Between the series “Home of the Dragon” and the book “Fire and Blood” by George R.R. Martin there are a number of differences to be found, but there is one that made an impression even before the series hit our screens.
The representatives of House Velarion, the second most powerful family in Westeros and excellent seafarers, are dark-skinned on screen, while in the book they are not.
This decision is far from insignificant – both the “Sea Serpent” Corlys Velarion (Steve Toussaint) and the other members of his house have key roles in the destinies of Westeros and the struggle for the throne of the Seven Kingdoms.
That’s why the change of the family’s race was not well received by all Martin fans, although it did not cause such an uproar as the dark elves, dwarves and halflings in The Rings of Power.
However, Ryan Condall, showrunner of Home of the Dragon, has his own explanation for the reason for this change, and it’s far from just to ensure a more diverse cast.
According to him, the fact that the Velarions are dark-skinned is not to put a tick on the racial theme or to make the creators of the series seem too progressive.
One of the arguments of the creators of the series is that it makes it easier for viewers to distinguish Velarion from the other houses.
“It’s 2022, it’s a different era than the one in which [други] series have been made, we have an extremely diverse audience not only in America but in different countries that speak different languages that represent every skin color under the sun. And it was really important to see some of that reflected on the screen,” Condall explains during an interview with The Grill.
“It’s a fantasy world. I think if it was a historical fiction show, the discussion would be more nuanced. But I think just because it’s a fantasy world, if we believe in dragons and shapeshifters and werewolves, we can believe that not everyone in the story it’s white,” adds the main screenwriter of “Dragon’s House”.
There is a reason why house Velarion became dark-skinned in the series – because they come from the lost empire of Valyria, about which “not much is known”.
“We know that everyone [там] had silver hair, we know they have an attraction to dragons, at least some of them. And we know that they are viewed, as the books and the show indicate, as closer to gods than to humans,” Condal says.
He recalls an article in which the writer George R.R. Martin explained that he had at one point considered all Valyrians to be dark-skinned. This idea – about dark-skinned people with silver hair – remained in the head of the future screenwriter of “Dragon House”.
Condal also points out that Valyria was a giant continent with a diverse population, and this raises the question of why there should not be a line of dark-skinned Velarion in this story.
In this case, however, the scriptwriter of “The House of the Dragon” is wrong – Valyria is only one peninsula of the large continent of Essos, which actually already has a more diverse population. The Valyrians themselves are a separate people from this continent, which, after the discovery and taming of dragons, became the center of a large and powerful empire.
Moreover – not all clans in Valyria can ride dragons – this skill is passed on in a relatively narrow circle, to which the Velarion clan does not belong.
According to Condal, an additional plus for the decision to change the race of the representatives of this house comes from the fact that in this way it is easier for viewers to distinguish them from other noble families in the “House of the Dragon” and from the rest of the Valyrians – i.e. is. the representatives of House Targaryen.
And what’s more – to make it even clearer that it is disputed who is the father of Rhaenyra’s children.
“I think there are a lot of visual benefits that came out of it [от това решение]”, adds Condal.
In reality, the move was ultimately accepted by the majority of the fanbase, even though there are practically signs in the books themselves that House Velarion are not dark-skinned. Lord Corlys is a third cousin of King Viserys, his great-grandfather Daemon being the brother of Queen Alyssa, the wife of Aegon the Conqueror’s first son, Aenys.
The son of Enys and Alyssa – Jaerys, who we saw in the first episode of “The House of the Dragon”, should have inherited from his mother the darker skin, as seen in Lenore and Lena Velarion – the children of the marriage of Lord Corlys and Rhaenys Targaryen.
Additionally, given the fact that House Velarion inhabited Driftmark long before the Targaryens came to Westeros, it suggests that they married local nobles to avoid incest. The possibility that they practiced incest here is slim, because the act was mostly reserved for the dragonrider clans of Valyria, while in the Seven Kingdoms the practice is seen as a grave sin.
Accordingly, even if they were black to begin with, it is very likely that over the generations the skin of the representatives of the kind will fade, taking more and more from the Westeros mothers in genetic terms.
For all that, Condal is right about the purely visual effect of the change. Also Steve Toussaint, who plays Lord Corliss, gives an impressive performance that captures what his character, the Sea Serpent, should be.
So we can assume that the change actually, even from a fan perspective, isn’t that important that we can’t enjoy the series and the presentation of the story.