Comic-Con 2015: Game of Thrones Panel Report

Game of Thrones Season 4 Poster

Ever since its debut on HBO, Game of Thrones has been the showcase of one of Comic-Con’s most popular panels. This year, series creator George R.R. Martin and showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff are skipping Comic-Con. But the cast is still well represented.

Late night host (and former Saturday Night Live cast member) Seth Meyers served as the moderator for this year’s Game of Thrones panel. Gwendoline Christie was the first member of the panelists to be officially introduced, followed by Carice van Houten, Sophie Turner, Natalie Dormer, Alfie Allen, director David Nutter, Hannah Murray, John Bradley, Maisie Williams, Conleth Hill, Liam Cunningham, and executive producer Carolyn Strauss.

Before the panel officially got started, Meyers shared a video of Game of Thrones’ influence on pop culture. But it was probably just an excuse to include his “Jon Snow is a poor dinner guest” skit.

After the video, Meyers never seemed to have a firm command of the panel, as he tried to ask everyone at least one question before immediately moving on to the next person. Christie admitted that she read the books to research her role as Brienne of Tarth. Williams said that she pretended to be aware of Arya’s blindness when a fan tried to spoil her about Arya’s fate.

Meyers asked Strauss how involved Martin remains with the show, now that the series has completely caught up with the source material. She replied that they speak with Martin as often as they ever have.

Allen said it was good to see some light at the end of the tunnel for Theon/Reek, while Bradley got a lot of laughs for explaining Sam’s perspective on sex before he was deflowered by Gilly. Up to that point, Sam considered sex as an abstract concept like space… before admitting that he didn’t know enough science to finish the metaphor.

Meyers gave Christie a lot of crap about Brienne missing Sansa’s candle signal in the fifth season finale. He told her that Brienne is not going to like her peer review. When Meyers attention shifted to Hill, the actor said that he hoped Varys is ultimately good, but he avoided the books to keep his performance focused on the moment. Hill added that Varys has made him a lot of money.

Bizarrely, Meyers asked if there was levity on the set when Shireen was burned to death. Van Houten said that everyone was into the moment and the mood of the scene to get it right. Meyers told Cunningham that he wants Davos to smile more now that Stannis is gone. Cunningham implied that Melisandre wouldn’t want to be around when Davos learns what she did to Shireen.

Strauss followed up the discussion by pointing out that just because the scene was painful to watch doesn’t mean that it isn’t good. She added that “we’re still going to blame George” for any future deaths of beloved characters.

Before the fan Q&A began, Meyers played another surprise video. This time, it was cast audition videos for several of the panelists, and a few who weren’t at Comic-Con.

The first question was for Williams as she described the challenges facing Arya in the new season. She said that she only had the “blind” contacts in her eyes for 15 minutes, but they are extremely uncomfortable. She is worried about having to fight while blind.

Several times, the cast members were asked questions that they couldn’t answer about the sixth season. Dormer said that the cast is in the same position as the fans and they don’t know what’s coming.

One fan asked who will miss Kit Harington the most, since he is “obviously dead.” Williams pretended to not miss Harington at all. Van Houten added that she is in the dark “and full of terrors.”

Hill was consistently hilarious, including the time that he said that he does all of his own stunts, including bitching with Peter Dinklage. Things took a more serious turn when a fan asked Turner about Sansa’s rape scene robbing her of strength. Turner insisted that Sansa is still strong, and that she made a conscious decision to not fight off the rape attempt. She added that Sansa does her scheming internally.

The cast laughed off the question about ad-libbing any of their lines. They also shared their worst outtakes. Dormer recalled that the cat who played Ser Pounce was a nightmare because it wouldn’t stay on the bed. Whereas Williams recalled the scene where Arya was supposed to be unable to catch a cat… but she caught the cat nearly every time! It was then suggested that the cats should have been swapped for each other.

Another question about rape culture briefly flustered the panel, but Hill made it funny when he said that the influx of eunuchs on the show makes his character a trendsetter. Later, Williams said that she wants to work with Hill because he made her laugh on the panel.

Hill also killed the room with a story about a woman who tried to grab his crotch just to see if he was like his character on the show. The last question of note was about who should rule the seven kingdoms of Westeros. Christie said that Hodor should rule, while van Houten wants Sam to take the throne. Bradley admitted that Sam acts in his own interest. Even pushing Jon to become Lord Commander was done with an eye towards getting away from Castle Black with Gilly.

And after one last incomprehensible question about Jon Snow’s missing uncle, the panel came to an end.