LONDON British star David Oyelowo has criticised Game of Thrones for the way the show treats people of colour.
The actor, who has previously appeared in Selma and who has two films Queen of Katwe and A United Kingdom showing at this year’s London Film Festival, told the Radio Times there is “absolutely no excuse in a show like that why there aren’t more prominent characters of colour”.
Oyewolo argued that the show marginalises the actors of colour it has cast, and that there should be room for these actors to have bigger roles.
“The fact that they put any ethnic minorities in that means that there should be space for bigger characters,” Oyelowo said. “Because you’re not just saying, ‘OK this is purely a white world, and here are very story-driven reasons why that’s the case.'”
“Even if for whatever reason, it’s a world in which people of colour in those stories are subservient, or they are more in a helper role, that doesn’t mean they can’t have a prominent storylines,” he continued. “All you have to do is shift the focus to focus on those characters.”
Oyelowo’s comments kicked off a debate on Twitter.
Racial diversity in Game of Thrones has been a topic of conversation for a number of years now. Back in 2014, George R. R. Martin responded to a comment on his blog from a fan who wrote to say “the lack of diversity [in the show] really hurts”.
“Westeros around 300 AC is nowhere near as diverse as 21st century America, of course,” wrote Martin in his reply. “But with that being said, I do have some ‘characters of color’ who will have somewhat larger roles in Winds of Winter“.
He went on to argue that show-runners D. B. Weiss and David Benioff are also “doing what they can” to promote diversity in the show, citing the casting of black British actor DeObia Oparei as Areo Hotah.
“Hotah IS a guard… but he is also a viewpoint character in the novels, a brave and loyal warrior,” Martin wrote.
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