Game of Thrones is without a question one of the biggest shows on television right now. With the seventh season underway, it seems as though Thrones is all the internet is talking about lately. But even as a fan, there’s something that I’ve noticed about the show that has gotten under my skin. The lack of diversity in Game of Thrones is awe-striking.
Now, before any GoT fans jump down my throat, I do know there are a few POCs in the show. You think I forgot about Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo?
There’s also Grey Worm and Missandei played by Jacob Anderson and Nathalie Emmanuel.
There’s also the character Areo Hotah, who isn’t specified as African-American in the books but is played by DeObai Oparei.
But are these characters really main characters? How many lines does Grey Worm get compared to Jon Snow? How much hype do these characters get over Khaleesi?
I’d also like to mention during the first couple episodes we see him, Khal Drogo isn’t depicted as the good guy. He’s basically stolen Daenerys’ future and innocence so that her brother can use him as a war pawn. Granted, the relationship gets better, but the initial intent of his character is still there.
George R.R. Martin tried to defend the lack of diversity in his books and the show back in 2014 when A Song of Ice and Fire was released alongside a statement via Live Journal.
“Westeros around 300 A.C. 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.”
I’m still not buying it.
Here are a few relevant facts in relation to this statement.
- White Walkers and Dragons didn’t exist in 300 AC and they don’t exist now.
- Westeros never did and never will exist.
- You know what did exist in 300 A.C.? People of color!
Stars Wars changed with the times, making an African-American male, John Boyega, their leading man in the new Star Wars movies. Jordan Peele opened up a whole new discussion on racism with his movie Get Out. The Disney princess lineup is more diverse than the Game of Thrones cast. And Dear White People redefined the meaning of ‘stay woke.’ So, why doesn’t Game of Thrones have more diversity in the show? George R.R. Martin, please take notes and give people of color a chance to be at the forefront before time runs out.