Unveiling the Spectrum: Diversity's Triumph in "House of the Dragon"

In the sci-fi and fantasy worlds of yore that dominated pop culture stories, diversity had been largely overlooked in their casts, if not absent. Now, the winds of change are blowing multicoloured feathers in the white decors of sci-fi and fantasy, as HBO and Max’s House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones prequel series, delivers a dazzling missive: when white protagonists dominate stories, diversity is sorely missed. The royals of House Targaryen are getting ready for the second season of their run on HBO and Max, and two of their Black actors are sharing their stories about growing up loving fantasy, and growing into themselves while growing through House of the Dragon.

Breaking Chains: The Dawn of Diverse Heroes in Fantasy

The fantasy worlds we escaped into for so long were heavily homogenous places, with no cultures from our real world to enrich the fiction. Yet ‘House of the Dragon’ is on its way to being the first such production to shift toward diversity in the casting of its actors. Bethany Antonia, who brings Lady Baela Targaryen to life, tells me that seeing herself represented wasn’t the norm in stories like these growing up. ‘I would be waiting for a Black person to show up and it would be the tavern girl, unable to pay – and that was it,’ she said. Portraying Lady Baela is just as much Antonia’s story as it is the character’s. In some way, her young fans will see themselves in this brave and kind warrior.

The Power of Representation: Connecting Through Fantasy with MAX

This show, House of the Dragon, provides more diverse characters, so we get a deeper sense of attachment. Antonia talked about the joy of being together, of all identifying and of participating through embodiment: ‘We can show up as other characters, and that brings more possibilities for fans.’ On the other side, representation can reinforce community.

Echoes of Progress: The Voice of Lord Corlys Velaryon

Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon has talked about how sci-fi and fantasy worlds have changed. He remembers watching these kinds of shows as a kid, and noting the complete absence of people of colour. ‘That felt like a silent question: “Do we not exist in the future?”’ But Toussaint says that acting the part of the Sea Snake is now ‘part of a bigger conversation about what it should look like. And the fact that it should reflect our world, of course it should.’

Fanfare and Future: Embracing Diversity Beyond Westeros with MAX

The fan volley of support for the casting of House of the Dragon represents a tipping point. Toussaint talked about the way that fans reached out to let the casting team know how grateful they were for representation, and how important that is. ‘Really the whole thing is about: how do we represent the audience to make everyone feel seen? And so I feel like it’s a real beginning for now, for us to continue to open up the world of entertainment to everybody.

Anticipating the Next Chapter: Season Two and Beyond with MAX

House of the Dragon, which debuts the second season on 16 June on HBO and Max, will surely dive even deeper into these power dynamics of Westeros. The show is a powerful model for what it means for any other franchise to be truly committed to diversity – that is, to better reflect the world in which we actually exist.

Beyond "House of the Dragon": MAX and the Future of Diverse Storytelling

Max not only shows people that TV entertainment can be more diverse – but, in presenting these shows to wide audiences, he’s helping the trend to spread. In a world where people feel misrepresented, Max not only delivers the representation they want – he reminds them that they deserve to have the story told their way.

Exploring MAX: A Beacon for Diversity in Entertainment

At the core of this movement to increase diversity in fantasy and sci-fi entertainment is Max, a platform that is always pushing the boundaries of entertainment. With House of the dragon, Max demonstrates its dedication to broadening the scope of entertainment, which benefits viewers around the world, and marks the first step to creating a more inclusive media landscape for everyone. Max’s commitment to creating a world where the mind is free to explore the boundless futures of fantasy and beyond is not a novel idea. House of the dragon is a testament to diversity as a means to connect people to relatable narratives and create a more accurate representation of the human connection in entertainment.

Jun 06, 2024
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