It's been a year since the season finale that should have never happened, but Game of Thrones fans are still salty about the way that the epic HBO original series ended. Fortunately, the network has another opportunity to do right by George R.R. Martin's storied fantasy universe with a developing GoT prequel that could — and absolutely should — see Westeros being far more diverse.
Late last year, HBO announced that a new GoT series focused on the ancestral line of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) had been picked up for production, and the project has officially entered the casting phase. Based on Martin's Fire & Blood, House of the Dragon is predicted to delve into the lore of Westeros' most fearsome family, exploring the terse in-house politics that led to a civil war that would permanently divide the expanse of the continent for centuries to come. There will be drama, and there will be dragons — but will there be any people of color?
Let's face it: for a made-up land mass, Westeros was really white. Sure, there were a few main characters who were also people of color sprinkled throughout, but GoT was largely missing the detailed narratives of nonwhite folks. When Black and brown people were part of the storyline, they were often props, part of someone else's story arc. They worked tirelessly as enslaved people or served in their armies, nothing more.
The few exceptions could be Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson). Though no one on the show really got a happy ending — except Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), the one true Queen in the North — I'm far enough removed from GoT to point out that these two definitely got the short end of the stick. Missandei's tragic beheading by Cersei (Lena Headey) was the catalyst for Daenerys' mental breakdown, and Grey Worm lost his one true love but still had to stick by his Queen in her quest for world
domination liberation. But the plot of the HBO original didn't bother to take the time to explore the nuanced experiences of these characters; instead, they served as shallow foils to the development of their khaleesi.
House of the Dragon presents a unique opportunity for HBO, not only to wipe our minds clean of the disaster that was GoT's series finale, but also to lean into the untold stories of Westeros' overlooked population. While the show may be about the Targaryens, pre-war Westeros is described to have enjoyed a certain amount of cultural unity and diversity across the seven kingdoms. So there's literally no reason for the prequel to keep ignoring the people of color in this universe.
There's no official word on which specific characters from Martin's Fire & Blood will make an appearance in House of the Dragon, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll get a cast that is as diverse as they are interesting. And after the way that GoT ended, HBO owes us that at least.