Posted on August 25, 2022

House of the Dragon Star Steve Toussaint Hits Out at Racist Trolls Who Claimed a White Actor Should Have Been Cast

Lillian Gissen, Daily Mail, August 24, 2022

Black House of the Dragon star Steve Toussaint has responded to racist trolls who claimed he doesn’t match author George RR Martin’s depiction of his character in the novel the show is based off of, pointing out that people are OK with ‘flying dragons’ but not ‘rich black guys.’

The Game of Thrones prequel series – which premiered on Sunday – takes place 172 years prior to the events in the original show, and it dives into the history of the iconic Targaryen House.

Created by Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal, the story is adapted from a portion of Martin’s 2018 book Fire & Blood.

In the HBO Max series, Toussaint, 57, plays Lord Corlys Velaryon – the leader of the House Velayron, which is one of the closest allies to House Targaryen and the richest house in Westeros, and a good friend to King Viserys.

He is the captain of a ship and is described by Vulture as ‘the most skilled seafarer in the history of the Seven Kingdoms, having embarked on a series of famous journeys to distant lands dubbed the Nine Voyages.’

However, some people were unhappy with Toussaint’s casting because they felt he didn’t fit Martin’s description of his character.

But now, Toussaint has responded to the nasty critics, explaining that people of ‘his hue’ were a huge part of history.

‘So many people are basing their idea of the history of this country on a few films and stuff that were made in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, which don’t bear any resemblance to the truth,’ he told Men’s Health recently.

‘Historically, people of my hue and your hue, we didn’t just turn up here in the ’70s or the ’60s.

‘There was a point when the ruler of his country, “the Caesar,” was an African man. There are street names that tell you there were people who looked like us in this country even then, but for some reason, it seems to be very hard for people to swallow.

‘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.’

Toussaint reminded people that the show is not intended to be exactly like the book, and he admitted that he didn’t even read it before starring as Lord Corlys.

‘George Martin sent us all signed copies of the book. I was going to read it, then I thought, no. What I have to represent is what they’ve written in the script,’ he explained.

‘They’re going to take liberties with it for dramatic purposes. So I didn’t want to read his interpretation or know what happened to my character.’

The first episode of the 10-part spinoff series hit the streaming service over the weekend, and it was watched by millions across the globe; it was so popular, in fact, that it made the platform crash.

Despite facing criticism, Toussaint explained that he’s taking it all ‘in stride’ and feels ‘sanguine’ about the whole thing, adding that ‘for every toxic person, there have been so many others who have been so supportive.’

And on set, he said he felt nothing but love and support. He continued: ‘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.”’