Steve Toussaint Responds to Racist ‘House of the Dragon’ Fans – Men’s Health

Steve Toussaint, the British actor currently playing the role of a scheming military commander on HBOs House of the Dragon, recently spoke to Mens Health about the series castingand the critique that his character, Lord Corlys Velaryon, ought not to be Black.

That critique, which immediately followed the announcement of Toussaint as Corlys, had to do with the authenticity of casting a Black actor to portray the character. (The Sea Snake's skin color, however, is never mentioned in author George R.R. Martins novels.)

Lord Corlys is the commander of Westeros largest Navy and patriarch of one of the realms oldest houses. In the series, hes treated more as a power-hungry in-law, having married Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), the rightful heir (by birth) of the previous King, who instead chose her younger cousin as successor. Hes something of an interloper amid the extended Targaryen familyand this is also how some fans see Toussaints casting in a franchise that has historically included mostly white actors.

When asked about these erroneous period drama criticismwhich takes issue with persons of color existing in seemingly white-dominant worlds (Game of Thrones is modeled on medieval England)Toussaint explains that such diversity is not ahistorical; it is instead just a very hard pill for audiences to swallow.

They are happy with a dragon flying, he says, of fans willingness to accept the fantastical elements of the shows world. They're happy with white hair and violet-colored eyes, but a rich Black guy? That's beyond the pale.

Toussaints hard pill isnt just about existence, but also class. Lord Corlys Velaryon doesnt simply exist in Westeros; hes one of the most powerful and wealthy men in the Seven Kingdoms.

Toussaint says his early conversation about the role were less about Corlys race than his relationship to his daughter. He sees the characters motivation as one of ambition and elevation.

Still, he recognizes the importance of his presence on set.

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! he says.

Even when we were doing certain scenes, there would be supporting artists who would come up and go, Its great to have this representation.

Joshua St Clair is an editorial assistant at Men's Health Magazine.

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Steve Toussaint Responds to Racist 'House of the Dragon' Fans - Men's Health

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