Here’s nearly everything you need to know about Game of Thrones at Comic Con:
1. HBO wins at clever Comic Con marketing again. The hall outside Ballroom 20 is adorned with banners of all the great, noble and not so noble houses playing at the Games of Thrones. They’re reminiscent of last year’s True Blood VILF and Bill Compton is Missing banners. I love how HBO’s marketing consistently gives an in-the-know nod to the hardcore fanbases of their shows while providing a compelling teaser for potential new viewers.
2. George R.R. Martin is a lovely little nerd. Check out those suspenders (They’re kinda blurry – sorry iPhone pic – but maybe you can make out the decorative flames). Martin really was the perfect panel moderator for the hit show based on his life’s work, A Song of Fire and Ice. He lead a lively, almost fan-boy-ish discussion about the first season with panelists Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Peter Dinkalage (Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harrington (Jon Snow), Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo) Lena Headly (Cersei Lannister) and show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. At one point he asked Harrington if he thinks fans will break down by Team Robb vs. Team Jon (IMHO, Jon would win hands down), teased Coster-Waldau about being a con virgin and asked Momoa (who’s starring in the upcoming Conan the Barbarian film) who would win in a fight: Conan or Khal Drogo. Momoa replied unequivocally that the Khal would best the Barbarian, hands down. Although his exact words were that, “would kick Conan’s ass!” Other notable Martin comments during the hour long discussion included his thoughts on Game of Thrones’ Emmy nominations for Best Drama Series and Dinkalage for Best Supporting Actor. He said he was beyond pleased with the nominations but also wasn’t shy about sharing his thoughts on who WASN’T nominated. That would be Sean Bean, who Martin said was “robbed” for the best actor nomination. Martin also gamely and graciously answered questions from superfans during the Q&A portion of the panel, like “Why are you always killing off characters?” Martin replied that he “want(s) readers to be almost afraid to turn the page, not knowing who’s going to die next.” He shared that that’s the kind of writing that “involves your emotions” which is what he aims to do with his writing (and prefers in his reading)
3. Kit Harrington might have a twee name but Jon Snow is HOTT. ‘Nuff said. Oh, except that he also said he’s not reading ahead in the books (as actors are often want to do so they can “stay in the moment” or some shizz like that) because “Game of Thrones is a “brilliant thing, it’s all up in the air, you never know who’s going to die and who’ll be up on that Throne” and he doesn’t want no spoilers neither.
4. Sadly, I didn’t get any good pictures of the ladies on the panel. But both Headly (pictured next to Harrington above) and Clarke were lovely and seemed like a lot of fun. Headly, in particular, and perhaps unsurprisingly for a wicked queen, had a wicked sense of humor. While Clarke graciously answered a lot of audience questions from young women who sounded like they truly look up to the strong and noble Queen she plays. Like this cute little cos player who looked AWESOME. At least I thought so, but then again, I looked like I combed my hair with a fork this morning.
5. NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN SEASON 1!!!! If it was up to the fans, Khal Drogo would come back to life and sit upon the Iron Throne with Tyrion Lannister as his Hand. It’s pretty clear from the numerous boob hugging tees sporting his visage at the con that Jason Momoa is the new James Marsters. He’s the 21st Century nerd girl’s wet dream. And he’s also fun as all heck. He clowned around with Mr. RR Martin, Benioff, Weiss and the cast for the entire panel in an amiable, intellectual yet rambling stoner style. Plus he’s super masculine-like but still manages to rock full on eye make up like nobody’s business. Of note; showrunners Weiss and Benioff revealed that they were tipped off to Momoa as a possible casting choice for Drogo by fans on the comments thread of an unnamed website.
5. And, people, let me just tell you (since you’re still reading), when Peter Dinkalage walked into the room SHIT BLEW UP. A chorus of excited panel attendees started chanting “TYRION! TYRION! TYRION!” as he came on stage. And how did he greet them back? By shaking devil horn hands at them, of course! That gesture, along with the rest of his comments, was so dry, witty, sweetly self-effacing that it reminded me why Comic Con is so fun for fans (be they of comics, movies, or TV). In spite of Comic Con’s garish spectacle-ness, it truly does give fans a chance to connect with the creators and performers they love. Another highlight remark from Dinkalage was in response to a fan question about how the individual cast members would end the show if it was up to them. Dinkalage’s one word response? DANCE NUMBER. Somebody put this guy in a comedy buddy movie STAT.
Showrunners, Benioff and Weiss, also discussed Season 2 a bit, saying that readers of the books will know EXACTLY what to expect. However, if they manage to get to Season 3 (a humble disclaimer on their part), the show will not correspond directly with the books. They also mentioned that the audience will be treated to a slew of great new characters in Season 2.
Lastly, a couple more responses from Martin are worth mentioning. In answer to the question of how he hopes to end his series without it getting “Lost-ian” in scope, Martin looked nervously around for Damon Lindelof and said he’s still concerned about the ending, especially with two books to go. His greatest hope, however, is to do something as good as The Lord of the Rings. Lastly, in answer to the fan question of whether or not he purposely sets out to break writing cliches like never killing the hero of your story, he emphatically nodded yes but also added that, having written the books since 1991, he gets very attached to his characters. The only way he can do it is to tell himself that “it’s not me killing the characters, it’s the other characters.”
OK, that’s it for today. I’ve got a lot more to report tomorrow about new television shows, lots of Cartoon Network stuff and more!