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SDCC 2011: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Written by: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer

CC2K’s Big Ross checks in from SDCC with a recap of the panel for HBO’s hit new show “Game of Thrones”.

Writers and producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss as well as Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Kit Harrington (Jon Snow), Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo), and the awesome Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) sat on the panel, and author George R.R. Martin moderated.

By far the biggest and most anticipated panel of the day in Ballroom 20 was HBO’s Game of Thrones. After a 10 minute video recap of the first season, Martin brought out the cast members to resounding applause for a Q&A session. One of the first questions Martin asked was to Benioff and Weiss on just how they came to be involved in this series. Benioff shared an anecdote about someone sending the books to him almost 6 years ago, and various attempts through the years by others in Hollywood to adapt the first novel into a film, in particular one attempt at a 2 and 1/2 hour PG-13 film. Can you imagine? Thank Crom for HBO.

Another fun question Martin posed to Jason Momoa was, “Who would win in a fight, Khal Drogo or Conan?” Momoa, who takes on the role of the famous Barbarian later this summer, chuckled and replied, “between you and me George, Drogo would kick Conan’s ass.” Momoa then launched into some of Drogo’s signature and explosive dialogue, to resounding cheers from the audience.

Martin then asked Benioff and Weiss what fans might expect on the season 1 DVDs. Interestingly, Benioff said that there was very little unused footage, so don’t expect much in the way of deleted scenes. But he did say that they are working on some “exciting” supplementary material and said they are planning to include the first taped auditions of every major cast member. Of note, Benioff remarked that Jason Momoa’s audition was particularly memorable, as he performed a traditional hakka dance that single-handedly won him the role of Drogo. This led to some insights from Momoa that the language of Drogo’s people, which he described as a made-up mix of German and Arabic, was both beautiful and a crazy mix of “Jabba the Hutt and Fonzie Bear”. Momoa also said that the iconic scene where Drogo rips out the throat of a challenger was one he came up with and pushed for. Having come off of filming Conan the Barbarian, he desperately wanted a scene that showcased Drogo as one of the baddest men that ever was. Even though it wasn’t in the book, it made it into the show. And I think we’re all grateful for that.

As for season 2, Benioff is excited to bring in a bunch of new characters, and thinks that while A Clash of Kings is doable in a single season, assuming that there is a third, they are still not sure how they will handle it, as A Storm of Swords” is “just too big” for a single season. Whether it will be drastically abridged or broken into multiple seasons remains to be determined. Though I found it very interesting that Benioff referenced a particular scene in the third book (simply as scene RW to avoid spoilers) that is his personal dream to reach. If they do that, he will be perfectly content with the show.

There were almost as many questions from the fans for Martin as for the cast, and of note two were about how he will end the series and how he feels about killing off his characters. Martin, who seems like just a humble, great, uber-geek of a guy, answered that he mourns all of the characters that he kills off, especially those that serve as viewpoint characters for driving the narrative. As for the ending, he is actively considering it; he is planning two more books, and he hopes to bring everything together as effectively as it sits partially formed in his imagination. He remarked that he is a fan of bittersweet endings, and spoke of how much he likes the Scouring of the Shire at the end of LOTR. Martin said he hopes to write an ending half as good as Tolkien’s epic.

One final note: I’ve read in several places online that Martin’s books and the HBO series are only (or mostly) enjoyed by men and boys, that this is not a story for women. I respectfully disagree, and judging by the volume and pervasiveness of female-generated cat-calls for Harrington, Coster-Waldau, and Momoa as well as the number of women asking questions, Game of Thrones is most certainly NOT just for the boys.

Stay tuned for more updates from SDCC 2011!

-Big Ross