Can House of the Dragon handle the complexity of Lord Corlys?
game of thrones faces a lot of backlash for the lack of POC on the HBO series. Especially since George RR Martin’s books did feature characters of color whose roles were given to white characters when they were adapted for television. Dragon House fixed this with the inclusion of black and brown characters. Among the most important in the longer tale are Lord Corlys Velaryon and his family.
Played by black British actor Steve Toussaint, Corlys Velaryon is the husband of Rhaenys Targaryen and the richest man in the kingdom. He in many ways plays a role similar to Tywin Lannister whose wealth and military might have made him an important ally to the throne. From the start of his casting, Toussaint was harassed by fans upset over a black person in the role.
“It seems to be very hard for people to swallow,” Toussaint said in an interview with men’s health. “They are happy with a flying dragon. They’re happy with white hair and purple eyes, but a rich black guy? It is beyond pallor.
He pointed out the positive aspects of what it means to have someone like him and his family at the center of Westeros. “What’s been wonderful is that for every toxic person who somehow ended up on my timeline, there were so many others who were so supportive and supportive of me. said, ‘Oh my god, I can’t wait, this is going to be awesome!’ Toussaint explained. have this representation.'”
What makes Corlys interesting as a character is that he’s not a passive character, slavish or there to appease the white cast. He is a powerful leader, a defender of his wife’s claim and a proud man. We rarely get characters like this with a lot of nuance. It’s easy for them to be written off as uppity because they are outliers. Because we have so many different examples of representation, we can have that kind of character. However, as someone who has seen in advance what that kind of diversity tends to lead to – issues when it comes to later casting – but that will happen when it does and we’ll discuss that later.
So far, my biggest disappointment is that we haven’t done the work of already creating black fantasy characters who have these qualities, and Corlys seems rare to us. It can sometimes be shocking to drop black and brown actors into white characters, because even in a diverse fantasy setting, there can be cultural clashes that don’t have to be racist(TM). Not to mention, we know Westeros has biases against Browner people, as we’ve seen with Dorne, the Dothraki, and other Brown-coded groups.
Right now when I look at the fanart on Corlys, they’re almost all white characters in the books. I hope we get more Black Corlys, but more importantly, that fantasy writers write complex and interesting POCs in their main cast, so that’s no longer the only way for actors in the BIPOC to obtain these roles is to be chosen as a white. character.
(Image: OLLIE UPTON/HBO)
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