Watch: Trailer for Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon
House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal has revealed that one change to George RR Martin's books was made in order to help the Game of Thrones prequel feel "more inclusive".
The upcoming series, set during the years of the Targaryen dynasty, introduces House Velaryon, described in the book as having pale skin and purple eyes, with a silver seahorse as their symbol.
In the show, however, the characters will be depicted as Black, with silver dreadlocks, with Condal stating this was a decision made deliberately to avoid criticisms of the original show's overwhelming whiteness.
"It was very important for [co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik] and I to create a show that was not another bunch of white people on the screen, just to put it very bluntly," Condal told EW.
He added: "The world is very different now than it was 10 years ago when [Game of Thrones] all started. It's different than 20 years ago when Peter Jackson made The Lord of the Rings.
"These types of stories need to be more inclusive than they traditionally have been."
Steve Toussaint leads the Velaryons as Lord Corlys, who is known as the Sea Snake and renowned as the greatest seafarer in the Seven Kingdoms.
His wife is Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, played by Eve Best, who is a dragonrider and was once in the frame to be ruler of Westeros before her cousin King Viserys got the job.
Condal stated that Martin had considered making the Velaryons "a race of Black people with silver hair that essentially came from the other side of the ocean and conquered Westeros" in his original books years ago, so he decided to follow through with that in House of the Dragon.
The writer added: "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?'"
Condal said all involved were keen to avoid "tokenism" and introduce more diversity into Martin's world in a way that felt organic.
He added: "I've seen people that look like myself on screen in these types of high-fantasy stories since I was born because I'm a white guy. What's it like for everybody else?
"We went back and just looked at the story and said: 'How do we do this in a way that can feel like it's done integrally with the story?'"
House of the Dragon focuses on the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) and introduces his children Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) and Prince Daemon (Matt Smith).
The cast also includes Rhys Ifans as Ser Otto Hightower — the Hand of the King — and Olivia Cooke as his daughter Lady Alicent Hightower.
Game of Thrones fans will soon see their wait come to an end when House of the Dragon debuts on HBO in the USA and Sky Atlantic in the UK.
Episode one is due to land on 22 August.
Watch: George RR Martin is very pleased with House of the Dragon