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Sparrowhawk, the protagonist in Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea novels has brown skin. Most of the people living in the archipelago world of Earthsea range in skin tone from black to tan. The only white people are the Kargs, brutal Viking-like raiders from the north. Publishers and illustrators have repeatedly whitened Sparrowhawk up for the covers of the novels. The Sci Fi channel has continued that tradition by casting pretty white boy, Shawn Ashmore (he played Iceman in the X-Men movies) as Sparrowhawk in their upcoming Earthsea mini-series.

I'm generally not one to get all bent out of shape over racial issues like this one, but for some reason it bugs me on this occasion.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 6th, 2004 06:27 am (UTC)
I always thought of Ged as having skin color like a Samoan or Pacific Islander, but they are obviously not the target market.
Apr. 8th, 2004 08:11 am (UTC)
Ged as a Samoan or Pacific Islander
Can you think of an actor who fits your mental image for Ged?

So far, the only person to come to mind for me is the Rock minus about 80 pounds. Or maybe Cliff Curtis. He played the absentee father of the main character in Whale Rider.
Apr. 12th, 2004 05:58 am (UTC)
Re: Ged as a Samoan or Pacific Islander
No one comes to mind off the top of my head, but that may be because my mental image of Ged is hazy, as it has been a long time since I read the books. Or possibly because I don't watch much TV or see many movies nowadays, it is hard to think of many actors.
Cliff Curtis looks like he might fit the bill though, I dunno about the Rock on a diet though.
I hope they do a good job with the mini-series.
Apr. 12th, 2004 06:25 am (UTC)
Re: Ged as a Samoan or Pacific Islander
No one comes to mind off the top of my head, but that may be because my mental image of Ged is hazy, as it has been a long time since I read the books.

It could also result from the fact that there are very few actors working in English-language film and tv that have that particular skin tone. Blacks have broken thru the Hollywood color barrier (rappers in particular) as have a few asians, but the Pacific Islanders, Indians, and Middle Eastern actors have yet to follow them into mainstream consciousness.

Most likely, anyone the Sci Fi network cast in the role of Ged who actually looked the part would be an unknown actor, and they can better promote the series with a known name and face in the central role. (Still, unknowns break out every year. Who'd ever heard of Mark Hamil or Harrison Ford before Star Wars?)

I hope they do a good job with the mini-series.

Me too.
May. 4th, 2004 05:20 pm (UTC)
And you know, many a year ago I said- "gee, all kinds of second-rate fantasy are getting made into movies these days, why not Earthsea? It's a cut above some of what gets made into movies, and the later books get truly spectacular."

It hit me that it was because it had a non-white protagonist. Since that moment I have been dreading a 'whitewash' of the books.

Scifi's really hit a low. I'll never forgive them for cancelling Farscape, and I'll never forgive them for this.

I think I'll watch it, and rant about it for a few years. Or maybe I'll just watch 20 minutes of it, and that'll be enough for years of rants, like with Dune.

Now, if they did anything to mess up Peacekeeper War, I'll.... I don't know what I'll do, but if they notice me at all, they won't like it. *pouts*
May. 5th, 2004 06:55 am (UTC)
SciFi channel
Well, I'm dissappointed with SciFi in this instance, but in general, I'm glad they're around.

I got to know Farscape on DVD. I was dissappointed to hear that it had been cancelled, but at the time I had only seen the first half of the first season when the show was still in its episodic, happy-quirky phase. When I did see the later episodes with the long story arcs and increasingly dark and violent tone, I could better understand why the show got cancelled. I think the show's creator's lost their way about the time that Zahn (Virginia Hey) left the show. (Though I must say that I thought Scorpious was a wonderful character.)

I read on the Sci Fi website that they're making a Farscape miniseries to provide a bit more in the way of satisfying closure than we got from the last episode of the regular series.
May. 5th, 2004 03:10 pm (UTC)
Re: SciFi channel
Ah, firstly, Farscape never went down, IMO. Not for a single beat. It did become less accessable, I suppose, but I never had any trouble following it.

Secondly, Scifi signed on for a 5th season, and then betrayed their own show.

Thirdly, once they decided to give Farscape the axe, they pretty much washed their hands of it. They wanted nothing to do with it, and went as far as to make sure they aired nothing intelligent that could be mistaken for Farscape if you squinted.
Only when, after doing everything in their power to stop it, including destroying Moya, (the sets, that is) the miniseries was already made, did they flip-flop again, and decide to air it.

And fourthly, I used to love Scifi too. Back in the day when they had Farscape and The Invisible Man, and various oldies but goodies, Scifi was my best friend, sometimes I wouldn't change the channel for weeks.

But things have changed since then. Earthsea is bad enough, but The Left Hand of Darkness is one of my favorite books, I must have read it nearly as many times as The Lord of the Rings.

Well, they screwed up Dune (another favorite of mine) why don't they just take it all. *throws all her favorite possesions at Scifi in a fit of rage*

Sorry, I get a bit rabid sometimes. So I hear they're doing Witch Hunter Robin too. *cringes*
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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