As any Game of Thrones fan knows, the team behind the HBO drama is famously tight-lipped. In keeping with that, actors Natalie Dormer, Finn Jones, and Keisha Castle-Hughes were hesitant to divulge secrets about season 6 at New York Comic-Con on Thursday. They did, however, go into detail about their experiences on set and their personal theories about how the series might end.
One of the things that makes Game of Thrones the biggest show on TV is its pure geographical scope; the show films in Croatia, Northen Ireland, and Spain, among other locations. At the panel, moderated by EW’s own Gillian Telling, the actors shared that fan interactions differ across the globe.
“It’s really interesting how different people in different cultures approach you in different ways,” said Dormer, who plays Margaery Tyrell. “When we were in Spain, the Spanish come right up and give you a hug right away.”
“Whereas in the U.K., it’s like, ‘Who are you?’ ” added Jones, who plays Dormer’s onscreen brother, Ser Loras. “And Americans have just seen it all.”
“This is the part where we say we like American fans the best,” Dormer joked.
If anything, the actors are united in their love for the dearly departed character Oberyn Martell, and in their admiration for Pedro Pascal, the actor behind the Red Viper. Each described Oberyn’s gruesome death at the end of season 4 as the scene hardest for them to watch.
“I found out that I was playing one of his daughters, and I was freaking out when I watched that episode,” said Castle-Hughes, who plays Obara Sand, one of Oberyn’s illegitimate — but no less loved — children. “My roommate at the time was like, ‘It’s just a TV show, why are you so upset?’ Because that’s my dad!”
“It’s such an amazing, well-choreographed fight,” Dormer pointed out of the Viper’s duel with The Mountain. “Pedro almost refused to let his stunt double do any of it. He practiced again and again. When you watch that show and you know how much effort he put it into it, only to be …” Here, Dormer paused to pantomime gouging out her own eyes, before transitioning to a sad face like a real-life emoji.
On Dormer’s gender-swapped Moriarty, and why spending time in the filthy black cells was liberating
After losing the game of thrones, Pascal moved on to Netflix’s Narcos. Dormer, too, has played other famous TV roles before and after Game of Thrones, and when it came time for fans to ask questions of the panel, several focused on her roles in The Tudors as well as in Elementary, in which she played a gender-swapped Moriarty.
“I have to say, making Moriarty a woman is one of the more interesting things to be done with the Arthur Conan Doyle stories, because I think we all know the line between love and hate is very thin,” she said. “A lot of great actors have played Moriarty, from Laurence Olivier to Orson Welles, so to be the first female actor to play the role is an honor.”
The latest season saw both Margaery and Loras brought low, stripped of their finery and sentenced to the black cells. Both Dormer and Jones said the dirt and grime were actually liberating for them as performers.
“I’ve done it a couple times. I just finished a horror movie where by the end of it I look pretty rough. It’s really liberating to just be able to focus on acting,” Dormer said. “I think it’s harder for a woman — there’s pressure to be dolled-up all the time.”
Whether that will extend to Dormer’s Margaery having to mimic Cersei’s naked walk of shame through the grime of King’s Landing is still unknown, though Dormer said she’s had conversations about it. (The crowd responded with an intrigued “Oooh.”)
Dormer responds to comparisons to The Muppets‘ Denise the Pig
The fan questions veered sharply away from acting when one panel attendee asked Dormer if she knew that people compared her to Kermit the Frog’s new girlfriend, Denise the Pig. Dormer laughed for a second, and then admitted it may have been her fault because of the one time she asked showrunners to add a line of dialogue for her character.
“There’s a scene in season 3 where I’m walking on all the cliffs with Sansa, and I’m telling her how I was teased as a young girl for my nose,” Dormer said. “I asked in a dinner with David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], ‘Please, can you put in a line about a pig nose? I was bullied at school, I used to get told I had pig nostrils. I said for my own demons, it would be sticking two middle fingers up to the bullies of my childhood. If you watch the DVDs, you’ll see me oinking backstage. When I saw that Kermit had a new girlfriend, I thought I might be responsible for that. I brought up the pig subject myself.”
The cast speculates on season 6 and beyond
Plot details may have been off-limits, but the actors were free to speculate, such as when a fan asked which character each actor would love to meet in the show. Castle-Hughes admitted she’d love a meeting between vicious Sand Snake Obara and assassin-in-training Arya Stark (“For very selfish reasons; she’s my favorite character”), while Dormer would love to test Margaery’s wits against Ramsay Bolton (“Here, drink this”), but Jones had by far the boldest response.
“I think Loras would probably turn Jon Snow gay,” he said, to much applause. “I’d like to see that happen. ‘You know nothing, Jon Snow.’ I’d teach him a thing or two.”
Jones also speculated on how he thought the saga might end.
“I think there will be a huge battle between ice and fire,” Jones said, designating the possible sides as Daenerys’ dragons and the White Walkers. “I think ice and fire will completely destroy themselves in this great war, destroy all of Westeros, and I think a lot of people will die. Out of the ashes will come the people who will make Westeros anew. Maybe Bran, Hodor, Brienne, Tyrion.”
Season 6 of Game of Thrones is slated to kick off in the spring of 2016.