A mighty chant of “HODOR” boomed throughout Hall H early Friday afternoon as actor Kristian Nairn took the podium for this year’s Game of Thrones panel. The actor whose character Hodor met his tragic end during last season’s Game of Thrones, served here as moderator, deftly keeping the panel on track and keep the atmosphere lively and jovial throughout. Nairn introduced fellow Game of Thrones cast members Sophie Turner (Sansa), Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran), Liam Cunningham (Davos), John Bradley (Sam), Alfie Allen (Theon), Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm), Conleth Hill (Varys) and Gwendoline Christie (Brienne). For those curious, no presence or mention of show stars Peter Dinklage, Kit Harrington, Lena Headey or Emilia Clarke. That’s a testament to the size, scale and quality of the show as every actor present brimmed with enthusiasm and personality.
Nairn drove the cast through a rapid fire series of questions, with most prompting a more humorous response than the last. Turner was asked whether Sansa was slyly getting the best of Littlefinger or whether he was slowly conning her. She confidently replied when it comes playing the game, “In my opinion, she’s just as good as he is.” Later, she indicated how Sansa is wiser and more hardened on the cruel world she occupies. She explained, “She doesn’t see the world through rose-tinted glass anymore.” Bradley expounded well on the status of Sam’s station at Old Town training to be a maester. He offered that Gilly and Little Sam’s presence provided more than Sam ever dared hope for, explaining, “He’s found that the love of two people is more important than the love of hundreds.” Christie was asked by a fan whether she believed Brienne was receptive to Tormund Giantsbane’s advances or not. Christie joked of his creepy glances and focused devouring of food while looking at Brienne. While she didn’t confirm or deny anything, she explained, “It must be born out of mutual respect. It won’t be born out of sexual advances.”
Cunningham got the biggest laugh of the panel towards the end. In response to a fan question about possible spin-offs of the show he excitedly quipped, “I’m happy to announce the HBO spinoff has been announced and it’s called Better Call Davos.” Hill also proved quite the wit. When questioned about if there is anything that causes Varys to lose his cool, he explained, “What the sorcerer said in the flames that day. And the red priest what she said to him [later in Mehreen],” pausing for a moment and then lapsing fully into modern slang before continuing, “Because she was cray.” Nairn asked the whole cast to indicate if there was a character no longer alive on the show they wish still was. Hilariously, before every third word in the question he whispered, “Hodor.” Turner elicited boos from the crowd when she earnestly proclaimed in response, “I have to say Jack Gleason. He was such fun to act with. He was so fun to hate.” Even though King Joffrey has been dead for several seasons, fans have clearly not learned to appreciate his presence any more than they did when he was still around.
While this panel may not have been significant in terms of substantive information, its honestly not something that really matters. Without discussing either technical details of photography, or finer details of potential spoilers, how much could even be unpacked about Game of Thrones beyond what is known? So much of the experience hinges on what’s to come in the story. The cast’s approach here was to have as good of a time as possible, and overall it made for a vastly entertaining panel. Though not all of the characters may share screen time together, they all interact with each other as if they were close family.
Photo by Raymond Flotat