Actor Corlis Velarion from “House of the Dragon” responded to a racist reaction


House of the Dragon actor Steve Toussaint responds to the racist reaction he received for playing Corliss Velarion. After the well-documented negative reaction to the 8th season of “Game of Thrones” caused the media franchise to falter, Ryan J. Kondal and the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin, invited director Miguel Sapochnik as a co-showrunner (along with Kondal) for their next project: The House of the Dragon. The prequel takes place about 200 years before “Game of Thrones” and tells about the Dance of Dragons, a civil war within the ruling house of Targaryen.

A Song of Ice and Fire describes the graphic story of a long battle, primarily between Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) and Prince Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) for the succession after the death of King Viserys I. (Paddy Considine). The first season of House of the Dragon explores the events that led to this possible power struggle and establishes relationships between key players. One of the essential relationships is the relationship between Rainira and Corlis Velarion, played by Toussaint. Corliss’ casting drew criticism from some fans of the books, who suggested that Corliss was written in white and Toussaint in black.

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In an interview with the House of the Dragon roundtable, attended by Screen Rant, Toussaint talks about the negative reaction he faced because of his role as Corliss. He says he didn’t know about the character’s race until he got the role and saw how the artist portrayed Corliss as a white man. Toussaint claims that he never cared why Kondal and Sapochnik were chosen for the role of a black man, but he is happy that he deserved such an opportunity. Check out the full quote below:

To be honest, I first realized something about the color of this character in the books when my name was announced as the main character. And then there was all this backlash, and it all came up. I think one of the first things I saw was that someone put an artist’s impression of Corley from books next to my painting and said something like, “Why?” And I thought: “Right, I see. This character was supposed to be white, wasn’t he?”

That was the first time I saw it. This has never been considered. I never wasted any time asking Ryan and Miguel why they took me. I do not care. I was happy I got the part; I decided I got the part because I deserved it. And who has a problem with this? They’re gonna have a problem with that, man. It’s not for me.

The work in question is an interpretation of Eva Venture from the Unseen Westeros exhibition, which once took place in Germany and has since become a premium artbook. Like many peoples of Valyrian origin in Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” universe, Venture Corlis is depicted on the artwork as a light-skinned man with gray hair. However, the source material never explicitly mentions his skin color, so Toussaint’s reaction to the racist reaction is quite appropriate. In addition, it is the most common role of a British actor in his 28-year acting career, an achievement he understandably wants to celebrate.

Ultimately, the casting criticism seems to be rooted in racism rather than a sincere consideration of the authenticity of the adaptation’s source material, and Toussaint does a great job of that. Realizing that the character’s skin color has never been directly mentioned and is unlikely to have any significance for the story, he proudly declares that he deserved this role and holds critics responsible for solving their problems. After all, in a fantasy world not unlike the diverse landscape of The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, a direct competitor to House of the Dragon, the characters have far more important things to worry about than each other’s skin color.


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