The big Season 5 casting announcement that came out of San Diego Comic-Con was met with equal parts excitement and apprehension. Partly because of some missing characters that were integral to the story told in the last two installments of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, and partly because of the perceived lack of racial diversity in the Game of Thrones cast.
Martin recently took to his blog to address one of those concerns. A fan commented that the lack of diversity in Game of Thrones “really hurts,” and although she applauds the casting of DeObia Oparei she wonders “must all black people in the series be servants, guards, or charlatans?”
Martin offered the following response:
Westeros around 300 AC is nowhere near as diverse as 21st century America, of course… but with that being said, I do have some ‘characters of color’ who will have somewhat larger roles in WINDS OF WINTER. Admittedly, these are secondary and tertiary characters, though not without importance.
Of course, I am talking about the books here, and you are talking about the show, which is a thing apart. I do think HBO and David and Dan are doing what they can to promote diversity as well, as witness the casting of Areo Hotah, which you mention. Of course, Hotah IS a guard… but he is also a viewpoint character in the novels, a brave and loyal warrior.
This is the third time Martin has commented on the issue of race in his story, and it’s television adaptation. Martin responded to another fan’s concern in June over the lack of an Asian race in ASOIAF, and in July of last year after Pedro Pascal was cast as Oberyn Martell.
The Ice Dragon tells the story of Adara, a winter child who becomes the first to tame one of the fearful creatures:
Adara liked the winter best of all, for when the world grew cold the ice dragon came. The ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.
Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child—and the ice dragon who loved her—could save her world from utter destruction.
The Ice Dragon appears to takes place within the world of ASOIAF, although the creatures have so far only been referred to in one of the fairy tales that Old Nan would tell the Stark children. The publisher teases that “Actual ice dragons have not appeared in the series. Yet.”
This could be a simple means of building hype, or a hint that an ice dragon may well be in our future. Terri Schwartz over at Zap2it points out that Martin did, however, make sure that one of his characters remembered the tale of the ice dragon more than once in A Dance with Dragons (slight book spoilers), and we know that Bran Stark, currently in the far North, has been told he will fly.
Only time will tell. For now, they’re just really cool to look at.
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