laena velaryon being child bride-in-training

‘House of the Dragon’: When Bad Wigs Happen to Black Velaryons

In the second episode of HBO’s House of the Dragon, we were properly introduced to Laena Velaryon, the 12-year-old-daughter of Lord Corlys Velaryon and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, and people were quickly disturbed by the idea of this child being engaged to marry a grown man (who is also her second cousin).

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Black Twitter was also horrified by the wig they put on this tiny girl.

In the books, people who descend from Valyria in Essos have features that are uncommon in Westeros, most notably purple eyes and silver-blonde to white hair. When Emilia Clarke was cast as Daenerys Targaryen, they picked a shade of blonde that would flatter her skin tone and wouldn’t totally wash her out. That made sense when there were only two characters (and then just one, RIP) with the distinctive hair color. Now we have so many, and it looks fine on some and then straight up awful on others.

One of the most jarring things about the series is how a show with the budget of $20 million per episode can’t manage to make some realistic wigs for the multiple of color who need to be sporting silver-white hair. All of the wigs look comically huge and stiff. This was already a problem for the white cast members, so at least in this regard, it is colorblind, but as someone who walks around Brooklyn, NY seeing Black women of all shades sporting every color of the rainbow wigs, I know this can be better.

And it’s not just House of the Dragon. It’s The Walking Dead, Titans season 1, and shows on the CW. There is a serious lack of education on how to handle Black hair, which results on them having to do their own. Tati Gabrielle on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina did her own hair, which became the signature of the character and spent hours perfecting it (unpaid).

It does not get better, and it’s just frustrating because, in isolation, it can look otherworldly, but next to their white cousins, it just looks ridiculous—not because they are Black, but because of the lack of care given into the presentation of having natural hairstyles that are wigs. It doesn’t need to look like they are wearing a curly helmet on their heads.

(featured image: HBO)


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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.