It seems there has been some major backlash regarding a certain casting decision for season four of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones. Pedro Pascal has been tapped to play the part of Oberyn Martell, aka the Red Viper of Dorne. The issue at hand is the appearance of the actor – namely the argument that Pascal does not look ethnic enough to play the part.
Oberyn Martell, as a native of the hot desert land of Dorne, is described to have dark features and olive-brown skin in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series. Evidently many readers do not feel that the Chilean actor fits the bill.
Martin, however, disagrees. On his official blog, the author said that while he wasn’t present for the audition he has been told that Pascal “really killed it,” and fully expects that he’ll make a great Red Viper. Martin also went on to explain that his vision of the “Salty Dornish” (the Dornishmen from the coast, as opposed to the desert – Sandy – or mountains – Stony) has always been more Mediterranean than African. He describes them as looking Mediterranean, and implies that in his eyes Pedro Pascal fits that description perfectly.
Martin also made a point to address the intention to do ethnic justice to Oberyn Martell’s daughters – known as the Sand Snakes – whose appearances range from blond and blue-eyed to dark-haired and brown skinned. After all, Game of Thrones has always had a comparatively racially diverse cast in the past.
What do you think? Does Pedro Pascal look like the Red Viper to you?