Sorry to break it to you but Game of Thrones is racist af
Last night’s episode proves non-white actors are just used as props
Everyone agrees that Game of Thrones', The Long Night, was one of the most thrilling cinematic experiences television has seen in a long time. 78 minutes of intense fighting and clever plot twists kept everyone on the edge of their seats. No wonder it broke a world record as the most tweeted about episode of scripted TV of all time.
But in all its glory, we have somehow allowed ourselves to become tone-deaf to the lack of diversity in the show's casting and the downright structural racism of the entire plot. The Dothraki army, along with The Unsullied, being killed in mere seconds in last night's episode was the perfect microcosm for the show's treatment of its non-white characters. They were simply portrayed as one-dimensional tools, mere pawns in the wider plot.
Between 99 percent of the Dothraki being killed in the first minute of the battle and the Unsullied being the defense for the castle during the retreat, they really did the POC dirty
— Josefa Velasquez (@J__Velasquez) April 29, 2019
When aliens come to earth and ask why wasn’t there POC on Game of Thrones how will we answer them? pic.twitter.com/L26NJjcNlh
— Not Only a Thug, A Poet (@SoloChills) April 13, 2019
"But it's a fantasy film!!" you're probably screaming at me. "They put all of their best fighters up front to fight the dead!!!" Please. Let's not act like we held a minute's silence for them, as their striking voices quickly dissipated into thin air. They were portrayed as savages for seven seasons straight, given an uncivilised, rapey homogenous identity and practically wiped out in seconds.
The entire emotional stakes of that scene would have been different if there had been even a single named dothraki character with actual lines who offers a glimpse of their perspective
— Adam Serwer🍝 (@AdamSerwer) April 29, 2019
But that's just the tip of the iceberg of the show's very real racism problem. Daenerys' entire existence is defined by a white-saviour complex to rule the brown people who couldn't even say "thank you", because the phrase didn't exist in their language. This was done to help her fulfil a selfish end goal of claiming the Iron Throne.
Every non-white character embodies racist tropes. They are either portrayed as sexist brutes or a subservient followers, incapable of possessing any agency. The only three significant non-white characters, Khal Drogo, Greyworm and Missandei, all purely exist as props in Daenerys' storyline.
In fact, the lack of diversity on the show is so bad, it doesn't even pass the DuVernay test, which is like the Bechdel test but used to measure a film's diversity. Game of Thrones has dragons and zombies, but can't even have a produce a few POC leads? Shameful.
When asked why Westeros was so white, George R.R. Martin wrote in a blog post: "Westeros is the fantasy analogue of the British isles in its world, so it is a long long way from the Asia analogue. There weren't a lot of Asians in Yorkshire England."
To deny the existence of black people and ethnic minorities in Medieval Europe is so incredibly ignorant, it shows how whitewashed our knowledge of history is. They were there. They came as traders, explorers and warriors.
The very fact that people try to use this inaccurate claim as a reason to exclude people of colour from the show, goes to show just how far we're willing to lie to ourselves in order to avoid dealing with the real problem -institutional racism within the film industry. And unfortunately, Game of Thrones is just another show perpetuating it.