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ROLLING STONE: Oberyn Martell gives us our first look at the southern region of Dorne, with all that entails. The color of people’s skin, the way they talk, the way they dress, their cultural and sexual mores, even their government — there’s a huge weight of expectation from fans who’ve read the books.
PEDRO PASCAL: “How will Dorne be represented?” It’s complicated.
RS: How much have you interacted with that?
PASCAL: Do you mean specifically the issue of whitewashing?
RS: That’s a part of it.
PASCAL: I think it’s a great opportunity for them to usher in an element that is very “other,” in terms of what we’re familiar with as an audience. Dorne is the punk-rock region of Westeros. We follow the beat of a totally different drum. A woman’s position in Dorne has far more power. They’re much more highly regarded. Even if it’s still shaped by the old conventions that shaped King’s Landing, Oberyn Martell in particular isn’t going to play by any of those rules. He does represent, with his partner Ellaria Sand, a culture that completely clashes with the world that he’s forcibly wedging himself into. And he uses that as a source of power, making anyone whose collar is buttoned all the way up a little uncomfortable. He’s gonna sit the way he wants to sit. If he has the impulse to kiss Ellaria, a beautiful bastard, at a royal wedding in front of those who are throwing it, he’s gonna do it — again, not just to prove a point, but because there’s more of a freeness there.
And I don’t know how it gets broken down in terms of, like, [in a mock-scholarly tone] “Well, King’s Landing is so typically British. The North, those are the Scots, or the Irish. And Dorne, that’s the Mediterranean. Those guys are Spaniards or Latinos or Middle Eastern.” Because of their climate, we live more sensually, I guess. But it’s all a made-up world, right? So there’s definitely a beautiful opportunity to bring a lot of color into it.
I interviewed Pedro Pascal about playing Oberyn Martell on Game of Thrones this season for Rolling Stone. Like literally every other cast member I’ve spoken with, he’s put a lot of thought into what he’s doing there.