Casting Wank: "Game of Thrones" Style
hippoiathanatoi aka Linda Antonsson is the co-owner of westeros.org, the largest fansite for the fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. She was briefly involved in the "Fanfiction is like kidnapping my kids" wank, though her entries about the matter seem to have been deleted from both her LiveJournal and her tumblr.
Since then hippoiathanatoi has let it be known that she is not at all happy with Game of Thrones, the HBO adaptation of the ASOIAF books. There's the potrayal of Cersei Lannister, for one. But most of all, she's upset about the casting of Lucian Msamati and Nonso Anozie as Salladhor Saan and Xaro Xhoan Daxos. True, she doesn't like Lena Heady, Kate Dickie, Natalie Dormer or Oona Chaplin much either, but Msamati and Anozie really set her off.
Xaro, in the books, is a “pale, lean” fellow, bald and with a big nose. He’s one of the “Milk Men” of Qarth. His casting for the show not only means that the character is likely to be pretty profoundly changed—and here I am talking about his size; I just can’t see him playing Xaro as Xaro is written and Xaro won’t be the physical contrast to Drogo that he was in the books—but it also means that they need to make setting and story changes. Either they disregard the appearance of the “Milk Men” or they change Xaro’s story so he’s not one of them. I dislike both options. Others will feel its minor and doesn’t matter, but I disagree. That’s all there is to it.
Salladhor Saan, in the books, is a Lyseni. Its not entirely clear in the first book, but by the last book it has been made very plain indeed, that the Lyseni are well-known for being blonde and blue-eyed. It appears to be a fascination with the Valyrian look, which seems to be bred for among the Lyseni pleasure slaves, and this does become an important part of certain mysteries in the books. Again, the casting of a black actor as Salladhor Saan leaves the show with two options; ignore the very cohesive Lyseni appearance or change the character’s backstory. Again, I have issues with both options.
But don't go getting any ideas. hippoiathanatoi
is quite insistent that she's not racist:
If someone still wants to call me racist, be my guest, but I know you’re making a baseless accusation and that is what matters to me. I am purely looking at this from the point of view of wanting to see the books changed as little as possible. My hope was always that the team behind the show would have the same priorities. With the first season, it felt as if they did. With the second season, I am becoming very unsure of this, and if some of these changes are due to complaints against the first season, then I feel very disappointed. I wouldn’t mind seeing less “sexposition” that isn’t from the books, but I don’t think that the criticism of the show being too white needed to be addressed in this fashion (if that is indeed what they are doing). I honestly see no difference between complaining that Game of Thrones is too white and complaining that a movie about Viking-age Scandinavia is too white. Both of them draw from a pre-existing source and when it comes to adapting the material I don’t place history above the world-building for a book
Most of this happened a months ago, but in the meantime, hippoiathanatoi
has been complaining about the future casting of Daario Naharis
Oh, so supposedly they’re fucking up Daario’s casting too. Yawn, it is getting predictable. At this rate, people who watch the show will think that most of Essos is “non-white”/”non-caucasian”, or whatever the equivalent should be called in Westeros considering the lack of a Caucasus.
Never mind that the First Men, the Andals and the Valyrians all came from Essos…
Never mind that several of the Free Cities show very strong Valyrian influences…
World-building, let us sacrifice you on the altar of political correctness.
And she's still not finished with the issue of Talisa of Volantis/Jeyne Westerling
Oh, now there’s whining that I questioned Talisa being from Volantis.
It is not racist, little fuckwits, to question why you would cast a dark-haired, olive-skinned woman as a noblewoman from Volantis — from one of the most prominent families of the Old Blood, no less — when the nobles of Volantis are said to be not only descendants of the Valyrians but also pretty particular about not mixing that blood with anything else:
“Outlanders, foreigners, and freedmen were not allowed inside the Black Wall save at the invitation of those who dwelt within, scions of the Old Blood who could trace their ancestry back to Valyria itself.”
“He had been a tall man, blue-eyed and fair of face. Some child of Lys or Old Volantis, snatched off a ship by corsairs and sold into bondage in red Astapor.”
Why throw that world-building out when there was an easy solution? Why not have her be from Myr or Braavos, for example?
They felt that it was important enough to have the Targaryen look preserved given that they gave Daenerys and Viserys the silver hair. Why on earth is it then not important that all the Valyrians had that distinct look? This is, for fuck’s sake, likely pretty important to the plot later on. Just have a look at “Aegon” and consider Illyrio and his Lyseni concubine.