George R. R. Martin Talks 'Game of Thrones'' Lack of Diversity, and Sean Bean Clarifies His Non-Spoilerish Theory
As much as we rag on GRRM around here, the truth is that we obviously love his books. Personally, I also love that he’s at least willing to answer fan questions and concerns in public, even if his answers aren’t always what we want to hear, or particularly satisfactory. He does his best to acknowledge problems, both with Game of Thrones (albeit, sometimes throwing Benioff and Weiss under a bus) and A Song of Ice and Fire. What I’m saying is, at least he makes an effort.
Addressing fan question directly on his blog, Martin responded to the series lack of racial diversity.
” I Love GOT but the lack of diversity really hurts I’ve just finished watching the GOT panel at SDCC and no one really asked the question that was on my heart. I dont [sic] know if you’ll ever read this but I thought I would try. I am an african-american female and have been a devoted fan of GOT since the beginning but the lack of diversity in both the show and books has really been troubling lately. With the state of racial equality currently in the world and the people that have been trying to push back, I am extremely sad that I can not include my favorite, Game of Thrones, as an example of “hollywood” starting to change how race is depicted. So far in the series there has only been one black woman with a speaking role and while i love that she’s getting a romantic storyline too but that hasn’t been enough for me. I know its not something you focus on while writing the extremely complex storylines but it would be nice to dress as someone other than Black Daenerys for a change. I don’t know if this will make a difference but I wanted you to know that I will keep on hoping for a change. I’ve seen the new cast and I applaud the casting of DeObia Oparei but must all black people in the series be servants, guards, or charlatans?”
” 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.”
From Ever Light:
“Sad about Asians… Dear George, I’m a huge fan of ASOIAF and a tv show, and I’m pretty sure there are lots of Asian fans just like me. ASOIAF has become a serious project, attracting people of all countries and all races. There are a white race, a black race in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, and many other races. Why there is no Asian race (Chinese-like, Japanese-like) in the Game of Thrones show and ASOIAF books? I know this can sound offensive, but I just wish to know the fact. That would be awesome to meet a character who would inspire Asians as much as Daenerys or John Snow. I heard there are many dragons and other wonderful creatures over the Jade Sea.”
“Well, Westeros is the fantasy analogue of the British Isles in its world, so it is a long long way from the Asia analogue. There weren’t a lot of Asians in Yorkish England either.
That is not to suggest that such places don’t exist, however. You will want to get THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE when it comes out in October. In the “Other Places” section you will find a lot of material about Yi Ti, the island of Leng, and the plains of the Jogos Nhai, which you may find of interest.”
While I do think people rightly take issue more with the television series whiteification than the books, I’ll let you digest and dissect those answers yourselves.
And now for something completely different…a while back, some people got a little riled up when I posted Sean Bean’s comments about a certain fan theory. Spoiler Note: Some consider the theory in itself a spoiler; if you are one of those people, you probably want to leave now. Okay, coast clear? Here we go…
Sean Bean did a Reddit AMA yesterday, and clarified his earlier Jon Snow parentage comments thusly:
Of course, when later on he joked about not being Snow’s father…
everyone went nuts screaming about spoilers again. But I’ll let you go read that whole mess after you’ve had enough coffee. (Is there ever enough coffee?)
That’s all folks.