“Game of Thrones” creator George R.R. Martin moderated today’s (July 13) Comic-Con panel to a packed house of more than 6,000 people. In addition to the brand-new panelists (only Emilia Clarke had appeared at Comic-Con before), the audience was introduced to 14 new cast members for Season 3, which premieres March 31, 2013 on HBO.
Seated beside Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen, were Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), Rose Leslie (Ygritte), Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark), Richard Madden (Robb Stark) and producer and former HBO entertainment president Carolyn Strauss.
Here are the highlights:
The adorably ditzy Alfie Allen, who is as opposite to his nasty character as any actor could be, thwarted GRRM’s attempts to solicit specific answers to his questions — especially concerning Theon’s “death.”
Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss tried to prank Alfie by sending him a script in which Theon was killed by Bran Stark — but Alfie was completely unphased. “I thought it was amazing, what a great way to go.” When he didn’t respond, they called him three weeks later, and he said “It’s cool guys, it’s your show.” So they said, “We’ve got another thing for you — how do you feel being a zombie?” When that still didn’t rattle Alfie, they asked, “OK, how do you feel being a naked zombie without any dialogue whatsover?” That’s when it finally clicked: “OK you’re having me on!”
When Martin asked Madden whether he’d rather play violent or sex scenes, the young King in the North replied with an unintentional double entendre: “I think I’d rather do violence. I get more of a kick out of that than standing in a quite cold set in Ireland without my clothes on. Swinging a sword is a lot more fun.”
Martin pointed out that Rose Leslie, who had a recurring role as a maid on “Downton Abbey,” is the only GOT cast member to have been born and raised in a real castle. “It’s definitely not Winterfell,” she said about her Scottish digs. “It’s cold, drafty and cranky, but it’s home.” A home with a dungeon! “Hide and seek would last for days,” she joked about getting stuck in the dungeon.
Madden shared a surprising fact about filming with his direwolf, Grey Wind. “Grey Wind is actually a fantastic silver ball on a long stick. It’s a different challenge than actually having an animals. Emilia has replicas, but I just have a massive silver ball.”
Before she got her replica “children,” Clarke said Dany’s dragons were represented instead by “a long green sausage.” But in Season 2, she said, “We had live-scale dragon models that I got very protective over — even when we weren’t filming. [It was] very alarming.”
When the cast were asked what their favorite scenes were to film, Alfie said, “I liked my last scene, the speech. It was funny, getting knocked out.” Martin said incredulously, “You like getting hit in the head very hard rather than getting naked?” Alfie responded: “If you want me to, [I’ll] say that: I love having sex on TV.”
Madden said, “All my scenes with Michelle are my favorite. We have a great time in our tent.”
“Naked!” the erstwhile Catelyn Stark joked, before qualifying: “No, fully clothed. He is my son.”
The racy conversation when Martin grumbled that HBO altered Dany’s Qarth gowns (which in his series expose one breast), Clarke deadpanned: “We did change it slightly so it was a bit more warm.”
Martin turned serious when asked to name his personal sigil: “Turtles have always been my sigil. I was not allowed to have traditional pets [he grew up in a housing project], so I had a dimestore castle filled with turtles. ‘Game of Thrones’ began with turtles. I decided to recast it as human beings. It wouldn’t be the same if these guys were all wearing turtle costumes.”