply offensive—is that it takes roles from actors who actually are of that ethnicity/race. In turn, they get stuck with minor roles that only serve to supplement the story of the white lead, or with stereotyped roles.

    http://www.racebending.com/v4/about/what-is-racebending/

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/Movies/06/18/color.blind.casting/index.html

  398. Easteros bunny
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    oftheforest,

    Please tell me any other Dornish characters that’s have actually added something of value to the story other the the viper?

    I mean where they are at in the story now in terms of the tv show. Not the books.

  399. hare
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Jay,

    ooh interesting call, I love him.

  400. JRR Tzolkin
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Lex: Wrong. Amin is Canadian.

    Yes, I can see now that I overlooked that. My bad.

    That said, the culture north of the U.S. border (where Amin is from) is much more similar to the U.S. than south of the border (where I am from) except for French Canadians, perhaps.

    South of the U.S. border, it’s always been about how much you have in the bank and the reputation of your family name, regardless of the color of your skin. Much like in Westeros, actually, at least in Varys’s words to Shae. So I stand by my original point.

    Thanks for the clarification, though. I like your avatar, btw. Big Tool and Alex Gray fan here.

  401. Katie
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Jay,

    I haven’t really seen his work. Damn it, I have to rent Life if Pi now. :p

    Easteros bunny,

    I am on my phone and can’t properly spoiler tag, but I can name at least 7 off the top of my head. Will elaborate later.

    hare,

    Thank you.

  402. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    hargrind,

    Wow…I’m surprised at the dismissive tone here. I was responding to a note that belittled the conversations regarding race and culture in this thread. The note from BigBadWolf seemed to indicate that Europeans were above such riff-raff, which is silly. The implied ambivalent attitude regarding known European racial/cultural tensions was disconcerting to say the least.

    Please note that I am employing brevity in my comments…no need to bore folks with a thesis. Perhaps bulletizing the examples was wrong but I simply wanted to counter his/her elitist tone. I don’t have to expound on existing theories on what Europe would have become had Hitler/Mussolini made different military decisions…but the non-Germanic racial and cultural outlook in the surrounding countries would have suffered.

    Regarding the extensive Soviet influence in Eastern Bloc/Warsaw Pact countries (these alignments were “arguably” established to protect/serve the Soviet interests), economic, political, military and social problems have all been factors in separatism in the post-Soviet space. In many (but not all) cases, problems due to ethnic divisions (among other issues) in the former Communist states existed before the fall of the Soviet Union, and upon it’s fall were brought into the open, resulting in numerous violent cultural conflicts.

    As a member of the peacekeeper force in Bosnia in 1996 (I guess I’m implying my age), I observed the tension and destruction in Sarajevo (most of the major civil war violence had already occurred) and often spoke with the locals. Freedom of speech, which came after the Warsaw Pact was dissolved in 1991, identified the true racial/cultural tension in the area and came at a cost for many civilians.

    Regarding Catalonia…in the November 25, 2012 Catalan parliamentary election, sovereigntist parties supporting a secession referendum gathered 59.01% of the votes and hold 87 of the 135 seats in the Catalan Parliament. Parties supporting independence from the rest of Spain obtained 49.12% of the votes and a majority of 74 seats.[- from La Vanguardia, which also speaks often of cultural/political secession] It wouldn’t be happening without sociopolitical tension. We’ll see how this plays out in 2014.

    I wasn’t trying to argue historical facts (perhaps you have a more personal knowledge of specific events) but I believe European cross-cultural relations over the past 2000 years serve as the de-facto model for many of the points brought out in this thread (regarding the fictional and non-fictional world) and in other political discussions.

  403. Fire And Blood
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    I take an almost perverse enjoyment when people accuse me of being feminist. I’m an equalist to the bone.

  404. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard,

    Part of the hargrind’s issue is that you are seeing (judging by your choice words) European cultural issues and conflicts as race issues, and that’s not how we see it (Hitler advocated that they were race issues but we don’t adhere to it, apparently many Americans do).

    Secondly, you attributed the Yugoslavian case to the presence and collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw pact, when Yugoslavia was never part of it (anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist and anti-democratic regime, yes, but not under Soviet influence). Subsequently, there have not been “numerous violent cultural conflicts” in the former Warsaw Pact countries (that is not to say that xenophobia, antiziganism, antisemitism, russophobia, antiliberalism, anti-LBGT, anti-you-name-it are non-existant in many ex-real-socialist countries, quite the contrary).

    Thirdly I must say that relating the Catalonian secessation movement to discussion about racism and xenophobia is quite ridiculous.

  405. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Fire And Blood,
    It’s no use, FaB, they’re onto your left-wing feminist political agenda!

  406. Azurecobalt
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    I appreciated the article as it raises important issues about race that are difficult to confront and articulate, especially as the show has a diverse viewership. What might be offensive to one might not be offensive to another.

    But here’s the point I want to make: just because you don’t share someone else’s viewpoint on some aspect of the racial discussion surrounding Game of Thrones doesn’t mean you should dismiss it. Just because you don’t feel something is racist (or problematic, or troublesome, or what have you) doesn’t mean it isn’t an issue to someone else.

    This is an important conversation to have. I hope D&D are considering these issues carefully (while acknowledging they can’t please everyone).

  407. outdoorcats
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    My problem is the reason *why* people don’t find it beautiful. That article you link in particular is nothing but a stream of bile, a hate-filled rant by an obviously racist author. If I posted a theoretical article that was the same but with the races switched, you would shocked, offended, and upset. In addition, literally all of its arguments are baseless, since they forget that Dany’s whiteness is not a factor in her storyline or how others react to her, just a simple fact. He even trips over himself since he can’t decide whether the Dothraki are a fantasy of noble savages or a negative portrait of brown-skinned people as savages–apparently missing the point where they are actually just a complex body of people with their own set of values and beliefs which make sense to them who have an obvious historical precedent in the Mongol Empire.

  408. outdoorcats
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    KatieJo,

    I honestly don’t understand how you could be serious with this comment. Yes, it’s a fantasy series, and the world is entirely fictional. But both the show and the books are inspired by the culture we live in today, which is still influenced by the wars fought hundreds of years ago (including the time period on which the culture of the series is loosely based.) Can you honestly tell me with absolute conviction that the creators of this series in both incarnations are not influenced by current political and social politics? Not to mention, they are writing this fantasy for an audience of people who live in THIS WORLD. Not Westeros. Not medieval Europe. This one. As such, attitudes and sensitivities of race and gender are very relevant to the show they are producing. If your audience can’t relate to your world, you are dead in the water.

    You know what I think is ridiculous? People willfully ignoring the commentary of their fellow fans about an issue that is clearly problematic, otherwise this discussion wouldn’t even be happening. Worse, you’re making the dissenters feel as though their viewpoints are invalid, and they are uneducated or underdeveloped thinkers for having them. Take a step back, look at these scenes from the viewpoint of the people who are having an issue with them, then come back to the table and try to have an open conversation about this topic. Do not try to give everyone a reality check and say that this is a “fantasy,” and therefore real-world cultural hang-ups don’t apply. THAT is an underdeveloped idea right there.

    Yes, the series is heavily inspired by real-world events, from the Eleanor of Aquitaine and the War of the Roses to contemporary third-world politics. Inspired. But Martin never uses 1 to 1 equivalency, and as one of the commentators points out in this article, he deliberately flips our cultural and racial perceptions on our head, for example making the ‘Arabic’ part of Westeros the most culturally and sexually progressive kingdom (though back in the day, dar-al-Islaam arguably WAS the most progressive place for women…but that’s another story), or by making the mostly-White Westeros considered to be the more savage and barbaric of the two continents. And by doing so shows the fallacy of seeing things through a ‘racial’ lens to define people and their behavior. And there is no ‘race equivalency’ from ASoIaF to our world whatsoever. So is interpreting the Dany scene as ‘offensive’ because she’s White wrongminded? Yes, yes, and yes.

    P.S. Why is it relevant that Rachel is a “white New Yorker?” Please, have the balls to explain your motivations for pointing that out.

    Because she identified herself as such.

    Educate us all on the fact that the intelligent woman you’re referring to has no right to comment on race issues because she’s not the right skin color. I dare you.

    She has the right to, the idea that I’m taking rights away from her is something you’re trying to put in my mouth here. But I have the right to criticize her when I feel like she has no understanding of racial issues based on the things she is saying.

    I’m prescribing the both of you a steady diet of racially harmonious soul music, from the complete discography of Earth Wind and Fire to the recent discography of Justin Timberlake. You have an unlimited amount of refills.

  409. Put The timer Back
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    outdoorcats:
    Ours is the Fury,

    My problem is the reason *why* people don’t find it beautiful. That article you link in particular is nothing but a stream of bile, a hate-filled rant by an obviously racist author. If I posted a theoretical article that was the same but with the races switched, you would shocked, offended, and upset. In addition, literally all of its arguments are baseless, since they forget that Dany’s whiteness is not a factor in her storyline or how others react to her, just a simple fact. He even trips over himself since he can’t decide whether the Dothraki are a fantasy of noble savages or a negative portrait of brown-skinned people as savages–apparently missing the point where they are actually just a complex body of people with their own set of values and beliefs which make sense to them who have an obvious historical precedent in the Mongol Empire.

    When the pirates come in it will show white people as horrible rape savages as well.

    Then this will not be an argument. If they leave the pirates out then it would pretty much be all tan skinned people doing all the rapey savagery, but the pirates parallel them in their views of conquering.

    EDIT: Please put the timer back up as soon as new season air date announced :D

  410. outdoorcats
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    OK, so I got bogged down in some argumentative stuff and got sidetracked. But regarding the bulk of the content of this article, I agree that Dorne should reflect a significant ethnic diversity. I hope that neither it gets ‘whitewashed’ nor it gets washed into one specific race or type of people, as its ethnic/cultural diversity is one of the things that makes Dorne so interesting. The Daynes should be White because of the possible Targaryen connection. The Martells I had always imagined looking Middle-Eastern or Moorish in appearance. I’m with many that my dream-casting for The Red Viper is Alexander Siddig, Ghassan Massoud or Homayoun Ershadi for Prince Doran, and Lubna Azabal for Ellaria Sand. Also someone on Westeros.org suggested an actor named Robert Gilbert (the new ‘Sinbad’) for Quentyn, assuming his character isn’t cut–and based on his picture he looks just perfect. He’s a light skinned Black guy but could pull off a Middle-Eastern ‘Martell’ look easily.

    When it comes to casting outside the Martells, like Hotah, they can do anyone. And I hope they do not cut him or turn him into an extra or something to that effect. I think on screen he could have the potential to be a very cool and mysterious character, a fan favorite, even. They just need to cast the right actor. Also his upcoming storyline sounds incredible based on that little tidbit we got from the Arianne sample chapter. I’ve suggested Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in the past, and another user suggested Mem Ferda–one is Black and the other British of Turkish descent–either would be great.

  411. outdoorcats
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Put The timer Back,

    When they introduce the rapey White pirate savages, spend more time with the rapey (Salt-Wife-making-y?) White Ironborn savages, and introduced the Dornish (who I don’t think will be Whitewashed – I suspect Benioff will cast a lot of the same actors he worked with on The Kite Runner), hopefully all this will become a thing of the past.

  412. KatieJo
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    outdoorcats,

    Put The timer Back: he deliberately flips our cultural and racial perceptions on our head, for example making the ‘Arabic’ part of Westeros the most culturally and sexually progressive kingdom (though back in the day, dar-al-Islaam arguably WAS the most progressive place for women…but that’s another story), or by making the mostly-White Westeros considered to be the more savage and barbaric of the two continents.

    You kind’ve proved my point before I even had to make it, but let me bring it home. The Arabic culture in the Middle Ages? They WERE the more advanced society. Arguably decades more advanced, especially in the sciences, than Western Europe was. As Westeros is loosely based on England during the War of the Roses, it falls into the category of Dark Ages Europe. As GRRM basically didn’t turn a thing on its head here, the rest of your statement doesn’t add up.

    outdoorcats: Because she identified herself as such.

    She didn’t. The mods who uploaded these posts identified her as such. Doesn’t really explain why you felt the need to point that out. How is that fact relevant to your critique of her opinions?

    outdoorcats: But I have the right to criticize her when I feel like she has no understanding of racial issues based on the things she is saying.

    Fair enough. But if that’s all you were doing, there was no need to name her race, was there?

    outdoorcats: I’m prescribing the both of you a steady diet of racially harmonious soul music, from the complete discography of Earth Wind and Fire to the recent discography of Justin Timberlake. You have an unlimited amount of refills.

    Thanks but no thanks, doll.

  413. Chickenduck
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    This looks like fun… Can I have a go?

    No, YOU’RE racist!!! There, did I do it right?

    Sorry, shouldn’t make jokes like that. Anyway, all joking aside, as I’ve said before I think they’ll probably go along the lines of British African actors (e.g. Grey Worm and Missandei) or maybe Indian (Irri). Mixed-race South African actors could be cool.

    I don’t really care what race the Dornish are, so long as they’re distinct from the rest of the Westerosi – both in appearance and (for me as a linguist highly important) SOUND. I would totally dig hearing a “Dornish drawl” on screen.

    Although, on the topic of the Rhoynar – we’ve already got on character from the region of the Rhoyne: Lady Talisa of Volantis. So maybe they’ll go for the Mediterranean look. E.g. Javier Bardem as the RV. If it’s only a medium-sized, one-season role you could lock in a big name.

    When I read the books, the RV in my mind’s eye looked Latin American. Can’t think of specifically who I’d cast though.

    Maybe Edward James Olmos as Doran? Or Giancarlo Esposito (not likely for many reasons, but he’s cool).

    OR… I always had this fantasy of the Dornish being Asian or Eurasian. Even if it’s totally no what they look like in the books… I’d love to completely break the mould and see some Asian acting talent in western-produced fantasy. George Takei or François Chau for Doran anyone?

    You could at least have one Eurasian sand snake.

    Can you imagine the nergasms that would resound world wide is George Takei was in GoT?

    But I accept that I’m possibly literally the only person on the planet who likes that idea.

  414. Jon Blackfyre
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    How about they just cast all characters the way George describes them. Issue resolved.”BOOM”

  415. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    KatieJo:
    outdoorcats,

    You kind’ve proved my point before I even had to make it, but let me bring it home. The Arabic culture in the Middle Ages? They WERE the more advanced society. Arguably decades more advanced, especially in the sciences, than Western Europe was. As Westeros is loosely based on England during the War of the Roses, it falls into the category of Dark Ages Europe. As GRRM basically didn’t turn a thing on its head here, the rest of your statement doesn’t add up.

    Yes, he (GRRM) did turn things on their heads, you (deliberately?) misunderstood the point which was made in the post you quoted.

    “he deliberately flips our cultural and racial perceptions on our head, for example making the ‘Arabic’ part of Westeros the most culturally and sexually progressive kingdom”

    Note words “our”, “cultural” and “perceptions”. I have come to the conclusion that quite many westerners, especially Americans do think that Arabs are an evil, barbarian and backward people, “the other”, and most certainly not “the most culturally and sexually progressive”. So, GRRM indeed plays with many people’s racial prejudices.

    The fact that the Arabs were technologically and culturally well ahead of the Western Europe in the Middle Ages does nothing to do with the fact that most casual TV viewers don’t know that.

    For your information, the Wars of the Roses (the name invented/popularised by Sir Walter Scott in 19th century) happened in the late 15th century. Which was centuries after the so-called Dark Ages.

  416. Camada
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Turncloak,

    Antonio Banderas is not a POC, he’s a white European Spaniard. Just like Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Julio Iglesias, Elsa Pataky, etc. Just because someone is a native Spanish speaker, does not mean they cannot be white or they are by default a PoC.
    Since Hispanic is an ethnicity and not a race, people from Latin America and the Caribbean can be any race: white, black, native american, asian, mixed-race, etc.

  417. KatieJo
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Lord Stonefield,

    For your information, the Wars of the Roses (the name invented/popularised by Sir Walter Scott in 19th century) happened in the late 15th century. Which was centuries after the so-called Dark Ages.

    The European Medieval Period? Since we’re mostly talking England here, historians mostly use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 as the ending point of the Middle Ages in that country (also the end of the War of the Roses, by the way). Europe as a whole slunk out of the Dark ages at around 1500. So, nope. I’ll admit, using the term “Dark Ages” is a bit misleading. It can be used for a few different periods, including the Western European Early Middle Ages. But, it’s not an invalid term.

    Lord Stonefield: Note words “our”, “cultural” and “perceptions”. I have come to the conclusion that quite many westerners, especially Americans do think that Arabs are an evil, barbarian and backward people, “the other”, and most certainly not “the most culturally and sexually progressive”. So, GRRM indeed plays with many people’s racial prejudices.

    So…according to your conclusion, Americans as a whole think that Arabs are backwards, regardless of the vast amounts of information to the contrary? So GRRM isn’t building off of the historical facts of the time period he’s loosely basing his book series on, he’s really subverting his own prejudices and those of his fellow countrymen? Which is irrelevant to a good chunk of his fan base which he knows extends around the world, because they don’t have that level of bias?

    This is going nowhere. I give up.

  418. outdoorcats
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    KatieJo,

    I don’t think anyone has thought of the Islamic Middle-East, either then or now, as the lustiest and most lascivious culture, or the one most open to bisexuality and polyamory.

    Well, Rachel is a White New Yorker. And she’s speaking out against racism and imperialism towards darker-skinned peoples around the world. So, by her own standards (not mine), isn’t she racist and imperialistic because she feels the need to rescue them instead of letting them do it themselves? Get it?

  419. hargrind
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Camada,

    See, you’re throwing this around as gospel, yet this kind of categorizing is super American and I’m still waiting for Americans here to acknowledge that. Imo, the Martells need to be darker skinned than most of the other Westerosi cast in the show, but they don’t need to fit the bizarre American definition of non-white or POC.

    And why is Oded Fehr a POC anyway? As a Jewish man of Dutch and German descent he shouldn’t qualify, to my admittedly limited understanding. Is it just because he was born in the Middle East, is that enough? Is it like with Ricardo Montalbán, whose both parents were Spanish immigrants, yet he is POC, because he was born in Mexico?

  420. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    outdoorcats,

    Rachel is speaking because FaB asked her to join the roundtable panel. It’s that simple. She was asked to speak in this post, she was welcomed. She did not insert herself into a society and force herself on people as an imperialist savior so the comparison is absurd. Your targeting of her is bordering on harassment. Make your point and move on.

  421. jonathan
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    KatieJo,

    um… yeah… we do think the middle east is ASS-Backwards :) Dorne would be the middle east if they weren’t nuts, empowered women, made sense, thought logically, and were cool. ;)

  422. Chickenduck
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    It’s on the topic of sexism rather than race, but this article is still somewhat relevant. There’s probably a better topic to post it under, but I can’t be bothered looking for it right now.

    http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-opinion/the-woman-who-ruined-the-hobbit-20130613-2o5e0.html

  423. Apulia
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    Hadrian’s Wall = The Wall of Ice! Martin, himself, did say he based many events on history.

  424. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    KatieJo:
    Lord Stonefield,

    The European Medieval Period? Since we’re mostly talking England here, historians mostly use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 as the ending point of the Middle Ages in that country (also the end of the War of the Roses, by the way). Europe as a whole slunk out of the Dark ages at around 1500. So, nope.I’ll admit, using the term “Dark Ages” is a bit misleading. It can be used for a few different periods, including the Western European Early Middle Ages. But, it’s not an invalid term.

    KatieJo:

    No, it’s not an invalid (although very old-fashioned) term when we are speaking of the Early Middle Ages. And if you want to use it in British historiography, better use it only when speaking of 5th-6th century post-Roman Britain. And using it when discussing the 15th century, well into the Renaissance, is just plainly wrong. Anyways, the Middle Ages =/= the Dark Ages.

    KatieJo:
    So…according to your conclusion, Americans as a whole think that Arabs are backwards, regardless of the vast amounts of information to the contrary?

    KatieJo:

    Isn’t it that way? According to my understanding, the Americans and American culture IS very anti-Arab and prejudiced against Arabs. If there is “vast amounts of information to the contrary”, a new sociological survey about changed attitudes, I would like to know.

    KatieJo:

    So GRRM isn’t building off of the historical facts of the time period he’s loosely basing his book series on, he’s really subverting his own prejudices and those of his fellow countrymen?

    KatieJo:
    He is building off history (he surely knows his history), but yes, he’s playing with American prejudices.

    Which is irrelevant to a good chunk of his fan base which he knows extends around the world, because they don’t have that level of bias?

    KatieJo:

    No, generally they don’t have that level of bias, because they don’t suffer from American school system, mental/cultural-political climate or whatever causes their basic ignorance or narrow-minded worldview.

  425. Arthur
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Lol…

    For some reason when I saw this trailer I got really excited because I picture this guy being the Red Viper… I love the music and epicness.

    http://youtu.be/gKsEPoJMuKY

  426. Virtus
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    KatieJo,

    No serious modern historian of the Middle Ages uses the term Dark Ages. That term was invented by Italian Renaissance authors circa 1400 to depict the previous ages and tout the civilization of their own age, but is now recognized to be extremely misleading.

  427. Put The timer Back
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    KatieJo,

    You changed quotes, hurts any argument you have.
    Put The timer Back:
    , he deliberately flips our cultural and racial perceptions on our head, for example making the ‘Arabic’ part of Westeros the most culturally and sexually progressive kingdom (though back in the day, dar-al-Islaam arguably WAS the most progressive place for women…but that’s another story), or by making the mostly-White Westeros considered to be the more savage and barbaric of the two continents.

    I never said anything like that in any of my posts; you’re misquoting. I never mentioned the Arabic culture. When your paraphrase is longer than the original quote, and doesn’t include the subject matter, it is no longer paraphrasing. My only concern is for the pirates in the series.

    Conclusion, KatieJo be trollin, don’t feed it.

  428. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    hargrind:
    Camada,

    See, you’re throwing this around as gospel, yet this kind of categorizing is super American and I’m still waiting for Americans here to acknowledge that. Imo, the Martells need to be darker skinned than most of the other Westerosi cast in the show, but they don’t need to fit the bizarre American definition of non-white or POC.

    And why is Oded Fehr a POC anyway? As a Jewish man of Dutch and German descent he shouldn’t qualify, to my admittedly limited understanding. Is it just because he was born in the Middle East, is that enough? Is it like with Ricardo Montalbán, whose both parents were Spanish immigrants, yet he is POC, because he was born in Mexico?

    I, too, don’t get this American discourse who is white or non white or “person of colour” (using this word makes me think apartheid and Jim Crow, I am sad that the Americans still use it).

    The last time I checked, the white peoples included all from Sahara in the south to Arctic Ocean in the north, in the east somewhere in the Indian subcontinent (Persia definitely in) and where those peoples had migrated during and after the colonialism. Making white mean only people of North/Western European extraction must come from anti-Catholic and Nativist tradition which aimed at keeping privileges and capital in the hands of WASPs. This product of this making of Southern and Eastern European newer immigrants “other” culminated famously in Immigration Act of 1924. Apparently this succeeded, now obviously some Americans have made whiteness the most exclusive category and ruled Middle Eastern peoples out, even Mediterranean Europeans out. All this discourse sounds so surreal to my European ears.

  429. KatieJo
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Put The timer Back,

    Apologies for the unintended misquote. I was clearly responding to someone else.

    Virtus,

    I amend my previous usage of an outdated historical term. I realize that it has sullied the entire relevancy of my comment, any comments I made prior in this post, and comments I intend to make in the future. Clearly, it was jarring enough for you and another person, who deleted her post, to respond to.* Thank you for entering the thread to point out that particular error, instead of the highly charged topic at hand.

    Contribution well made.

    *Ah look, she reposted! Yaaay. Good night.

  430. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    KatieJo:
    Lord Stonefield,

    The European Medieval Period? Since we’re mostly talking England here, historians mostly use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 as the ending point of the Middle Ages in that country (also the end of the War of the Roses, by the way). Europe as a whole slunk out of the Dark ages at around 1500. So, nope.I’ll admit, using the term “Dark Ages” is a bit misleading. It can be used for a few different periods, including the Western European Early Middle Ages. But, it’s not an invalid term.

    So…according to your conclusion, Americans as a whole think that Arabs are backwards, regardless of the vast amounts of information to the contrary? So GRRM isn’t building off of the historical facts of the time period he’s loosely basing his book series on, he’s really subverting his own prejudices and those of his fellow countrymen? Which is irrelevant to a good chunk of his fan base which he knows extends around the world, because they don’t have that level of bias?

    This is going nowhere. I give up.

    Since I messed up my answer with failing tagging skills, I will try again.

    No, it’s not an invalid (although very old-fashioned) term when we are speaking of the Early Middle Ages. And if you want to use it in British historiography, better use it only when speaking of 5th-6th century post-Roman Britain. And using it when discussing the 15th century, well into the Renaissance, is just plainly wrong. Anyways, the Middle Ages =/= the Dark Ages.
    ..
    Isn’t it that way? According to my understanding, the Americans and American culture IS very anti-Arab and prejudiced against Arabs. If there is “vast amounts of information to the contrary”, a new sociological survey about changed attitudes, I would like to know.
    ..
    He is building off history (he surely knows his history), but yes, he’s playing with American prejudices.
    ..
    No, generally they don’t have that level of bias, because they don’t suffer from American school system, mental/cultural-political climate or whatever causes their basic ignorance or narrow-minded worldview.

  431. Unbowd UnbentUnHodor
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Do importance of Iron islands next. Oh wait….

  432. hare
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Chickenduck,

    good article, and lol ‘Anita’s Irony’ is too true. Seems relevant to me.

  433. Unbowd UnbentUnHodor
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Jon Blackfyre:
    How about they just cast all characters the way George describes them. Issue resolved.”BOOM”

    hahahah this is the only post out of the entire thread that makes sense. People always over complicate things on this forum.

  434. fauxkaren
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Dear fellow white people,

    Stop being so defensive.

    This might be a good time for you to sit down and shut up. Listen to what POC have to say about this subject. Some of them might come from places that have a long and ugly history with colonialism so they might just know more about this subject than you do. Remove your head from your ass, listen to them and seriously consider what they have to say.

    White people are all over the place on TV and in movies. You and I can take it for granted that we’ll see someone who vaguely resembles us in media. POC don’t have that luxury. So maybe stop being defensive and consider why it might be important to other people that POC characters not be white washed on a TV show that has a fairly large cultural presence. Consider why it’s important for POC to be featured as actual CHARACTERS with their own stories instead of background players in other character’s stories.

  435. Arthur
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    This guy is awesome and demands to be cast as Victarion Greyjoy…

    He can be seen here putting the Direwolf Summer in check with a single look, then rallying his GoT casting support while walking down a street town in Belfast…

    D&D need to give him a call. He is a Viking!

    http://youtu.be/Qera4rz1peY

  436. Joshua Taylor
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    My perspective is that Benioff and Weiss are not racist. Nor is George. I believe that they shot the Myhsa scene without any racist intent. Unfortunately their want of creating an artistic and uplifting coda to the season was oblivious to the real world interpretation of the visuals. I was not offended but I tend to divorce myself from real world allegories in my fantasy but deep down I am aware that is nigh impossible.

    I happen to be writing an epic sci fi novel set is the distant future. Those of us who have a knack for storytelling know very well that as authors we write about what we know and who we know. I am a Canadian university graduate (arts degree of course) so I can honestly say I don’t know that many ethnic people. I am an avid student of history and literature so I am aware of the socio-historical implications that exist, particularly the issues that have been represented in this discourse. And yet I am troubled. Seeing the reaction this scene has received has forced me to reassess the characters in my novel. To put it mildly many of them are white. This is not because im a racist it’s simply just IS. Speaking critically, I ask the commenters on this board for any advice as to prevent my story-which I want to desperately share with the world-from falling into the trap that D & D and George seemed to have caught their story in with this controversial scene.

  437. hare
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    Lord Stonefield,

    It takes a lot of confidence to speak for all Europeans and characterize all Americans, although it’s not so good for the credibility of one’s argument.

    You might want to google ‘people of color’ and it’s origins as a term of inclusivity and solidarity which although used by Martin Luther King came into wide circulation in the late 1980′s (or just read up thread), you are perhaps confusing it with another (similar sounding) term.

  438. 大黑鸡
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    I am a Canadian university graduate (arts degree of course) so I can honestly say I don’t know that many ethnic people.

    Really? How do you get through college in Canada without meeting non-white people?

    At least half the people I knew at university were either Chinese, Indian or Sri Lankan… Is Australia that different from the US and Canada?

  439. Joshua Taylor
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    大黑鸡,

    It’s about not meeting non-white people, it’s about knowing them well enough. It’s about unconsciously creating white characters in my head and having to realize that maybe i should not make them all white. I don’t want my story to despised for racism when I am not a racist. Yet to make that conscious decision to include various non-Caucasian individuals in my story seems racist in itself.

  440. NoOne
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    After three days of skimming through the comments I think WIC tricked me into an History of Western Civilizations course, it’s a trap!

  441. hare
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor,

    There is a plethora of online discussion, and from just the tip of the iceberg I’ve read in the past you certainly aren’t the only author asking this question. These are some links I got from quickly googling:

    http://richincolor.com/2013/05/five-wrong-headed-reasons-for-not-writing-diverse-characters-in-science-fiction/

    http://kheryn-casey.blogspot.com/search?q=race lots of great posts

    http://writeworld.tumblr.com/post/35452234551/gee-i-dont-know-how-to-research-writing-characters-of an exhaustive link list

    I’ve also seen novel writing forums/character cafes where people ask for and give advice about the particular characters they are working on.

  442. hare
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor,

    I’m not sure I follow. To use an analogy, would you see making the conscious decision to include female characters in your novel as being sexist? (Assuming of course that your intention is to be thoughtful, make your characters well-rounded and avoid damaging stereotypes, I personally wouldn’t).

  443. hagreind
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    hare,

    It’s still a term that mostly works in the States, because it relies on a very US specific concept of whiteness. I think it is legitimate to question a discussion working solely under these US centric premises, considering that probably barely any American actors of any race will be cast.

  444. BelwasBlues
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    Voiceareason,

    I too want to see Doran, who is indeed fucking baller. And I don’t disagree about the rest of the Dornish characters, not completely. I love Oberyn and what happens with him, but I’ve also never really understood the fascination with the Sand Snakes and think they are one of Martin’s more ridiculous creations. If something actually happens with them? Great. But Doran is interesting as hell and I want to see him. Doran and Lord Manderly are currently my favorite underestimated characters.

    I like Hotah, though. That guy is quietly awesome.

  445. Chickenduck
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    BelwasBlues:
    Voiceareason,

    I too want to see Doran, who is indeed fucking baller. And I don’t disagree about the rest of the Dornish characters, not completely. I love Oberyn and what happens with him, but I’ve also never really understood the fascination with the Sand Snakes and think they are one of Martin’s more ridiculous creations. If something actually happens with them? Great. But Doran is interesting as hell and I want to see him. Doran and Lord Manderly are currently my favorite underestimated characters.

    I like Hotah, though. That guy is quietly awesome.

    Yeah, Doran and Wyman are favourites for me too. Doran’s quietly understated political machinations and Wyman’s theatrics both kick goals in my book.

    For Doran, I’m still thinking of someone along the lines of Giancarlo Esposito.

    Hotah I never really got excited by when I read the books… But to be honest, he could be an interesting sidenote in this – he’s supposed to be a “fish out of water” among the Dornish, culturally and racially, who found the women too raunchy, the weather too hot and the food too spicy. All this makes me think of a British expat posted to India or Kenya… I actually picture him as something like Selmy, sticking out as an obvious pink man in a sea of olive.

    So again, I think the key isn’t going to be specific race, it’s going to be CONTRAST in the overall diversity of the show’s casting.

  446. hagreind
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    Chickenduck,

    I could imagine Edward James Olmos as Doran, at least judged by his work on Battlestar Galactica. The question of course is how will the Dornish speak? Will they speak another British English variety? I could imagine them casting Americans of various ethnic backgrounds to contrast them further to the rest of Westeros. But I’ve already noticed that that is quite a controversial idea.

  447. WildSeed
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 4:49 am | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    大黑鸡,

    It’s about not meeting non-white people, it’s about knowing them well enough. It’s about unconsciously creating white characters in my head and having to realize that maybe i should not make them all white. I don’t want my story to despised for racism when I am not a racist. Yet to make that conscious decision to include various non-Caucasian individuals in my story seems racist in itself.

    How well can you really know…. anyone ? Except maybe your spouse or best mate,
    if you’re assuming intimately. Some , like myself, gain infinite insights from
    observing and listening. That is, to gain something better than an academic only
    perception. And really, that’s relying on someone else’s experience, whether
    facts are quantified or put to category. The absolute truth is, there are no differences,
    fundamentally. More often layers of ignorances are perpetuated via myth or fears
    that later prove laughable or dismissible. From there , a person reaches out for
    like minded association or camaraderie . Short of that, you’ve at least gained
    enough to bank some thoughts on. Doesn’t matter if it’s Polar Bear Bear Country
    along the Pacific Rim or your environs. Tofino BC is where I head for RR.

    The only thing that sets people apart are their cultures and tradition, and even those
    things evolve over time. Nothing is stagnant, no matter how hard elders may hold
    on to it. People from any culture may improve upon what they know about themselves,
    or their needs to preserve their identity. The notion of disbelieving that this is
    dissimilar for any given population group is either fear and denial based, or an
    example in perceiving a singular standard ( accurately understood as arrogance ),
    which is one’s own. Speaking figuratively, not you , per se.

    I can relate to Martin, in his imaginary perception of people,places and things.
    That he does this so well , with a dearth of information he chose to make into a
    collage of of cultures, history and intrigue. Of course he was influenced by accurate
    facts and conjecture, but he made it such a specious argument when formed as
    a concept of his own. This is why in part, why it remains illusory to pin him
    down. As with any writer , he’s elated that his readers understand the larger
    points of intrigue and adventure. No doubt he’s a Nerd too, and feels our
    frustration with the finer details, but he’s crossed those hurdles ( and dares
    us to ). That’s my POV.

    Now I grew up as isolated as anyone here would imagine. Village life/ travelling
    outside for water and latrine / tending animals and crops. Yet I read voraciously,
    and travelled often in my dreams. When my time came to be around Americans,
    I was terrified to speak, so I observed and listened. When I travelled later to
    visit family now relocated to various parts of the world, I did exactly the same.
    Other than having to learn the language, I let my insights be my guide. This
    helped tremendously on further treks of respite, and notably reaching out to people
    (whom looked very different than I )and connecting on an intimate level.
    Overcoming the fear or myths or ignorances that set us apart. Communicating
    is often about timing. By observing, you get the pacing or choice right. You also
    learn whom or what to avoid, as many others besides, do as well.

    I’ve attended book readings in the SF Bay Area, where anyone and everyone
    claims to be a author or some sort. At these Coffee Houses or small independent
    bookstores, these souls read aloud an unfinished or completed work. At several
    many allowed the audience to give feedback or interject their POV for a continuing
    chapter or ending. I remember fondly April Sinclair, then a first time writer,
    submitting her unfinished novel for the audience’ scrutiny. To everyone’s relief,
    her very first became a big time hit ( ” Coffee Will Make You Black ” ). That’s the
    first time I discovered that people other than researchers, deliberately open
    themselves up to critique or a firestorm of questions. I wonder if something
    of this nature is open to you in your neck of the woods.

    As usual I rambled, but I hope something meaningful speaks to you. You live in
    Canada. Definitely not a humble village in Haiti or the Maldives. Distinct culture
    is all around you to appreciate and grow awareness. Leave the rhetoric and
    preconceived myths( or fear ) at home. Go ahead, take a bus and catch up
    with the Brothers Without Banners. They’re the large hairy lot slurping
    up Blonde Ale , at the Inn at the Crossroads. Tell them WildSeed sent you (:

  448. Luana
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    Excellent roundtable discussion. Would like to see more of this type of panel in the future! The rampant racism in the comments section is pretty horrifying, though.

  449. vlad
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    Easteros bunny,

    Oh, just read the 2 sample chapters of Arianne!! 2!!! she’s the princess of Dorne, she has control of the entire army, why is she less important then say, Sansa?

  450. WildSeed
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    Chickenduck: For Doran, I’m still thinking of someone along the lines of Giancarlo Esposito.

    He’s not too young, for Doran ?

  451. WildSeed
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    WildSeed: It serves to lend openness to discussion that viewers or
    readers find offensive or questioning , on behalf of the televised series or the author.
    I think Ours is the Fury summed it up better than I did about some elements of
    GRRM’s work sparking thoughts that emphatically called to question his many
    depictions of race and conquest. Reasonable discussion without insult should
    be able to enlighten and inform, but not eliminate the need to move beyond
    this format for self education. Although I missed the taking in that finale
    scene as many here saw differently , I respect the exchange of historical
    premise. Some of us are caught up in the ASOIAF world too snugly at times,
    and need to be jarred back to reality of it’s implications. Depictions of
    certain themes are relevant to the subject post.

    That said, taking meaty subjects of history and biology can get out of hand
    in a forum of this design, and it’s difficult at times to ascertain the tone
    or intent of the commenter. I fear that some have either left the discussion
    entirely because of this tautological discussion we’re having ad infinitum.
    A few have struck out uncharacteristically just to voice their disgust.

    David Marcenaro,

    You are not alone in your interpretation of the finale. I was rather elated initially,
    until I viewed Re -Cap and critic reviews. Perhaps I was narrowly focused on
    Danerys’s jubilant moment among her adoptive peoples. However I have grown
    to acknowledge a significant % of viewers had issue with that moment. There
    is no discounting the beauty of it, as Ours is the Fury stated, just the larger
    socio-political implications of it. So, if you can stand to read through these
    exchanges, people here are arguing their point from very personal frame of
    reference and some by historic review. As I quoted above from my much
    earlier post, gain further credible insights elsewhere, for thorough examination,
    but for now, accept that some do not perceive as you did. Although I appreciate
    the discussion and the subject post, nothing has been removed from the beauty
    of that scene. It brought to screen a vision of what I imagined from book passages.
    The author’s external influences and his notion of history and culture taken as a
    collage may be called to to question, but I accept the work as it was written ( just
    more enlightened of the fervor and passion that each writer may stir in one’s readers ).

    So don’t get mad, just listen, for now.

  452. vlad
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    Doran is only a few years over 50 in the books, his problem is the gout.

  453. Chickenduck
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    WildSeed: He’s not too young, for Doran ?

    I think Esposito’s face is quite timeless… He could be made to look older.

    But also someone like Olmos… His work in Dexter was a similar look to what I had in mind for Doran.

  454. Chickenduck
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Luana:
    Excellent roundtable discussion. Would like to see more of this type of panel in the future! The rampant racism in the comments section is pretty horrifying, though.

    To be honest, there isn’t really that much racism on the comments here. It’s more just that as soon as anyone disagrees, people get angry and start yelling (and at that point, calling each other racist). No one’s invoked Godwin at least.

    If everyone here met up in real life and talked about it over a beer, it’d be much more civil.

    Oh, and let’s be honest, the cultural milieu you grow up in DOES make a difference on what you feel is or isn’t racist.

    I’m an Australian, but with an American family background, and I’ve lived in Europe (specifically Germany). All three places have very different views on race relations, partly because they have completely different histories in this regard.

    In the US, I’ve always been amazed at how clear a division there is between white and “People of Colour”. In the context of US culture, POC makes some sense as a term.

    In Australia and Europe, it is much less defined. To me in an Australian context, “People of Colour” doesn’t really make sense as a term. In Australia, the experiences of Aboriginals, Asians, Southern Europeans, Africans are so completely different… There is absolutely NO WAY you can lump them all together. But in the US, it felt like people saw the world as a polar system of “White or the Other”. And without having any statistics to back this up, I’d put a wager down that in Australia, the rate of interracial marriages is a lot higher than in the US.

    I’m not saying that we’re any better than y’all (youse guys in Australian English), but the racial dynamics in our societies’ cultures simply aren’t the same.

  455. Gaius Baltar
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    I certainly hope writers will not be influenced with this bizzare POC crap. They should cast best suitable actors for dornish roles, while keeping Oberyn, Doran and Arianne look like possible relatives. If they can get James Purefoy for Red Viper and Jesicca Brown Findlay for Arianne, they should go for it and no stupid nonsense about “but Dornish are POC” should stop them.

  456. Don
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Maybe the producers should just make a second show called “Black Game of Thrones”, where all characters are black. They could spare a lot of unnecessary discussions.

  457. Andy
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    “There is no camera pan on say-Jorah or Missandei-giving a face of concern or disapproval.”

    Yes there is – as she’s doing the Great White Hope thing, the camera switches to Jorah with a look best described as “I am spectacularly uncomfortable with this” or “This may not end well”.

  458. Put The timer Back
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Andy:
    “There is no camera pan on say-Jorah or Missandei-giving a face of concern or disapproval.”

    Yes there is – as she’s doing the Great White Hope thing, the camera switches to Jorah with a look best described as “I am spectacularly uncomfortable with this” or “This may not end well”.

    Because she is their MVP and about to walk amongst all these people, anyone of which could be an assassin.

    Just like when Jose Aldo jump the fence and ran into the audience after a fight, Dana White was all like “WTF is he doing?!” More so for his safety than actually angry at him for doing it.

  459. Visennya Targaryen
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Gaius Baltar,

    People saying that the comments on this thread aren’t racist need only to look at this person’s comment to be proven wrong. When it comes to POC roles, suddenly everything becomes all about “talent” as racists are unable to fathom the idea that a POC actor might be more talented than a white one.

    Please stop saying that white actors are somehow always going to be more talented than any nonwhite actors who audition for the roles. Besides, people like this commenter would probably throw up a shitstorm if a nonwhite actor was cast as Jaime Lannister or Arya Stark even if they happened to be better at acting than any white actors who auditioned.

  460. Turncloak
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    So…this has escalated quickly

  461. tysnow
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Chickenduck,

    he’s supposed to be a “fish out of water” among the Dornish, culturally and racially, who found the women too raunchy, the weather too hot and the food too spicy, All this makes me think of a British expat posted to India…

    Finally, someone who gets it, someone who reads the descriptions, quotes and nuances and understands what culture and people exist in Dorne. Yes its diverse, from the mountains and deserts to the sea, but when I was reading the Dornish chapters I imagined India, the Onion domes, the walled cities, the marshy rivers and semi-arid deserts. I have designed a lot of homes for Indians and they run the gambit, from light med skinned coastal Gujarats, to the dark skinned desert Rajasthan people and caucasians from Kashmir with light hair and blue eyes. Yes Spain is similar, but Dorne is as Tyrion states “Strange”; medieval women of Spain wouldn’t be that much different than those in England, but women from a medieval type Indian culture would definitely be strange to a Westerosian. Indian women are more open sexually, they have more equality especially in business affairs (of course it depends on the subculture, since there are hundreds on the subcontinent), but overall from my experience they are far removed from a repressed society; unlike the prudes here in the south. I spent the last six months in Europe and God, are American women behind the times, perhaps not in New York or LA, but in the south, they have a lot of catching up to do.

  462. jjv
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    The over emphasis on race and “respect” for fictional characters is pretty depressing. It strikes me that PC and the corruption of our current educational system (U.S./U.K.) not only makes people foolish but now intrudes on entertainment.

  463. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Lord Stonefield,

    Bon dia!
    Actually, I grew up in Badalona, Frankfurt and London and am currently on assignment in New York. Who said I was American? Perhaps I reacted to the initial comment unnecessarily. I’ll refrain from further comment about diverse cultural conflict in Europe.

    However, I would like to point out that I have always thought that Catalonia and the Stark Northlands in ASoI&F have many things in common. There is much tension between the monarchy/government and the region since the dictatorship ended, they consider themselves independent (a state of autonomy) and there is a certain unique pride found in the Catalan folk that is quite appealing. Plus, there is always the threat from past the Pyrenees mountains in the north. Fucking French (white walkers)! :-)

  464. Gaius Baltar
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Visennya Targaryen,

    Are you from US by any chance? I am from Europe and i am leftist, i do not think in rasistic terms unlike some people from oversea, who are obsessed with categorizing people as whites and POC. You accusing me of racism is not only wrong, it is also show your own prejudice. This whole discussion is disgusting.

  465. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard:
    Lord Stonefield,

    Bon dia!
    Actually, I grew up in Badalona, Frankfurt and London and am currently on assignment in New York. Who said I was American? Perhaps I reacted to the initial comment unnecessarily. I’ll refrain from further comment about diverse cultural conflict in Europe.

    However, I would like to point out that I have always thought that Catalonia and the Stark Northlands in ASoI&F have many things in common. There is much tension between the monarchy/government and the region since the dictatorship ended, they consider themselves independent (a state of autonomy) and there is a certain unique pride found in the Catalan folk that is quite appealing. Plus, there is always the threat from past the Pyrenees mountains in the north. Fucking French (white walkers)! :-)

    Oh, sorry! It was just the tone and some thoughts you posted (June 17, 2013 at 11:45 am), which made me thought you were American (or at least not European).

    Even though I am not Catalan, and hardly an expert on any Iberian questions, I can’t see how Catalan nationalism is relevant to the question about racism etc. Everything I have ever read about Catalan nationalism distinguishes it from German / Eastern European type ethnic nationalism and primordial interpretation.

    But enough of this academic off-topic now…

  466. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Gaius Baltar:
    Visennya Targaryen,

    Are you from US by any chance? I am from Europe and i am leftist, i do not think in rasistic terms unlike some people from oversea, who are obsessed with categorizing people as whites and POC. You accusing me of racism is not only wrong, it is also show your own prejudice. This whole discussion is disgusting.

    Totally agreed (even European and leftist part!). This American obsession with race, racialization and racial categorizing shocks me.

  467. Visennya Targaryen
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Gaius Baltar,

    Being “leftist” doesn’t automatically absolve anyone from accusations of racism, sorry. “Categorizing” people as white and POC isn’t racist, unlike demanding that nonwhite characters be cast with white actors. It might come as a surprise to some, but people (especially people of color) actually LIKE identifying with their race and it’s important to their sense of identity.

    Game of Thrones is an American show so American standards will obviously be applied to it. The only disgusting thing about this discussion is racists coming into it and throwing ignorant statements around and thereby devaluing the diverse and complex world portrayed in Game of Thrones and the novels it’s based upon.

  468. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    It’s amusing to me that some people think acknowledging and discussing racial issues is the same thing as racism. Racism doesn’t cease to exist just because you claim to be above it. People live with it every day. Even in places like Australia or Europe, which I’ve heard from people who live there do have major problems with racism despite some implications to the contrary in this comment thread. It strikes me as willful blindness.

  469. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Visennya Targaryen:
    Gaius Baltar,

    Being “leftist” doesn’t automatically absolve anyone from accusations of racism, sorry. “Categorizing” people as white and POC isn’t racist, unlike demanding that nonwhite characters be cast with white actors. It might come as a surprise to some, but people (especially people of color) actually LIKE identifying with their race and it’s important to their sense of identity.

    Game of Thrones is an American show so American standards will obviously be applied to it. The only disgusting thing about this discussion is racists coming into it and throwing ignorant statements around and thereby devaluing the diverse and complex world portrayed in Game of Thrones and the novels it’s based upon.

    But using terms terms like “people of colour” sounds just very racist to European leftist ANTI-RACIST (if you really need convincing). And demanding the changing of ethnicity of the Dornish for the show IS racist.

  470. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury:
    It’s amusing to me that some people think acknowledging and discussing racial issues is the same thing as racism. Racism doesn’t cease to exist just because you claim to be above it. People live with it every day. Even in places like Australia or Europe, which I’ve heard from people who live there do have major problems with racism despite some implications to the contrary in this comment thread. It strikes me as willful blindness.

    No one has claimed that Europe is above racism, quite the contrary. But this American obsession with whiteness IS racist and tells not only about your history but your present, too. Which is quite sad.

  471. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    some fans are saying they would like more non-white people on the show and that is somehow racist or an obsession with whiteness? oh jesus.

  472. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury:
    some fans are saying they would like more non-white people on the show and that is somehow racist or an obsession with whiteness? oh jesus.

    First of all, no need to bring Jesus or religion to this. Making Middle Eastern people “not white” is a sign of racism because it tries to make them “other”. If you don’t get this, I honestly don’t know what to say. And the demand to change the ethnicity of the Dornish ruling class of Middle Eastern (canon to books) to something else, for whatever reason, is racist.

  473. Visennya Targaryen
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Lord Stonefield,

    So what you’re saying is that the mere condition of not being white is automatically “othering?” Did you even read the article? It’s so obvious the Dornish are not white.

  474. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Lord Stonefield: . And the demand to change the ethnicity of the Dornish ruling class of Middle Eastern (canon to books) to something else, for whatever reason, is racist.

    The Dornish are not canonically middle eastern. They are canonically Dornish. As Amin pointed out in the roundtable, GRRM doesn’t usually create a 1:1 equivalent of cultures. He borrows bits and pieces from different ethnic groups, cultures, societies, and appearances. He has stated that Dorne is based somewhat on Wales (I’m guessing the geography, how it’s mountainous and distinct from the rest of Britain with its own identity, etc), Palestine ( the climate definitely and possibly more) and on the Moors and their invasion of Spain. The ambiguity of the ethnicity is why there is such an ongoing debate about how the Martells and Dornish should be depicted. George told this actress of Indian and Dutch descent she reminded him of Lady Nymeria Sand. She isn’t middle eastern.

  475. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury: The Dornish are not canonically middle eastern. They are canonically Dornish. As Amin pointed out in the roundtable, GRRM doesn’t usually create a 1:1 equivalent of cultures. He borrows bits and pieces from different ethnic groups, cultures, societies, and appearances. He has stated that Dorne is based somewhat on Wales (I’m guessing the geography, how it’s mountainous and distinct from Britain with its own identity, etc), Palestine ( the climate definitely and possibly more) and on the Moors and their invasion of Spain. The ambiguity of the ethnicity is why there is such an ongoing debate about how the Martells and Dornish should be depicted. George told this actress of Indian and Dutch descent she reminded him of Lady Nymeria Sand. She isn’t middle eastern.

    Agree about the first part (no definite one-to-one equivalents with our world). I am fine with the actress, she’s close enough. But claiming that she’s not white is racist. But I am willing to give up with these racist American definitions that the Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern are not white, I must accept that I don’t and probably will not ever get them.

    One thing we should remember: The show-runners have already stated what the Rhoynish look like (Talisa). To present believably that the Martell’s and other members of the Dornish ruling class is the outcome of existing Andals (with probably some First Men heritage) and the settling of the Rhoynar ca. 1000 years ago, resulting in the Dornish with their regional differences, they cannot possibly be presented as darker than Oona Chaplin (barring the obvious results of inter-ethnic relationships with the Summer Islanders and other foreigners). So, making the majority of the Dornish darker than Mediterranean (Oona Chaplin) or Middle-Eastern, defies logic.

  476. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Visennya Targaryen:
    Lord Stonefield,

    So what you’re saying is that the mere condition of not being white is automatically “othering?” Did you even read the article? It’s so obvious the Dornish are not white.

    How is it so obvious? It’s obvious to me that they are white.

    No, the mere condition of not being white is not automatically “othering”. But calling obvious white people something other than white IS othering.

  477. Gaius Baltar
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Visennya Targaryen,

    How it is obvious Dornish are not whites? They are clearly based on Spaniards. As clearly as Tyrells are based on French culture. Martells family especially, other 2 dornish groups are basically some northern european and northern african import to thier multiethnical society. Yet some politicaly correct crusaders here claim Antonio Banderas or James Puferoy can not play Red Viper, not because they are unsuitable actors for that character, but because they are too white..

  478. chloris
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Lord Stonefield,
    lol poc is a term created by poc in america
    but asking a european to understand race politics is reaching far
    since y’all are the ones who fucked america up

  479. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Visennya Targaryen,

    Rather than being disgusted, I think this is one of the strongest threads that WiC has ever presented. Racism and “Culturalism” often cross the lines between reality and fiction. These opinions matter and are often represented in many other forums and message boards across our known world.

    Some of the most effective non-fiction and fiction literary works in history are inherently racist or are commenting on racism. Some would say that Shakespeare was a racist in the way he portrayed Jews and the Moors (although I doubt it) and that has been debated for centuries. It is quite a testament to ASoI&F, GoT, and the supporting blogs and websites, that such passionate discussion of racism (and its various incarnations) and visual presentation of cultures is demanded and mitigated by the fan base.

  480. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    chloris:
    Lord Stonefield,
    lol poc is a term created by poc in america
    but asking a european to understand race politics is reaching far
    since y’all are the ones who fucked america up

    Well God bless America that you now civilise us barbarians about what is right and wrong. You have a long tradition with that. And suddenly it’s our fault (?) that you do that by bombing this and that country back to Stone Age. Torture and economic oppression is not so bad when done to some barbarians. You truly are the beacon of moral superiority.

  481. tysnow
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Weighing in on this racial diatribe, which has digressed into prejudicial undertones, one cannot but shake their heads at the lack of enlightenment still existing in the 21st century.
    We have GRRM’s physical description to go by, if and I say if Ms Gold decides to cast the roles verbatim. We know that she has cast a few roles differing than their counterparts in ASoIaF, we also realize some of the more exotic roles have been excised, due to the apparent negative stereotypes, for instance dark skinned are prostitutes, pirates and other roles.
    But such major roles as the Martell’s need (strongly emphasize) to adhere to the diversity of Westeros. Dorne is not white European, but Caucasian on a more Indo-Aryan scale. Many consider it akin to Spain, because they associate Westeros with Western Europe, so therefore Dorne must be southern Europe. When I read ASoIaF, since I have a History background and excelled in Cultural Anthropology in college, I associate GRRM’s description on a broader scale, as he did. Kings Landing is more influenced by Constantinople than any other city, and the Reach is more Central Europe, while Highgarden is Gaulic and The Vale, Alpine/Germanic. Dothraki are Mongol hybrid and the Summer Islanders, Caribbean/Polynesian hybrid. The Stormlands are the Balkans and the Dornish Reach is like Slavic Europe while the deserts are Persian and the southern coast akin to India. In Westeros the farther south you go the more eastward you travel.
    I see Essos as more of a temporal culture than geographic, the farther east you go the farther back in time you find yourself. The Free Cities are Venice, Ragusa, etc. the great merchant powers of the medieval era, Valyria as Rome, the Slaver Bay as ancient Bablyonian and so forth. This is just me as a reader, since I have broader knowledge, I associate the descriptions by GRRM on a broader scale and don’t confine myself to a narrow geographic area. Readers must remember GRRM is just as knowledgeable, historically and culturally to all regions of the earth, and not just one area.
    Tyrion considers Dornish women and therefore Dorne as “strange”, therefore alien in culture to the rest of Westeros. Medieval Spain is not far afield to its counterpart in England, but medieval India or Indian women would be “strange” to Europe. I have worked for and alongside many Indo-Aryans, and like Dorne you have the Stony Indians of Kashmir with paler skin and hair and blue eyes, the Sandy desert Indians of Rajasthan with dark skin and viper eyes and Salty Indians with light skinned (med) features along the Gujarat/Maharast coast. The architecture is similar, especially in retrospect to Sunspear, the description of which is more akin to the medieval cities of India. Indian women are more licentious and business minded than their early European counterparts centuries ago; where women held power, ran businesses, chose their mates, enjoyed bi-sexuality alongside men and had more equal status until the Islamic Babur invasion of the early 16th century and the rise of the Mughal Empire.
    Therefore the Dornish women and their culture, beliefs and power were far closer to medieval (8th-14th century) Indian women than Spanish women of the same period. Furthermore their attire as described by GRRM was closer in reality to eastern than western dress, even fan art adheres to this idea.
    Therefore it is important for HBO and Nina to adhere to the foreign diversity of Dorne as described by GRRM and cast properly since the Martlell’s are major characters of power and influence. The UK has a wealth of great Indo-Aryan talent and Indian actors trained in the UK. to not tap into this resource would be a crime of (to many) prejudicial proportions.
    For those saying Nina should cast obvious European, because Dorne was diverse and she should be diverse and chose the best candidate, if all the other Noble houses were cast properly according to GRRM descriptions, minus dyed hair and wigs, why shouldn’t Nina cast accordingly for the Martell’s and select a darker skinned (non-pale) Caucasian (Meds, Arabs and Indians are this racial type) excluding Nymeria (Stony being closer to Slavic).
    Therefore those endorsing pro-white European Martell’s are missing the point of GRRM’s world and the fact Nina selected the other Houses properly and not to select actors for House Martell similarly would be construed as racial. There can be no excuse for anyone at HBO since as I stated beforehand, there is a plethora of well established and upcoming Indo-Anglo actors in the UK for Ms. Gold to chose from, period.

  482. The Bull
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    White people don’t have to deal with racism and they are VERY WELL represented in TV, movies, and other media. That’s why they can say things like “race doesn’t matter”, “It should be about talent” with a straight face. But I bet that if they had casted black actors to play Tyrion or Jon, suddenly race would matter and these same people would have thrown a fit.

    Guess what? People of color don’t have the privilege of not caring about race. It is IMPORTANT to us to be able to turn on a show and see people who look like us, characters who we can relate to, who aren’t just walking stereotypes and glorified extras. And white people apparently will never understand why.

    There are plenty of POC actors who have the talent to bring these characters to life. That some of you people would whitewash them is not surprising but hurtful all the same. I just pray that Nina Gold and the producers do right by this.

  483. Zeus
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Visennya Targaryen:
    Gaius Baltar,

    Being “leftist” doesn’t automatically absolve anyone from accusations of racism, sorry. “Categorizing” people as white and POC isn’t racist, unlike demanding that nonwhite characters be cast with white actors. It might come as a surprise to some, but people (especially people of color) actually LIKE identifying with their race and it’s important to their sense of identity.

    Game of Thrones is an American show so American standards will obviously be applied to it. The only disgusting thing about this discussion is racists coming into it and throwing ignorant statements around and thereby devaluing the diverse and complex world portrayed in Game of Thrones and the novels it’s based upon.

    Uhm…”demanding” people be cast as any race other than the source material screams of racist. The problem here is that most Americans are pretty oblivious to the makeup of many countries where the native citizens all don’t look alike. All around the Medditerranean and the Middle East people of various “colours” exist. Travel a bit more, it is not a white/POC comflict.

  484. Handmaiden of Dany
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    So my husband plays softball and I was watching one of his games and a little girl who I hadn’t seen since the first game was there with her mom watching her step dad play (well she is like four so more running around than watching). The weather was getting warm and her mother said that she had been getting her daughter to play outside alot. I commented that her daughter looked like she was getting tanned (and she was darker complected than the previous time I saw her). Her mother said “well, whe’s mixed”.
    So you can’t get darker when your mixed? WTF? Why was that even neccessary to say? Most people are mixed anymore and who the fuck cares?

  485. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    tysnow,

    Exactly.

  486. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    The Bull:
    White people don’t have to deal with racism and they are VERY WELL represented in TV, movies, and other media. That’s why they can say things like “race doesn’t matter”, “It should be about talent” with a straight face. But I bet that if they had casted black actors to play Tyrion or Jon, suddenly race would matter and these same people would have thrown a fit.

    Guess what? People of color don’t have the privilege of not caring about race. It is IMPORTANT to us to be able to turn on a show and see people who look like us, characters who we can relate to, who aren’t just walking stereotypes and glorified extras.And white people apparently will never understand why.

    There are plenty of POC actors who have the talent to bring these characters to life. That some of you people would whitewash them is not surprising but hurtful all the same. I just pray that Nina Gold and the producers do right by this.

    You doesn’t seem to understand that this a piece of art that draws from SOURCE MATERIAL. That’s why I don’t want to see character ethnicities changed from the original. If this was totally original series, people (at least sensible) wouldn’t give a f what race or ethnicity or any other visual characteristics the actors had.

    And what comes to identification, are you really serious? Should I relate myself to Joffrey because we are both of European heritage? As I said earlier, film studies concerning reception research show that viewers relate themselves to characters who share their personality, experience, motivations, position in the story etc.. That’s why when I watch “Across 110th Street”, I relate myself to Lt. Pope (African American protagonist, hero), not Capt. Matelli (White American evil guy). In the same note, I don’t think all the Tyrion fans are vertically challenged. I am not and he’s my favourite. It wouldn’t make a difference to me, if he was a Black dwarf. But as he is a White dwarf in the books, I am happy that he is a White dwarf in the show (although more handsome than in the books but I can forgive because there are obviously not so many talented ugly short white actors around and they obviously want to present him slightly more positively in the show, so that’s why they hired a handsome talented white short actor. Who has a horrible and exaggerated fake upper class British accent, BTW…)

    And if you believe that all white people are monolithic group with no empathy or understanding of the problematics of the representation, it just tells about your own prejudices.

  487. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Zeus: Uhm…”demanding” people be cast as any race other than the source material screams of racist. The problem here is that most Americans are pretty oblivious to the makeup of many countries where the native citizens all don’t look alike. All around the Medditerranean and the Middle East people of various “colours” exist. Travel a bit more, it is not a white/POC comflict.

    Well said.

  488. WildSeed
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Chickenduck: I think Esposito’s face is quite timeless…He could be made to look older.

    But also someone like Olmos…His work in Dexter was a similar look to what I had in mind for Doran.

    I agree about theatric Fx aginging Esposito or Olmos, and both are very
    accomplished actors. They have been underrated for decades, yet participated
    in great works. I remember the aging up of Olmos from ” Blade Runner “, and
    Esposito from Independent film and Spike Lee days. Either would be an
    asset to GoT. I just find the role of Doran a tad daunting because he is so
    leaden and slow, due to ill health. Of course that’s easier enough mimicked ,
    I just wondered if there was someone else that would fit the bill perfectly.

    Doran may be middle aged but that is ancient as far as people of that period
    of Dorne. There were many great submission of hopefuls listed in an archived
    Cast thread here at WiC. I’m afraid the diatribe from the above tautologic
    discussion ( which I’d participated in ), may have kept some away from
    reiterating those names. As new casting contenders emerge for Mace Tyrell,
    and others needed for S4 & S5, we’ll read them again. Always fun to
    speculate with new submissions or ideas though

  489. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Handmaiden of Dany: So my husband plays softball and I was watching one of his games and a little girl who I hadn’t seen since the first game was there with her mom watching her step dad play (well she is like four so more running around than watching). The weather was getting warm and her mother said that she had been getting her daughter to play outside alot. I commented that her daughter looked like she was getting tanned (and she was darker complected than the previous time I saw her). Her mother said “well, whe’s mixed”.
    So you can’t get darker when your mixed? WTF? Why was that even neccessary to say? Most people are mixed anymore and who the fuck cares?

    I’m guessing you haven’t heard about the Cheerios commercial featuring a white mom, a black father and their child. A whole lot of people cared about a simple commercial. Here’s an article about it. Cheerios had to turn off their comments sections on the video but other uploaded versions of the ad have plenty of racist comments about the interracial couple and their mixed child. Go look it up on youtube if you want to see. So many, many people still care about people’s skin color. And they aren’t all Americans.
    As for the woman at the ballgame, I can only speculate. Maybe having a virtual stranger comment on her daughter’s skin color rubbed her the wrong way or maybe she simply misunderstood you.

  490. WildSeed
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    tysnow: Weighing in on this racial diatribe, which has digressed into prejudicial undertones, one cannot but shake their heads at the lack of enlightenment still existing in the 21st century.

    WildSeed: Those from the States
    are really hung up on biologic essentialism, a if it defines them for
    political privilege or otherwise. The concept has spread deeper across
    the globe, to punctuate myths and long standing prejudices . Rascism
    exists because people will not acknowledge it and perpetuate the damaging
    effects. Accountability always begins with the individual.

    That’s why, or a least a major part. Not many reads history or abides by the
    mandates against failure. It’s a vicious cycle until a Tipping Point comes along.
    Presenting credible historical or biologic reference to deaf ears is cumbersome.

    Ours is the Fury:
    It’s amusing to me that some people think acknowledging and discussing racial issues is the same thing as racism. Racism doesn’t cease to exist just because you claim to be above it. People live with it every day. Even in places like Australia or Europe, which I’ve heard from people who live there do have major problems with racism despite some implications to the contrary in this comment thread. It strikes me as willful blindness.

    Pretty much sums it up for me. Willful Blindness.

  491. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Zeus,

    New York City and London are microcosms of the entire world, with most of the world’s cultures represented in the various buroughs/neighborhoods, which has benefited and subtracted from the city as a whole. Tolerance, whether it be with skin color, hygiene, attitude, or fashion sense, is an implied mandate, whether one is a world traveler(recommended as well) or not.

  492. Gard
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Visennya Targaryen,

    Yes, an American show with a mostly non-American cast filmed enitrely in Europe and North Africa, but let’s go and apply American race standards to the whole world – nah, the universe – because you’re clearly superior to everyone. America strong!

  493. Adam
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Visennya Targaryen: People saying that the comments on this thread aren’t racist need only to look at this person’s comment to be proven wrong. When it comes to POC roles, suddenly everything becomes all about “talent” as racists are unable to fathom the idea that a POC actor might be more talented than a white one.

    Please stop saying that white actors are somehow always going to be more talented than any nonwhite actors who audition for the roles.  

    What?? Who has been saying that? I didn’t see that sentiment in the comment you were replying to.

    Yes, the idea that “white actors are more talented than non-white actors” is racist and terrible. But assuming that’s what the person you’re responding to thinks and then calling them racist for it is just a bad faith argument.

    Besides, people like this commenter would probably throw up a shitstorm if a nonwhite actor was cast as Jaime Lannister or Arya Stark even if they happened to be better at acting than any white actors who auditioned.

      

    Well, if they chose a non-white actor for Jaime Lannister or Arya Stark, they’d also have to choose similar-looking actors for all of those characters’ family members (obviously you couldn’t have a black Jaime and a white Cersei, for example). And then you’d have to explain why one prominent Westerosi family was racially different from everyone else in the realm. Or you’d have to have, say, an all-black Westeros. Do I think there’s anything inherently wrong with that? No. If that’s what the producers wanted to do, good for them. But I think we’d agree it’s not racist that they didn’t.

    In the books, that explanation exists for the Dornish, so it makes sense they’ll look different to the other Westerosi. I don’t think anyone has a problem with “ethnic” castings for the Dornish. But whether they HAVE to be – that’s a more contentious argument.

  494. Echoes in a well
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Anoushka,

    I would like to mention that I’ve barely read any of these 500+ posts. As a completely prejudice/stereotype view and assumption, I’d put money on that the people in the right have been offensive and rude to weaken their point, while the people in the wrong have used that to build a nonsense argument. But that’s besides the point… (please don’t stop reading; I love all GoT fans :( :) :) :D))

    First: I’d like to mention again: I have not read most of the commentary. You all might be the best.

    Second: I think it’s sort of funny that I had a post on a different thread similar to GRRM Response (that was completely ignored by the people looking to call foul on the finale scene) -
    At first (just hearing about it from reading this now) I thought that the idea of the final scene being racist so patently absurd that I felt a little bad for the people that had to look so hard to cry foul. But, after watching the scene a few times and reading what people say about it, ya, ok, I get it. (colonialism undertones yadayada). The only problem with the whole notion is that the slave owners had the same complexion and that, besides the trading city of Qarth, every city/area shown in the show has been completely homogenous. You know, similar to how it was during the Middle Ages.

    Until the very tail end of the Middle Ages with the Ottoman Empire, the majority of slaves in any region were ethnically similar to each other (slaves comes from slavs). (Side note, GRRM definitely got the idea of a trained slave army from the Ottoman Empire) But since the show isn’t able to to use text to explain the diverse slave population (and more importantly the whole extras in Morocco point), the show stays true to portraying a medieval time period, not a colonial one.

    Response When I scrolled through, I noticed the post I’m quoting by Anoushka. Well, after reading that (and not reading anything else), you all are idiots (please don’t stop reading; I love all GoT fans :( :) :) :D)) Anyone that is arguing the poing that this could be perceived as racist is arguing just for a point. Do we destroy tales of the middle ages because it might hint discrimination/memories of colonization? By the way, the majority of slaves were white until the catholic church banned selling Christians into slavery and the Ottoman Empire banned Muslims to be sold to slavery.

    Sorry to burst the bubble, but slavery led to racism because African warlords (black) had a cheaper price for their slaves than other areas did.

    UGH, I hate this already, it’s not worth it taking about history because you always find something wrong. Let’s make a huge outcry to mess with our favorite show. Ra’s al Ghul should have been Naveen Andrews instead of Liam Neeson!!!! (erg sarcasm)

  495. Scoobers
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Agreed Dorne was my favorite and it is just a great opportunity to add some color to the show. Literally lol

  496. sunspear
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury:
    It’s amusing to me that some people think acknowledging and discussing racial issues is the same thing as racism. Racism doesn’t cease to exist just because you claim to be above it. People live with it every day. Even in places like Australia or Europe, which I’ve heard from people who live there do have major problems with racism despite some implications to the contrary in this comment thread. It strikes me as willful blindness.

    It’s more the fact the fact that we find the examples of ‘racism’ presented here so ridiculous that they are an insult to actual examples of racism in the real world.

  497. sunspear
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury:
    some fans are saying they would like more non-white people on the show and that is somehow racist or an obsession with whiteness? oh jesus.

    Many of the people calling for more nonwhite characters dismissed the fact that D&D already added black characters in the form of XXD and Salladhor Saan, along with the arguable changes for Grey Worm and Missandei (I don’t remember what race they were discribed as). Apparently XXD doesn’t count because he betrayed Dany, SS doesn’t count because he’s a rapist pirate, Missandei doesn’t count because they killed Irri, and Grey Worm doesn’t count because he’s a slave.

    When you’re group argues with a straight face that the show would be improved by the presence of Chataya and Jalabar Xho, you have lost credibility as a TV critic.

  498. Put The timer Back
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury: The ambiguity of the ethnicity is why there is such an ongoing debate about how the Martells and Dornish should be depicted. George told this actress of Indian and Dutch descent she reminded him of Lady Nymeria Sand. She isn’t middle eastern.

    If she has a role in GoT I will sh’t brix! (The good kind)
    We can only hope.

  499. Harry the Hier
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Long time lover of this blog, 1st time poster.

    I can’t believe that you have managed to write two both very long blog posts on essentially the same subject, race race race.
    Get over it!!
    I’m taking it as a given that boys over at HBO will differentiate the Dornish from the rest of the westerosi. The easiest way to get that message across is do that visually, ie- have the Dornish a different ethnicity to the majority of inhabitants of the seven kingdoms.
    When I saw the initial blog post titled “The importance of Dorne” I was very excited. I, like a lot of readers love Dorne. But I have not liked your blogposts about the subject so far.

  500. outdoorcats
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    It’s a response to the comment by Katie Jo, a point which I regret was drawn-out as it was. Surely you are missing the context here. No harassment, or borderline-harassment, has been committed by anyone.

  501. The Bull
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Lord Stonefield: You doesn’t seem to understand that this a piece of art that draws from SOURCE MATERIAL. That’s why I don’t want to see character ethnicities changed from the original. If this was totally original series, people (at least sensible) wouldn’t give a f what race or ethnicity or any other visual characteristics the actors had.

    And what comes to identification, are you really serious? Should I relate myself to Joffrey because we are both of European heritage? As I said earlier, film studies concerning reception research show that viewers relate themselves to characters who share their personality, experience, motivations, position in the story etc.. That’s why when I watch “Across 110th Street”, I relate myself to Lt. Pope (African American protagonist, hero), not Capt. Matelli (White American evil guy). In the same note, I don’t think all the Tyrion fans are vertically challenged. I am not and he’s my favourite. It wouldn’t make a difference to me, if he was a Black dwarf. But as he is a White dwarf in the books, I am happy that he is a White dwarf in the show (although more handsome than in the books but I can forgive because there are obviously not so many talented ugly short white actors around and they obviously want to present him slightly more positively in the show, so that’s why they hired a handsome talented white short actor. Who has a horrible and exaggerated fake upper class British accent, BTW…)

    And if you believe that all white people are monolithic group with no empathy or understanding of the problematics of the representation, it just tells about your own prejudices.

    Except no one here is calling for House Lannister or Stark to have been people of color. I was using that as an example to show how many pick and choose when race matters and when it doesn’t. I have seen this time and time again, not just in this fandom but in many others.

    When a canon POC character is played by a white actor, which happens ALL the time, too many people go on about how race doesn’t matter and it’s about talent. But on the very rare times that a canon white character is played by a POC actor, then the world comes to an end. Said actor is subjected to racial slurs, accusations are made about the show/movie trying to fill some sort of racial quota, there are endless proclamations that the character is now ruined.

    All of this I saw when Nonso Anozie was casted as Xaro Xhoan Daxos. Do you not see the difference in reactions? Always in favor of whites, whether because they are racist or because that is what they have been conditioned to prefer.

    You obviously cannot even begin to comprehend why it is important for people of color to see themselves represented in the media. How it can change a person’s self worth just to see someone who looks like them on screen, being an actual complex human being. Playing archetypes that are statistically almost always portrayed by white people.
    The media is powerful, it shapes the way people think about themselves, other people, and the world. I don’t know why I even have to state this.

    I recommend you take a look at the films and shows that are out now. Take notice of how may POCs are in it, f how many white people are in it, then do the math. If you don’t see a problem, you need to question why that is.

    Are you saying The Martells are white? GRRM has made it clear that his inspiration for Dorne was Moorish Spain, Wales, and medieval Palestine. And last time I check, while the Dornish vary in skin color, just like all POCs, they are all descendents from the Rhoynar who he compared to the Moors. GRRM even told Janina Gavankar, a woman of color, that she looks like Nymeria Sand.

    You are putting words in my mouth. What I said is that white people are the only ones who have the privilege of saying something like “race doesn’t matter” because they aren’t defined by it the way POCs are. Because they always see themselves represented in the media and take for granted how powerful that is. That is why someone like you can actually sit there and type what you’ve just typed to me.

    To use another example, dwarfs are almost never represented in any sort of media. And when they are it’s only in stereotypical minor roles. Because of this, can you stop for a second and imagine what it could mean to someone who IS a dwarf to see someone like them on a tv show? And as an intelligent complex character who is an integral part of the story? If you still can’t, just go read the many interviews Peter Dinklage has done discussing this very thing.

  502. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    sunspear: Many of the people calling for more nonwhite characters dismissed the fact that D&D already added black characters in the form of XXD and Salladhor Saan, along with the arguable changes for Grey Worm and Missandei (I don’t remember what race they were discribed as). Apparently XXD doesn’t count because he betrayed Dany, SS doesn’t count because he’s a rapist pirate, Missandei doesn’t count because they killed Irri, and Grey Worm doesn’t count because he’s a slave.

    When you’re group argues with a straight face that the show would be improved by the presence of Chataya and Jalabar Xho, you have lost credibility as a TV critic.

    Chataya and her daughter were an actual part of ACOK’s plot, despite your scorn. Remember, they had to get Ros to take their place in season 2′s storylines.
    That said, the roundtable said a lot more than that, but you’re fixating on minor points. And some applauded the changing of XXD and Saan, so your reading is quite selective. Try again.

    Grey Worm’s race was never described, so there is no change there. Missandei’s race is also not a change, as she and the Naathi are described as darker skinned or dusky. The only change with her is her age.

    outdoorcats,

    Whatever context you believe justified it, let it stay ended.

  503. Fire And Blood
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    tysnow,

    That was an excellent assessment. Should have had you in the roundtable!

  504. Fire And Blood
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    My argument has always been for realism. Realism, realism, realism. And sure, you could argue that realism can be stretched beyond reason in a fantasy setting…

    But I want to see a world as colorful as our own. I want to see a place where everyone of all ethnicities can picture themselves in not only a positive light, but an empowered one. And that has been the hardest problem for most non-white fantasy fans; there are so few places in which they feel as though they can be a legitimate part of the setting and not just as some backdrop window dressing character. And to me, that’s where Dorne comes in.

    I’m married to a (PoC, minority, whatever you want to call her) woman, and my 18-year old daughter is mixed-race and only now starting to watch the series, so I see this disconnect firsthand.

    George’s world is, admittedly, very European—at least the parts we get to see. And because Westeros was SO white, I wanted Essos to be the opposite. Well, it’s not. Valyrian stock is clearly very caucasian, and what with the ridiculous Spice King and every other pale person of note on that continent… it still looks pretty damned caucasian.

    So for me, for that unique Dornish POV, I want Dorne to be as spicy and colorful and different as advertised. That’s it.

  505. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    The Bull,

    I will answer some of your points between the paragraphs because the tagging system here is clumsy at best.

    “Except no one here is calling for House Lannister or Stark to have been people of color. I was using that as an example to show how many pick and choose when race matters and when it doesn’t. I have seen this time and time again, not just in this fandom but in many others.

    When a canon POC character is played by a white actor, which happens ALL the time, too many people go on about how race doesn’t matter and it’s about talent. But on the very rare times that a canon white character is played by a POC actor, then the world comes to an end. Said actor is subjected to racial slurs, accusations are made about the show/movie trying to fill some sort of racial quota, there are endless proclamations that the character is now ruined.”

    I have and never will accept that if any canon “POC” (which is a disgusting racist word, I still don’t get why you Americans are so willing to circulate so freely, but maybe I just don’t understand such racist cultures as US) character gets changed to white or anything. Whether it be this show or any. And the same other way round.

    “All of this I saw when Nonso Anozie was casted as Xaro Xhoan Daxos. Do you not see the difference in reactions? Always in favor of whites, whether because they are racist or because that is what they have been conditioned to prefer.”

    I don’t follow much American media or discussion, partly because there are obviously so much hatred going on, so I cannot comment that case. I was disappointed because his ethnicity was changed (yes, racial quotas came to my mind). I was equally disappointed that they changed his sexual orientation and that they killed the character when he clearly plays a part in the later books.

    “You obviously cannot even begin to comprehend why it is important for people of color to see themselves represented in the media. How it can change a person’s self worth just to see someone who looks like them on screen, being an actual complex human being. Playing archetypes that are statistically almost always portrayed by white people.
    The media is powerful, it shapes the way people think about themselves, other people, and the world. I don’t know why I even have to state this.”

    You don’t. As a student of film studies, sociology and history you don’t have to lecture me about this. I thought I already made myself clear about this but apparently failed.

    “I recommend you take a look at the films and shows that are out now. Take notice of how may POCs are in it, f how many white people are in it, then do the math. If you don’t see a problem, you need to question why that is.”

    See above.

    “Are you saying The Martells are white? GRRM has made it clear that his inspiration for Dorne was Moorish Spain, Wales, and medieval Palestine.”

    Yes, of course. And what else the people there are (and were in medieval times) than white?

    “And last time I check, while the Dornish vary in skin color, just like all POCs, they are all descendents from the Rhoynar who he compared to the Moors. GRRM even told Janina Gavankar, a woman of color, that she looks like Nymeria Sand.”

    Like I said earlier, she is a great choice, but apparently she’s not ok, because she is white?

  506. gswelcome
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    my PC radar is going off, seminar on race relations to come i suppose

  507. Adam
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury: Chataya and her daughter were an actual part of ACOK’s plot, despite your scorn. Remember, they had to get Ros to take their place in season 2′s storylines.
    That said, the roundtable said a lot more than that, but you’re fixating on minor points. And some applauded the changing of XXD and Saan, so your reading is quite selective. Try again.

    There are LOTS of minor characters who were actual parts of plots in the novels, and were replaced on the TV show to reduce clutter. This isn’t news to anyone.

    I’m pretty sure any scorn here isn’t for Chataya and Alayaya, but rather for the idea that their skin color makes them suddenly more important to put in the show.

  508. Adam
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Fire And Blood:
    But I want to see a world as colorful as our own. I want to see a place where everyone of all ethnicities can picture themselves in not only a positive light, but an empowered one. And that has been the hardest problem for most non-white fantasy fans; there are so few places in which they feel as though they can be a legitimate part of the setting and not just as some backdrop window dressing character. And to me, that’s where Dorne comes in.

    I’m married to a (PoC, minority, whatever you want to call her) woman, and my 18-year old daughter is mixed-race and only now starting to watch the series, so I see this disconnect firsthand.

    I’m still not sure I understand this. To be fair, I haven’t experienced life (or GoT-watching) as a non-white person, so it’s totally possible there are some very strong emotions along these lines that are very common. But…

    As a “white” person (a New York Jew, in particular), I certainly don’t feel like I’d fit into Westeros. There’s a lot more than skin color when it comes to how you imagine yourself. There’s nationality, accent, language, culture, the time you live in, all the way to things like beliefs, philosophy, religion. Would a white French or Spanish person imagine themselves in Westeros? Would a religiously Catholic person?

    How many people here could actually imagine living in such an alien society? How many people would want to?

    A hypothesis: It’s probably a lot easier for a typical white person (if such a thing exists) to imagine themselves in certain other movies and shows, which have largely white casts in more realistic settings. Again, I couldn’t imagine myself in most of those worlds anyway (being a New York Jew, given my personality, interests, etc.), but maybe this is more of a sore spot for non-white people. And maybe that soreness persists when watching GoT.

    But really I’m just guessing here. I want to understand this criticism, but it comes across as so alien to me.

  509. sunspear
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Adam: There are LOTS of minor characters who were actual parts of plots in the novels, and were replaced on the TV show to reduce clutter. This isn’t news to anyone.

    I’m pretty sure any scorn here isn’t for Chataya and Alayaya, but rather for the idea that their skin color makes them suddenly more important to put in the show.

    This guy. This guy gets it.

  510. WildSeed
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    tysnow,

    Well struck ser !

  511. outdoorcats
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Adam,

    Westeros’ darkly fantastical world holds up a perverse mirror to our own. Even while a basic description of the show uses seemingly completely alien concepts – dragons, magic, etc. – the way it depicts the relationship between humans, the conflicts within humans, and human nature in times of chaos, brutality, and trauma, is so much more true to the mark than…honestly, like 99% of fiction that I’ve read. Life has kicked the crap out of me almost from the start, I’ve had to pick myself up and move on from a few seriously traumatic events, but reading these books has been therapeutic and yes, perversely easy to relate to for me. You get a great sense from them how life is this never-ending cycle and flickering hope is always a part of that cycle, it never quite goes away entirely. And I believe many fans feel the same way I do. You don’t even have to go to a third-world country to find ‘Game of Thrones’-like places, just visit Camden or East. St. Louis sometime. That kind of ‘medieval’ world of fear and brutality is a waking way of life every day for a lot of people living in one of the wealthiest first-world countries on the planet.

    I think what has brought so many, many fans to the series from all around the world is the perverse sense of realism it brings to the fantasy genre. It’s the first thing new-time fans will often mention about the show or the books, how ‘realistic’ they are compared to other fantasy.

    So should there be a healthy racial mix of skin tones of all varieties that is realistic? YES. It just doesn’t make any sense that in a world with desert-hot climates everyone would have such pale skin tones. That would be one of the ‘high fantasy’ cliches that the books does so well to sidestep, and the series would be foolish not to follow.

  512. Fire And Blood
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    Adam,

    Fantasy, for many, is escapism, but it’s often not “I want to be someone else entirely” escapism. People like to be able to relate to a character–and not just on a personality level. They often want to picture themselves in that person’s shoes, or at least inside the palace that character lives in.

    (I realize I’m generalizing “palace,” bit you get the idea, I hope. And yes, I also realize most people wouldn’t want to picture themselves in many of the situations most Game of Thrones characters find themselves in.)

    I guess what I’m saying, especially where Dorne is concerned… the Westeros we have seen so far on the show has no powerful houses that aren’t caucasian. Zero. Stark, Tully, Arryn, Lannister, Baratheon, Targaryen… just go down the list. This isn’t (as someone accused) some misplaced sense of “white guilt,” because I have nothing to feel guilty about. This is about a fantasy world giving us something more (or Moor) than the Eurocentric stuff we’re normally presented with.

    To put it in perspective, I asked a Latina friend of mine–an avid cosplayer–which house she would like to cosplay as. Her answer was, “Well I like Tyrell, but I guess if I were being realistic, I would have to say Martell.” Then she paused and said, “At least I hope so.”

    Meaning she had no idea yet if House Martell was even going to be non-white.

    And yes, of course, people cosplay all the time outside their supposed “Westerosi ethnicity,” and I’m all for that. But if someone wants just one house to be something they can actually relate to in that sense? That’s what I want.

  513. Zack
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    Fire And Blood,

    My full support to every word.

    I would add that it’s also because diversity indicates a more sprawling universe than does uniformity. White guilt has not one bit to do with any of it. Diversity is more interesting, more realistic, and in this case, it would be true to the text. Where is the problem?

  514. Gatsby
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    So this discussion teaches us that:

    1) No one can even agree on the definitions of “white,’ and “POC.” (Speaks to the precision of the labels.)

    2) Assembling a panel based on ethnicity does not guarantee diversity.

    Unless I missed something while reading, the authors have not addressed the second critique when it has been brought up in this discussion. But I hope they at least keep it in mind when assembling future focus groups. Very interesting article, very engaging, and I know a lot of work went into it, but I believe it could be improved in this regard.

  515. Pau Soriano
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    Lex: Wrong. Amin is Canadian.

    Canada is in America ;)

  516. Pau Soriano
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    javimgol:
    Hodor’s Bastard,

    Catalonia ready to secede??? Hahahaha, give me a bit of your pot, bro.

    We are, “bro” ;)

  517. Gaius Baltar
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    Someone mentioned Janina Gavankar (aka POC) as George pick for Nymeria Sand. I am pretty sure his thinking was all “She is so hot, she could be perfect Nymeria” and not “after carefull observation of her ethnicity, i decided she would be perfect racial representation of half Dornish/half Volantese bastard”.

    Also she is not POC. Being half Dutch and half Indian mean she is 100% Indo-European. In other words she is fullblooded Aryan woman with olive skin and black hair same as many Italians, Spaniards or Greeks. I am really puzzled how someone can rationalize to put her into POC category. Is there any specific amount of dark skin, which make Indo-European woman “POC”? It must be tricky to find such magical barrier to exclude southern Europeans, yet include half Dutch/half Indian person. I agree with Lord Stonefield this term is inherently racistic. Fact its name imply duality between whites and non-whites and all non-whites are in same category should give everyone thinking pause.

  518. Lord_Grimjaur
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    I call this a failed panel and total disgrace to FANTASY literature and other media.
    Of all the interesting and important aspects of Dornish culture, events and influences on Westeros and wider, they focused entirely on their race and appearance? Dafuq.

    Let’s keep the enforced political correctness out of fantasy, and especially, GRRM’s works.

    Furthetmore, with a myriad of new and important characters we’re about to get on the show, and judging by D&D’s decisions about inclusions of other important characters, I don’t think there will be Sand Snakes, or if they are in, they’ll probably just mention them or show them in the background. For Season 4, that is.

  519. Adam
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Fire And Blood,

    Sure, but again, why is giving people characters with similar skin tones so important? So they can cosplay them?

    As I said, I personally just don’t get it. I’m Jewish. I’m a New Yorker. I’m a physicist. I’m this and that. I could not see “picture myself” in any Westerosi palace. Those people are just absolutely nothing like me – even though they have the same skin color as me!

    This has never affected my enjoyment of the show; it’s never even entered my mind until this thread. It just strikes me as a very peculiar and very minor thing to make this big a deal about.

  520. Adam
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Gatsby:

    2) Assembling a panel based on ethnicity does not guarantee diversity.

    Unless I missed something while reading, the authors have not addressed the second critique when it has been brought up in this discussion. But I hope they at least keep it in mind when assembling future focus groups. Very interesting article, very engaging, and I know a lot of work went into it, but I believe it could be improved in this regard.

    This. I enjoyed reading the article, but it wasn’t a paragon of diversity. It was a paragon of racial diversity, sure, but when you’re just reading text, the skin color of the person behind the text doesn’t exactly shine through. What does shine through is the person’s opinions, and on this panel, there wasn’t very much diversity of opinion at all.

    And this is a topic on which people have all sorts of opinions, as we’ve seen on this comment thread. So many people here have expressed well-reasoned opinions disagreeing with many of the things said in the panel without being cantankerous. Why was no one like that asked to join the panel? Who knows. Probably just happenstance. But it is a bit odd, in light of the pains that were taken to point out the supposed diversity of the panel.

  521. blacken
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    This is really late to the discussion and I can’t believe I just read most of these comments but I just wanted to say that as a European person who knows many other Europeans and from a number of different countries, discussions of racial representation on television are not weird or American or irrelevant.

    People of colour is an American term that some Europeans use, although referring to people as black or Asian or Arabic or Roma is more usual (or ethnic minorities or black and minority ethnic groups if you’re talking about groups of different ethnicities). Racism is very real and problematic in Europe and it is interesting to talk about for those this side of the pond, so please disregard Lord Stoneheart’s bleating that us Europeans think this is a pointless discussion.

  522. Azurecobalt
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I’m reminded of how many Battlestar Galactica fans went crazy when Starbuck was cast with a female actor in the reimagined version.

    I’d be interested in further discussion of Dorne not just from a racial point of view (though I believe this conversation has been important), but a narrative point of view. How much of Dorne should be included in season 4 or 5?

    It seems clear to me that this round table focused on the transition of page to screen and less on narrative importance to the adaptation. Similarly, I’d like to see such a conversation regarding the Iron Islands. How much is needed? What should be included? What should be cut?

  523. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    blacken:
    This is really late to the discussion and I can’t believe I just read most of these comments but I just wanted to say that as a European person who knows many other Europeans and from a number of different countries, discussions of racial representation on television are not weird or American or irrelevant.

    People of colour is an American term that some Europeans use, although referring to people as black or Asian or Arabic or Roma is more usual (or ethnic minorities or black and minority ethnic groups if you’re talking about groups of different ethnicities). Racism is very real and problematic in Europe and it is interesting to talk about for those this side of the pond, so please disregard LordStoneheart’s bleating that us Europeans think this is a pointless discussion.

    If you are referring to me, you have totally missed my point or willfully ignored some 80% what I have said.

  524. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Gaius Baltar:
    Also she is not POC. Being half Dutch and half Indian mean she is 100% Indo-European. In other words she is fullblooded Aryan woman with olive skin and black hair same as many Italians, Spaniards or Greeks. I am really puzzled how someone can rationalize to put her into POC category. Is there any specific amount of dark skin, which make Indo-European woman “POC”? It must be tricky to find such magical barrier to exclude southern Europeans, yet include half Dutch/half Indian person. I agree with Lord Stonefield this term is inherently racistic. Fact its name imply duality between whites and non-whites and all non-whites are in same category should give everyone thinking pause.

    This. It’s obviously hard for Americans to understand but I can see where it comes from, from the tradition of trying to preserve the political and economic power for the so-called WASPS, the descendants of Mayflower people. Not only it manifested in slavery and Jim Crow but it also helped to make the Irish and Southern and Eastern European newer immigrants “other”, just like discriminating Arabs and Chinese, to name a few. Today it’s most visible manifestations are hatred for Arabs and other Middle-Eastern people and islamophobia.

  525. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    blacken,

    Besides, I don’t think that asking people to dismiss a person’s arguments just because you happen to disagree with him or calling him a liar is a sign of good conversation manners, even in the anonymous internet culture. I guess there is even a name for this kind of fallacy.

  526. Joshua Taylor
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Pau Soriano,

    Canada is not in Am

    Pau Soriano: Canada is in America ;)

    Ummm…no it really isn’t.

  527. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Gatsby: 2) Assembling a panel based on ethnicity does not guarantee diversity.

    Unless I missed something while reading, the authors have not addressed the second critique when it has been brought up in this discussion. But I hope they at least keep it in mind when assembling future focus groups. Very interesting article, very engaging, and I know a lot of work went into it, but I believe it could be improved in this regard.

    The internet is anonymous. People don’t line up and announce their ages, political parties and country of origin when they’re posting about Game of Thrones. We choose intelligent, well-spoken people who love Game of Thrones and were brave enough to participate. Given the personal attacks some panel members have suffered here, can you blame some people for declining to participate in the roundtable?
    Nitpicking over the panel looks like an attempt to distract from what they are saying.
    Stating that there don’t need to be any nonwhite people on Game of Thrones, especially in Dorne, is a hard position to defend. All the derailing won’t change that.

  528. Red Hound
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    blacken:
    Racism is very real and problematic in Europe and it is interesting to talk about for those this side of the pond, so please disregard LordStoneheart’s bleating that us Europeans think this is a pointless discussion.

    Who gave you permission to think for me?

    Having lived in three different European countries (I got mixed heritage and right now I’m an immigrant where I live) I can say that, from personal experience, racism in Europe is not “very real and problematic”, but rather, it’s being used to cover the real issues.

    If we decide to tackle the “racism problem” in Europe by ignoring the socio-economic reasons behind it, we’ll be cutting the wrong weeds instead of digging out the roots.

    If the problem of racism is so real, can you list all the racial incidents caused by natives to foreigners in the last 10 years? The other way around it’s more common, and it has very little to do (or nothing at all) with country of origin or race or whatever, but more like, economical status.

    A native person :
    >Speaks the country language.
    >Has most family close.
    >Is culturally adapted.
    >Has been part of the local education (compulsory until 14-18 years old, depending the country) and working system.

    A typical European immigrant comes from outside Europe in a 2:1 ratio (numbers from wikipedia article) :
    >May not speak the language country (Exceptions usually include Spain, France and Portugal due to former colonies)
    >May have very little connections, probably none at all.
    >May have to face a different culture all together.
    >Most likely has a low formation/education level (which was one of the factors of the migration movement).

    All those factors make it a lot harder for the immigrant to adapt, live in conditions, etc. But many can’t adapt, for one reason or another, are very unhappy and stressed and often become easy prey of native exploiters, be it through pseudo-legal business (working without a contract for superlow salaries) or illegal ones (drug dealing is very common).

    This “problematic racism” situation in Europe is caused by this, not because people choose to randomly hate people of certain ethnics.

    Those who suffer the “racism” the most are those who “choose” to alienate themselves in self-created ghettos. I say “choose”, because sometimes the choice is incredibly hard to make. This is something that happens to Russians in Baltic countries in example. They are an important part of the population in certain areas, yet they feel as foreigners. Many refuse to speak the local language out of pride, are brainwashed by pro-Russian media and environment, etc.
    Some others are alienated by circumstances, in example, a man from Cameroon who’d move to Spain on a very dramatic way, being considered “illegal”, little knowledge of the language and culture and the only community that will accept this man is the African one. This person will have a very hard time integrating himself, and not because lack of will, but it’s just very hard. It makes you wonder how bad it had to be in his origin country when they prefer to live in such bad conditions in a foreign country.

    So, yes, don’t try to silence my voice without a single argument and by tagging things as “racism” when there’s a huge mess behind it. And no way out.

  529. Red Hound
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    Pau Soriano,

    Canada is not in Am

    To which continent does Canada pertain, geographically, then?

  530. Joshua Taylor
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Red Hound,

    It is in North America yes. But it is NOT America. No offense to our neighbours of the south intended.

  531. Adam
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    Commenters – on all sides of the debate – have suffered personal attacks here as well. It’s the internet. Dumb people make personal attacks rather than engage intellectually all the time.

  532. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Adam,

    I’m not disagreeing with that, but I’m answering the question about the makeup of the panel. The pool of potential panelists for a roundtable will always be reduced by the behavior in comments sections like this.

  533. tysnow
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Those who suffer the “racism” the most are those who “choose” to alienate themselves in self-created ghettos

    Good point, I have also realized after almost forty years that it is your neighborhood and the environment you grow up in or live in for an extended period determines to what level of diversity you can adapt too. I was a military brat and the U.S. military is one of the most ethnically diverse organizations on our planet. I had friends of African, Asian and Latin American descent, this enabled me as an adult to work and cooperate with an equal attitude of acceptance and friendship with others of differing ethnicity. But I realized after joining a firm that was almost entirely white male, that these men bonded over the exclusion of other races and even women, becoming a typical group of over fifty white male chauvinists with right wing affiliations. I had moved into your typical white dominated church going subdivision, there were a handful of minorities, including a few of Indian descent. I discovered after two years that those of foreign diversity were slowly excised from the rest, as I noticed they were not attending functions much anymore. Noticeably the children played in the parks together oblivious to the prejudice happening (oh to have that innocence again) about them. The women, who were the true power hadn’t even invited the Indian women to church ever, my neighbor mentioned off the cuff one night, that “Indian women were pagan, animal loving bi-sexual harlots, to invite one to the house of God would be a grievous sin”. This is the south I have mentioned before, the old racist Western European protestant bigotry, still alive and kicking after the Reformation, Thirty Years War and so forth. Puritanicals didn’t die off, they became Baptists and founded Dixieland. Luckily I was laid off with the economic downturn and decided to go back to college and earn another degree to help secure my future. Living the diverse and liberal lifestyle has washed the southern bigoted christian republican grime off my mind and body. I didn’t capitalize Christian because Jesus is a liberal socialist, and Republican since it was once more liberal minded and Lincoln’s party; I consider myself a Jeffersonian.
    To get something off my chest…I have discovered that after attending a few seminars of former intelligence officials and reading a more diverse plethora of material that a big lie as been achieved on many Americans. I have no antisemitism feelings, Israel is a legal nation and has a right to its sovereign status, but not to the point of using a small tactical nuke on Damascus or destroying Iran’s nuclear program, which might cause a world war eventually. Iran has the sovereign right to nuclear power and even weapons (to a point). By the way, the business with Syria is multi-faceted; remove a supporter of Iran to allow Israeli jets to fly unimpeded to Iran; take control of the pipeline being built from Iran to the Russian Naval base in Syria (did you know that one) and construct one favored by Saudi’s; support the Sunni’s over the Shiites for control of the next Caliphate. The Saudi’s want control of all Islam nations, but the Persians stand in the way and typically like England before America has sided with our Anglo cousins. This is for you politico afficiondo’s to mule over.
    God, its insanity how most American’s are ignorant and allowing the nation to digress into a far costlier war. All to show BRIC we are still the country with the most. This isn’t going to stop, Washington must alienate BRIC from their support network of smaller states, DC doesn’t want bi-polarity or multi-polarity, it desires sole hedgemony at the cost of a culturally diverse world. Make the world America.

    “Well finally got all that crap off my physique that has been bothering me the last few years”; oh and one other note, my dad a member of the U.S. intelligence network is getting up there and one night was reliving a firefight, “screaming and calling for support”, “flank the bastards”, “the general is down”, so and so is hit..this went on for 5 minutes then I woke and interrogated (my bad) him. I thought it was the incident in Vietnam where while on an intel mission the base came under attack, but found it it was far more disturbing…hint future CIA redaction of this post…In March 1953, while he was an MP on the tarmac, there or about 200 North Korean commando’s and civilian attired scouts, along with some in aviation garb attempted to seize two bombers from Rapid City Air Force Base. (My personal thinking was to bomb an American city) they were discovered while actually seizing one of the said bombers and a firefight ensued, whereas the whole runway and tarmac was under assault. Over the next hour, some two dozen American servicemen were killed including General Ellis, over forty N.K. were captured. Washington classified the incident, the local media was told not to report or discuss anything (media was more compliant then) my mom remembered the night and the wives were all scared. The men didn’t return till well after sunrise, didn’t say anything, they women didn’t pressure them. Two days later it was reported that General Ellis and over 24 men were killed when their bomber crashed in Newfoundland (probably the one that received the most damage). I can understand the secrecy, attack on the heartland, invulnerability of America challenged, keep Russia and China oblivious of the incident, affect the mindset of Americans. Well 911 happened, so most of the above a mute point, I figure those men deserve the honors properly due and not some plaque on a barren mountain in Newfoundland. Perhaps some of you that are better researchers, with deeper contacts and sources can expose this, heck would make for a great book and movie.

  534. Adam
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    Sure. Personal attacks are bad, obviously, but the editorial decision to publicize the panelists’ races is definitely fair ground for criticism or comment.

    Put it like this: the impression I’ve gotten from your most recent comments is that these panelists were the only ones who made themselves available, because look how much flak they’ve gotten and who would want that. So if they all have very similar opinions, that has to do with selection bias or small number statistics. These were the people who signed up, here’s what they think.

    But that wasn’t the impression I got when I read the panel. Most internet panels don’t mention what the panelists look like. Not only did this one include that information, that information revealed a sparkling diverse array of races that seemed meticulously crafted. So clearly this was something that was meant to be important to the panel.

    Gatsby’s argument as I can tell is the same as one I’ve made here, which is “if you put so much work into making an ethnically diverse panel, why not put the same effort into making it intellectually diverse as well?” I don’t think that counts as “nitpicking over the panel”, because the article itself made such a point of their racial diversity.

    Judging by what you said in response to Gatsby,

    The internet is anonymous. People don’t line up and announce their ages, political parties and country of origin when they’re posting about Game of Thrones. We choose intelligent, well-spoken people who love Game of Thrones and were brave enough to participate.

    it sounds as if their races were a totally incidental outcome of the selection process. Which may well be true, but that’s certainly not the impression you get from the run-up to the article.

  535. Ours is the Fury
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Adam,

    Given the topic was ethnicity and race, making sure we had a good ethnic mix was important, but you can only go so far with controlling variables before you are controlling the outcome by picking too precisely.

    I stand by this roundtable. They are well-spoken, they love ASOIAF, and they are educated on the topics. You don’t like their answers, that’s fine, but at some point, you need to get over it. They are not the final word; the post is an opening for discussion. Debate the subject, not the roundtable’s demographics. This isn’t a scholarly research article for the New England Journal of Medicine with precise controls. Given the amount of fascinating, well thought out, and mostly civil discussion the piece has generated, I’d say it was a complete success and that most of our goals have been met.

  536. Adam
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury:
    Adam,

    I stand by this roundtable. They are well-spoken, they love ASOIAF, and they are educated on the topics. You don’t like their answers, that’s fine, but at some point, you need to get over it. They are not the final word; the post is an opening for discussion. Debate the subject, not the roundtable’s demographics. This isn’t a scholarly research article for the New England Journal of Medicine with precise controls.

    Hey, I’ve gotten over it a couple of times, but felt compelled to come back because it’s just too much fun.

    Given the amount of fascinating, well thought out, and mostly civil discussion the piece has generated, I’d say it was a complete success and that most of our goals have been met.

    Totally agreed. I’ve found lots to criticize, but it doesn’t at all mean I don’t appreciate the article or especially the discussion it’s inspired.

  537. Red Hound
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    Red Hound,

    It is in North America yes. But it is NOT America. No offense to our neighbours of the south intended.

    Canada is in America as much as USA or Mexico. More to the south? It depends on the views. Most non-anglo-saxon European textbooks would place Argentina, Trinidad & Tobago, USA and Canada under America, in example.

    Damned the day someone decided that the English language demonym for an USA citizen was “American”. Such a mess!

  538. Joshua Taylor
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Red Hound,

    Go to Belgium, France or the Netherlands and Canada is held with reverence in those countries. We may have democratic ideals and a strong connection to American pop culture, but we are not American. Our sovereign is Elizabeth II. We have a parliamentary democracy. We are member of the commonwealth. Our culture basis is a mosaic not a melting pot. Our ancestors chose not to rebel against the British. Only by geographical locus and societal influences are we “American”.

  539. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Red Hound,

    Oh, you’ve hit on a gold mine of meaty discussion there! The acronym “USA” really isn’t a formal name like other countries. It is not like Germany, England, France, Mexico, China, Cameroon, Mongolia, Russia, Brazil, etc. (In fact, many of the names of countries were derived from cultural references to “our country” or “our home”.) The United States of America is a reference to a bunch of states on the continent of North America and doesn’t really have a formal name. No formal name (like “Jeffersonia” or “Washingtonia”) has ever been given to this collection of colonies/states, like “Canada” is a collection of provinces. Perhaps this was intentional because of the “melting pot” association but it is a very interesting point. To say “I am an American” is too vague (like saying “I’m from Europe”) but since it has been established in the international vernacular over the centuries, everyone knows what it means.

  540. Red Hound
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    Red Hound,

    Go to Belgium, France or the Netherlands and Canada is held with reverence in those countries. We may have democratic ideals and a strong connection to American pop culture, but we are not American. Our sovereign is Elizabeth II. We have a parliamentary democracy. We are member of the commonwealth. Our culture basis is a mosaic not a melting pot. Our ancestors chose not to rebel against the British. Only by geographical locus and societal influences are we “American”.

    Being American has nothing to do with culture, but with geography, that’s why I especifically asked you earlier, where Canada stands geographically.

    This kinda reminds me of the internet trend with Asians. “Asian father”, “Asians are great at maths”, etc. A Japanese is as Asian as an Indian, a citizen of Bahrain or a resident in Kyrgyzstan.

    The history of Spain, Moldova or Albania couldn’t be more different, but all three countries are part of Europe. With Canada there’s no doubt…but what about Israel or Turkey? Now that’s fun.

    Hodor’s Bastard, yep, exactly. Since you mentioned Mexico, I’ll say that their official translated name is UMS : United Mexican States, but we all know it as Mexico and Mexicans, so I can see the similarity with USA here…

  541. Zeus
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard:
    Zeus,

    New York City and London are microcosms of the entire world, with most of the world’s cultures represented in the various buroughs/neighborhoods, which has benefited and subtracted from the city as a whole. Tolerance, whether it be with skin color, hygiene, attitude, or fashion sense, is an implied mandate, whether one is a world traveler(recommended as well) or not.

    What I meant is that when one travels to other countries they realize that not all the people in that one specific country look alike. This is especially true with pigmentation in the Meditterean. Generally the firther south and the closer to the sea the darker the complexion, whether it be Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, Greece, etc… You find this out by traveling.

    I live in NYC and while it is an International city it doesn’t reflect the breadth of this diversity and is not a “microcosm” of the world. Using Italians as an example a NYer would think all Italians are dark based on the pattern of Immigration from the poorer areas of Southern Italy and Sicily in the early 20th century. However if one travels around Northern Italy, people tend to be lighter and different looking.

  542. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Zeus,

    I don’t disagree there…nothing beats travelling. Although many “travelers” don’t really interface and communicate with the locals. Most are there for the sights and food.

    (New York has almost every race, creed, gender, body type and sexual preference wandering its streets. Even dwarves! Although, there might be a tribe in the Amazon forest that is not represented in NYC)

  543. WildSeed
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Pau Soriano: Canada is in America ;)

    Someone whom actually resides in Canada will correct you as well, but just
    let me say that Canada is part of the North American Continent. That is
    the only relevance to it’s distinction. That and both sharing a colonial
    history with Britain.

    To use the term, ” America “, loosely, you must also take into account that
    South America also exists. I realise that many people from the States
    erroneously identify themselves as such, but it’s not accurate to state.
    Many more identify themselves as a US citizen, making shortened reference
    to United States. Anyone, native or immigrant to either continent, may
    identify generally as American. It only adds to the confusion, if you
    really mean one country or continent, over the other.

  544. semi-sullied
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m dumbfounded. I don’t even know what to say.

    I suppose what I ‘ve found most fascinating is the hand-wringing, and the anger at… a phrase?!? That is the problem? So you get upset at a descriptor – not the dark politics that gave rise to it, or the discrimination that it illustrates, but the phrase? And I don’t know how many people exclaimed something akin to “I don’t know what that even means!”, but still felt confident in making a scathing conclusion, anyway. There were so many suggestions that Americans grow in their understanding of Europe. In itself, that is not an entirely unfair statement to make. However, in this thread, it seems hypocritical. Why? Because judging by the comments, it appears little is known about U.S. demographics, prejudices, and cultural issues. And how do you critique something at all, with so little understanding?

    Well, since it doesn’t seem too many people are actually looking at the different links and references others have given above me, I’ll elaborate on some of this.

    So this discussion teaches us that: …No one can even agree on the definitions of “white,’ and “POC.” (Speaks to the precision of the labels.)

    This discussion doesn’t teach us that at all- rather, it showed that a large swath of non-citizens don’t understand the language. I think many stateside did understand the phrase; they just didn’t agree with what they thought were the implications of using such a metric.

    Here’s what I would say the simplistic definition is: a person of color is someone who has a noticeable amount of melanin to the naked eye. That’s more or less it. The definition is by its nature porous, because as each generation passes, the goal posts shift…oh wait, football analogy, let me pick another. :p It’s a constant moving target, because the nation is ever in a state of flux. If you want an even more stripped down definition, I’ll reference Gaius Baltar:

    “Is there any specific amount of dark skin, which make Indo-European woman “POC”? It must be tricky to find such magical barrier to exclude southern Europeans, yet include half Dutch/half Indian person. I agree with Lord Stonefield this term is inherently racistic. Fact its name imply duality between whites and non-whites and all non-whites are in same category should give everyone thinking pause.”

    The simple answer? Well it’s already embedded in the question: any. You’re basically white if you:

    1) Look it, as in no discernable traces of any other select non-European ethnicity.
    2) There’s no knowledge that counters what someone visually sees.

    There are a few other phenotypical traits people like to use in conjunction with this, but those are even more problematic to use, since they can be found in multiple groups. Still, people may try and cluster them. I understand that to the euro mindset, Gavankar would be Indo-European. But through a U.S. lens, she would be a woman of color, and the specifics could be a variety of things; you can’t really tell just by looking at her. Once you know her history, she’d probably just be considered inter, or bi-ethnic (half Indian/half white). And she certainly wouldn’t be considered aryan – not here.

    I’m trying to place myself in another’s shoes, so I can start to see how that can be construed as being prejudice. But that’s why it should be seen in context of the culture it’s from, at least initially. And I say that because it seems this phrase has been debased of its good. What would be a better term to use? POC is a shorthand for this: Latinos, Asians-Americans, African-Americans, and the indigenous to the continent. No, it doesn’t just mean, as so many seem to infer above, just black. I have to come to the conclusion that many people see it that way, because otherwise how could anyone come to conclusion that what is desired is a “black game of thrones”? So is saying all that better? Each category carries an enormous amount of potential info, so the phrase itself doesn’t tell me much. The POC label is very specific. It tells me that whoever that person is, regardless of ancestry or place of origin, s/he has discernible traits on their countenance that many would attribute to an ethnicity not white, or not white only.

    And the POC label is positive because it points to their commonality. In addition, all these groups face one identical prejudice: that who they are, at least at some point in their lives, will be determined firstly through the filter of whatever ethnic group people determine them to belong to. Surely people have heard the numerous anecdotes of multi-ethnic people? That’s where you see it, because since it can’t be automatically eye-balled, people have to be more obvious in obtaining the information.

    You may not like the phrasing, and if you don’t, talk to your kinsmen. :p Seriously, white is a term that Europeans gave themselves centuries ago, although it’s only used really in contrast to POCs. By themselves, they are simply Americans. But anyone with notable non-euro ancestry does not have that luxury. Sure we can get rid of all the names, and frankly I’d love to one day – hopefully soon. But even if we ditched all the descriptors, there are still the subtle ways people will be treated: not as American, but as American*.

    And many of you may be forgetting one thing: Europe is a continent. The U.S. is a country. We all eat the same bad food, go to church, or make up the same excuses for not going, wear the same worn jeans and t-shirt, and talk the same informal English, with phrases borrowed from just about every other language on the planet. I’m trying to be light here, but the point is we are inhabitants of the same nation. And despite the actual laws that were in place, there was some inter-mixing, as well as tons of intra-mixing. So we don’t even look all that different either, but of those smaller visual differences, the biggest one is color.

    So, since people upthread seemed confused, I’ll say this: no one is talking about legalized forms of oppression, which is why trying convey what it is becomes all the tougher. It’s more about the way a particular nation treats its citizens; it’s how one can feel a sense of obsolescence in what is supposed to be one’s home; It’s how if enough people participate in a certain behavior, for whatever innocuous reason, as a whole, it can produce large, systematic consequences.

    I don’t even think it had to be this deep. I really enjoyed the panel, and wanted to talk more specifically about Dorne, in light of these issues, since I hadn’t read the books. I find the idea of Dorne interesting, for several reasons. And yes, one of those would be the diversity. Reading has waned in recent years, despite the popularity of this series, as well as a few others. And we certainly don’t have traveling bards anymore. So the greater media has become the nation’s dream machine- the primary mythmaker, if you will. It’s our cultural mirror, for better or worse. And sometimes, ingesting all this media, with such a limited role for POCs can be akin to being a vampire: you see your limbs, you know you exist. Yet, when you look into that mirror you don’t see anything.

    But how can I even explain the above properly, if people are going to get hung up on the phrase. So I thought I needed to address it. If you just want to think what you think, you’re free to it. But if you were genuinely confused about what that means in a U.S. context, I hope that helped, at least a little.

    Thanks.

  545. semi-sullied
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Zeus: What I meant is that when one travels to other countries they realize that not all the people in that one specific country look alike. This is especially true with pigmentation in the Meditterean.Generally the firther south and the closer to the sea the darker the complexion, whether it be Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, Greece, etc…You find this out by traveling.

    I live in NYC and while it is an International city it doesn’t reflect the breadth of this diversity and is not a “microcosm” of the world. Using Italians as an example a NYer would think all Italians are dark based on the pattern of Immigration from the poorer areas of Southern Italy and Sicily in the early 20th century. However if one travels around Northern Italy, people tend to be lighter and different looking.

    I don’t think I agree with this. You can very easily travel somewhere and not get the flavor of the neighborhood/city/region you are staying in. It depends on the type of traveler you are. And unless you know the language, culture, and/or area, it’s not something I necessarily recommend; that could be very dangerous.

    About NYC, where are you getting that observation from? Do you really think there’s no one in the city from Genoa, or Milan, let alone the other lesser known cities of Italy? All I can say is that I too live in NYC (there are quite a few NYC dwellers here). And I’ve seen Italians of various shades: light, dark and in between.

    I agree with Hodor’s Bastard: everything, minus the undiscovered Amazon tribe or two, is here in the city. Now whether one interacts with these groups, that’s another story. You can expose yourself to numerous cultural hubs here. Or you can keep yourself so isolated you see virtually no one; it’s up to you.

  546. Red Hound
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    WildSeed: Someone whom actually resides in Canada will correct you as well, but just
    let me say that Canada is part of the North American Continent. That is
    the only relevance to it’s distinction. That and both sharing a colonial
    history with Britain.

    To use the term, ” America “, loosely, you must also take into account that
    South America also exists. I realise that many people from the States
    erroneously identify themselves as such, but it’s not accurate to state.
    Many more identify themselves as a US citizen,making shortened reference
    to United States. Anyone, native or immigrant to either continent, may
    identify generally as American. It only adds to the confusion, if you
    really mean one country or continent, over the other.

    The person you’re quoting is Spanish (assuming by the name), and in Spanish language, both Canada and Argentina (for example) are part of a continent called America, so reminding him about South America is not needed. North America and South America (where is Central and Caribbean America then?) are sub-continents. Again, this is according to Spanish history.

    That’s why earlier I said that the demonym “American” to describe the citizens of USA is incredibly confusing, as it makes it like USA = America, which is incorrect from a geographical point of view.

    There are similar problems in other languages and countries. In example, “yanquis” (yankee) can be used in Spanish to talk about USA citizens, no matter if from the north or the South. Argentinians sometimes call Spaniards “gallegos”, which are just the citizens of Galicia, in the Northern-Western area of Spain. Sometimes the Brazilian football team is incorrectly called the “Carioca team”, when Carioca is only for citizens of Rio de Janeiro. The latter is more a product of ignorance though.

  547. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    semi-sullied,

    You intimidate me….yet…I would like to buy you a drink.

  548. Lord Stonefield
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    semi-sullied,

    Thanks for the well constructed floor, at least I understand now better the American meaning. But I still think the history behind it, and the use of it, is racist, not least in the because it makes divides between white people (white as seen outside the US). That’s why I won’t still use it as I don’t and ever won’t. If a Black man calls another a ni**er, I don’t feel myself entitled to use the word (because it’s racist to me) even if they don’t one day see it that way themselves. Or a gay man calling another a fa**ot. You can easily think many more. So you have to accept if a European person doesn’t want to use the word.

    And speaking of White, it’s American use is far from uniform, contrary to some claims here. Apparently your government sees it quite closely as we do outside the US. Obviously it not self-evident even to Americans. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:800px-US_Census_2000_race_definitions_Australia_Sudan_Afghan.PNG)

    All in all, I really hope that the editors, administrators and panelists abstain from using viewpoints which are clearly very unique to US and alien to the world outside. I would like to think this site as international, so US-centrism and thinking that US words, definitions and viewpoints are the only ones available or the only ones which are legitimate. I can accept that the commentators are unable to do that I fear that the editors and panelists are too. But hopefully they prove me wrong!

  549. hare
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    thanks semi-sullied for a very eloquent explanation.

    For those still confused by the term, maybe try to understand that it is how many people in the United States choose to identify themselves, and why that might be the case (here’s one example):

    http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/18/opinion-minorities-try-people-of-color/

    But then again, rejecting a term is an attempt at derailing the overall discussion (one of many attempts in the thread above). See http://www.derailingfordummies.com/ for further pointers ;)

  550. Zack
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    semi-sullied,

    Hi. Please post here more often.

  551. The Pointy End
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    John G.,

    Well, I totally disagree with what you said about Dorne, and Doran in particular. I believe Dorne will have a huge role to play in the upcoming books, no matter how much everything westerosi will be overshadowed by the “big picture” battle that is bound to occur. They are after all a Targ’s best friend!

    Everything else on here regarding race and ethnicity I found seriously boring, as it is 2013 and people should have stopped being racist a long time ago. Perhaps it is easier for me not to be racist at all, since I come from Greece and you do get the “foreigner” treatment in many countries (and I do travel a lot), but seriously, snap out of it. Reading the books I always thought some people from Dorne, and especially some from Essos were people of color. GRRM describes them most of the time. So seriously, what’s with this pointless endless discussion?

  552. valyrian
    Posted June 22, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    That bit about “hiring writers of color”. PUKE. I agree with everyone who said this is a very American discussion. I am Brazilian and have African, Indigenous, Portuguese and Lebanese descent. And I CAN identify and relate to Sansa. My father is black, my mother is white, we still have a lot of racism in my country but an HBO show does not offend me. And please, this term “people of color” is beyond disgusting. There shouldn’t any such term under which you can categorize all people who are not white -.-’

  553. WildSeed
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    Red Hound,

    I see your point……..

    Let’s just stick with the 7 Continent rule for now. The Continent of the Americas
    do contain the Countries of North America and South America, Central America
    & Caribbean. The remaining 6, I’ll leave for you to look up. Because the most of
    the world’s lands and people reside in the Northern Hemisphere, it becomes
    incredibly confusing to lump them together. I take special care to remind myself
    that Natives to any “discovered ” country or continent, would not be lumped
    together except to offer their appropriate native designation.

    Any given day of the week, most people forget how many continents that are
    formally identified. Some would guess 5 or 7 or more. One is always correct
    when proper respect is given in recognition of someone’s country of origin.

    Joshua was right to take issue by identifying his country specifically, as would
    anyone from the smaller Caribbean countries, such as myself.

  554. WildSeed
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    semi-sullied,

    I agree with many of your points from your earlier posts, however you actually
    reiterated similar comments made from much earlier responses. Whether you
    scanned briefly the the 5oo+ posts here, or focused only on the diatribe, there
    has been a mix of historic , scientific and sociologic references asserted as
    answer to many misconceived on the context of the subject post, and subsequent
    issues raised in the discussion. Some proved an appreciation for what was
    later disclosed by personal or relevant studies on certain issues. Most at least
    accept or understand better the distinction of the finale scene’s beauty from
    that of it’s preconceived historical influences. Some chose to inflame and
    promote ignorant attitudes and closed minds to this or any debate on the subject.
    And, for some the issue is moot, because the described ASOIAF world is fantasy.

    Initially I felt only the jubilation of that last scene, with respect to Danerys ‘s
    Myhsa scene, I’ve augmented my overall appreciation of it in full context as well.
    Largely due to the comments expressed here and in the press. I understand the
    larger implications of it’s political influence and sensitivity. The world of ASOIAF
    represents a collage of peoples and regions of the world, written quite well by
    the author, however to deny perspectives that contribute to the finished work
    should not go without debate. Martin did well to cover a lot of bases, a monumental
    effort by any standard, but certain influences are definitely detectable. Just sayin’ .

    While I support your disagreement with Zeus, in general, it is well established
    that being observant in any unknown place may be your saving grace, either to
    give you insights for championing relationships or to be wary of lurking dangers.
    Whether it’s travel to an unknown part of New York’s Boroughs or a small
    city in Austria, there is a commonality of human interaction. I’m not speaking
    of naiveté, but awareness and learning when to proceed. Even without the
    regional command of language, one is able to bridge fear and denial for pleasure.
    Best to travel as a regular person, not a celebrity determined to be the money dropping
    tourist. Existentialism should always be considered before labels or prejudices and
    thwarts any effort to a meaningful life. Get out of the city occasionally and travel
    to a Sister City for enlightenment.

    You’re almost right about fewer distinct cultures in existence, as many have been
    diluted or influenced in some way. However even with gene migration, many
    attempt to hold fast to their culture and traditions, even though they are not likely
    as pure from it’s initial onset. It means much to have an identity, I can relate to
    that. Yet nothing remains stagnant or pure from it’s beginning, so issues
    of culture as it relates to physical appearances has long ago vanished as an
    essential point of reference , the laws of nature /science determined that.

  555. semi-sullied
    Posted June 30, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Hello Wild Seed!

    Thank you for your response. I just wanted to reply, expound on some things before this thread becomes to old – every site works a little differently, so I am not sure if people still actively respond to older posts, or if they pretty much hit graveyard status a few pages in.

    I’ll start in reverse actually, since that’s the easier one to address. My disagreement with Zeus really fell along two main axis points:

    1. There are multiple streams to acquire knowledge
    2. It is not necessarily helpful or beneficial to engage in immersion-style traveling.

    So let me elaborate on that a bit – my initial response was pretty brief. Much like, well, all of you, I agree that fully embedding yourself in the culture you’re visiting is a wonderful thing. But I also agree that traveling is so wonderful that people need to do it. Why did I say but, as opposed to and? I see those as sometimes contradictory states. I’d probably disagree with your generous definition of the human condition. If I had a dollar…or a pound, wait – definitely a pound, that’s worth more. :-p… but if I had a pound for every time I tried to connect with someone through a commonality of human interaction, only to see it backfire, I’d be able to buy all of Westeros, and still have money to buy all the slaves Daenerys freed.

    To put it simply, sans my yucking it up, not everyone is capable to travel in the way you and Zeus suggests. And the reasons this is true vary from person to person. While I agree that being observant could mean the very difference between your life and your death, not everyone’s senses are tuned to that level. Coming from a city like NY, many people are not necessarily comfortable having a foreign tongue spoken around them, having had bad experiences of people doing things as petty as talking about them in plain sight, or as caustic as plotting to attack them. Some people are just scared. And I agree with you that fear shouldn’t thwart you permanently from seeing the world around us. But does everyone need to take that great big step all at once?

    So I was thinking less absolute discouragement from travel, and more advocating the more banal forms of it, like frequenting the tourist traps. If people traveled to NY for the first time, and only hung out around time square for a week seeing shows, visiting landmarks, and eating at the nearby restaurants, are they going to experience a true New Yorker’s feel of the place? Absolutely not! I myself try to avoid the place like the plague – pedestrian traffic is far too dense, and far too slow. But there is much of this city to take in. And by making just that simple trip, they will be able to learn a great many things: they’ll understand our crowded feel, get a taste of the myriad of activities we can participate in, get a good sense of our artistic zeal, experience the structures, and see how cavernous our streets can be (at least in several areas). And again, that’s only if they are open to it. If all they walk away with is the fact that they loved the shows and ate some really great food, that’s ok too. They can always come back.

    And one nice aspect of a tourist trap (wow…did I just say that?! lol) is the relative safety. Even here, while some areas seem bereft of police presence, cops swarm times square. When catastrophes hit, the city generally tries to take care of the area, knowing that it’s frequented by visitors. During some of the most recent snowstorms, it’s been one of the first plowed.

    Best to travel as a regular person, not a celebrity determined to be the money dropping tourist.

    I pulled this piece out, because when I read it, I found your take interesting – it deviates from what I have seen. I could be wrong, but I’ve seen the opposite. The people who aren’t actual celebrities, but who can drop money like one, spend their coin and time to make themselves indistinguishable from the natives. They’ve spent 4-8 weeks or more on language classes, researched the area, the climate, the culture, sampled the food if it was available, spoken with the people they know who are from there, etc. Of course, certain things might give them away, like an awkward phrase, or their room at the Ritz-Carlton.

    I think I just burned some verbiage and we’re all more or less in agreement. I guess it’s just the implied absoluteness of the idea I disagreed with. Traveling is great, and I’d advocate it for nearly all. But not everyone can, and I won’t shame them for it. And for the ones who can, they all have different levels, at least initially, of what they are comfortable with, and I’d rather them work within that. To the ones who want to push through, great! But otherwise, I can see some becoming so discouraged, they won’t travel at all.

    I am glad you think me almost right. I think you were speaking from a more global perspective, and my points were specifically directed. In the broader sense, I agree with you heartily.

    In terms of culture, the lines didn’t blur. They never truly formed. What the US has done, from its benevolent outreaches to its base oppressions, is set the template for a truly open society. I’m obviously biased here, but I wouldn’t see it as a dilution; I see it more as an asset, where we can borrow liberally for a unique fit. And that is why physical difference looms so large in our psyche. When you want division, or feel you have no alternative way of being, that’s where you find the biggest, if only,variance. It’s a fairly porous wall, but it’s the only one available. I wish you were right, “I really do” (imagine that being said with Bran’s heavy inflection, right before he heads towards the wall in the finale). But the sky’s ablaze with many guiding stars these days… unfortunately science does not seem to be one of them. Not here.

    So to answer your question I did read the the posts – I’d say well over a good 90% of ‘em. My goal was for all, but I may have inadvertently missed some, and there were a few that I began but didn’t finish. And I did see all the strains you highlight. I’d also agree that I didn’t invent the wheel here. But unfortunately, I saw the thread a little differently than you. I was glad when the more generous moments of understanding occurred; I just wished they were more numerous. You know I took the opposite path you did in the last scene. I winced, knowing exactly how the scene could be viewed. Yet, even at the same time, I enjoyed it (far more than many here, apparently). And after watching it a few more times, I could discover the details and let them sink in, granting me greater appreciation. I’m not sure what GRRM thought, but I suspect D&D were aware of the similarities, so they created little pieces that moves Mhysa away from that typical trope. I think you do have to allow a piece to stand on its own. But you can question it also.

    “The world of ASOIAF represents a collage of peoples and regions of the world, written quite well by the author, however to deny perspectives that contribute to the finished work should not go without debate. “

    Is this true? I ask because others upthread may not agree with that. And that’s what I was looking forward to in this discussion. From what I’ve read here, it seems mixed? Is it a novel that works to include groups of various regions and nationalities? Or is it a European tale, with outliers playing the guest role?
    And what exactly do those descriptors mean: sandy, salty, and stoney? I thought that was nifty, considering many think describing ethnicity as food is beyond cliche. But it seems you still have the problem of vagary. For instance, there are so many colors of sand- from, well, salt white to onyx black. And even salt, while being the most straightforward, can come in numerous shades. So I was wondering if people were going to pick up where the panel left off, on that. Also, as a non-reader, I was curious if those attributes pointed to something beyond the physical. Are sandy people elusive, or downright frustrating because you can never get rid of them (like sand)? If GRRM had a difficult time depicting ethnicity, he wouldn’t be alone. It appears that you can be absolutely specific in coloring, yet 20 different readers will come up with 20 different visions of what that looks like.

    But as long as new elements of Dorne are realized, this discussion will continue. Much longer than intended, my apologies for that. But thank you for responding- it was good food for thought.

  556. semi-sullied
    Posted June 30, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lord Stonefield,

    Thanks much for your reply. If you think my reply to Wild Seed is long, I could write volumes on the absurdity that is the census. And you know, it’s not all bad. The census began with some lofty goals in mind, and even with the misfires, I see the genuinely positive reasoning behind them. Oh, there’s also some incongruity there between what the census records, and what someone will mark you as when they see you on the street, not to mention the categories as they’ve shifted and evolved over time.

    You’re right, the reason for the phrase in the first place comes from a dark, and ugly, place. But I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on the phrasing. It’s still fascinating to me that that is seen as a derogatory statement. But I can see why now, so I thank you for crystallizing that point for me. It’s funny, because I think I like the phrase for the same reason you do not: we’re both trying to avoid divisiveness. I wouldn’t have dreamed of connecting it to the N word, or something similar. The challenge is what to use in its stead. I can call homosexuals many things and never have to use the *f* word, and like you I don’t use it. But what language to use to convey this idea; there really is none. I suppose you can say at its base, it’s a color-fueled lookism, and I would think many societies have experienced that. So if I weigh in on another one of these discussions, I’ll search for other language to use.

    Lastly, maybe we don’t need to avoid entirely a US-centric POV. Some subjects may specifically call for its reference, at the very least. Maybe possibly what is needed is balance? Balance between the universal and the specific, and perhaps a heads up when the forum is drilling deep, as opposed to spanning wide. An example – there was such an emphasis on high born/low born in the finale. I can see that in several different ways. But since we never had official titles here, I would appreciate a very UK-specific panel that talks specifically about how they relate that (since I’m new, this may have actually already been discussed?). In fact, I recently read an article about male inheritance issues going on today, which did surprise me.

    Thanks again for your reply!

  557. semi-sullied
    Posted June 30, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    @hare – Thanks! And thank you for chiming in when you did, with all the cool links you shared.

    @Zack – Hi right back at you. :-) I’ll try? Being new to the site, I am still trying to get the lay of the land. So I’ve been enjoying roaming about, reading the different threads and comments. And some of these threads can grow so large, so quickly! I appreciate the passion, but it can be quite daunting. Thanks for the encouragement.

    @ Hodor’s Bastard – Awe, I’m no more intimidating than your namesake…I think? :-p You may want to reconsider though… I’ve been know to run up a tab or two. ;-)

  558. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted June 30, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    semi-sullied,

    Sold! A few pints of pepper beer at the Inn at the Crossroads after the PW then!

  559. LBinDC
    Posted July 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I would love to make a totally non-race and diversity related comment about why I love Dorne and think it should be given due justice in the show.
    To me, Book 4 and the opening up of the Dornish plot with the Red Viper in Book 3 were just another smack in the face from GRRM that this world that I though I knew and understood, were in fact much bigger and more complicated. The books start with a few characters and you think you have an idea of where they are going and what will happen to them. And then find out you are wrong.
    When characters start branching out and going to Dorne, Braavos, Volantis, and all over the sea from the Iron Islands, it’s a bit of a revelation and adds to the whole satisfying chaos of the Game of Thrones. The Dornish stories and the Iron Islanders are two plots picking up in the last 2 books that are clearly going to be very important to the endgame of this whole series. And it’s not just about surprising the readers – the characters in the stories act based on what they know. And what they don’t know is a lot; they don’t know things they need to know about the past, or about what is going on right now hundreds of miles away in other parts of the world. Eventually, I hope all these different threads come together in some kind of glorious epic satisfying resolution of sorts – but knowing GRRM we will never get what we want.


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