House of the Dragon star Steve Toussaint has fired back at racist viewers who criticized the casting of a Black man as Lord Corlys Velaryon in the new HBO series.
The Afro-British actor plays the leader of House Velaryon in the Game of Thrones prequel series, which premiered Sunday to record ratings.
Lord Velaryon is the richest man in Westeros. But some fans have taken to social media to criticize Toussaint’s casting, claiming he doesn’t fit author George R.R. Martin’s description of the character in the 2018 book Fire & Blood.
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Toussaint responded to the critics in an interview with Men’s Health magazine, saying racist fans are fine with flying dragons but not a “rich black guy.”
“It seems to be very hard for people to swallow,” Toussaint said while discussing his character.
“They are happy with a dragon flying. They’re happy with white hair and violet-colored eyes, but a rich Black guy? That’s beyond the pale,” he added.
Despite the racist comments, Toussaint noted he’s received a lot of support.
“What has been wonderful is for every toxic person that has somehow found their way into my timeline, there have been so many others who have been so supportive and been like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t wait, this is going to be great,’” the actor explained.
“Even when we were doing certain scenes, there would be supporting artists who would come up and go, ‘It’s great to have this representation,’” he added.
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House of the Dragon is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones. The new series debuted on Aug. 21, marking the largest series premiere in HBO history with 10 million viewers on cable and HBO Max platforms in the U.S. on Sunday night.
“It was wonderful to see millions of Game of Thrones fans return with us to Westeros,” Casey Bloys, chief content officer for HBO & HBO Max, said in a press release. “We look forward to sharing with audiences what else George, Ryan, and Miguel have in store for them this season.”