Game of Thrones: George R.R. Martin defends casting of Pedro Pascal stating the show has a “racially and ethnically diverse cast”

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As we reported earlier this week, Chilean actor Pedro Pascal has been cast in the forthcoming season of Game of Thrones to play Oberyn Martell (A.K.A The Red Viper).

But since then, writer of the books George R.R. Martin has come forward to defend the casting of Pascal stating he wasn’t present for his audition but understands he “killed it with his reading” – I thought that would be a great thing for any actor… to be good at reading.


In a blog post on his official website, Martin went on to say that a “producer of another TV show” on which Pascal starred has written to him to say how “terrific” Pascal is.

He also went on to thank David (Benioff) and Dan (Weiss) for having a “racially and ethnically diverse cast on the series”.

He wrote: “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.

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“I do know that David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] 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).”

Entertainment weekly describes Pascal’s character as: “a brash, charming, cunning prince of Dorne (part of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros). His sister Elia was brutally murdered by the Lannister knight Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane when Mad King Aerys was overthrown by Robert Baratheon and the Lannisters. In season four, Oberyn comes to King’s Landing with revenge on his mind”.

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Speaking about the casting, Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss said: “This was a tough one. The Red Viper is sexy and charming, yet believably dangerous; intensely likable, yet driven by hate. The boys love him, the girls love him, and he loves them all back. Unless your last name is Lannister. We found a fellow who can handle the job description and make it seem effortless. He wasn’t easy to find and he won’t be easy to stop.”

Game of Thrones is set to return to HBO in the spring of 2014.

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