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Game of Thrones has a fan base that could likely populate George R.R. Martin's fictional world of Westeros, so it's fitting that the SDCC panel for the HBO fantasy drama series be moved to the bigger Hall H at Comic Con this year. A Song of Ice and Fire author and Game of Thrones executive producer George R.R. Martin will be on today's panel, along with Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark, Rose Leslie as Ygritte, and Richard Madden as Robb Stark.
It's worth mentioning that, while I'm a fan of the series, I haven't read the third book in Martin's series, so it may be difficult to navigate around any potential spoilers here. (And name-misspellings are probably going to be unavoidable, so I apologize for that in advance.)
2:50 p.m. - George R.R. Martin takes the stage. Gets lots of cheers. "There are even more of you than last year," he says. I thanks people for reading the books and watching the show. Says he talked this morning with David Benioff & D.B. Weiss and they're sorry they can'e be here but they've already started shooting Season 3. They're directing in addition to writing. And now we're watching a highlight video of Season 2. The video is followed by a video of the new cast members joining the show.
3:01 p.m. - Martin seems very pleased with Diana Rigg as Queen of Thorns. He jokes about the massive size of the cast and says "So clearly I have to start killing characters to make room for the new ones." Exec producer Carolyn Strauss comes out. Next up is Richard Madden (Robb Stark). Everyone cheers. People are screaming "King of the North!" Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark). Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) is next. Rose Leslie (Ygritte) follows. Last but not least, Emilia Clarke (Daenerys). Huge cheers for her. Unfortunately, she doesn't have her dragons with her, but she looks stunning.
3:07 - Carolyn talking about developing the story for an HBO series. She says she wasn't an ardent fantasy reader, but she was intrigued by it. She said it sounded like a "genre buster." Has the pillars of a genre show but takes it in a different direction. HBO put a lot of money and support behind it and "So, we've got Game of Thrones.
3:08 - Martin talking about characters. Says they're gray characters, but no one is as gray as Theon Greyjoy. He asks Allen if he thinks Theon is a villain in his mind. Allen says Theon is misguided. He has issues. He thinks dark, more complex characters are more interesting to play. Martin talks about Theon's "healthy libido." Martin talks about all of Theon's many conquests. Martin jokes that he hasn't gotten a box of chocolates as a thanks.
3:10 - Martin moves on to Richard Madden. He comments on his sex scene this season. Madden says he prefers doing the violent scenes. Wielding a sword is more fun. Martin asks Michelle Fairley about the darker nature of her character in Season 2. Fairley talking about the process of reading the script. She loves the emotional stuff, It's not a chore. She likes to get really involved. Makes it all the more enjoyable to play. "You have to believe that you are that person and just get stuck into it."
3:13 - It's strange seeing Rose Leslie not all bundled up. She's very smiley though, which is nice and she looks beautiful. Leslie says Iceland is colder than Scotland. She was brought up in a castle. Played hide and seek in a dungeon. Her brother will inherit the castle. Martin moves on to Emlia (everyone cheers). She says she's occasionally recognized. (Not surprising given that she's not platinum blonde off the show. Her hair today is dark brown) "When it happens, it really happens," she says, of being recognized by fans. She said she was in a department store and this woman saw her and did a double-take then said "Khaleesi!"
3:17 - Carolyn talking about production and all of the different units in various locations. George says Alfie died last season. Seems to be some confusion over this. Apparently David and Dan wrote a fake script that has Bran killing Theon. He thought it was a great script. He went on holiday and three weeks later they called him to ask him what he thought. They asked him how he felt about being a naked zombie with no lines. Eventually, he figured out that they were messing with him.
3:21 - Kristian Nairn (Hodor) is in the audience. He stood up and waved for the crowd. Martin turns his attention back to Leslie to ask her about her role on Downton Abbey. She thinks Ygritte at the Abbey would be more entertaining than Gwen beyond the wall. She doesn't think Gwen would survive very long up north. Fairley is talking about Gwendoline Christie's heavy armor and lugging around her costume.
3:24 - Martin asks Madden about the direwolf. He says people ask him all the time about what it's like to film with a direwolf. It's just a "fantastic silver ball with a wooden stick." Sometimes there's a big stuffed teddybear dire wolf. Emilia talking about her dragons. There were live-scale dragon models for Season 2. She was very protective of them. She also liked getting to film in the throne room last season. Martin brings up getting to reunite with Khal Drogo. Emilia smiles fondly and says, "My Khal!"
3:27 - Fan questions! Someone asked about their favorite scenes. Alfie says he liked getting hit in the head and knocked out. Fairley says she loved working with Richard. Her favorite scene was the last one that they did when they reminisced. Madden says he loves working with Fairley. They have a great time in their tents. Fairley jokes about being naked in the tent. Then says, "No, fully clothed. He is my son." Everyone laughs.
3:30 - Richard Madden loves being in costume. It helps him get into character. It's one of his favorite things. They credit Michele Clapton for the detail she puts into the costumes (she's the costume designer). Fairley says it's a delight and a privilege to wear some of her designs. Leslie says she relied a lot on her hood since it was so cold. Emilia's costume was changed for warmth issues.
3:33 - A fan asked Rose to tell him "You know nothing." She said it into the microphone, adding an extra "Nothing!" for emphasis. Next fan told Richard Madden he's beautiful and he seemed to blush at the compliment. Thanked her and answered her question (favorite location). He likes where they film Winterfell.
3:35 - Emilia says Game of Thrones is "incredibly relevant. Love and death and survival. She says the whole thing is so beautifully written and that shines through. Carolyn says what George managed to create in his characters are very complex human characters. Human emotion drives everything and that's what this show brings out. "What it boils down to are complex stories really well told, acted beautiful. That's what all great drama is."
3:37 - Martin references Tolkien's comments on allegory. Martin says his books aren't a veiled comment on things going on today. He wants the series and show to be about the human heart. The fantasy element (castles, dragons, etc) is exciting, but the heart is in the characters' stories. Well said!
3:42 - Richard Madden says they want to get into the roles as much as they can. He reads the books season by season to keep the surprises coming. Fairley talks about having to understand where the character is coming from.
3:44 - Last question is for Emilia. Fan asks about Dany's vulnerabilities. Emilia says she thinks she has a huge amount of them. We saw her self-doubt. It's something she keeps coming up against. Because she's so protective of her people, she has to be strong and she can't show fear, though she does feel it. That keeps her human and linked in and noble as opposed to just wanting the throne.
And that's it for the Game of Thrones panel! Thanks for reading along!