Emma D'Arcy attends the HBO Original Drama Series "House of the Dragon" World Premiere at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on July 27, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. 27 Jul 2022 Pictured: Steve Toussaint.

'House Of The Dragon' Star Not Bothered By Racist Attacks Over His Character On HBO Show

Home / Entertainment / 'House Of The Dragon' Star Not Bothered By Racist Attacks Over His Character On HBO Show

By Favour Adegoke on August 1, 2022 at 8:30 PM EDT

Actor Steve Toussaint has reacted to facing racial abuse for his role in "House Of Dragon."

He was signed on to play Lord Corlys Velaryon in the upcoming HBO series, where he is known as the lord of House Velaryon and a legendary seafarer in Westeros.

Shortly after the streaming platform released photos and names of the actors playing each role in the series, the 57-year- old faced a slew of racial slurs from fans who felt he was unfit to play the part due to his color.

Although he was shocked by their actions, Toussaint admitted in a new interview that he did not let their behavior upset him.

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'I Can't Allow That To Bother Me'

House Of The Dragon

Toussaint recently told The Hollywood Reporter that being cast as Lord Corlys Velaryon in the "Game of Thrones" prequel series irked a lot of people. The actor claimed he was hit with a heavy barrage of racial abuse on social media when HBO revealed casting details to the public.

"I didn't realize [the casting] was a big deal until I was racially abused on social media," Toussaint told the publication. "Yeah, that shit happened. I was just like, 'Oh wow,' and then I thought: 'OK, so this means a lot to some people, but I can't allow that to bother me.'"

Toussaint went on to say that in "House of Dragons," fans would witness a more "diverse world," which was not depicted in "Game of Thrones."

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"I loved 'Game of Thrones,' but my only caveat was, 'Where's everybody else in this world?'" the "Doctor Who" star added. "Because it's a diverse world [George R.R.] Martin has created if you look [beyond Westeros], and I think this show comes closer to that."

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The Velaryon Family Was Originally White

Besides Toussaint, other cast members such as Bethany Antonia and Savannah Steyn, who play Lord Corlys Velaryon's children, may have faced racial abuse. To understand what caused the act, one must first trace the origins of Toussaint's character.

George R.R. Martin, whose works inspired "Game of Thrones" and its upcoming prequel series, wrote in the extended history of Westeros that the Velaryons and Targaryens originated from Old Valyria.

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He also noted that both families share similar physical features, which included pale complexion and white/ silver hair. While the house of Targaryens possessed such attributes as clearly seen in "Game of Thrones," in the "House of the Dragon," the Velaryon family is played by Black actors, a new narrative that was clearly not expected by some fans of the epic series.

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'House Of The Dragon' Showrunners Wanted More Diversity

In terms of what inspired this move, showrunner Ryan Condal, who also co-wrote "House of Dragon," told Entertainment Weekly about a chat with Martin regarding the Velaryon family's beginnings.

He explained that Martin had initially intended to depict the Velaryon family as Black warriors who moved to Westeros. Subsequently, when Condal and his co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik sought to broaden the cast's diversity, altering the Velaryon family origins felt like a logical choice because they wanted the majority of the POC cast members to play non-trivial parts.

"It was very important for Miguel and I to create a show that was not another bunch of white people on the screen," Condal told the publication. "We wanted to find a way to put diversity in the show, but we didn't want to do it in a way that felt like it was an afterthought or, worse, tokenism."

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A New Narrative For 'House of The Dragon'

The new plot will go a long way toward correcting some of the pitfalls found in "Game of Thrones," one of which was a discussion about black actors only playing roles that linked them to slavery and not having their past story adequately fleshed out.

While it remains to be seen how well the showrunners will portray the new narrative when it premieres on August 21, Martin, who collaborated on the project, took to his blog in June to hype the upcoming series adapted from his book "Fire & Blood."

"I've now watched rough cuts of nine of the ten episodes, and I continue to be impressed," he wrote. "I cannot speak to the SFX, many of which are not in yet, but the look of it is great, and the acting, the directing, and writing are first-rate."

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