“House of the Dragon” star Steve Toussaint spoke out against the backlash from some readers who criticized his casting as famed sailor Lord Corlys Velaryon, aka the “Sea Snake,” in the HBO series. The outrage stems from the fact this character, the husband of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, is not a Black man in George R.R. Martin’s book “Fire & Blood,” which is what the “Game of Thrones” prequel series is based on.
“Because other than, as we spoke about yesterday, other than certain people’s viewpoints about someone who looks like me playing this part, it hasn’t really played a part in the role, in my experience on the job with my fellow actors,” Toussaint said during the show’s Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con Saturday, responding to a question asked by moderator Jason Concepcion, who was referencing an earlier conversation they had in private. “As I said, there are people outside who find it a little hard to stomach that someone who looks like me would play this part. But that’s an issue they have to deal with and I don’t have to. The issue is always the same, I just have to say the lines convincingly and avoid bumping into the furniture.”
In addition to Toussaint, a large portion of the “House of the Dragon” cast was also on hand to tout the series, including Paddy Considine (King Viserys I Targaryen); Emma D’Arcy and Milly Alcock (who play the older and younger versions of Viserys’ firstborn child, Princess Rhaenyra); Matt Smith (Viserys’ ne’er-do-well younger brother, Prince Daemon); Olivia Cooke and Emily Carey (the older and younger versions of Rhaenyra’s best friend, Lady Alicent Hightower); Rhys Ifans (Hand of the King and Alicent’s father, Ser Otto Hightower); and Fabien Frankel (the knight who catches the eye of both Rhaenyra and Alicent, Ser Criston Cole).
They were joined by Eve Best (Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, once passed over for the throne in favor of her cousin, Viserys) and Sonoya Mizuno (Daemon’s ally, Mysaria).
HBO released the first full trailer for the show days earlier, on July 20, and an extended version during the Comic-Con panel which Warner Bros. Discovery confirmed will be shown during “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel Sunday.
The 10-episode first season of “House of the Dragon” is set to debut on Aug. 21.