The Sand Snakes, the illegitimate daughters of Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), are among the most highly anticipated new characters coming in “Game of Thrones” Season 5. However, not everybody is excited about how the trio of Dornish women from the “Song of Ice and Fire” books are being portrayed in the series. Many fans believe HBO made a mistake in the casting of the three roles, choosing actresses who are “too white,” a decision some fans are calling racist.
The Sand Snakes -- Tyene, Nymeria and Obara -- will be played by Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, Jessica Henwick and Keisha Castle-Hughes, respectively. The criticism of the casting appears to stem from the fact all three actresses have fairly light complexions and seem to have very similar ethnic backgrounds. This happenstance does not sit well with fans who believe the daughters of the olive-skinned Oberyn Martell, with his insatiable taste for exotic women, would be a little more diverse. A number of those fans took to Twitter to voice their displeasure, with some examples of their outrage here:
— Rachita (@rachitavasan) July 26, 2014
they're so white-passing i can't believe this http://t.co/QkwUMdVuIw
— space neil (@flinchers) March 3, 2015
The Dornish daughters of OberynMartell arent supposed to be pastry white! http://t.co/VGotjPWzxi
— I. (@imdadawan) March 4, 2015
When the casting of the Sand Snakes is compared with the characters’ descriptions in the books, however, the “too white” critique does not appear to hold up, even though there are some curious discrepancies. In “A Feast for Crows,” Tyene is called fair-skinned with golden hair and blue eyes, but Sellers does not have what could pass as golden hair. In the same book, Nymeria is described as having pale, white skin. In contrast, Obara is said to have rat-brown hair.
Amid the accusations that the trio of actresses in the show look so similar, fans claiming they are “too white” should take the issue up with “A Song of Ice and Fire” author George R.R. Martin. Still, that is not to say the series producers, who have proven their willingness to deviate from the books from time to time, could not have taken the opportunity to be more progressive in their casting choices.
Ultimately, fans will decide whether they approve of the casting of the three roles. They can see the Sand Snakes in action when “Game of Thrones” returns to HBO April 12 with its Season 5 premiere.
Do you have a problem with the Sand Snakes casting? Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.