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GAME OF THRONES Comic-Con Panel Recap

Posted on July 11, 2015 at 9:16 am by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

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Considering just how massive Game of Thrones has become since its inception on HBO in 2011, it’s not surprising that this year’s Comic-Con Panel, which feature a huge portion of the cast alongside veteran executive producer Carolyn Straussand prominent director David Nutter, focused mainly on reflecting on all that went down in Season 5. Alongside Strauss and Nutter, Alfie Allen, John Bradley, Gwendoline Christie, Liam Cunningham, Natalie Dormer, Conleth Hill, Hannah Murray, Sophie Turner, Carice van Houten, and Maisie Williams fielded a series of questions that covered quite a lot of Season 5 ground, as well as referencing the overall goals, trajectory, and impulses of their characters. Oh, and all the immense work that goes into producing a show that may be the most cinematic-looking series currently still in production.

The biggest surprise of the panel, honestly, was its moderator, Seth Meyers, who proved a hugely engaging presence with the cast members, a few of which he counts as good friends. The discussion with Meyers was game-of-thrones-image-sons-of-the-harpy-sophie-turner-399x600lightning quick and often uproarious, with Hill and Cunningham proving to be especially quick wits when discussing the production and influence of the HBO program. Speaking of which, Meyers kicked off the discussion with a sizzle reel of all the times that Game of Thrones has shown up in other pockets of culture, starting with Kit Harington’s hilarious dinner-party sketch on Meyers’ show and going on from there to include references in The Simpsons, South Park, Sesame Street, Parks and Recreation, and New Girl, amongst others (check out the end of the post for the video). The assemblage of clips proved to be the perfect intro to a lively discussion about what will likely go down as one of the great fantasy works of the television medium, or any visual medium really.

Panel Highlights

  • When walking onto the stage, Hill playfully hit Williams upside the head.
  • Speaking of the distance between Arya and Sansa, Williams said “We see each other more in San Diego than in Westeros.”
  • In response to being asked who had read the books, Christie happily said “I did the homework, for once!”
  • When asked about how much George R.R. Martin will be involved in the upcoming story, now that game-of-thrones-dance-of-dragons-kit-harington-600x399the show has outpaced the books, Strauss said that his input will be just as important and at the same level as it was before.
  • At one point, Meyers said of Allen: “Seeing you with ten fingers and ten toes is great.”
  • When discussing Reek’s journey in Season 5, Allen said “It’s nice to see some light at the end of the tunnel for the character.”
  • In response to Sam and Gilly finally getting together in Season 5, Bradley opined that, before having sex with Gilly, “Sam thinks about sex like most people think about space.” He went onto joke that his character would likely be telling everyone about his first time.
  • Nutter said that there were 10 days of second unit work for the last episode of Season 5, referencing the flight of the dragon, amongst other things.
  • On Marjorie’s fate in Season 5, Dormer said “She needs a coffee and a shower.”
  • Meyers humorously went off on Christie about missing the candle at the end of Season 5, saying “you had one job!” Christie responded by jokingly stressing that she had been waiting for three months to see a single candle in a single window.
  • In discussing how much of the story one can keep in one’s head, Hill stressed that “you can only play the moment” and that the history or backstories of the characters involved is far less important in the moment.
  • Responding to Meyers’ assertion that he was glad that Davos was out from under Stannis finally, Cunningham comically blurted out “You’re happy for Davos?!”
  • game-of-thrones-season-5-finale-gwendoline-christie-600x399Van Houten and Meyers said that they have been friends for awhile, and the actress admitted that she called Meyers when she was offered the audition because he was someone who would know about fantasy novels. Meyers confirmed that he told her “It’s a good role!”
  • Nutter admitted that the burning scene with Stannis and Melisandre was a tough scene to shoot, partially because of bad weather.
  • Responding to talk of the show’s more brutal and painful moments, Strauss made it clear that she doesn’t think that just because a scene is painful means that it isn’t a good scene. She quickly followed up, saying that her and the producers are “still going to blame George Martin for the big deaths.”

Footage

Don’t get too excited! The panel featured absolutely zero new images or, heaven forbid, footage from next season, which just recently started filming. Instead, Meyers introduced a very funny audition reel that featured a variety of juxtapositions between scenes in the show and the auditions for the same scenes. Christie was seen doing her “knocking men like you into the dust” dialogue, whereas van Houten humorously tackled a long Melisandre line, only to then be sure that she “fucked it up.” There was also the audition footage from Oberyn’s “I’d like to speak to the Mountain” line, as well as Michiel Huisman’s audition tape, before wrapping it all up nicely with Rose Leslie’s “you know nothing, Jon Snow” line.

Audience Q&A

  • On the challenges that she perceives for Arya in Season 6, Williams noted that she only had to wear game-of-thrones-image-high-sparrow-dean-charles-chapman-natalie-dormer-600x399the blindness contacts for one scene and they were hard to work with, going on to say “I’m worried about fighting.” Cunningham responded that “at least you won’t have to drive a car!”
  • Meyers was quick to say that, in regards to any information about Season 6, “I tried backstage and they wouldn’t tell me” when Dormer was asked about Margaery’s schemes in Season 6, but Dormer followed with “Grandma ain’t around anymore.”
  • Strauss said that the entire cast gets the entire scripts, rather than getting just their own lines, but “that doesn’t mean they read all of them.”
  • In response to being asked about missing Harrington on set, Williams jokingly said “That hair, so annoying.”
  • When the cast was asked about what they might have changed about the story or their characters, Christie said she would have “waited for the candle.”
  • Hill jokingly responded “I do all my own stunts” when the cast was asked if they wanted to do any scenes that their stunt men and women got to do.
  • Well, no one saw this one coming. When confronted about that scene, Turner said that Sansa is “still game-of-thrones-arya-maisie-williams-600x399just as strong,” and went on to point out that Sansa could have fought back, but she didn’t, and there was solid reasoning behind that.
  • The entire cast confirmed that nothing on the show is adlibbed, pointing out that they wouldn’t know what to say due to the highly fantastical dialect.
  • Strauss said that there’s always a chance that they will make episodes longer in upcoming seasons of the show.
  • Williams intimated that the “oysters, clams, cockles” line got old by the end of Season 5.
  • When discussing their most memorable outtakes, van Houten admitted to swearing in Dutch a lot before Dormer and Williams discussed the difficulty of their scenes working with animals; Williams referenced trying to not catch a cat in Season 1 as especially difficult. Hill also joked “I don’t make mistakes.”
  • On her “vilified” character, van Houten admitted that she’s never received so much hate mail in her life, but that she absolutely loves playing her. (It shows!)
  • Fielding a question about Sansa and Reek/Theon’s character, Allen joked that he doesn’t understand why Sansa wouldn’t trust his character, adding that he “only killed two peasant boys.”
  • Williams said that her fame “happened gradually,” and that it hasn’t changed that fact that she’s the youngest of four children; “I still don’t get to call shotgun…or choose what’s on TV.”
  • When the cast was asked which characters they’d like their characters to meet on the show, Williams game-of-thrones-brienne-podrick-600x399quickly said that she wanted to work with Hill, noting his admittedly robust sense of humor.
  • Nutter admitted that, before being asked to direct the episode, he didn’t know what The Red Wedding was at all.
  • When asked about her character’s relationship with Jamie Lannister, Christie effusively praised the show for portraying a relationship between men and women that “doesn’t have its roots in sexuality!”
  • Turner pointed out that Rob Stark’s costume was used in her wedding scene in Season 5.
  • When discussing favorite fan moments, Nutter talked about meeting one of the show’s biggest fans, saying that the fan walked up to him, shook his hand, and asked, “You didn’t kill Jon Snow did you?”
  • Hill relayed a hilarious story about a woman approaching him with her hand aimed directly at his crotch, saying that she said “I just wanted to see if there was anything there.” He followed up: “I don’t talk to my mother anymore.”
  • Williams admitted that she had no idea that the show had been shown in cinemas, referencing recent theatrical showings of the series. Strauss added that they are considering it for the future, but there are no concrete plans.
  • When asked about who they would like to rule Westeros, Christie said “I hope for Hodor” before van Houten opined that she would love to live in a world where Sam was king.
  • Bradley simply said “I don’t know” when asked if Sam knows where Benjamin Stark is.

Bonus: A Pop Culture Mash-Up

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