George R. R. Martin, the mastermind author of Game of Thrones (which he started writing in 1991) moderated a panel that included many show favorites: Emmy Nominee Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Kit Harrington, Emilia Clarke, Jason Momoa and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
The crowd went dragon-shit crazy after the season one recap, and for each of the stars as they took to the stage. Careers are being made and born with this show. The lives of newcomers Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) have changed. Clarke boarded the show fresh out of drama school. Responding to a fan's question about how she made Daenerys into a tough and inspiring female character: "It's women. We're good, we're strong, we're powerful, we're sexy. Own it. Be true to yourself."
Here are ten things I learned (and pictures) from the panel. They'll more than whet your appetite for season two (details of which are also below):
1. Showrunner David Benioff says, of reading Martin's books: "It's like crack on paper. You can't stop [reading it]." He says studios wanted to make it a PG-13, two-and-a-half hour movie, but HBO proved to be "the only way it would work."
2. What advice would Clarke give to herself if she could go back a few years? "Do exactly the same thing," and "take a deep breath and read George Martin's books." Did drama school prepare her? "Nooooo, no no," she says, happily.
3. Lena Headey, asked how it's different to play a much-hated character after being a hero in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: "It's fun to play a character that isn't trying to be morally good…it's fun, I'm not trying to please anybody. But people come out and say 'I hate you,' it's kind of terrible," she laughs, adding "I love Cersei, I think she's misunderstood."
4. Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister): "Thank you for coming, it's a ridiculous experience, I can't feel my feet."
5. Momoa (who plays Conan in the upcoming film Conan The Barbarian, out August 19): "Between you and me, George, Drogo would kick Conan's ass."
6. Dinklage, on his approach to the character, and the pressure of bringing fan-favorite Tyrion Lannister to life: "I don't know if I even have an approach as an actor. I think everyone on this panel was faced with that [pressure] when we started,..yeah, it was terrifying."
7. How does Harington feel about the thousands of 15-year old girls putting posters of him on their walls: "It scares the crap out of me." He was recognized buying a latte, and confirms people "get a weird puzzled look, like 'I know you from somewhere.'"
8. Of the first season DVD set, which is coming out soon, showrunner D. B. Weiss says, "we didn't really have any deleted scenes. We used everything we shot. But not to worry: "The DVD team is putting together some amazing complimentary material." Momoa doing the haka in his initial audition may appear (it's what got him the role after HBO read fan pages recommending him. They looked all over the world for the right actor).
9. Momoa describes how he learned the Dothraki language; "I was like, 'I really want this job, I'll do anything…so I went back to the hotel, ordered a lot of pizza and a lot of guineas." That apparently did the trick. He adds: "to communicate like that [with an imaginary lanuage] with someone else [Clarke] was amazing."
10. How do the actors want to see the series end? (Spoiler Alert?!): "I want to see Jon Snow on the throne," says Harington. Dinklage says; "Dance number."
As for what we can expect from the second season, Benioff says, "everyone dies, sorry," and Weiss jokes; "It was all a dream."
Benioff says that readers of the books know what to expect. He feels like the show has a future and he's excited to introduced a lot of new characters in the second season. "It's time to see those dragons and wolves, and there's bad stuff lurking beneath…" He hopes the show will have a third and fourth season, but it's hard to see ahead. "If we can get to RW we've accomplished something," that's referring to a scene that is very important but it's name alone is a spoiler. He's confident they'll get there: "I think we're pretty well set up, I think we'll get to RW." Based on the fan reaction here at Comic-Con, this show is hot and only getting hotter. In the game of TV shows, it's going to live.