There are no Black Valyrians

Sunday, October 9th, 2022

“Game of Thrones” superfans Linda Antonsson and Elio M. García Jr. have been collaborating with George R.R. Martin since before HBO’s hit adaptation of his “A Song of Ice and Fire” books, but when Martin publicized their new book on social media, they were “called out” for their supposed racism:

Soon after Antonsson and García created online forum in 1999, Martin recruited them as fact-checkers for his book “A Feast for Crows.” In 2014, they served as coauthors on “The World of Ice & Fire,” an illustrated companion book for the series of novels.

Critics have taken issue with Antonsson’s blog posts, some dating to more than a decade ago, in which she decries the casting of people of color in “Game of Thrones” to play characters that are white in Martin’s books. In one post from March 2012, for example, Antonsson complained about Nonso Anozie, a Black man, getting cast in the role of Xaro Xhoan Daxos, who is described as pale in the books. Five months later, she celebrated the fact that white actor Ed Skrein was cast to play Daario Naharis, despite a rumor claiming the network was looking to fill the role with someone of another ethnicity.

More recently, Antonsson wrote that the character of Corlys, portrayed by Steve Toussaint on “House of the Dragon,” was miscast. “There are no Black Valyrians and there should not be any in the show,” she said of the common ancestors of Velaryons and Targaryens.

Antonsson contends that upset fans are criticizing “cherry-picked statements stripped of context.” She tells Variety that it bothers her to be “labeled a racist, when my focus has been solely on the world building.” According to the author, she has no issue with inclusive casting, but she strongly believes that “diversity should not trump story.”

“If George had indeed made the Valyrians Black instead of white, as he mused on his ‘Not a Blog’ in 2013, and this new show proposed to make the Velaryons anything other than Black, we would have had the same issue with it and would have shared the same opinion,” Antonsson says.


  1. bomag says:

    The beatings will continue until morale improves.

    I have to begrudgingly admire what a powerful weapon the charge of racism has become. The whole psychology of it has opened up breathtaking social and demographic change. It’s a thesis that generates no anti-thesis, despite plenty of room for such.

    In a way, it’s like watching a cult form; grow; and twist itself until it’s lined up in front of vats of purple kool-aid.

  2. Harry Jones says:

    It’s called fanbaiting.

    If you take the bait, you’re a tool of their marketing department.

  3. Chedolf says:

    “The black guy always dies first in the movie. I think that’s terrible. They shouldn’t even be in the movie.”
    - @soso

Leave a Reply