Game of Thrones (GOT) has entered its seventh season. The HBO drama has been critically acclaimed for its great writing, storytelling, and for killing viewers favorite characters. However, even GOT could not avoid the criticism that has continued to plague the medieval fantasy genre, which is lack of diversity. The most recent criticism of Game of Thrones, illustrate the love-hate relationship minority communities have with the fantasy genre.
Star Wars actor John Boyega criticized Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings for lack of diversity, in a recent interview with GQ. Boyega said, “I ain’t paying money to always see one type of person on-screen. 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.”
A major difference between GOT and Lord of the Rings (LOTOR)is the presence of people of color. Even though in GOT, one was killed in Season 6, another was locked in a vault during Season 3, and the most recent actress was killed in last week’s episode, GOT had 6 people of color on screen compared to LOTR’s abysmal zero.
Boyega’s comments could not have come at a worse time for GOT. The first episode of the seventh season, titled Dragonstone, broke HBO’s viewership record. According to Deadline, 10.1 million people watched or streamed Dragonstone.
GOT is a very good show, but it could use more actors or actresses of color in the show. More and more television shows and movies are having lead actors who are black or brown. For GOT to only have two with speaking roles is very troubling. Some people will say that GOT, is a show that is loosely influenced by European history, and that there were not many people of color in Europe during that time.
However, in a show that has dragons, a huge wall of ice, ice zombies, and dire wolves. It seems the rarest sight in this show is another actor of color with a speaking role in this fantasy series. Minority fans of the series must ask themselves, what is more important to them, exceptional story telling or representation?