George R.R. Martin responds to those Red Viper casting controversies

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Jul 5, 2013, 10:38 AM EDT (Updated)

Hot on the heels of last week’s major Game of Thrones announcement that Chilean actor Pedro Pascal had been cast as the Red Viper of Dorne—which in turn gave rise to a flurry of debates amongst fans—George R.R. Martin has taken to his blog.

The A Song of Ice and Fire author responded to a fan question and had a lot to say about Pascal, the ethnicity of Prince Oberyn Martell (aka the Red Viper), the Martells in general, the people from Dorne, as well as other various characters from his novels and the HBO show.

*Book spoilers ahead*

This is what Martin wrote on his LiveJournal blog:

I wasn't present for Pedro Pascal's audition, but I understand that he really killed it with his reading. And since his casting was announced, the producer of another TV show on which he appeared recently has written me to say how terrific Pascal is, and to congratulate us on the casting. So I suspect that he will turn out to be a wonderful Red Viper.
I do know that David and Dan and HBO do favor having a racially and ethnically diverse cast on the series. It is true that we've lost several black characters who appear in the novels (Chataya and Alayaya, Jalabhar Xho, Strong Belwas), but to balance that, characters like Salladhor Saan and Xaro Xhoan Daxos, both white in the books, have been played by black actors. Missandei as well, though in the books the Naathi are golden-skinned, not white.
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. Pedro Pascal is Chilean. (Check out Amok's version of the Red Viper, that's how I saw him. Or Magali Villenueve's beautiful and sexy portrait of Princess Arianne).
When and if the show introduces Prince Oberyn's daughters, the Sand Snakes, I expect we will see the same diversity as in the books, ranging from Tyene (blond and blue-eyed) to Sarella (light brown skin, as her mother was a Summer Islander). And I expect that the crew of the CINNAMON WIND will all be cast with black actors... assuming, of course, that Sam's voyage remains in the story.

Everyone has their own idea as to what a certain book character looks like, even when the author gives a thorough description of said character’s appearance. That’s the beauty of a little thing called imagination.

Following what Martin just said, are you looking forward even more to seeing Pascal's performance as the Red Viper?

(Not a blog via Winteriscoming)