11 Highlights From the SDCC Game of Thrones Panel


San Diego Comic-Con attendees started lining up the night before for the 2017 Game of Thrones panel, and they were not disappointed. With an event featuring Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm), Conleth Hill (Varys), Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) and Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), and moderated by fan-favorite Kristian Nairn (Hodor), a massive audience was treated to conversation around romance, manipulation and the Great War to come. Here are some of the panel highlights.

Sophie Turner thinks Sansa has the upper hand. 

When Nairn asked if the Lady of Winterfell was being manipulated by Littlefinger, Turner pointed out that her character has grown: “As she’s been a prisoner of all of these master manipulators, she’s been silently absorbing, learning and adapting. She’s just as good at playing the game as he is at this point.

Brienne of Tarth may secretly like Tormund’s attention.

Nairn asked the question most fans are thinking: Does Brienne enjoy being appreciated both as a warrior and a woman by the wilding? “I don’t think her value system is based on how men appreciate her,” offered Gwendoline Christie. “But, who doesn’t like to be appreciated as both? She’s finding it incredibly awkward, but under any awkwardness is that potential secret enjoyment. But,” she teased, “does she like someone else?” The audience answered with cries of a certain Kingslayer.

The transition from Theon to Reek and back again isn’t easy.

“It was definitely a challenge because he wasn’t really stepping back into the Theon he was before he was Reek,” Alfie Allen explained. “He’s had a crazy arc, but it’s been enjoyable to find empathy for the character.”

Samwell has made peace with being an outsider.

First at home and then at Castle Black, Sam has always struggled to fit in, John Bradley admitted: “He assumed the one place where his passion and interests wouldn’t be treated with scorn and contempt is the Citadel. He gets there, and is just as much of an outsider there as anywhere.” But the silver lining for the young Maester-in-training, Bradley shared, is he’s realized he didn’t need to be “accepted by a wider world, because he knows what’s important — being loved by two people [Gilly and Little Sam] rather than accepted by hundreds.”

Nathalie Emmanuel is happy with Missandei’s job.

Although she enjoyed the thought of Missandei being Hand to her “bestie” Daenerys, Emmanuel confessed Tyrion is probably still the better fit for the job. “Tyrion knows the enemy, and is much more experienced with that political landscape,” admitted Emmanuel. “Missandei has been dealing with a completely different set of dangers, but this strategizing and negotiating is so new.”

Ser Davos would definitely kill Melisandre if he had the chance.

Liam Cunningham was quite clear about the Onion Knight’s feelings on the matter: “I don’t think he has a list, or would pull an Arya and hunt [Melisandre] down, but he’d put her in a shallow grave somewhere if no one was going to find out.”

Catelyn Stark is still very present for Gwendoline Christie.

When asked what drove Brienne to continue to fulfill her oath, Christie referred back to the scene in which Catelyn and Brienne discussed having the strength of a woman. “It was that realization that Brienne didn’t have to force herself into a mold of masculinity… that she could be propelled by her own intuitive sense of what was right in terms of moral compass,” said Christie. “Brienne feels that even one small thing for one person is going to perpetuate a sense of good. She’s connecting to an idea that’s greater than herself.”

The Citadel is Samwell’s battlefield.

“Jon Snow was everything Sam needed all wrapped up in one person — a big brother, a father figure, confidant, best friend,” commented John Bradley. “Sam knows what it’s like to have somebody take your burden on their shoulders. He wanted to do that for somebody else — to save this woman [Gilly] and her son. He wants to to stand with Jon in the Great War, but he has to do that using his very unique set of academic skills. The Citadel is his battlefield. Now he has the responsibility to make Jon’s faith in him justified and get results. He feels that responsibility all the time.”

Sansa and Jon still have some work to do.

“There’s still that sibling rivalry from when they were young,” Sophie Turner said of the relationship with her bastard brother. “It’s about finding that balance and collaboration, but it’s proving quite difficult. He’s the military man; she’s the politician, but they both need to stop fighting for ultimate power and work together.”

Many of the cast members wish Hodor hadn’t been killed...

...and they weren’t just saying that because Kristian Nairn was moderating. “I’m still hurting about Ned. Still breaks my heart,” added Jacob Anderson. “I also have a flame for Barristan Selmy.” Turner surprised audiences by voicing her wish Joffrey Baratheon hadn’t been killed, “I really loved working with Jack Gleeson,” she explained. Other characters they missed having around included Catelyn Stark, Khal Drogo, Shireen and Robb Stark.

The Three-Eyed Raven may be more than just a visionary.

“What’s interesting about the Three-Eyed Raven is he’s one of the few remaining fragments of the old Westeros — the ancient magical mystical side of it — and the Night King appears to be his sworn enemy,” shared Isaac Hempstead Wright. “I don’t think his purposes has been revealed yet, but clearly it’s something important.”

San Diego Comic-Con invited fans to consider what might be revealed this season, with this special “Weeks Ahead” preview: