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Nonso Anozie on Qarth and Xaro Xhoan Daxos

This is almost the most we’ve heard from any of the new cast members, and it’s certainly interesting. In this interview with Blackfilm, actor Nonso Anozie—cast in the role of Xaro Xhoan Daxos—spills some details about his role, his familiarity with the books, and his experience working on the show

From what I’ve seen of Anozie, he’s a great addition to any production, and he seems truly enthused by his work on an HBO production.

But as I’ve noted before, just by his physical presence, he’s quite different from the lean, small, effete Xaro of the novel—he’s burly, muscular, more imposing. And now we learn for certain that he’s not just a merchant prince from Qarth—he is the prince of Qarth. He suggests in his discussion of the differences from A Clash of Kings that Qarth is now “more action-packed”, with more “subtext” and a “lot more secret types of moves going on”, and perhaps that ties into why he’s this prince of Qarth, instead of a wealthy merchant who is a member of the Thirteen, a powerful guild in the city. But just from this little detail, we can’t quite understand why that needed to be changed.

It’s true that Daenerys’s story covers only five chapters in that novel. It’s true that she observes the splendor and wonder of Qarth—Martin’s most Vancian setting in the novels—and that her story in that novel is more introspective, and features tropes that are closer to those seen in fairy tales than anything (a deliberate decision, of course). But if the producers felt the absolute need to expand her storyline beyond what Martin provided, why not show the scenes that we know must have taken place? The visits of various notables paying homage and giving gifts for a glimpse of her dragons, the feasts and parties where members of the rival guilds tried to lure her away from Xaro and the Thirteen, her contact with the Pureborn of Qarth? Why make him “the prince of Qarth” and, presumably, turn the story to his being some sort of ruling nobleman? Surely that would have provided all the room they needed to add more “secret moves”, more of the politics and intrigues that surrounded her presence in the city.

So, color me a little concerned by this apparent decision—not the decision to expand the storyline, as such (though I’ve concerns with any expansions which could be detrimental to the best possible adaption), but the decision to give Xaro a different role in Qarth, and perhaps a markedly different role in Daenerys’s story.

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