What’s better than attending a panel at Comic Con that contains much of the principal cast? Having that panel moderated by the creator of “A Song of Ice and Fire,” George RR Martin. What ends up happening is the most geektastic event I’ve had the privilage of attending with such a large audience.
Six thousand fans waited outside to get a glimpse of the GoT panel, but there were already five thousand of us in Ballroom 20, a venue that only holds forty four hundred. Why this event wasn't deemed worthy of the ginormous Hall H is beyond me. I think the demand for Game of Thrones may have eclipsed Twilight.
First the panel: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaimie Lannister), Kit Harrington (Jon Snow), Lena Heady (Cersei Lannister), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo), Emilia Clarke (Danaerys Targaryen), David Benioff, DB Weiss. Martin, in his only fashionable at Comic Con hat and suspenders, starts off with a strong question to show creator David Benioff. It turns out that Benioff hadn’t even heard of the books back in 2006, but that soon changed as he devoured the books. Then as they looked to film the story many studios came to them with a two and half hour PG13 movie. That’s not how anyone wanted Game of Thrones to debut, and on a whim Benioff asked Martin if he’d approve of a HBO series. And here we are now.
Emilia Clarke, who plays fan favorite Danaerys Targaryen, pretty much jumped out of acting school right into this part. Clarke is a charming young woman who is enjoying the adulation and geekdom more than just about anyone I've seen at Comic Con. After the panel ended they had to practically drag her off stage as she sat there signing autographs and conversing with fans. I hope that she always keeps that joy, because not everyone does.
Back on topic with the panel we didn't get much from Peter Dinklage, who was recently nominated for an Emmy for his role as Tyrion Lannister. Dinklage seemed very reserved and laid back, almost a bit distant as he let everyone else shine on the panel. A task Jason Momoa took to heart.
Momoa stole the event. Swaggering on stage in sunglasses looking like a late 90s pro wrestler I was on the verge of being disappointed. It was almost like he wanted to be too cool for Comic Con. And then he ripped off his glasses to reveal the Khal Drogo makeup as he growled and yelled in Dothraki. By the way, George R.R. Martin pronounces it "Dothrakaye," and because of that I will stop saying "Dothrakey." Or at least I'll try to make the change.
Unfortunately we saw nothing from the upcoming season, which doesn't begin shooting until after Comic Con. David Benioff did briefly discuss how the grandiose nature of Martin's story does mean they'll likely be deviating from the books at some point. The indication is that this will happen in season 3 with Storm of Swords. I don't believe they'll take the True Blood or Dexter route where the books are a source material only. Fans should rest assured that as long as Martin is involved, the show will stay loyal.
Speaking of loyalty to the books, Benioff and Weiss confirmed that in season 2 they will actually show the battles. Martin is actually writing the episode containing the battle of the blackwater. Of course how detailed and epic the scene is depends upon budget. Martin offered to pass his hat around for fans to donate to the GoT special effects coffers.
To end things on the information front, Kit Harrington does not know who Jon's mother is. No one does, except Martin. For a panel with no real new information there was a lot of energy and joy in the crowd. Between Emilia's heartfelt joy discussing the show, Jason's antics and passion for Drogo, Dinklage's sardonic commentary, and just the outright coolness that is seeing George R.R. Martin talk with his creations, this was by far the TV panel of the day.