With new HBO television series House of Dragon, what many considered to be the longest of nights finally came to an end as Westerosi fans were introduced to a brand new world of fire and blood. A new world filled with mighty dragons, white haired Targaryens, political intrigue and violence. The highly anticipated prequel series set 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen garnered a massive 10 million viewers on the night of its debut, the largest audience recorded for an original series in HBO’s history. Despite the majority of fans taking to social media to share their excitement over the new fantasy drama television series, there seems to be a subset fans who have a few problems with the shows casting.
House of Dragon star Steve Toussaint in an interview with MensHealth revealed that he has been the subject of racist remarks and comments after being cast as Lord Corlys Velaryon a.k.a “The Sea Snake” in the HBO prequel series.
“It seems to be very hard for people to swallow,” Toussaint said. “They are happy with a dragon flying. They’re happy with white hair and violet-colored eyes, but a rich Black guy? That’s beyond the pale.”
In “Fire and Blood”, the shows source material, despite Lord Corlys Velaryon only being described as being of Valyrian decent and having “Targaryen white-blonde” hair, many fans seem to have imagined him as a white man and didn’t anticipate Toussaint’s casting for the part.
The 57-year-old actor known for playing the part of Judge Dredd in Steve McQueen’s anthology series Small Axe also revealed that there’s been positive praise from some fans as well.
“What has been wonderful is for every toxic person that has somehow found their way into my timeline, there have been so many others who have been so supportive and been like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t wait, this is going to be great!’” Toussaint added. “Even when we were doing certain scenes, there would be supporting artists who would come up and go, ‘It’s great to have this representation.”
Game of Thrones was known to have received criticism for its predominantly white cast and inaccurate representation of people of color which may have prompted the prequel series’ more diverse cast.