John Boyega, one-half of fandom’s favorite possible couple, can’t talk about Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but he had a lot to say about Game of Thrones.
Namely, the show’s lack of diversity.
There have been very few black actors on television’s most-watched series, and only two, Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm) and Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), have recurring roles. (Sorry, Xaro Xhoan Daxos.) Boyega, who knows something about popular franchises that often neglect people of color, told GQ, “There are no black people on Game of Thrones” (almost true), and, “You don’t see one black person in Lord of the Rings” (definitely true).
“I ain’t paying money to always see one type of person on-screen,” says Boyega. “Because you see different people from different backgrounds, different cultures, every day. Even if you’re a racist, you have to live with that. We can ruffle up some feathers.” (Via)
George R.R. Martin has addressed the show’s lack of diversity before. “Westeros around 300 AC is nowhere near as diverse as 21st century America, of course,” he wrote in 2014. “But with that being said, I do have some ‘characters of color’ who will have somewhat larger roles in WINDS OF WINTER. Admittedly, these are secondary and tertiary characters, though not without importance. Of course, I am talking about the books here, and you are talking about the show, which is a thing apart. I do think HBO and David and Dan are doing what they can to promote diversity as well, as witness the casting of Areo Hotah, which you mention. Of course, Hotah IS a guard… but he is also a viewpoint character in the novels, a brave and loyal warrior.”
Okay, sure, but Game of Thrones is a fantasy playground with dragons and demon babies and face-magic and Ed Sheeran. It wouldn’t upset the reality of the universe to add a few more people of color.