Greetings from Westeros-adjacent, where we’re live blogging the final Game of Thrones panel at Comic-Con!
Despite the last-minute bummer news that writer-producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss, as well as director Miguel Sapochnik, and actors Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont) and Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei) wouldn’t be attending, there is still plenty of reason for fans to fill Hall H today in San Diego. Moderated by EW’s James Hibberd, the GOT panel features Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), Conleth Hill (Varys), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), and Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark).
5:27 p.m.: A Comic-Con worker reminds people not to film content (what could there be at this point to share?). They will allow a limited amount of questions from the crowd, but they need to line up now.
5:34 p.m.: Director of Comic-Con Eddie Ibrahim comes out: “I want to mention what we all love about Comic Con so much is that we all accept each other. Think about it. We accept each other’s fandoms. Even if we disagree sometimes, we all do love the content that is brought to us.” The crowd groans. “We want that to continue. Keep that in mind. This is a place where everybody is accepted and is at home.”
5:36 p.m.: It’s a clip! The crows are flying. There’s a voiceover of Bran talking about remembering everything and seeing everything in the past. It’s a mash-up of all the great moments from over the years, including the beheading of Ned Stark and scenes from the Red Wedding.
5:38 p.m.: The room is dead silent. it’s not new footage, but it’s captivating nonetheless.
5:41 p.m.: Clip still going. Jon Snow is riding horseback into the wintry forest. It ends with a huge roar from the crowd.
5:42 p.m.: EW’s James Hibberd begins by saying Game of Thrones is the most Emmy-nominated show of all-time. The show has been coming to Comic-Con since 2011, but, “for the first time, the spoilers are out.”
5:43 p.m.: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau takes the stage first, followed by Liam Cunningham, Jacob Anderson, Maisie Williams, John Bradley, Conleth Hill, and Isaac Hempstead Wright.
5:44 p.m.: Coster-Waldau jokes, “Someone left some coffee cups behind.” The cast raise the cups as a reference to the now infamous faux pas when someone left behind a craft services coffee cup on a set — and it showed up in an episode.
5:45 p.m.: First up: question to Hempstead Wright. What’s it been like for you since the finale came out? “I forced my friends and family to only refer to me as ‘your grace,'” he jokes. “Westeros is now a surveillance state with Bran aware of everything that everyone is doing.”
5:46 p.m. Hibberd asks Williams to explain what Arya is doing now. Williams likens her to Dora the Explorer. Asked to imagine Grey Worm’s move to Naath, Anderson quips that his character is probably off creating a new society like Wakanda. “I think he’s keeping his promise to Missandei and sitting on a beach drinking pina coladas.” Could he find love again, asks Hibberd? “No, not in the same way. I think that was a one time deal.”
5:49 p.m.: Bradley reflects on his final scene of the series. “We set up a slightly more comic space. I felt personally that you want to stay with them. There’s so much drama involved in a group of people who don’t like each other but are forced to exist. It basically turns into The Office.” Adds Cunningham, “I think the spin-off should be called Better Call Davos.”
5:50 p.m.: Coster-Waldau is asked about his final scene. “I thought it was perfect, that end, in the arms of Cersei. It made sense to me.” A few groans can be heard from the crowd. “There’s always one,” moans Cunningham. Coster-Waldau continues, “When Brienne fills in the blanks in the book, it was really beautiful. It showed her understanding of Jaime.”
5:54 p.m.: Hill has a thing to say about the audience reaction to the final season. “It was picked over like a whale on the beach. I loved all my 10 years on Game of Thrones…It was a life-changing experience.” Adds Hill: “You look at the amount of people who are here, we are here to thank you for watching us for all those years. We were never divisive as a cast. We never fought amongst each other. This is the reality rather than a media-led hate campaign.”
5:55 p.m.: Coster-Waldau weighs in: “The absurdity of the online petition. Like HBO was going to change the whole thing. That’s the power of HBO! Every season we had controversies: Ned Stark’s death. The Red Wedding … I feel so lucky to have met so many people and so many fans of this show; it has brought so many people together. If you come to an end, it’s going to piss you off no matter what, and, of course, at end of day, it’s absolutely fine If you hated the ending. If you loved it, that’s great — just don’t call people names.” Adds Cunningham, “It was the journey, to watch that grow and to be on the set when we were doing the work. The reason you guys are here is you can recognize the amount of love in making this show. We were all on this journey together. We were not just delivering something we thought was nice. Nobody knew how big it was going to get.”
6:01 p.m.: Anderson says Grey Worm did want to see Jon Snow go to trial. “He wasn’t willing to kill everybody. I don’t think he wanted to kill Jon Snow, he just didn’t want him to be alive.” Related question for Hill: At the start of his final episode, a cook tells Varys that Dany wouldn’t eat. Does that mean that Varys was looking to kill Dany himself? “I think Varys knew long ago he was going to die, so there was inevitability,” Hill said. “He knew he couldn’t get through to Jon or Tyrion because they were in love with Dany. He knew he had to stop her.”
6:05 p.m.: Hempstead Wright on the finale. He was happy with it. “It doesn’t conclude everything neatly, you don’t have set endings; it’s left totally open. The kingdoms are in total disarray, Arya off to start her own journey, Bran is king, there are storylines that could warrant their own spin-off. But they don’t. It’s almost as if the world of Game of Thrones exists still somewhere in the ether, which is quite nice. It’s not finished.”
6:07 p.m.: Does Gendry ever have a chance with Arya? “I think Arya has been a lone wolf, a misfit in her own family,” says Williams. “I don’t think being with a partner would make her the most fulfilled. They probably see each other at like a friend’s wedding and be like, ‘Oh hey!'” And did Arya kill the Night King on her own or did Jon Snow tell her what to do? “She did it on her own.” The crowd liked that answer. “If I give credit to anyone, it was Melisandre.”
6:09 p.m.: Hibberd asks everyone about their favorite line from the show’s long run. Coster-Waldau says it was when we found out that Hodor was Hodor. The crowd roars. For Cunningham, it was the Davos line, “‘Nothing fucks you harder than time.’ It’s magnificent and so true.” Williams likes Arya’s line, “Not today.” Bradley says it was Sam’s line, “‘I’d always like to be a wizard.’ The more you learn about Sam, the more you learn about his childhood, which was so tough and so hard and so unforgiving. He had to create this alternative reality for himself. He wanted to be a wizard. Something other than himself.” Hill says it was the Tyrion line, “I drink and I know things.” Hempstead Wright says it was the Littlefinger line, “Chaos is a ladder.”
6:14 p.m.: Next up, Hibberd asks if anyone took anything from the set that, ahem, they weren’t supposed to. Hempstead Wright said he ran through on his last day and grabbed whatever he could. “After spending 10 years on Game of Thrones, I’m left with a wooden spoon.” Hill quipped, “I stole most of the scenes I was in.” Bradley says he didn’t take anything. “I have a pathological fear of getting into trouble.” Williams said she took silicon blobs of blood from the Hall of Faces and left them all over the floor of her bathroom trailer. She then laughs uncontrollably. “There’s something wrong with you,” Cunningham deadpans.
6:18 p.m.: Was there any info or back story that they were told about the characters that didn’t make it into the show? “Dick. No balls,” says Anderson. Added Cunningham, “That’s actually how Jacob was described, not his character.”
6:20 p.m.: Let’s talk about the water bottle that ended up in the finale next to Bradley’s leg! “I’ve always been someone who’s felt a lot of responsibility and blame for things. I’m right-handed. I thought about this very strongly. I’m right-handed, so if I’m drinking a water bottle with my right hand, I was going to put it on the floor [by his right leg]. I think I’ve taken enough blame for this.”
6:24 p.m.: What will you miss most about the show? Coster-Waldau: “The truth is, it’s the people. I miss working with these guys and coming back every year to Belfast.” Says Cunningham, “We had these beautiful words that we were handed by George and David and Dan. Working with these crews. There was a magical sense of it. It’s very, very rare that something comes along that feels almost fault-less. I’ll miss the elegance of it and working with people at the top of their game.”
Now for Anderson: “Family that we made making this show. Hanging out in the makeup truck. I miss that so much.” Williams: “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to play a character that picks up a dagger without people saying ‘You played Arya.’ Doing all the combat fighting, during something of this time period, I’ll really miss that.” Bradley: “In terms of playing Sam, I will mainly miss charting that progress he made. He was told he was only going to be a passenger, dead weight. Over the course of 8 seasons, you see this process of self-discovery. He ends up in a place where his opinion is valued.”
Hill: “This show began 10 years ago during a peace process in Northern Ireland after 30 years of conflict. I couldn’t be more proud that it was made in a place where I was from. It was made with all kinds of different people…who all worked together so well and so productively, to the credit of my homeland. Most of all, I want to thank you for watching and keeping us on TV.” Going last, Hempstead Wright shares, “In terms of playing Bran, it was so fun to have to be so still and calm. It’s a strange thing to do for 8 hours a day while there are all sorts of crazy things going on. It was meditative and it forced you to reflect. To be a part of show that people absolutely love…you forget how many people follow what you do for a living. It’s been such a special unique experience that has brought so many people. That’s something we will all miss so much.”
6:32 p.m.: And that’s a wrap as Hibberd apologizes that there isn’t time for fan questions. The crowd proceeds to give a standing ovation.
Your watch of this story has now ended.