In House of the Dragon, Steve Toussaint will portray Corlys Velaryon, the head of a very wealthy and powerful house.
He has many names, including Lord of the Tides, Master of Driftmark, but many readers of George R. R. Martin’s works will know him as the Sea Snake.
Known as an excellent seafarer, the character has managed to travel to many parts of Westeros by ship, including Lys, Tyrosh, Pentos, Myr, Volantis, Braavos, Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, Hardhome, Lorath, and the Port of Ibben. Thanks to these voyages, he amassed a huge amount of wealth, which helped him to establish his family.
He also attempted to travel around the northern tip of Westeros, taking his ship beyond the wall but could not find a way around via the Shivering Sea.
In the books, Corlys and the members of his house have been described as being very similar in appearance to the Targaryen with their pale skin and hair, and purple eyes.
This meant that the racists came out in full force when Toussaint was first cast in the role of Corlys.
Steve Toussaint speaks out on racism with his casting
According to The Guardian, when the casting news first broke about Corlys, the actor noticed immediately an uptick in racist commentary regarding the character.
“When they announced [my casting], one of the first things I saw on social media was a drawing of the character [from the books] next to a picture of me,” Toussaint said.
“And then there was the racist abuse that came with that.”
In House of the Dragon, the members of the Velaryon family now have dark skin and white dreadlocks, giving them a very dramatic look that also contrasts them against the Targaryens.
Toussaint also had more to say on the matter.
“I kind of thought: ‘Oh, I get it’. When we were criminals and pirates and slaves in the other show, you were OK with that. But as this guy is the richest [character] in the show and he’s a nobleman, now you have a problem with it. In House Of The Dragon [our colour] is just a given – I quite like that.”
Steve Toussaint was eager to join the new series
Prior to him joining the cast in House of the Dragon, Toussaint had been eager to secure a role in the original series. When he was unsuccessful, he then tried out for the ill-fated spinoff, The Long Night (also known as Bloodmoon), which was canceled after the pilot was shot.
However, the celebrity is now happy that he missed out on the first two shows as it gave him the opportunity to take on his impressive new role in House of the Dragon.
“When [House of the Dragon] came up it felt as if I’d missed those others so I could be in it,” Toussaint revealed.
Season 1 of House of the Dragon will premiere on August 21 on HBO Max.