Written by Amy Beecham
The actor says he received backlash as his character was originally written to be a white man.
It’s safe to say that the excitement for the hugely anticipated Game Of Thrones prequel House Of The Dragon, which premieres in the UK on 22 August, is at its peak. Come Monday, millions of us will be tuning in to immerse ourselves once more in the world of Westeros. But despite how glad we are that an iteration of George R.R. Martin’s cult series is back on our screens, the show (like its predecessor) has already faced some criticism.
Fans, and series actor Matt Smith have questioned the number of sex scenes that were required while filming the HBO series, particularly ones that are graphic in nature. However, showrunners have said they won’t be shying away from depictions of sexual violence.
Now, actor Steve Toussaint has spoken out about the racist online abuse he received “within minutes” of being cast as Corlys Velaryon in House Of The Dragon.
According to the original books, Velaryon is written by Martin to be a middle-aged white man, which led to an influx of trolling aimed at Toussaint, who is of Barbadian descent.
“When my first photo came out on Twitter it was, ‘Oh, wow, this?’” Toussaint told The Guardian in an recent interview. “But it’s been so interesting. I mentioned this the other day to my white friends, and they were all like, ‘Oh my God!’ But when I mentioned it to my friends of colour, they were like, ‘Well, we knew that was coming,’ you know?
“We were just, ‘I wonder how long it will take?’ And it was minutes. None of us were surprised.”
“We were just, ‘I wonder how long it will take?’ And it was minutes. None of us were surprised”
Toussaint went on to say: “It’s funny, because you go, ‘You don’t have a problem with flying dragons, but a Black guy who’s a nobleman?’ But I don’t hate. Listen, those people are best left to themselves. To those things.”
Game Of Thrones previously received criticism for its lack of diversity, due to its nearly all-white cast.
GOT actor Natalie Emmanuel later addressed the issue in an interview with People, saying: “It definitely caused me to reflect a lot more — about race and diversity more generally. At the end of the day, if there’s ever a show on the level of Game of Thrones again, representation has to be part of the conversation from the beginning. That way, there’s no single person who has to represent every other person of colour.”
House Of The Dragon premieres on HBO on 21 August 2022 and will be available to watch in the UK on Sky Atlantic and Now.
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