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Why Corlys Velaryon Is Black (& No It’s Not A Problem)

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Corlys Velaryon is Black in House of the Dragon, a fact that has caused some unfortunate responses but is actually good for the show and makes sense to boot. House of the Dragon is a Game of Thrones prequel, but it’s going to be a very different show in a lot of ways. That certainly goes for its timeline, which begins roughly 200 years prior the story of Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and all the rest. But it will be true in myriad other ways, from its Targaryen-centric civil war plot and dragon vs. dragon warfare, to how the story is told, what it’s adapting (an in-universe history book rather than a novel series), and the people tasked with bringing the show to life.

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For one, House of the Dragon has been co-created by George R.R. Martin, alongside Ryan Condal (who is co-showrunner with veteran Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik. Martin has greater oversight and influence than he did on most of Thrones, which itself should help the show succeed. There’s also an enviable array of talent in front of the camera, including Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen, Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Eve Best as Rhaenys Targaryen, and Steve Toussaint as Corlys Velaryon.


It’s the latter of those that has sadly caused a mixture of confusion and consternation, since it means Corlys Velaryon is Black. There are, inevitably, qualms about things like “book authenticity,” though much of the backlash stems from a far less genuine (and rather more racist) place. There should be no arguing with the showrunners deciding Corlys is Black, but exploring the decision further shows that it does indeed make sense, and is a good step for the show and the wider Game of Thrones franchise.

Is Corlys Velaryon Black In The Books?

In what some may proclaim as the biggest “gotcha” of the discussion around House of the Dragon’s casting, Corlys Velaryon is not Black in any of the books in which he’s mentioned, including Fire & Blood. But, at the same time, he is also not not Black. Simply put, Corlys’ skin color is never described on the page, meaning there’s no reason he can’t be portrayed by a Black man in House of the Dragon. Yes, he is of Valyrian descent and, yes, they are largely known for their pale skin as well as silver hair and violet eyes (the latter two attributes Corlys does have in the books, and just wait until people find out what Toussaint’s real eye color is…). But there is no definitive there; nothing to claim ALL those of Valyrian descent have pale skin.


While House Targaryen may have largely interbred, but the same wasn’t true of other Houses. The Velaryons’ ships served as dragons of the sea, carrying them all over the known world, and Corlys’ mother isn’t described. It’s perfectly possible that she too was Black, and that Corlys inherited genetic traits from both his parents. The Velaryons are only briefly featured in A Song of Ice and Fire, with a Cersei Lannister chapter from A Feast for Crows noting they “came from old Valyrian stock, however, and some had the same silvery hair as the dragonkings of old.” Likewise, The World of Ice and Fire book mentions the “great beauty of the Valyrians – with their hair of palest silver or gold and eyes in shades of purple not found amongst other people.” Thus it can be taken these are the two most defining traits, rather than skin color.


Another common complaint around Corlys being Black is the apparent impact it has upon other storylines, most notably the children his son, Laenor, supposedly has with Rhaenyra Targaryen. It’s widely rumored (and almost certainly true) that Laenor is gay and Rhaenyra’s kids are bastards she conceived with Harwin Strong, a Knight, as they all have the same brown hair as him rather than Laenor and Rhaenyra’s Valyrian locks. The point, though, is that the children don’t look like Laenor, so again skin color doesn’t really have to enter into it; if Rhaenyra’s children are white, then it is still only a suggestion of their true parentage rather than outright confirmation.


Why Corlys Velaryon Is Black In House Of The Dragon

Among the many criticisms of Game of Thrones both during and after its run concerns its lack of diversity. Also the show did cast people of color, few were in prominent roles. Those that were often took on parts such as slaves, like Missandei  and Grey Worm liberated by the white Daenerys. Again, there’s the argument of the source material – most characters are white, or thought to be – and the show, because it ran for almost an entire decade, lived long enough to span societal and cultural change. Whereas its predominantly white cast (and white, male writing and directing team) may not have been seen as such a major issue in 2011, it was by 2019. Part of that is attitudes changing and progressing, part is that the show probably could have done more.

That’s the opportunity House of the Dragon has taken: a more diverse, inclusive cast and crew that can offer greater representation. Having Corlys Velaryon be Black is part of that, as well as simply casting the right man for the part (Toussaint is a screen veteran, and images of him as Lord Velaryon should be enough to show he’s nailed the character; if not, the House of the Dragon trailer does a convincing job). Speaking to EW, Ryan Condal himself explained the change, saying:

“Long, long ago when he was conceiving of this world, [Martin] himself had considered the idea of making Velaryons a race of Black people with silver hair that essentially came from the other side of the ocean and conquered Westeros. That’s a fascinating idea and that always really stuck with me because it’s such a stark image. I just thought, ‘Well, why couldn’t we do a version of that now?'”

Why Corlys Velaryon Being Black Is Good For House Of The Dragon

Even if there were clear textual proof that Corlys Velaryon is supposed to be pale-skinned, casting a Black actor wouldn’t really matter: as far as his character’s story goes, while his Valyrian descent is certainly important, there’s little to imply that his skin color is. In the absence of any such clear evidence, then the arguments against Corlys being Black really fall apart, but what’s more is that this should be seen as a good thing for House of the Dragon. Representation matters, and fantasy stories should be for everyone; this allows a person of color to play one of the most important, powerful, and simply best characters on the show, which should be something all audiences can enjoy and allows more people to identify with or relate to the series in some way.

Similarly, Westeros and the rest of Game of Thrones‘ world should be diverse, in various different ways (not least because it has a long history of migration). Likewise, House Velaryon has spent over 100 years since leaving Valyria travelling around the world, so it makes sense that the family line would also become more diverse. All of this only serves to make the world of House of the Dragon feel richer, bigger, more populated and like there are more things waiting to be uncovered off screen, which it of course should do, and it takes absolutely nothing away from the story or characters in doing so. House of the Dragon is a show with dragons and incest… Corlys Velaryon can quite easily be Black.





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Marvel Makes Fake Tinder Profile for She-Hulk

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To promote the upcoming series She-Hulk, Marvel creates a faux Tinder profile for Jennifer Walters, highlighting the charcater’s romantic journey.

As part of their promotion for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Marvel has created a faux Tinder profile for the show’s lead character Jennifer Walters. She-Hulk is the next project to be released in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, streaming exclusively on Disney+ beginning August 17. Starring Tatiana Maslany as the title character, the show will also feature the return of several familiar MCU faces like Mark Ruffalo as Hulk, Tim Roth as Abomination, Charlie Cox as Daredevil, and Benedict Wong as Wong alongside an ensemble cast of new characters played by Ginger Gonzaga, Josh Segarra, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Anais Almonte, and The Good Place alum Jameela Jamil.

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She-Hulk will take a look at an often ignored corner of the Marvel universe: the lawyers who clean up after superheroes. One such lawyer is Jennifer Walters, who gains her own set of powers from her cousin Bruce Banner. The show will follow her as she attempts to balance her career of defending superpowered individuals in court, her search for a romantic partner, and her eventual rivalry with Jamil’s social media influencer villain Titania. Walters’ romantic travails might not be the primary focus of the series, but they do wind up front and center in the advertisements, particularly a scene where she Hulks out and carries a man around her apartment.


As originally reported by CBR.com, the She-Hulk publicity team clearly had Jennifer Walters’ love life on the mind when crafting their latest promotional material. They have crafted a faux Tinder profile that has been shuffled onto the ap. Although it does say “ad” in the lower right corner of her profile picture, it is a pretty convincing replica of what her profile might look like until one looks at the caption, which is an advertisement for the series that closes with “Find out who she DOES match with in She-Hulk… (seriously – she goes on dates!).” Check out screenshots from the fake profile, shared on Twitter by user jozopath, below:


This is the latest in-universe ad for the series in a particularly creative campaign that has also included bus ads that mimic real-life ads for attorneys. It’s clear that Marvel is using this particular promotional strategy to appeal to people who may be more interested in romantic television series than the action-packed superhero mayhem the franchise is known for. However, the ad does leave fans with the implication that Walters may end up with a love interest that rises above the heap over the course of the 12-episode season.

It’s possible that this could be Bass’ character Todd, who according to his character description has recently taken the plunge into online dating. However, there will likely be plenty of twists and turns before Walters gets to that point, including a potential entanglement with Segarra’s character Pug Pugliese, who is part of her legal team. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is a Marvel series, after all, so it is likely that nothing is as it initially seems.


Source: CBR.com

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Bob Greenblatt Turns His ‘Gift of Free Time’ into Memoir of Producing, Programming and Persevering

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After years of working with accomplished writers to develop TV shows, Greenblatt says it was humbling and invigorating to face the blank page every day.

“It was about a year of me pouring out the stories on the page, and another four to five months reworking it,” Greenblatt says. “So many things about writing it were revelatory to me. So many little things.”

The title refers to Greenblatt’s hometown of Rockford, Ill., about 90 miles west of Chicago, and the detective drama series starring James Garner that ran on NBC from 1974-80.

Taking a long look in the rearview mirror helped him take stock of where the industry is headed. And that was a worthy exercise for an executive who is pursuing entrepreneurial ventures in TV, stage and other content opportunities.

“When you step back for a minute and really think about things, it’s really remarkable to look at what’s happened to the business,” Greenblatt says. “When I started there were basically three networks and Fox was on a couple nights a week. Then we went into the cable revolution and now it’s streaming that is the next iteration.”

From the days of vaudeville and nickelodeons to the burgeoning world of Web3 entertainment, the one constant throughout is the need for distinctive content to bring consumers to the screen. Greenblatt’s book is an invaluable compendium of anecdotes about his experiences in the TV trenches. He brings the dual perspective of a seasoned industryite who has worked as a top programming buyer for major networks as well as a producer of Emmy-winning series.

Some of the liveliest tales in the tome revolve around “Six Feet Under,” the beloved HBO drama series that ran from 2001 to 2005. Greenblatt and his former producing partner, David Janollari, shepherded the series with creator Alan Ball through the Greenblatt Janollari Studio banner that the pair ran in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

On paper, a show about a deeply dysfunctional family that runs a funeral home in Pasadena hardly has the makings of a successful TV series. But in the moment that “Six Feet Under” was birthed some 20-odd years ago, HBO was just starting to open the aperture of prestige television.

“The Rockford Files” also makes crystal clear how much television is a team sport. Greenblatt goes out of his way to recognize the many people who contributed the ideas and inspirations that make for distinctive shows.


Courtesy of HBO

The germ of the idea for “Six Feet Under” came from then- HBO development chief Carolyn Strauss being interested in finding a series set against the backdrop of the business of death. At the same time, “Six Feet Under” only worked because Ball brought his unique view to the subject matter.

“Alan Ball is a singular talent, and recognizing that early on was a stroke of luck for us. We had an instinct about him. And while instincts are hard to quantify, if you learn to listen to them and trust your gut about a ‘feeling’ you have, it can pay big dividends,” Greenblatt writes. “This show always goes back to one of my favorite epiphanies — only pursue ideas that are singular, totally original and even risky. While it’s not possible to do that every single time, when you can, the payoff is often extraordinary. In a million years, the idea of a show set in a funeral home doesn’t make any sense, until it gets into the hands of a genius.”

Of course, in the stranger-than-fiction way the world works, Greenblatt was head of programming for HBO rival Showtime by the time “Six Feet Under” wrapped its five-season run in 2005.



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Why Never Have I Ever Season 4 Is The Last Explained By Creators

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Creators of the Netflix series, Never Have I Ever, describe their choice to end the series with season 4. Co-creators Lang Fisher and Mindy Kaling helm the series that follows Devi Vishwakumar (played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), and her two best friends, Eleanor Wong (played by Ramona Young) and Fabiola Torres (played by Lee Rodriguez), on their journey through love, embarrassment, and fun in high school. The series also includes several supporting cast members including Poorna Jagannathan as Dr. Nalini Vishwakumar, Richa Moorjani as Kamala Nandiwadal, Darren Barnet as Paxton Hall-Yoshida, Jaren Lewison as Ben Gross, and John McEnroe as himself in the role of the narrator.

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Aside from co-creating Never Have I Ever, Fisher is known her writing on shows such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Mindy Project. Actress, writer, and producer Kaling rose to notoriety after her role as Kelly Kapoor in The Office, a series that she also an executive produced, and since then has gone on to executive produce several others including The Mindy Project, Never Have I Ever, and The Sex Lives of College Girls. Never Have I Ever recently aired season 3 on Netflix, and season 4 already finished filming earlier this month.

In an interview with EW, Fisher and Kaling explain why they are ending the popular Netflix series with season 4. Fisher notes that part of the reason that the series is ending is that the characters are moving on to their senior year of high school in season 4, and unfortunately the writers can’t keep the characters in high school indefinitely. Kaling and Fisher also share the sentiment that the way that they’ve chosen to end the series will bring satisfaction to viewers both because of the natural close to a high school story ending with senior year, and because they didn’t extend Never Have I Ever for an unnecessary amount of seasons just because the characters are so fun to write for. Full quotes from Fisher and Kaling can be read below via EW:


Fisher: “It’s hard when you have a high school show, because you can’t keep them in high school forever. The cast gets older and older. Then you start having, like, 30-year-olds going to high school and it’s hard to take them to college. I think we felt like this is it, this is good. We can tell this tale and end it the way we want to on a high note and really finish out senior year and it will feel satisfying.”

Kaling: “We finished season 4, and it’s good. It’s just a testament to how hard it is to say goodbye to characters you love writing. It takes a while for writers to figure out characters. You write a pilot and then you hire people and then you get into this groove, that’s why so many shows growing up lasted like five seasons too long. [Laughs] But I do feel that, in a couple years, I’ll look back on this and say, ‘No, that was good that it ended then.’ But right now I’m not ready to accept it.”

Kaling and Fisher deciding to end Never Have I Ever with season 4 will be bittersweet for its fans, although that decision leads to a higher likelihood that finale will feel like a true and satisfying series finale, rather than a finale that comes at the necessity of the series being canceled. Season 3 ended with a surprise cliffhanger as Devi is apparently ready to have sex with Ben after deciding to stay at Sherman Oaks High School rather than transferring to the prestigious Shrubland school, so viewers can look forward to a season 4 in which Devi will still be grappling with her feelings toward Ben, and possibly also Paxton. Although season 4 already finished filming, it’s unlikely that it will be released any time soon due to time needed to finish editing the series, as well as seasons 1, 2, and 3 setting the precedent for being released around spring or summer.


If fans truly crave more content revolving around the characters in the series, there is always the possibility that a spin-off could happen for one of the characters as long as it seems like there is a market for that series. As for now, fans of the series can find relief in the fact that there will be another season of the show, and can cherish season 4 knowing that it will wrap up Devi’s story. Viewers will have to continue following updates regarding what Never Have I Ever season 4 may entail, as well as when an official release date for the final season is announced.

Sources: EW

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