Game Of Thrones Fans Boycotting New George R.R. Martin Book

George R.R. Martin's upcoming reference book is being boycotted by some fans because of Martin's collaboration with Linda Antonsson and Elio M. García Jr., who have been accused of making racist comments.

By Vic Medina | Published

There’s something rotten in the state of Westeros. Outrage is spreading among fans who claim that Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin is collaborating with racist authors for his latest book, The Rise of the Dragon: An Illustrated History of the Targaryen Dynasty, Volume One. The reference book provides more historical background for those following the new Game of Thrones spinoff series on HBO, House of the Dragon, but critics say co-authors Linda Antonsson and Elio M. García Jr. have made racist comments in the past, and are calling for a boycott and for Martin to cut ties with them.

According to a report in Variety, these critics are upset that Antonsson and Garcia, who are married, have criticized the casting of minority actors to play characters that are described as specifically white in both the Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon HBO series. The pair also run the website, and those critics point to past posts on the site in which they are critical of replacing white actors with ethnic and racial minorities. They site a 2012 post in which Antonsson criticized the casting of actor Nonso Anozie, who is Black, to play the character Xaro Xhoan Daxos, who is described as pale white in the books.

After Martin posted on social media about the Rise of the Dragon book, critics called for a boycott to protest the authors’ participation, but the issue is more complicated than just diverse casting. In a response to the criticism, Linda Antonsson and Elio M. García Jr. claim their statements are not racist, and are about staying true to Martin’s source material and not creating logical gaps just to satisfy calls for diversity. In Game of Thrones specifically, much is made of the purity of races and bloodlines, so much so that the Targaryen family line, featured so prominently in the books and TV series, resorts to inbreeding and incest to stay “pure.”

game of thrones
The Rise of the Dragon: An Illustrated History of the Targaryen Dynasty, Volume One, due for release on October 25

In House of the Dragon, Steve Toussaint, a Black actor, portrays Lord Corlys Velaryon, a close relative of the Targaryens, known for their pale skin and platinum blonde hair. While Toussaint has been fantastic in the role, Antonsson cited the logical fallacy of his casting, stating “There are no Black Valyrians and there should not be any in the show.” That led some long-time Game of Thrones fans to protest, including one Twitter user who pleaded directly to Martin’s promotional post with “Stop working with racists that bring hate and derision into the fandom, please.”

It should be noted that the Variety article did not put comments by followers into the proper context. While Variety claimed “thousands” took issue with Antonsson and García, we could only find a few dozen critical comments, and the vast majority of the comments to Martin’s social media post were more concerned with the status of his next book in the Game of Thrones series, The Winds of Winter. The book is the previously-announced sixth installment in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, and fans have been waiting over a decade for it to arrive, even though the Game of Thrones TV series (which covers the book’s events) has already ended its run.

The Rise of the Dragon: An Illustrated History of the Targaryen Dynasty, Volume One arrives in bookstores on October 25.