A Song of Ice and Fire writer George R.R. Martin made an appearance at Worldcon Saturday and teased a few interesting tidbits about HBO's Game of Thrones' upcoming third season, including the coming of Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds) and much, much more. *SPOILERS AHEAD*
Martin was a guest in a panel led by Maureen Ryan and Peter Segal and you can find a podcast of the 70-minute long panel here. You can also find Maureen Ryan's article about it at the Huffington Post.
However, here are the main interesting highlights of the panel with Martin, via our colleagues over at Winteriscoming.
Regarding Mance Rayder, Martin sees him as roughly the age equivalent of Qhorin Halfhand. He mentions that Mance has gray hair and is "not a young man," and is happy with the casting of Ciarán Hinds. He's also pleased with the casting of Diana Rigg as the Queen of Thorns and has fond memories of her in The Avengers.
Martin admits he doesn't always have everything plotted and planned out ahead of time, referring to himself as a "much more of a gardener than an architect." He confirms that he knows how the series will end, and what the fate of all the major characters will be.
The characters he is most at home writing are Tyrion and Arya.
When asked about the changing of the House of the Undying on the show, George says, "Sooner or later, they will have to deal with Rhaegar and Lyanna and the Mad King." He acknowledges the practical aspects of the adaptation, and that showing prophecies may cause issues down the road if a character or part of a storyline has to be moved or changed. That isn't an issue for George when writing a book but it is on a TV show.
He cites Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Gwendoline Christie, Conleth Hill, and "the kids" as being his favorite portrayals of his characters. He is very happy with the actors in general on the show.
The show did audition some younger actresses for the role of Margaery but Natalie Dormer was "fantastic," and he loves the casting choice.
Martin acknowledges that Shae is very different than the character in the books and that initially he didn't like the change much, but that in the second season he came to really like her.
He also says that Talisa is not the same character as Robb's wife in the books, she is not the daughter of a Lannister bannerman, and she is not just a version of "Jeyne." He is the one who suggested changing her name because Jeyne is not a Volantene name.
One of our favorite bits here is where Martin talks about Mance Rayder (Hinds) and how he saw him as a contemporary of Qhorin Halfhand (played by Simon Armstrong in season 2) in age when most of his book readers (including us) somehow saw him as being a character that was just a little bit on the younger side.
Also, this here: ''When asked about the changing of the House of the Undying on the show, George says, 'Sooner or later, they will have to deal with Rhaegar and Lyanna and the Mad King.'"
Very exciting! This is another subject that most book readers have been waiting for for a very very long time. Let's hope the TV show really does deal with them at some point in the series. Since Vanessa Taylor has already teased a more cinematic season 3, perhaps NOW would be the perfect time to introduce those three important book characters.
And last but not least, the bit about Shae (Sibel Kekilli). We have to agree with Martin here. TV!Shae is very different from Book!Shae; but she also became a much more likeable character during season two. We don't know about you, but we also think she's an overall much nicer character in the series than in the book.
So did anything stand out for you guys among those interesting highlights?