The upcoming fifth season of Game of Thrones will take viewers to the southern region of Dorne for the first time. While there, viewers will be introduced to several new characters, among them a trio of deadly women known as the Sand-Snakes. But some fans are already up in arms about the three women, claiming the show's casting of the three daughters is racist.
The three women -- Obara, Tyene and Nymeria -- are the bastard daughters of Oberyn Martell (the spear-wielding Dornishmen who met his end last season at the hands of Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane). While many fans seemed pleased with the show's casting of Chilean actor Pedro Pascal as the Red Viper, some fans are in an uproar over the casting choice of Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers and Jessica Henwick as the three Sand-Snakes. Specifically, they think the women are too "white."
A recent behind-the-scenes video titled "Weapons of Dorne" gave viewers their first good look at each of the actors in costume. You can check out the video below for a look at the women in their gear, complete with controversial nipple-armor.
But it is the skin of the women themselves that are causing the biggest uproar.
— Capleesi (@Capleesi) March 2, 2015
Many viewers believe the Dornish who inhabit the southern deserts of Westeros to be an entirely race from the men and women who make up the rest of the continent, but that isn't actually the case. Here is what Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin had to say about his vision for the Dornish:
"As for the Dornishmen, well, though by and large I reject one to one analogies, I've always pictured the "salty Dornish" as being more Mediterranean than African in appearance; Greek, Spanish, Italian, Portugese, etc. Dark hair and eyes, olive skin."
Castle-Hughes is half Maori, Sellers is part Italian and Henwick is half Singaporean Chinese. If you take Martin's word for it, the Dornish aren't any "less white" than the rest of the people of Westeros. In that regard, all three actresses all look like they could plausibly be the daughters of Pascal's Oberyn Martell.
The Sand-Snakes in the show, however, do not look much like their book counterparts in many other senses. In the show, each woman looks to be a warrior complete with armor. In the books, Tyene is a blonde-haired septa of the seven and Nymeria a refined noblewoman. Of the three, only Obara could truly be classified as a warrior, though each of the three Sand-Snakes are deadly in their own ways.
We will have to wait for the show's season five premiere to see just how different the show's version of the Sand-Snakes are. Game of Thrones season five premieres on HBO April 12.