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Why is Gwen in Merlin played by a black actress?

Before any of you who don't watch Merlin or know nothing of the Arthurian legends start, THIS IS NOT RACISM. Guinevere means "white enchantress" so having a black actress just isn't historically correct. Plus, it is unlikely that a black woman would have been accepted enough to even work in the castle. The actress who plays Gwen isn't even THAT great, I would have thought Katie McGraff would have been a better actress - she looks more like what Guinevere would have looked like. Is it just so the show is "politically correct" and not racist? It's not racist if it's historically correct, surely?

Update:

In all honesty I'm slightly more annoyed because she's meant to be this beautiful woman and Katie just portrays more features of a celtic woman, being Irish herself. The woman who plays Gwen is pretty, but not *special* without sounding too mean. I preferred Gwen in the first series, she was more in it and had more of a say. I'd like to see that, Gwen is meant to be opinionated and kick ****. Hopefully this one will be!

Update 2:

Jon, it is not historically correct because if a kid see's this, and many shows set this far in the past, they may grow up to think that ANYONE of other ethnics was present in England and therefore may not understand how ethnocentric the time was. Other ethnics would not have been accepted because that's how racist the society was. Yes they're acting, I know this but if you would have read the additional details I've also said about celtic features which Angel has none of. She plays it well, sure but it isn't historically correct. You wouldn't make a movie about slavery in the 1700s and have a white slave, would you? No. You are an idiot.

Update 3:

you've opened my eyes to how idiotic you are. Animals talking isn't a big issue. You wouldn't get a man to play a woman in a suffragette movie, would you? No. I don't like being called racist when I'm not. It depends if historical context comes into play. You wouldn't have the queen of a legendary african king, who was such a large part of the legend, played as a white woman. You wouldn't have King Mao acted by a black man, indian man or western man, would you? You're making it sound ridiculous because of your ridiculous analogies. You're taking it completely out of context, and context is everything.

23 Answers

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  • Brian
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favourite answer

    I think Merlin was created as a children's adventure show, it never tried to be a historically accurate reference. True to say (to our shame) a black girl would never have been so accepted in medieval Britain.

    It's become quite dark for a kids show though, definitely not for younger children any more.

    Personally, I think Angel Coulby does a very good job. I shall continue to enjoy the show for what it is - good entertaining stories, well acted and well produced

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  • shula
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Gwen Merlin

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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    Merlin is not supposed to be historically accurate. The makers of Merlin said that they wanted to 'recreate' the tale of Merlin and King Arthur, not copy it or tell the 'correct' legendary version of events. Think of it as Arthurian fanfiction, if you will. But think about this- under the stated circumstances, why is it okay to have a young black-haired teenage Merlin, but NOT okay to have a woman of color play Guinevere?

    Also, think about it-- historical accuracy is NOT a strong point in this show. Nobody had teeth that perfect, nobody had makeup that perfect, nobody could kill an enemy and not get blood on their weapon, etc. And if there had been no people of color in the show, imagine the uproar that would have caused. Imagine the complaints about whitewashing. Personally, I'm happy with the inclusion of POCs in Merlin. Elyan and Lancelot are both men of color, and they make bloody fine knights. Helios was as awesome and ruthless a villain as any of them. Tom the blacksmith was an extremely lovable character and I was devastated when he was killed off. On a similar note, I don't believe that Guinevere's family were made poor (having jobs like being a blacksmith & a serving girl) because of their race. If that were the case, the majority of the servants in Camelot would have been black when in fact they were mostly all white. Merlin himself, a white male, spent the entirety of the show as a serving boy. I believe that Angel Coulby got the role in part because having a POC play one of the main roles is actually a very good move (the same way that having a black Tiana in The Princess & The Frog is seen as inspiring) but mostly because she gave the best performances and beat out the other actresses who auditioned.

    In short: Merlin was never supposed to be historically accurate. Angel Coulby got the role of Guinevere because she earned it. The fact that she is not white is, or should be irrelevant.

    And for good measure-- anybody who is still unhappy about this should look up Rodger&Hammerstein's Cinderella. A black Cinderella and an Asian Prince Charming is not 'correct', but they are brilliant in their roles, so does it really matter?

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    Why is Gwen in Merlin played by a black actress?

    Before any of you who don't watch Merlin or know nothing of the Arthurian legends start, THIS IS NOT RACISM. Guinevere means "white enchantress" so having a black actress just isn't historically correct. Plus, it is unlikely that a black woman would have been accepted enough to...

    Source(s): gwen merlin played black actress: https://tr.im/bqsyk
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  • 4 years ago

    All the stories are just British lure and it doesn't have to be completely accurate. There's talking animals and magical beings and farries, so why can't you accept a black woman, who is a very great actor and very beautiful, as Guinevere. Yes, it's true at that time a black woman would barely be let into the castle but they all still existed. So why can't we just accept this brilliant actress playing a character in a great story for who she is?

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    They are trying to slowly mix truth with fiction as a total white era at this time is fiction and is fiction for pretty much the whole world as it is today. The same way society is today is how the racial mix was then, the way it is now. Your idea of how it was, is fiction. The big stunner that they are not able to speak out right is that Merlin, was originally "Moor-lin (i.e Black Magic) or Moorish Science. In other words, Merlin was black!

    • Anon3 years agoReport

      WE WUZ KANGZ!
      There were no blacks in Britain, or even possibly Europe, at that time. Merlin was white, King Arthur was white, Guinevere was white, Lancelot was white.
      EVERYONE was white.

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  • 5 years ago

    Of course, it doesn't make any sense if the story was supposed to be set in "Arthurian times" - which could be anywhere from 4th century to 11th century. You could think of reasons to have black characters - there was sea travel, after all - but there'd be no particular reason for them to be servants, as Gwen starts out in Merlin. Mike Moorcock created the idea of a black knight from Africa who came to Camelot to join the Round Table, which might have fulfilled the BBC's ethnic quotas in a less predictable way.

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  • 4 years ago

    gwen merlin played black actress

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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    You know that Arthur and Merlin and Gwen and all of them never really existed, right? There is no 'historical accuracy'. It's all made up.

    • Yasmine4 years agoReport

      THANK YOU

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  • 6 years ago

    It's not really a racist question because I was wondering too. But I agree that it isn't supposed to be accurate. Angel did the best job as Gwen so they gave her the role. Turning her down for it because she's black? Now THAT would have been racist....

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    • Eternal5 years agoReport

      what is even MORE STUPID is the fact that in our days is how far some IDIOTS take the whole racism idea. It is not racism to deny her role because she is black when the character is supposed to be white. Is like saying that engineer is being discriminated against for not being hired as a doctor.

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  • 9 years ago

    Its a family entertainment show, it doesn't matter that much and the BBC have a quota of positive discrimination to complete.

    Really they missed a trick though - they could have made Gwen a one-armed lesbian wheelchair-bound transexual midget.

    No hate here.

    Katie McGrath makes a better Morgana cos she's naughty. Anyhoo, take a trip up to Llyn-y-fan-fach some time for a different perspective...

    http://www.hiraeth.com/alan/misc/gott-nov97/myddfa...

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