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Don’t the Fans Read Their Favorite Books?

Cover of "City of Bones (Mortal Instrumen...
Cover via Amazon

When The Hunger Games movie came out, there was a number of very disappointed and very loud fans, who complained about a certain character being played by an African-American actress. I will not repeat their very racist and very malevolent comments; what I will say is that they claimed to be great fans of the books, and yet they managed to overlook the fact that particular character was indeed a 12-year-old African-American girl. And the young actress who played the part was simply adorable.





Similar thing happened recently, although on a somewhat lesser scale. Cast for the City of Bones was announced, and the role of Magnus Bane, the 800-year-old (but looking as if he was 19) gay warlock will be played by Godfrey Gao. Once again, some so-called fans complain because the actor is Asian. Once again, the so-called fans manage to overlook the fact that Magnus Bane is part Asian (although he is actually part Indonesian, and Mr. Gao is Taiwanese).





Godfrey Gao

How do they manage to overlook that? I haven’t read The Hunger Games, so I can’t say anything about that (although people who did read it assure me that it was very clear the adorable 12-year-old girl was African-American), but I translated one of The Mortal Instruments books, and Magnus Bane was very clearly part Asian. And even if they did manage to overlook that fact, why can’t they just laugh at themselves, something like “Silly me, how come I didn’t notice that about my favorite character in my favorite book?” and move on? Why spilling so much hatred all over social networking websites? Why telling all the world they failed to notice a very obvious fact from the book they say they keep rereading, and why showing off their racism?

Frankly, I don’t get it. Do you?






A writer, a reader, a dreamer. Dreaming myself into existence.

4 thoughts on “Don’t the Fans Read Their Favorite Books?

  1. In the Hunger Games, they refer to Rue (and her fellow tribute Thresh) as simply having “dark skin.” Perhaps it’s too much to expect of society that we will someday move beyond even having names for different races and just get over ourselves.

    I’d argue that Indonesian looks VERY different than Taiwanese, but it doesn’t really matter–the filmmakers picked a hot guy to play Magnus who has an exotic look and who can carry the character. They did a good job. It seems to me it should matter more to fans whether the actor is fit for the role than whether his RACE is fit for the role.

    A similar but reverse thing happened with Avatar: The Last Airbender. The show featured “asian”-looking characters, but when it was turned into a movie, the casting director picked all white actors. It was a big hullabaloo.


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