Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Game of Thrones and Race

Now let me tell you, I think that Game of Thrones is brilliant. Brilliantly written. Brilliantly cast. I mean, each and every scene in the thing is like a "scene study"-scene. The characters have these beautiful arcs over the series and over each freakin' scene. You're just thrown into a world of sexy and kinky and dragon-loving fun.
And also let me tell you that there are some minor spoilers here.



So my question is: where are all the African and Asian people?
Here's the place I come from, y'know bein' all white and male and such:
Okay, so in the world of Game of Thrones there are no "Asian" or "African" people. But remember, there are no "European" people either. They're in their own separate universe with their own rules. They're clearly not on Earth (what with the wack seasons and all). So OK, there are literally and figuratively no "races" in the Game of Thrones world.
Which means, to me, that the casting should therefore be wide-the-freak open.
Let me digress for a while.
Most people think that the more African one is the more dark-skinned one is. That's not true in and of itself. There are some very dark-skinned Africans. But depending on where you are in Africa you can see (genetically literally) all of the so-called "races" of humans.
All right. I'm back.
Now, there is a LOT of incest in Game of Thrones. And a lot of wondering whose baby is whose. For that reason you may (not "must") want to keep certain lineages of people looking one way or another. But by no means do you have to keep them all lookin' like white people. There's no reason some of these houses can't have some people of a variety of "looks" of people.
Furthermore, there are a whole bunch of characters unaffiliated with anybody else, and why not cast them with a wider range of people of the world?
And then here, as a director, I get a bit hackled. There are a lot of dark-haired white boys in this show. I absolutely cannot keep the Stark boys differentiated in my head. Couldn't the bastard son look a bit different somehow?
How about Bronn the mercenary?
Now look, the guy who played Bronn is great. His name is Jerome Flynn. I'm just showing that there are a gazillion places one could have added a non-white guy with black hair. There's a whole bunch of them at the Wall, aren't there? A bunch of white dark-haired dudes.
Now, if, and this is a big "if", you (as a producer) decided that yeah, all these major characters had to look somewhat related to one another and you started casting Asians and Africans as mercenaries, criminals, and whores, you'd get a lot of complaints too. You would probably fear the criticism "Why are all the people of color mercenaries, criminals, and whores?!" more than "Why are there no people of color in this dang show?!"
So it seems that you're damned from either side. If you made Lord Stark a "person of color" there'd be somebody who would complain that he was a complete stereotype of whatever race the person portraying him is.
On the other hand, can't one of the nurses be... well anything? Yes, yes they can.
And I'll give you some credit that the Mongol/Viking dudes were interesting. Making the head Ghengis-Khan character all scary at first and then making him seem like a decent husband is a very nice turn.
But casting some non-white people (in roles other than topless dancers around a bonfire) isn't just a nice idea, it also makes the whole show easier to freakin' follow!

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