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2 minutes ago, Daeron the Daring said:

The main issue with this is that Corlys was the first big adventurer Velaryon, altough his ancestors always been men at sea. It would make more sense for him to get married to a Summer Islander than being the child of one.

And yet it would not be impossible. I mean, look, I'm not a fan of this particular decision when Criston Cole or possibly the Strongs would have worked as well (as well as Nettles and the Hull boys) without needing any convoluted steps to fit it into all the known details we have about Corlys's immediate family and the future of the Velaryon line, but saying that Corlys's father, a man who was doubtless Master of Ships and a lord of the narrow sea, couldn't meet and fall in love with some Summer Islander noble or princess and marry her seems a stretch. It could happen. It didn't, in ASoIaF, because Corlys's mother was obviously either a Westerosi noblewoman or a high Valyrian Free Cities noblewoman, but in this alternate GoT universe, sure, that could happen.

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I originally pointed out that Corlys will not fit into the picture because Westerosi society is based on medieval Europe

There were non-Europeans in medieval Europe, just as there are non-Westerosi in Westeros. This isn't really an issue. There were Moors and Arabs in Spain, Sicily, and so on. Westeros definitely has much fewer, proportionally speaking, because of a lack of slavery, but this shouldn't affect the possibility of someone marrying a foreigner (of which we've a number of examples, though admittedly all being noblemen wed to Free Cities noblewomen.)

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13 minutes ago, Ran said:

Corlys's father, a man who was doubtless Master of Ships and a lord of the narrow sea, couldn't meet and fall in love with some Summer Islander noble or princess and marry her

You are speaking about the show here, don't you? Because in the books Corlys's father (I think his name was Corwyn) never was master of ships or lord and it seems he was hanging around at Driftmark with his brothers. Of course the show could change all of that.

First I was a bit unhappy with the casting decision for Corlys, too, now I am going to give it a chance. If Laenor was black as well, all of Rhaenyra's children could be white, leading to discussions about their father. Just one example how it could work.

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1 minute ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

You are speaking about the show here, don't you? Because in the books Corlys's father (I think his name was Corwyn) never was master of ships or lord and it seems he was hanging around at Driftmark with his brothers. Of course the show could change all of that.

Forgot that Daemon lived so damned long that he outlived his eldest son. In any case, Corlys's father was the son of the Master of Ships, and of course heir to all that. Again, same thing, no real reason why he couldn't marry some sufficiently-wealthy foreign noblewoman, I guess.

It's not clear that his father is Corwyn, but it's likely, given the name similarity.

1 minute ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

First I was a bit unhappy with the casting decision for Corlys, too, now I am going to give it a chance. If Laenor was black as well, all of Rhaenyra's children could be white, leading to discussions about their father. Just one example how it could work.

Who knows at this stage. Once we know what becomes of the Strongs on the show, it'll be a bit clearer I think.

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33 minutes ago, Ran said:

Forgot that Daemon lived so damned long that he outlived his eldest son. In any case, Corlys's father was the son of the Master of Ships, and of course heir to all that. Again, same thing, no real reason why he couldn't marry some sufficiently-wealthy foreign noblewoman, I guess.

It is a bit ironic that Daemon resigns from handship in 54 AC because he wants to spend the remainder of his life with his family, and then he lives for another 30 years. Like 90 year-old grandpa who has been saying 'this may be my last Christmas' since he got 60.

I still think a bride from the Summer Islands would usually not be the best political choice for a Westerosi lord and rather indicate a personal connection, but that is nothing the show could not explain.

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11 hours ago, Ran said:

To be fair here, the red priests of Volantis are not Old Blood of Valyria -- indeed, the religion is revealed to be in tension with the Old Blood who rule Volantis, because of its revealing itself as opposed to the slavery that keeps them in power.

The show also never established that Volantis has any particular Valyrian ancestry, nor indeed that any of the Free Cities do, outside of the Blu-ray extras I think. OTOH, they are explicit in the press release that the Velaryons are a Valyrian family as old as the Targaryens.

I assume at present that they're going to go the route that his mother was a Summer Islanders princess or noblewoman that his father married.

As for the red priests - we do know the religion was already there in Valyria, so technically many indigenous Valyrians may have followed the faith in the past. I mean, the religions of Qohor, Lorath, and Norvos also started in Valyria and would have also been popular with some indigenous Valyrians (although not necessarily members of the dragonlord class).

The fact that by the time of the main series R'hllorism is mostly popular with the slave population of Volantis doesn't mean this was always the case. It could be the consequence of a more recent missionary approach of the Red Temple, etc.

As for Corlys' mother - I think you guys should go ask George to make a statement about Corlys Velaryon's parents in the books. Not just that we know which son was his father (I'd guess the guy named Corwyn Velaryon, since that's the first son of Daemon's to be named) but also that it might be possible to actually have Corlys Velaryon with a black parent or grandparent in the books.

That is still somewhat possible. We can imagine him as of mixed ancestry and his children could still look as white as they are described - especially if we were to invoke that 'the seed is strong' paradigma with Princess Rhaenys whose mother was a Baratheon.

I'd prefer it if we got the show background for Corlys Velaryon to be the same as in the books - especially since so far George hasn't given us any information about Corlys' origins.

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No, it’s not possible, because it would have been mentioned. Simple as that. The idea the George is going to change things to fit a show is just not going to happen.

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7 hours ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

It is a bit ironic that Daemon resigns from handship in 54 AC because he wants to spend the remainder of his life with his family, and then he lives for another 30 years. Like 90 year-old grandpa who has been saying 'this may be my last Christmas' since he got 60.

I still think a bride from the Summer Islands would usually not be the best political choice for a Westerosi lord and rather indicate a personal connection, but that is nothing the show could not explain.

In light of the fact that Corlys Velaryon himself looked for a husband for his daughter Laena abroad - that wastrel son of the Sealord - it would not be surprising if Corwyn Velaryon - or whoever else Corlys' father might be - married foreign nobility, too.

In fact, if we want to speculate then the Velaryons freeing themselves from their time-consuming involvement with court life and governmental duties after Daemon resigned would have given them decades to expand their ship-building enterprises and trade contacts - something in which young Corlys himself was involved when he was visisted by Princess Daella.

Stuff like that could have resulted in a match being made with a visiting noblewoman from the Summer Islands - the Velaryons could have been interested in acquiring goldenheart bows and the shipbuilding techniques from the Summer Isles. And to be sure, Corlys own Sea Snake might have been built the Summer Islander way, too, and thus been massively superior to conventional Westerosi shipbuilding.

If you think about it, giving Corlys a Summer Islander mother could actually help lay the groundwork for him becoming the great explorer that he was.

One could even imagine that one of his voyage took him and his mother down south, to the Summer Islands and the shores of Sothoryos. So far we do not know everything about Corlys Velaryon's nine voyages, anyway.

2 minutes ago, Ran said:

No, it’s not possible, because it would have been mentioned. Simple as that. The idea the George is going to change things to fit a show is just not going to happen.

To be sure, we don't have a description of the guy, do we? We do have a description of his children Laena and Laenor, but not all people of mixed ancestry have to look that way. And we could, of course, also imagine that his grandfather Daemon Velaryon was the one with the black wife. Thus book-Corlys could have very light dark skin and his children could have the skin color of their mother, basically.

And we just don't know who Corlys' parents were. I'm aware that him stating he had a Summer Islander mother named X would be somewhat akin to Rowling outing Dumbledore in an interview - it would change things that aren't really *there* in the novels - but it would certainly be possible without creating a direct contradiction.

And George has also gone on record wanting to introduce GoT characters like Ros to ASoIaF - no idea if he gone through with that in TWoW - so this wouldn't be completely unheard of. He also stated multiple times that the portrayal of Natalia Tena is going to have (or most likely already had) impact on his portrayal of Osha.

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You're letting your imagination run away with you. Introducing a new character in an in-progress novel is not "changing" a past novel. Having a free-from-Winterfell Osha act a bit more snarkily or whatever it means to say she'll act more like Tena's character strikes me as something that is also about an in-progress work.

George isn't going to change it, and folks will just have to deal with the fact that the show universe is increasingly going to divorce itself from the novel universe.

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5 hours ago, Ran said:

You're letting your imagination run away with you. Introducing a new character in an in-progress novel is not "changing" a past novel. Having a free-from-Winterfell Osha act a bit more snarkily or whatever it means to say she'll act more like Tena's character strikes me as something that is also about an in-progress work.

George isn't going to change it, and folks will just have to deal with the fact that the show universe is increasingly going to divorce itself from the novel universe.

I've gone back and checked the description of the characters involved. We don't have a description of Corlys himself. What we do have are those descriptions of his children/descendants. Let's start with Laena Velaryon:

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Grand Maester Runciter was the first to urge His Grace to remarry, even suggesting a suitable choice: the Lady Laena Velaryon, who had just turned twelve. A fiery young maiden, freshly flowered, Lady Laena had inherited the beauty of a true Targaryen from her mother, Rhaenys, and a bold, adventurous spirit from her father, the Sea Snake. As Lord Corlys loved to sail, Laena loved to fly, and had claimed for her own no less a mount than mighty Vhagar, the oldest and largest of the Targaryen dragons since the passing of the Black Dread in 94 AC. By taking the girl to wife, the king could heal the rift that had grown up between the Iron Throne and Driftmark, Runciter pointed out. And Laena would surely make a splendid queen.

Here we have a general reference to 'the beauty of a true Targaryen' - which is also kind of weird in light of the fact that Rhaenys didn't have Valyrian hair, and Laena did not inherit the black hair of her mother - no mentioning of the color of her skin.

This continues here when we finally get to her hair color:

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Flying back to the Stepstones afterward, Prince Daemon landed at Driftmark to make a courtesy call upon his erstwhile partner in conquest, the Sea Snake, and his wife, the Princess Rhaenys. High Tide was one of the few places in the Seven Kingdoms where the king’s brother could be confident he would not be turned away. There his eye fell upon Lord Corlys’s daughter, Laena, a maid of two-and-twenty, tall, slender, and surpassingly lovely (even Mushroom was taken with her beauty, writing that she “was almost as pretty as her brother”), with a great mane of silver-gold ringlets that fell down past her waist. Laena had been betrothed from the age of twelve to a son of the Sealord of Braavos…but the father had died before they could be wed, and the son soon proved a wastrel and a fool, squandering his family’s wealth and power before turning up on Driftmark. Lacking a graceful means to rid himself of the embarrassment, but unwilling to proceed with the marriage, Lord Corlys had repeatedly postponed the wedding.

All we can draw from that is that she had a great mane of silver-gold ringlets - which also doesn't tell us anything about the color of her skin.

Laena's children by Daemon are also described without a mentioning of their skin color at the time of their birth:

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In 116 AC, in the Free City of Pentos, Lady Laena gave birth to twin daughters, Prince Daemon’s first trueborn children. Prince Daemon named the girls Baela (after his father) and Rhaena (after her mother). The babes were small and sickly, alas, but both had fine features, silver-white hair, and purple eyes. When they were half a year old, and stronger, the girls and their mother sailed to Driftmark, whilst Daemon flew ahead with both dragons.

And, again, later during the Regency era:

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In truth, there were only two claimants the realm was like to accept: the king’s half-sisters Baela and Rhaena Targaryen, Prince Daemon’s twin daughters by his second wife, Lady Laena Velaryon. The girls were now sixteen years of age, tall and slim and silver-haired, very much the darlings of the city.

The only description we have of Laenor Velaryon is this short piece:

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(Ser Laenor had the aquiline nose, silver-white hair, and purple eyes that bespoke his Valyrian blood.)

No mentioning of his skin color.

The description of Addam and Alyn of Hull:

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Addam and his brother, Alyn (one year younger), had been born to a woman named Marilda, the pretty young daughter of a shipwright. A familiar sight about her father’s shipyards, the girl was better known as Mouse, for she was “small, quick, and always underfoot.” She was still sixteen when she gave birth to Addam in 114 AC, and barely eighteen when Alyn followed in 115. Small and quick as their mother, these bastards of Hull were both silver of hair and purple of eye, and soon proved to have “sea salt in their blood” as well, growing up in their grandsire’s shipyard and going to sea as ship’s boys before the age of eight. When Addam was ten and Alyn nine, their mother inherited the yards upon her own father’s death, sold them, and used the coin to take to the sea herself as the mistress of a trading cog she named Mouse. A canny trader and daring captain, by 130 AC Marilda of Hull owned seven ships, and her bastard sons were always serving on one or the other.

Again, no skin color discussion.

The one exception would be Daenaera Velaryon, who is thus described when presented to court:

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Daenaera Velaryon was an orphan. Her mother had been carried off by the Winter Fever; her father had died in the Stepstones when his True Heart went down. His own father had been that Ser Vaemond beheaded by Queen Rhaenyra, but Daeron had been reconciled with Lord Alyn and had died fighting for him. As she stood before the king that Maiden’s Day, clad in pale white silk, Myrish lace, and pearls, her long hair shining in the torchlight and her cheeks flush with excitement, Daenaera was but six years old, yet so beautiful she took the breath away. The blood of Old Valyria was strong in her, as is oft seen in the sons and daughters of the seahorse; her hair was silver laced with gold, her eyes as blue as a summer sea, her skin as smooth and pale as winter snow. “She sparkled,” Mushroom says, “and when she smiled, the singers in the gallery rejoiced, for they knew that here at last was a maid worthy of a song.” Daenaera’s smile transformed her face, men agreed; it was sweet and bold and mischievous, all at once. Those who saw it could not fail to think, “Here is a bright, sweet, happy little girl, the perfect antidote to the young king’s gloom.”

Here we have to go with pale white skin, but not in the case of the other people. And if we were to go with a black mother for Corlys Velaryon then she would only be Daenaera Velaryon's great-great-grandmother - more than enough generations to assume no traces of her looks remained. Or, one could easily go with Vaemond's father, Corlys' brother, being merely a half-brother, meaning Corlys' father had only Corlys with his hypothetical Summer Islander wife whereas the mother of Vaemond and the silent Velaryons was another woman.

Those are the facts:

1. We don't have canonical skin color descriptions for Corlys Velaryon, Laena Velaryon, Laenor Velaryon, Addam and Alyn of Hull, and Baela and Rhaena Targaryen.

2. We also have no canonical information about the parents of Corlys Velaryon.

From that we can conclude:

It is possible to imagine those people to be of mixed descent - the only thing we have to go with is the Valyrian hair and the Valyrian eyes. But those can be imagined to go with black(ish) skin color. It is not mutually exclusive to have black skin and silver-gold hair and purple eyes. It is just a racist reflex on our part to imagine all characters of Valyrian descent as being perfectly white. It is the default setting we have with those characters, but we cannot really turn to the text and say 'the author told us that this is the case.' Because he actually never did.

We have no actual reason to imagine the people above as having pale white skin - that only goes for a specific set of historical Targaryens and Velaryons for which the author actually established the skin color. Which is the case for Daenaera Velaryon, Viserra Targaryen, and a couple of others.

On the basis of this I'd view George giving a statement that Corlys Velaryon's mother or grandmother was a black woman not as 'a change' but as him elaborating some more on a detail - namely, Corlys Velaryon's parentage - he never bothered with in the books before.

And to be perfectly clear:

Even if George had described Laenor and Laena and the others all as white (which he did not) ... this would still not make it impossible their father was black. It is also imaginable that his children simply did not inherit their father's skin color. That happens occasionally, too, in the real world - just as in Westeros the magical 'Baratheon genes' gave out when Princess Rhaenys couldn't pass on her black hair to her children and grandchildren.

In that sense I say that George definitely could turn his Corlys Velaryon into a man of mixed descent without affecting or contradicting any published material so far.

Edited by Lord Varys

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The thing is, this colour-blind casting style is all the rage these days.

Just look at Bridgerton; Netflix's most watched series. Set in Regency era England and they've got black actors playing high ranking Dukes.

Instead of complaining about historical accuracy, everyone just praised how edgy and original it was. People don't care about these things anymore.

Re: The Witcher, I did "notice" the overly diverse casting and it drew a slight eye-roll, but as someone who never played the game or read the books, it didn't really bother me at all in terms of taking me out of the world because I wasn't aware of any of the lore or deeper world-building as to what characters from which regions should look like. For all I knew this was a made-up fantasy world and not really based on Europe. I imagine the casual viewer of House of the Dragon would have a similar view. 

Edited by Stuart Littlefinger

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11 hours ago, Ran said:

And yet it would not be impossible. I mean, look, I'm not a fan of this particular decision when Criston Cole or possibly the Strongs would have worked as well (as well as Nettles and the Hull boys) without needing any convoluted steps to fit it into all the known details we have about Corlys's immediate family and the future of the Velaryon line, but saying that Corlys's father, a man who was doubtless Master of Ships and a lord of the narrow sea, couldn't meet and fall in love with some Summer Islander noble or princess and marry her seems a stretch. It could happen. It didn't, in ASoIaF, because Corlys's mother was obviously either a Westerosi noblewoman or a high Valyrian Free Cities noblewoman, but in this alternate GoT universe, sure, that could happen.

There were non-Europeans in medieval Europe, just as there are non-Westerosi in Westeros. This isn't really an issue. There were Moors and Arabs in Spain, Sicily, and so on. Westeros definitely has much fewer, proportionally speaking, because of a lack of slavery, but this shouldn't affect the possibility of someone marrying a foreigner (of which we've a number of examples, though admittedly all being noblemen wed to Free Cities noblewomen.)

I wasn't saying it's impossible. But it never happened for a reason. That's it.

One can imagine such people in Dorne (a parallel to Spain), but not around the northern part of the Narrow-Sea (I'd say southern baltic regions). Not to mention that Summer Islander culture is pretty isolated. But I'm not arguing, because it could've happened the way you say.

18 minutes ago, Stuart Littlefinger said:

The thing is, this colour-blind casting style is all the rage these days.

Just look at Bridgerton; Netflix's most watched series. Set in Regency era England and they've got black actors playing high ranking Dukes.

Instead of complaining about historical accuracy, everyone just praised how edgy and original it was. People don't care about these things anymore.

The problem is that HotD's not colorblind casting. Colorblind casting would've been if anyone could play any character, or even no matter the bloodrelations (brothers being from different races, just as children and their parents). That's not what HBO is doing with HotD. They are making characters parts of other races on purpose. That means that white people can't get the role of Corlys and black people still can't get other roles.  This type of casting isn't the same to what Netflix used on The Witcher or Bridgerton.

If it would've been colorblind casting, I wouldn't complain here. Then give a chance to everyone to play anyone, no matter how different the person is from the character he's playing, but don't go with what HotD is doing.

Of course I'm a book fan and I'd be the most satisfied with the most accurate adaptation, but colorblind casting wouldn't ruin the show for me. This does, in a way.

Edited by Daeron the Daring

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On 2/19/2021 at 6:16 AM, saltedmalted said:

Hope the show flops. HBO is desperate for a milch-cow.

I'm  excited for this show, but at the same time if it does fail I won't be upset; it will validate my feelings/opinion that D&D irrevocably damaged this franchise

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1 hour ago, Xanderen said:

I really hope they cast openly queer actors as Laenor and Joffrey...

I have to find time to re-read F&B, I remember Laanor being gay, but Joffery? Wasn't he a little kid?

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1 minute ago, Sotan said:

I have to find time to re-read F&B, I remember Laanor being gay, but Joffery? Wasn't he a little kid?

Ser Joffrey Lonmouth is the person being referred to. Laenor's presumed lover.

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2 minutes ago, Ran said:

Ser Joffrey Lonmouth is the person being referred to. Laenor's presumed lover.

LMAO! I'm re-reading it next weekend. Its be soo long!

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6 hours ago, Xanderen said:

I really hope they cast openly queer actors as Laenor and Joffrey...

They could, but I don't see a great need for that. Acting is acting, not portrayal of something an actor *happens to be* in the real world. I know that it has become popular among queers to lobby for that, but, honestly, it would be better if queer actors became more visible in public life in general, not just by way of playing a specific set of roles.

In a certain sense that's like saying only people being part of a specific group can play members of that group - be it ethnicity, nationality, religion, etc.

Edited by Lord Varys

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57 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

it would be better if queer actors became more visible in public life in general

THIS!!!

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11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

They could, but I don't see a great need for that. Acting is acting, not portrayal of something an actor *happens to be* in the real world. I know that it has become popular among queers to lobby for that, but, honestly, it would be better if queer actors became more visible in public life in general, not just by way of playing a specific set of roles.

In a certain sense that's like saying only people being part of a specific group can play members of that group - be it ethnicity, nationality, religion, etc.

Oh, totally. I feel like HBO has some fences to mend after what they did to Loras though...

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