Comic-Con 2013: 'Game of Thrones' panel live-blog

Living and dead characters come together with Benioff, Weiss and a new moderator

<p>Rose Leslie and Kit Harington are two members of a huge &quot;Game of Thrones&quot;&nbsp;contingent at Comic-Con.</p>

Rose Leslie and Kit Harington are two members of a huge "Game of Thrones" contingent at Comic-Con.

Credit: HBO

Time for my third and final Comic-Con live blog of the day from Hall H, with what may be the biggest "Game of Thronespanel to date. Scheduled to appear: showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and stars (some current, some former) Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Michelle Fairley, Richard Madden, Kit Harington, Rose Leslie and John Bradley (Sam). And as a change of pace, George R.R. Martin won't be serving as moderator, with Elvis Mitchell leading the discussion, potentially in some very different directions from previous con appearances. Assuming the wifi holds up (which it has for live-blogs of "Veronica Mars" and "The Walking Dead"), I'll be posting updates pretty frequently, so keep reloading until I say we're all done.

2:53 p.m.: "The Walking Dead" panel started 10 minutes early. This one's gonna be at least 5 minutes late, if not more. Comic-Con is unpredictable.

2:55 p.m.: And we're off! Crowd laughs as we start with an In Memoriam video (set to Boyz II Men's "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday") of most of the characters who've been killed in the first three seasons. (Very informative for a non-book reader like me who doesn't know how to spell all these names). Crowd awws at Ros, laughs when Beric is listed with "for the 6th time." There's a long count of Stannis' sailors from Blackwater, and a huge cheer when Viserys gets the golden crown. Big cheers for the Starks (all of whom are shown in life, not in death), as the reel concludes with the line "The North Remembers."

3:02 p.m.: Benioff and Weiss come out to introduce the cast. Dinklage gets a predictably huge response. Michelle Fairley looks lovely (and alive). Crowd doesn't recognize Bradley's name, but they're very happy to see his face. The woman sitting next to me says, "He's so pretty!" when Harington emerges. Rose Leslie is much more cleaned up than when she's north of the wall. Madden also looks hale and hearty and alive, sporting a David Bowie t-shirt. His cheers goes on longer than anyone else so far. George R.R. Martin wasn't listed on the schedule, but he joins the panel right after Emilia Clarke, apparently substituting for Coster-Waldau.

3:03 p.m.: Elvis Mitchell opens with, "George, you heartless bastard!" Asks if it's true that he lies to his wife about whether her favorite characters will die. "I have many characters, so killing a few - there's always more. There's job opportunities for actors and actresses. And I should say in my defense that David and Dan have turned everything up to 11. They've killed many characters who are still alive in the books. I'll only take some of the bloodthirsty blame in the books."

3:04 p.m.: Speaking of which, Mitchell wondered if changing Robb's wife from the books meant he was going to survive the Red Wedding. Weiss says, "No, we always knew they were all going to die." Benioff calls that day a rough one on set. He hugged Fairley and Madden, saying, "It's the last time we're going to work with them." Even the tough Irish crew in Belfast was crying on set. "It's such a testament to Michelle and Richard and Oona (Chaplin)" that everyone who knew these deaths were coming were still crying on set. Madden admits he cried on set and on the flight home.

3:07 p.m.: Did Fairley read ahead in the books? She says she only read each book for each season. But she adds, "I knew how many years I signed for, so I knew what was coming." She loves the books, but treats the scripts as "the bible." Do Benioff and Weiss encourage the cast to read the books? Benioff says whatever the actors want to do, and says there can be a danger of actors playing what their character will be up to several seasons from now. Dinklage says "in four or five years, when this is all over, I'm going to go back and read all the books." He doesn't want to know what's coming, so he stays away from reading into the future. The producers joke that Tyrion becomes a dragon in a later book; Dinklage says he can already breathe fire.

3:09 p.m.: Mitchell brings up Ygritte shooting arrows into Jon Snow in the season 3 finale. Harington says as soon as he read the scene, he ran to Leslie to talk about how beautifully-written it was. He hates kissing up to Benioff and Weiss, "but they're very good at writing dialogue." He had a lot of fun filming the scene. "Some of the most brutal scenes are the funnest to film." Leslie says she was wrapped up in Ygritte's devastation at Jon leaving her. Ygritte was convinced Jon would be part of the wildling tribe, and can't entirely believe that he remained loyal to Westeros. "It's horrible that there's that realization, and it hits here there and then. And he's not going to get away with this. I am going to hunt him down and hurt him."

3:11 p.m.: The crowd applauds a mention of Clarke's Emmy nomination. She says she was out the night before the nominations with Leslie, never imagining that she would get one. Her alarm went off early even though she never set it, and got a message from HBO to tell her about the good news. Mitchell asks about the season's final moment with Dany being celebrated by the freed slaves of Yunkai. She calls it "absolutely exhilarating to film." When the extras lifted her up, she naturally broke into that grin.

3:12 p.m.: Khal Drogo in the house! Jason Momoa bursts out of the wings, plants a kiss on Clarke, shouts, "I'm not dead yet!" and runs off to huge cheers.

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Alan Sepinwall
Sr. Editor, What's Alan Watching
Alan Sepinwall has been reviewing television since the mid-'90s, first for Tony Soprano's hometown paper, The Star-Ledger, and now for HitFix. His new book, "The Revolution Was Televised," about the last 15 years of TV drama, is for sale at Amazon. He can be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com
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