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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.



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.

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