Julia Steele ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The crowd was filled with all kinds of fans as everyone settled in for the Game of Thrones Fan Forum Thursday of New York Comic Con. Fans were not only excited to see actors of the hit HBO show, but to participate in a forum lead by the heads of the Wikia site network. First onstage was Eric Moro, head of Wikia, closely followed by the founder of the Game of Thrones Wikia, mega-fan Werthead. Also on the panel was the Jamie Hari, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Marvel & DC Databases—a self proclaimed mega-fan. We were all interested in what these well-versed men had to say, but the real excitement started when Podrick and Hodor came out—or rather actors Daniel Portman and Kristian Nairn who play Podrick and Hodor.
The forum being run by the Wikia dream team, the men on the panel with actors Nairn and Portman were just as excited as the fans were to geek-out with the stars, talk about the hit TV series, and get any inklings they could about what’s to come in Season Five. As fans themselves, they were also very interested in getting the audience involved with this panel, too, often polling them on their own opinion on the superior house or fan-favorite moment alongside the actors.
While the two are not stars of the show by any means, they definitely have a strong fan following. Fans cheered as Kristian Nairn proclaimed that Hodor got to “kick more ass” on this season of Game of Thrones. And Daniel Portman’s first words were about his casting as Podrick, saying he was “over the moon.”
The panel’s first question to the actors was about their knowledge of the books. After polling the audience about how far they’ve read in George R.R. Martin’s best-selling series, Portman and Nairn admitted to varying levels of knowledge. While Nairn says he “hasn’t read more than two pages,” Portman says that he was admittedly “a total fanboy” after Season 1, and read all of the books before he was even cast.
A fan worried that show creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss would finish the series before Martin finishes the story in the novels got unsettling news when Nairn said that “could happen,” but also instilled some faith when saying that the reason Martin chose Benioff and Weiss was because he trusted them with the story.
Hodor is endearing to us all, his simpleness always finding its way into fans’ hearts. Nairn said of Hodor: “I genuinely don’t think he has a dark side… pure soul,” and went on to say that he is “one of the only characters in the show with no interest in power.”
Portman was definitely speaking fondly of his own character as well, saying that Podrick has “evolved a lot more, as opposed to just pouring wine.” Podrick’s character is now out on the road with Brienne of Tarth after heroically freeing Lord Tyrion in the thrilling finale of Season 2. He also had nothing but wonderful things to say about his scene-partner Gwendolyn Christie, who plays Brienne on the show—even defending her height when his size was compared to hers: “She’s not that much taller than me, mate.” Still, he deemed her presence in scenes as “incredibly intimidating.”
The actors were also questioned about any skills they’ve learned onset by one clever fan, to which Portman responded that giving the appearance of being terrible horseback rider, you have to actually be “a real good one.” The panel and the crowd laughed at this—he seemd to be toying with us. Nairn, however, said the only skill he picked up was “carrying… carrying children.”
Both Portman and Nairn repeatedly spoke very highly of the actors they get to work with throughout the entirety of the forum. Portman said that he loves working on Game of Thrones because “You get to travel the world with people like Kristian, which is lovely.”
When finally asked what house in Westeros they would most like to align themselves with, Nairn shamelessly said, “definitely Stark,” while Portman was feeling love for an underappreciated house: “Payne, man! Where’s house Payne?” He soon after added that, “House Hodor’s pretty cool,” too.
Despite the fact that Portman and Nairn are not the stars of Game of Thrones, they had the crowd rapt with their witty little insights on the world of Westeros and what it takes to translate it to the small screen. Both incredibly down-to-earth as well as talented actors, the audience was glad to feel so involved with this panel, and the actors may have even won themselves a few more enthusiasts. Perhaps we will see more of these fan-favorites when Game of Thrones returns in March 2015.