Martin Struggles to Explain GoT’s Race Problem

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8 Responses

  1. Kimmi says:

    Dany’s arc is really, really annoying. I hate it. Pretty girl gets what she wants, including Dragons! Everyone else has problems, tons of ’em, — and, more importantly, people to talk to.

    Invoking the white savior trope (and I do NOT care if he’s lampshading it) just makes it worse.

    That said, I think it’s pretty clear that a lot of characters from Essos can speak in full sentences, and do in the books.

    (Can he really get away with saying “not many asians” when his “african” continent has Igbo on it?)

    … People get so upset about this particular show because it mostly doesn’t suck, and it’s fantasy. You see anyone crying tears for Toshiko’s characterization in Torchwood?

  2. When writers are challenged about this i wish they would just say “Black and brown people just weren’t on my mind and that is my deficiency as a writer” then get better about it. That feels like the truth more than some excuses and telling people wait until this other book comes out. The excuses just keep you from improving, but there’s a good chance some writers don’t want to improve.

    • Kimmi says:

      Here’s a link about black people in Martin’s world:
      http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/08/a-read-of-ice-and-fire-a-feast-for-crows-part-25
      They do speak.

      yes, it would be nice if writers were able to admit they were people too. Martin’s got a bit too much hubris about him to do that, which is his flaw and not mine.

      I know an author who flat-out refused to put women in his first few published stories — he didn’t think he had the life-experience to pull women off (in all fairness, he was under the age of majority). Needless to say, he got better (even if he still feels his love scenes are horrid).

  3. Expand your horizons says:

    Race problem? Since when has it been a writer’s duty to include all the races of the world in their stories? Your criticism presupposes that one actually believe in the term ‘race’ which probably is a given in a blindly monocultural, very likely a North American context, but many cultures and peoples in the world have no idea about cathegorizing people into races and the entire thing seems absurd to them. To me Westeros was always an analogy of the British Isles, having visited the Isles and having had a look at the people who live there I can safely say that they look the part in the TV series.

    I for one don’t believe in such a thing as ‘race’ and I refuse to cram people in these tiny pigeonholes by the way they look. One single gorilla population has a wider genetical variance than the entire human race which in my eyes renders any and all little skin tone tints and whatnot quite inconsequential.

    As for the black woman’s inability to identify with any character who isn’t a black woman either shows a crippling lack of empathy or a very narrow worldview that expects all the world, fantasy worlds alike, to think in terms of ‘race’. I should know, I have never in my life been able to identify with any character in any story ever.

    What comes to mr. Martin’s supposed need to ‘admit his shortcomings as a writer’ I think he’s doing the right thing no matter if he heeds the allegations of having a ‘race problem’ or not, because it’s his work and his fantasy and if this is his vision then nobody else should have a say in it. The only shortcomings we have as writers are the ones that prevent us from realizing our visions into words, listening to possible problems other people bring about our work is optional.

    • karls says:

      Oh be quiet…

      Everything on Tv, in movies, in books in magazines is ostly that -white.

      I wonder if your thoughts would be the same if 90 percent of the books you read, the movies you watched and whatnot had black, asian or even indian characters int hem – would you take your own advice?

      There’s nothing bad in wanting to see some of your own people included, doesn´t make you pathetic.

      • Raiden007 says:

        Thanks man. It’s cool to see someone stand for diversity. However, as a black person, I do think there’s a time and place. If the writer put lands where people of color are prevalent, fine. They can experiment with the locale and the story. For example, the Witcher series are based on Slavic myths, but that didn’t stop the writer from making a place called Zerrikinia, with a culture that seems to based on Indian/African mythology. In the third game, they could add more characters of color because of this.

      • Raiden007 says:

        Thanks man. It’s cool to see someone stand for diversity. However, as a black person, I do think there’s a time and place. If the writer put lands where people of color are prevalent, fine. They can experiment with the locale and the story. For example, the Witcher series are based on Slavic myths, but that didn’t stop the writer from making a place called Zerrikinia, with a culture that seems to based on Indian/African mythology. In the third game, they could add more characters of color because of this.

  4. jay says:

    “As for the black woman’s inability to identify with any character who isn’t a black woman either shows a crippling lack of empathy …”
    Lol, oh the irony. How about you empathise with a black woman who has had to grow up surrounded by media that does not represent her at all. Yeh, I’m sure it’s her crippling lack of empathy that she couldn’t relate to a barbie doll either.