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House Of The Dragon Is Already Dealing With Some Ugly Backlash

At this point it's no secret that HBO's "Game of Thrones" faced an incredible amount of backlash amid its controversial final season. Although much of this criticism was directed at the series' underwhelming finale, numerous fans and critics have gone on record to say that the entire eighth was plagued by lazy writing, rushed storylines, and failed character arcs. In fact, Season 8 currently holds a 55% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, complemented by an abysmal 30% audience rating — the latter of which is based on nearly 15,000 user reviews.

As such, it should come as a surprise to nobody that the next HBO show set within the "A Song of Ice and Fire" universe, titled "House of the Dragon," which focuses on the history of House Targaryen, is facing a heavy amount of skepticism from critics and fans alike. Many are wondering if the show will be able to live up to the incredible quality we came to expect from early "Game of Thrones," while others are simply refusing to watch the series after being burned by its predecessor. Unfortunately, "House of the Dragon," has already started to receive some significant backlash of its own ... though, admittedly, not for the reasons you might expect.

The casting of Lord Corlys Velaryon was met with racist messages across social media

Thus far, "House of the Dragon" has received a substantial amount of ugly backlash regarding the show's casting of Lord Corlys Velaryon, who is a white character in the books, but is being portrayed by a Black actor in the show. During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, British actor Steve Toussaint — who is set to play Velaryon in the upcoming series — revealed that the news of his casting was greeted by a slew of racist messages from people online.

"I didn't realize [the casting] was a big deal until I was racially abused on social media," the actor explained. "Yeah, that s*** happened. I was just like 'Oh wow,' and then I thought: 'OK, so this means a lot to some people, but I can't allow that to bother me." 

Toussaint's casting, regardless of the immense backlash it has received, is a major milestone for the franchise, which has received plenty of criticism over the years for its lack of diversity and poor treatment of Black characters (per Vanity Fair). Toussaint himself addressed these issues within the interview, and claimed that "House of the Dragon" will come closer to representing the diverse, expansive world that George R.R. Martin envisioned.

Although Toussiant made it clear that he doesn't plan on letting this racist fan backlash get to him, it's incredibly unfortunate that this toxic side of the "Game of Thrones" fanbase decided to criticize the series this way.