Game of Thrones' fictional world is big place, where the variety of creature ranges from human, to giant, to dragon to frozen zombie - and yet, HBO's hit series has come under fire (time and again) for having a cast that lacks diversity.
Sure, the show features (and has featured) many actors of color in recurring roles or bit parts (like Nonso Anozie's Xaro Xhoan Daxos , Jacob Anderson's Grey Worm, or Nathalie Emmanuel's Missandei); however, the main cast is distinctly Caucasian.
One person is (perhaps unfairly) a target of Game of Thrones' diversity backlash is Nina Gold, casting director for the show. In a recent interview with South China Morning Post (via Watchers on The Wall) Gold addressed the issue.
As Gold explained (though it is fairly common sense), "it’s important to remember the series is based on books that are very descriptive and specific about the appearance of its characters."
That's to say: if there is a lack of character diversity on Game of Thrones the show, the fault for that begins with what George R.R. Martin wrote into his "Song of Ice and Fire" books.
If anything, the Game of Thrones TV series has made strides to correct the problem: In the books, Xaro Xhoan Daxos was described as someone very different in appearance than actor Nonso Anozie, and Missandei is a little girl. As Gold pointed out, they are, "already shifting towards greater diversity. We are more aware that to not take diverse casting seriously is uncreative and silly. We’re all trying to do castings that reflect real life, and real life is full of all sorts of different people. We’ve got to have them all."
The debate on this issue runs deeper than we'll go here, but it is perhaps unfair to hang the hat of blame on HBO or those involved with the show. Game of Thrones relies heavily on European Medieval aesthetic and tropes, which would naturally skew its primary characters to reflect that cultural line; at the same time, the series' depiction of dark-skinned cultures (like Dothraki) hasn't been all that favorable, perhaps adding to some fans' sense of offense.
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Game of Thrones will return for season 7 in 2017.