As the actor arrived on stage, the Hall H audience began shouting — at various times — “hold the door!” and “Hodor.”
“Thank you guys,” said Nairn. “It’s been overwhleming,” he said of the reaction to the character’s fate and the revelation of what “Hodor” actually means. “I was in a hotel in Los Angeles and all the doorstops said “Hodor” on them,” he added. “The scene was incredibly well written and directed, but I did not expect the outpouring of emotion … you’re [all] going to make me cry.
According to executive producer David Benioff, he and fellow EP D.B. Weiss learned of Hodor’s fate and origin roughly three years ago while visiting George R.R Martin, author of the novels upon which the series is based. “It was amazing because people were making jokes about this name and you find out its really tragic,” he said.
Of course, Benioff and Weiss are also in the hot seat with their decision to delay the seventh season until next summer. As the producer explained, it was a purely practical choice. “Winter is here and we have to shoot in places where the leaves have to fall off. We can’t finish until February and we can’t finish post-production in that timeframe.”
In lieu of a new season in April of 2017, Weiss suggested fans can start an epic rewatch of the series.
The sixth season ended with an epic battle between forces loyal to House Stark and those loyal to House Bolton. The battle was deeply inspired by real military campaigns in history. “They wanted a strategic, pitched battle,” explained episode director Miguel Sapochnik. Initially, the team took their cues from the Battle of Agincourt. “The British and French fought on the this field and the French caught the British in a pincer movement and used archers to mow them down,” the director continued. The real battle featured a number of calvarymen, but Sapochnik noted something special about trained horses: “when you run horses at people, they don’t like it.”
The solution was to send men in to get slaughtered as the Bolton forces closed in. Soon, they had the concept for the piles of bodies littering the field in front of Winterfell. Which lead to research into the 216 B.C. Battle of Cannae. “These heavily armored soldiers were getting stuck in plies of bodies and became sitting ducks,” Sapochnik said. “It seemed like a good way to approach the battle.”
“The books are built on a skeleton of medieval western history, but the great thing about fantasy is that you’re not bound to history,” added Weiss. “That’s the the joy of being history buffs: we get to tell about all the awful things people do.”
Actor Liam Cunningham, who plays Ser Davos Seaworth, finally seems to be on the winning team. But when asked about Davos’s changing alliance to House Stark, the actor discussed one last issue with his time as a Baratheon supporter. Like Davos, Cunningham gave his daughter one of the carved Baratheon stags featured on the show. Whenever they watched the show together, she would hold onto the statuette.
Then came the episode where Shireen Baratheon was burned at the stake clutching her copy of the stag.” His daughter was “in a heap” as he explained it. “I felt like the worst dad in the world, but it’s [David and Dan’s] fault.”
While Sam Tarley seems to have found some joy by reaching the Citadel, actor David Bradley theorized that Sam’s death will come from climbing one of the stacks in Westeros’s most important library. “Wouldn’t it be justice if after being told that books are folly, he climbs up the bookshelves, gets up there and severely underestimates his own weight, tips of the bookshelf and brings all the books down with him?” he asked the audience. “It wasn’t battle that killed him, it was books.”
Asked about Missandei’s future, Nathalie Emmanuel said it is hard to predict what might become of her as Daenerys approaches Westeros. “She generally believes in Dany,” she said. “She saved her life and recognized [Missandei’s] brilliance. They bring each other up and its a really sweet friendship. I hope Missandei continues to support Daenerys and they continue to be this girl power couple.”
“I despair of the world at the moment,” said actor Conleth Hill, who plays Varys when asked how he would use his character’s network of spies. “We should be heading toward inclusivity instead of exclusivity,” he added and said he would use Varys’s little birds toward that end.
“Most of the bad things said about him are said by people who don’t like him,” he added.
Sophie Turner, who’s Sansa found herself in a leadership role, said she doesn’t believe Jon is equipped to rule Winterfell or the North. “He doesn’t have the experience or intellect,” she explained. Instead, Turner believes Sansa and Jon should be sharing the title and the duty. “She knows he has wonderful Stark morals and he’ll make the right decisions, but if it will benefit everyone?”
Faye Marsay, who played the enigmatic Waif in the fifth and sixth season was asked to her thoughts on the fan theory that she was a manifestation of Arya’s imagination. “I think it was a cool [idea], but Arya was Arya and that’s her journey. It’s the best way.”
When moderator Rob McElhenney asked Benioff and Weiss if fans were reading to much into things, they both mimed the shrug emoji.
And speaking of theories, Issac Hempstead-Wright is not so certain that Jon’s true parentage has been revealed. “It could be an incest situation,” he joked. The actor is sure Bran has been shown the vision of Jon’s birth for a reason, but is unsure how he’ll react when Bran appears and says, “I’m a tree wizard and your dad’s not your dad.”
More to come …