If you asked me to tell you what shows I get the most excited for, Game of Thrones will definitely be at the top of my list. Complex character, thrilling mythology and breathtaking cinematography are only a few of the reasons that I firmly believe Game of Thrones to be one of the best television shows currently running. Going into my first year at San Diego Comic Con, I was the most excited to finally see more than a handful of Game of Thrones actors on a panel at once. I’ve been to smaller conventions and witnessed some amazing panels before, so my hopes were high as a fan of the show. However, I must say that the San Diego Comic Con panel for Game of Thrones was a huge disappointment.
I know what you’re thinking: she just hates the show because the cast can do no wrong! Well, it’s just my opinion, and everyone is entitled to one, but I found the panel to be very dry, unexciting and often times very awkward. This is extremely disappointing to me because of how much I love the world of Westeros.
So where did it all go wrong? I wish there was an easy answer to this. Often times you can blame an insensitive question that throws the panelists off or some unknown factor affecting the panelists. This was not the case for the Game of Thrones panel which included executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, director Michael Sapochnik Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Conleth Hill (Varys), Liam Cunningham (Ser Davos Seaworth), Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), Isaac Hemptstead Wright (Bran Stark), Kristian Nairn (Hodor)and Faye Marsay (The Waif).
One of the biggest problems in this panel was the moderator. You could have the dullest people to speak to in the world but a good moderator could easily fix the panel and steer it positively. The moderator for this particular panel seemed to put no effort into his job at all. It was as if he was just reading the questions from a sheet of paper, and I say this because he constantly looked down at the podium. I can’t recall a single moment where he responded to any of the panelists’ answers to questions, something extremely odd.
After witnessing Chris Hardwick moderate the two panels before this one, Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead, it was painfully obvious that the Thrones moderator was not even in the same world as Hardwick’s skills, much less the same ballpark.
Another big issue was the questions themselves. There weren’t really any great discussion questions, which is shameful considering season six earned Game of Thrones the honor of being the only television show in history to claim two perfect 10/10 episode scores on IMDB for “The Battle of the Bastards” and “The Winds of Winter”. Speaking of the Battle of the Bastards, panelist Iwan Rheon’s attendance was completely wasted by a lack of questions directed his way. His character, Ramsay Bolton, is possibly the most hated man on the entire show which is saying a lot considering the characters we’ve had to witness.
Rheon was completely polite and seemed to have a great personality, which would confirm what other cast members say about him frequently. However, he never really got the chance to shine in the panel and talk about his complex role. In fact, now that I think about it, none of the cast specifically got a big moment to speak on the panel, which is saddening considering the fact that clips have proven them to be entertaining panelists.
Despite the previously mentioned disappointing moments, there were a few shining moments. When actor Kristian Nairn walked onto the stage, the crowd greeted him with chants of “hold the door”, a statement which any Game of Thrones fan will understand. Nairn got the chance to thank fans for their outpour of support for his lovable character, Hodor, and his heartbreaking origin story shown this season. John Bradley who plays Samwell Tarly also shared that he believes the most ironic death for Samwell would be death by bookcase: murdered by the things he loves most.
This was a funny moment in the panel that the crowd enjoyed hearing. To the age old question of who should claim the Iron Throne, a few answers stood out. Amongst fans you typically only hear three names: Daenerys, Jon or Tyrion. Everyone usually picks one of those people, so to hear some varying opinions was refreshing. Liam Cunningham who plays Davos shared that he envisions a White Walker sitting on the throne in the end, possibly the Night King.
Kristian Nairn had, in my opinion, the best answer though. According to Nairn, he does not think that the Iron Throne will even be important after what he suspects to be a battle between Daenerys and the Night King. Though, if he had to choose, Brienne of Tarth would be his pick for Queen of the seven kingdoms.
For more coverage of the Game of Thrones panel at San Diego Comic Con 2016, check out our photo and video galleries.