Let me start off by saying that I'm a HUGE Game of Thrones fan. I love the show dearly and I watch it reguarly. I have favorites I root for, I have characters I despise more than anything, and there are moments I'm looking forward to seeing this season (PURPLE WEDDING OMG). I guess I'm just trying to say that I'm one of you, GoT fandom. I know far too well that nothing sucks worse than people complaining about shows they don't watch.
Regardless, I have big problem this season in the form of Oberyn Martell and Ellaria Sand.
Don't misunderstand. It's not the characters I have an issue with. Their introduction last night was all kinds of awesome. "Lady? I'm no Lady. That's a falsehood anywhere. Let's call things what they are. I am a bastard. She is a whore. You are, what, a procurer?" and "Your friend is about to bleed quite profusely. So many veins in the wrist," gave me serious fangirl feels. What I do have a problem with is that the characters themselves are presented as broad stereotypes: the Hot Headed Spaniard meets the Latin Lover and the Latina Spitfire. Complete with Inigo-Montoya-Ricardo-Montalban-Most-Interesting-Man-in-the-World-esque "reech Coreentheean lehthurr"/"joo keel my fahderr"/"estay thurstee my frriends" accents.
I was actually excited when Pedro Pascal, a Chilean actor with a very impressive resume, was cast as Oberyn. Despite the ridiculous outcry that he was "wrong" for the character because he didn't quite fit the stereotype in readers of A Song of Ice and Fire's heads, I was curious to see what he would do with the character and I was confident that I'd be intrigued by it. After watching him last night, however, I'm disappointed to see him succumbing to the type of Inigo Montoya stereotype that dumb fanboys wanted in the first place.
Further, when she opened her mouth and gave us her best "Espaniard" impersonation, it dawned on me that Indira Varma (an actress I've loved since her debut in Kama Sutra) wasn't so much cast because of her considerable talents, but rather because the color of her skin sells the stereotype she's embodying. If the producers wanted an actress with an exotic "Espanish" flavor who speaks in "thetheo"-accented English, they could have cast an actual Spaniard for the role. Someone like Elsa Pataky or Maribel Verdu, both natives of Madrid. My guess is, those ladies are too "white" looking for someone as "exotic" as Ellaria Sand.
In the age of #CancelColbert, where people have no qualms calling others out on their casual racism, why are the "Not a Real Spaniard"/"Not Latin@ Enough" stereotypes so slow to die?