The crowd-pleasing blooper reel kicked off the 2014 panel and it set the tone for a light-hearted event. Late night host Craig Ferguson opened the floor to questions almost immediately after laying out the ground rules: "If you're going to ask questions from the book that hasn't happened yet -- grow up and don't." For the most part, the fans respected this request.
1. The cast stays in character. Amidst much cheering, Rory McCann (The Hound) arrived on stage, cradling his ear and mimicked hobbling to his seat. Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell) came out holding his head and scrunching his eyes closed. Both entrances were wildly appreciated.
2. Jon Snow's maternity came up. Benioff and Weiss told the story of a lunchtime meeting with author George R.R. Martin years ago. The lunch included a test: Who is Jon Snow's real mother? and happily, the two answered correctly. Weiss obliged the audience by revealing it's... "Mrs. Snow."
3. Natalie Dormer and Sophie Turner would like their turn with swords. "I want to kill someone," declared Turner (Sansa). Turner also admitted that her character's dark turn was both "a relief" and "freaking awesome." For her part, Dormer revealed that as someone who was really into swords, she was jealous of the actors who got to work with them, but acknowledged that Margaery has "proven to have other weapons."
4. Expect more Stannis. Benioff and Weiss went rogue by teasing a small detail from the coming season: "He's a fascinating character and we will be taking advantage of both the character and actor in the season."
5. Someone still remembers Benjen Stark. A fan dressed as the missing first ranger wanted to know why no one seemed to be looking for him any longer. Deflected Weiss, "It was Kit's idea, he said pointing at Kit Harrington (Jon Snow). "I got distracted," said Harrington, pointing at Rose Leslie (Ygritte).
6. Sophie Turner thinks Sansa and Tyrion have power couple possibilities. "He was my other half," said Turner, laughing. She rued that just as the two were starting to build a trusting relationship,"in the spirt of 'Game of Thrones,' they cut that off." Should the pair come together in the future, however, Turner thought the combination could be like the new "Brangelina."
7. Maisie Williams got cryptic. When a fan asked what it was like to play a character with so many shifting identities -- Arya, Arry, etc., and Williams replied: "She is no one."
8. Dragons vs. direwolves splits the panel. When the group was asked -- by a girl dressed as Arya -- "dragons or direwolves?" the answers were varied down the line. John Bradley said Sam's friendship with Jon necessitated he pick direwolves while Rose Leslie and Gwendoline Christie went for dragons. The Starks and Snow -- Maisie Williams, Kit Harrington and Sophie Turner each backed: "direwolves of course," as did Natalie Dormer. George Martin demurred, as did Benioff and Weiss. For his part, Rory McCann bayed like a hound, and Pedro Pascal went with a snake. One twist: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) opted for a "direwolf ... because they're easier to kill."
9. "The show is the show and the books are the books," so spake Martin, addressing a recurring line of questioning including whether book fans should stop watching the show until the books catch up. "I encourage people to watch the show and also, for people to read the books. Reading books is good." The author used his Scarlett O'Hara analogy from 'Gone With the Wind' to hammer the point home: "How many children does Scarlett O'Hara have?" Pointing out that she has three in the novel, and only one in the movie, Martin asked rhetorically, "What's the true story? The answer is she has none. She never existed and is not a real person. That is the situation -- the show is the show and the book is book."