SDCC 2013: The ‘Game of Thrones’ Panel Kills Off All Your Favorite Characters… Again

By Amber Lena

As anyone who has been to San Diego Comic-Con before can attest, getting into Hall H requires dedication and patience. Luckily, “Game of Thrones” fans are both dedicated and very practiced in patience. People camped out overnight just to get into the panel, and unfortunately many of them didn’t make it in.

As with many of the panels at Comic-Con, the cosplay ran rampant. A little girl dressed as Daenerys clutched her mother’s hand as they looked for seats. There were many t-shirts dedicated to Westeros.

The panel began with a memorandum for every character killed throughout the first few seasons, both minor and major. It began as a comedic blood fest as heads rolled and nameless soldiers were killed off in quick succession. Audiences also got to watch Beric Dondarrion die… for the sixth time. It was a combination of humor and angst that culminated in showing the fan favorites: Ned, Robb, and Catelyn Stark. The audience cheered and sobbed simultaneously. It concluded with the phrase “The North Remembers” and the audience erupted into cheers.

These cheers were matched again when Peter Dinklage was announced — it’s no secret that Dinklage is one of the fan favorites for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister. Next to enter was Michelle Fairley, who was notably wearing a high-necked blouse, perhaps as a subtle wink to the fans. Michelle was followed by John Bradley, Kit Harington, and Rose Leslie. The loudest screams, however, went to both Richard Madden and Emilia Clarke. Finally the panel was joined by the man who started it all, George R.R. Martin.

“George you heartless bastard,” Elvis Mitchell, the moderator, started.

“I have many characters, so killing characters… There’s always more [… ] More job opportunities for actors and actresses,” Martin said jokingly.

Unsurprisingly, one of the first topics brought up is the infamous “Red Wedding”. The panel got turned over to Madden, who can’t even begin speaking without screams of “The King in the North!” Madden confirmed that he did, in fact, cry on the flight home after filming concluded. Not to mention the several drinks he ordered on a one hour flight.

Rose Leslie talked about Ygritte’s devastation when Jon Snow left her and the thought process behind the wilding’s actions: “He’s not going to get away with this; I’m going to hunt him down and kill him,” she said on Ygritte’s behalf.

Congratulations were given to Emilia for her Emmy nomination. She was very humble in her response. “It’s been a phenomenal season,” she said. “You think that [Daenerys] is peaking in episode five with the getting her army, and then the final episode was absolutely exhilarating to film.”

At that point there were screams in the audience as a familiar face walks onto stage. People scrambled for their cameras as Jason Momoa strutted over to Emilia, kissed her, and announced “I’m not dead yet!”

“My sun and stars!” Emilia exclaimed once she finished laughing with the rest of the panel.

The talk of the Red Wedding continues, though this time it’s Michelle Fairley’s turn to speak. “It’s like a piece of music, you have to work your way through it,” Fairley said of filming the Red Wedding scene. “There was one bit where they actually had the music and there was this key change in the music, and it was like someone walked over your grave. It literally gave you a chill.”

The panel went on to give props to the show’s composer. “The Rains of Castamere” is mentioned, and how that piece of music really set the tone for the Red Wedding.

John Bradley had the opportunity to talk about Sam’s growth throughout the season. “I think Sam has always been a hero,” he said. “It’s braver sometimes to absorb punishment and just be the underdog all the time. I think Sam had a lot of that.” In reference to Sam’s big moment in season two, Bradley says: “The moment that he turns around and becomes the hero is a moment of complete gut instinct… Sam just needs to get out of his own brain for a bit.”

Talk turned over to Peter Dinklage. “Tyrion’s ambivalence has been really interesting to watch this season,” Mitchell remarked.

“Thanks,” Dinklage said simply, earning many chuckles from the audience. He goes on to talk about what it’s like to work with Charles Dance. “Of course it says so much about an actor when you can’t imagine another actor playing that role. Charles is that for me as Tywin Lannister. He gives me a shoulder rub after each take to make sure we still love each other as thespians.” After continued praise, Dinklage said “You’re only as good as the actors you work with.”

David Benioff talks about how fortunate the show has been in terms of people not giving out spoilers. “There are always going to be a couple of douches on message boards…” he began, earning cheers. “But millions of people knew about the Red Wedding before it aired, and yet so much of the audience was still in the dark.”

“The fact that so many people managed to keep quiet about a monumental event in the story…” Weiss began.

“Except for my mom,” Benioff remarked.

Clarke was asked about Daenerys’ growth over the third season and how she gained much of her old confidence. “Coming out of season two her ability to trust had been abolished. Coming into season three and ramping up to ’the scene’, she had a lot of self doubt… It’s about taking the plunge, really. It was the first time she didn’t discuss anything with her closest advisors. The trust she put was into her dragons.” Emilia said. “If it doesn’t work, then that’s it, game over. If it does work, then game on.”

The audience is then treated to a deleted scene of Tywin Lannister and Maester Pycelle before Tywin’s first council meeting. It’s a battle of wits, with Tywin pointing out Pycelle’s charade and wondering aloud how so many people could be so stupid. The scene displays Tywin Lannister’s unwillingness to play along with the games the way the other people of King’s Landing do, and is a really great moment for Charles Dance.

The floor then turns over to audience questions. The first question comes from a fan wearing a “Keep Calm and Tyrion” shirt. “Nice shirt,” Dinklage said, completely deadpan. The audience member asked what it’s like for the actors to be able to work on such beautiful, diverse sets. “It’s amazing. I get to be on t-shirts,” Dinklage quipped. He goes on to say how much he’s loved filming everywhere. “My job allows me to go to the most beautiful places in the world.”

A second fan asked Martin if he would ever consider writing a direct prequel to the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, one that depicts Robert’s Rebellion. “The main thing will be that Ned Stark will be back and Sean Bean won’t be dying in something finally,” the fan concluded, earning a roar of approval from the crowd.

“First I have to finish “The Winds of Winter” and ’A Dream of Spring’,” Martin began. Cue cheering. “That’s going to take me a while.” Cue groans. “Would I write other stories in Westeros and the world? Yeah, I might. However I don’t think it would be a prequel with Robert’s Rebellion. […] Writing a book about that would be connecting the dots without any surprises. […] No offense to Sean Bean. It’s always sad to see Sean die.. but he’s so good at it.”

In response to being asked what it’s like being a symbol of female strength, Clarke responds: “It’s empowers me as a woman… It’s quite an experience. Even the remotest possibility that I’ve helped make other women feel empowered is the greatest feeling I can possibly imagine. I’m just incredibly grateful, really.”

The panel then ran out of time. There was a burst of applause in the room and everyone began knocking one another over in attempts to get one last picture, one last glimpse of their favorite actor. Game of Thrones was definitely one of the must-see panels of the convention.

Watch: MTV’s San Diego Comic-Con Live”

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