An orchestra struck up the familiar chords of the Game of Thrones theme song while an ecstatic crowd reveled in the performance. Thus began the series’ panel at Brazil Comic Con (CCXP) in São Paulo, featuring show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with actors Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and John Bradley (Samwell Tarly). The group alternated asking one another questions, ranging from the fun to the personal, and shared some of the most memorable moments from the decade they have worked together. Below, find some superlatives from their years with Game of Thrones.
When asked what their initial Game of Thrones memory was, Williams recalled her first meeting with co-star Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark). Bradley mentioned his very first table read in Northern Belfast: “We got a sense of what a huge deal this show would be. That’s when it started to feel really real.”
Easiest/Most Difficult Casting
Benioff and Weiss admitted that casting Arya was their most difficult challenge, until “one day we were scouting in Morocco, and we saw the little thumbnail picture of Maisie Williams on our laptop. And even on a picture that small, there was just something about her that seemed like Arya,” recalled Benioff. On the flipside, the easiest role to cast was Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon. “It was the first take of the first audition,” said Weiss. “We thought, ‘Oh this is going to be easy!’ That was the only time it was that easy.”
Most Memorable Feeling
Although Season 8 details were hard to come by, Benioff and Weiss shared the odd sensation they felt at the end of their journey. After 13 years, the pair took a picture on their final day of shooting around “destruction and ruin,” said Benioff. “It was a major part of our lives for a very long time.” Weiss concurred: “It was a strange and wonderful feeling,” adding that the crew “was family to us.”
Best Marriage Material
When asked which character, male or female, Bradley and Williams would marry, they were both quick to answer. “Sansa,” said Williams, “because she’s really fit and fierce.” Bradley chose Gilly: “It certainly helped Samwell that Gilly’s only experience of men was Craster.”
Similarities/Differences With Their Characters
“I wish I were more like Arya than I actually am,” shared Williams, reflecting on any comparisons to be made with her character. “We look pretty similar.” Meanwhile, Bradley related strongly to Samwell, in the sense that they’ve grown together: “He’s not always the first person to see worth in himself,” Bradley acknowledged, telling Benioff and Weiss, that while Gilly has instilled that confidence in his character, “You guys did that that for me.”
Williams asked Benioff and Weiss when they realized how the series would end. “Certain things, we knew from the beginning,” added Benioff, throwing out Dany crossing the Narrow Sea. But the final season took shape during Season 3. “After we finished shooting the third season, we knew,” Weiss stated.
Bradley and Williams both made a plea to the creators to collect beloved objects from set. Bradley’s choice? The thimble that Sam’s mother gave him before he left for the Wall. For Williams, it was, obviously, Arya’s sword, Needle. Benioff surprised the audience, admitting that he has the coveted sword in his home.
Most Intimidating Co-Stars
Benioff asked which actor they found the most intimidating to work with, guessing Maisie’s answer right away: Charles Dance [Tywin Lannister]. Williams confirmed Dance inadvertently exasperated the situation by nonchalantly introducing himself: “Hi, I’m Charlie.” Williams reflected on her former scene partner as “still the nicest person to this day.”
Bradley referenced the late actor Peter Vaughan [Maester Aemon], awed by the realization that his co-star had been in a film with Frank Sinatra. Weiss shared a similar respect for Jonathan Pryce [High Sparrow], explaining that talent of that caliber lifted up the entire production.
Williams placed the show’s deaths into two different categories…ones the fans really wanted to see and ones that were intricate and fun to film. Of the latter category, her favorite was Meryn Trant, because although it was not the most anticipated event, it was very involved to film. Williams promised eager fans that more kills were coming in Season 8. As for Bradley, he declared: “Randyll Tarly is the only name on my list.”
When asked what they would miss most about the series, Benioff and Weiss had the same, instantaneous, answer – the people. “The stars aligned,” said Bradley, of the life-changing experience. Williams agreed: “It’s made us who we are now.”
The hour culminated in a new Season 8 tease; which you can watch here.