- “Game of Thrones” returns for its final season on April 14th.
- Throughout the show, there are only a few black characters, and they all seem to be from the same place.
- The Summer Isles is the fictional world’s source of darker skinned people, and the islands have a long and rich history.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Manny: I love “Game of Thrones.” I. Love. That. S—. I love getting lost in the mythology, the love stories, the backstabbings, the battles. Did I mention the backstabbings? But one thing I’ve always been interested in is the show’s black characters, who are few and far between.
“Game of Thrones” largely takes place in the continents of Westeros and Essos. Most of the characters are from Westeros, which is loosely based on medieval Europe, so it makes sense that these characters are white. However, Westeros and Essos are only a part of a huge world, and characters make references to foreign regions all the time. This is especially true for the show’s black characters as virtually all of them seem to be from the same place.
Grey Worm: I come from the Summer… ills.
Missandei: Isles, Summer Isles.
Grey Worm: Summer Isles.
Manny: So where are the Summer Isles? They’re not on HBO’s official map for the show, but fans of the book series can tell you that the islands are south of Westeros. According to the books, the Summer Islanders are strong, handsome people. Their skin colour is described as “nut brown, teak, ebony, and jet black.” Their eyes and hair are black, and they’re said to highly respect their elders.
OK, yeah, these people are black. But who are they on the show? Grey Worm, the leader of the Unsullied soldiers, says he was taken from the Summer Isles as a baby. Xaro, the dude who was thirsty for Daenerys in season 2, says he grew up in the Summer Isles before moving to Qarth.
Xaro: Here I am, a savage from the Summer Isles.
Manny: Salladhor Saan, the pirate and mercenary who’s friends with Davos Seaworth, also says he’s from the Summer Isles.
It’s important to note that in the books, none of these characters are from the Summer Isles. HBO decided to change their race and their background stories for the show.
Now let’s talk about the islands themselves. The Summer Isles are said to comprise over 50 islands, but the vast majority of its citizens live in just three of them: Jhala, Walano, and Omboru. Each of these three islands is ruled by a prince or princess, and there is little to no warfare between them. That’s because the Summer Islanders are very peaceful people. In fact, they have never made any attempts to conquer foreign lands. Maybe the rest of “Game of Thrones'” characters could learn something from them.
Thousands of years before the events of “Game of Thrones,” Summer Islanders are said to have gone through an age of exploration. They first travelled east to the island of Naath, which seems to be the second of two sources of black people in the known world. This is where Missandei, Daenerys’ loyal confidant, was born. The people of Naath are said to have dark skin and golden eyes. Apparently, they’re even more peaceful than the Summer Islanders due to their belief in extreme pacifism.
Sadly, their pacifism is the reason slavers find the people of Naath to be good slaves. This could explain why a lot of the slaves on the TV show appear to be darker-skinned.
Clearly, there’s a lot of history to be explored in the Summer Isles and Naath. HBO seems to be gearing up to do just that as its “Game of Thrones” spinoff show is casting a lot of black actors and actresses. Could this mean that the show will at least partially take place in the Summer Isles? I pray, by the old gods and the new.
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