NYCC Game Of Thrones Q&A Panel Report: Laughs And Insights From Daniel Portman (Podrick) And Kristian Nairn (Hodor)

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Oct 09, 2014 09:45 PM EDT
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One of the New York Comic Con's first panels this year was Wikia's Game of Thrones fan forum. Daniel Portman (Podrick Payne) and Kristian Nairn (Hodor) were on hand to field questions from fans, leading to a mix of insightful and humorous responses.

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The show has done a lot for both actors, neither of whom were well established in the field. When asked about the show's impact on their lives, both actors explained what a great opportunity it had been for them. Nairn had not even been acting at the time of casting, but went out for the part anyway and said that it "changed his life overnight". Portman was just out of school, and joining the cast has been huge for him--particularly as his character Podrick continues to grow and garner more screen time.

If you were wondering whether the actors have read the source material, well, they're split into exact opposite camps. Portman was a big A Song of Ice and Fire fan and read every book before he was cast, while Nairn admits that he hasn't read more than a page of any book. Amusingly, he used to tell fans that he read the books for fear of being criticized, but has since dropped the habit and is happy to be surprised by what's coming.

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The actors are not concerned about the common worry that the show will catch up with the books, and Portman in particular brushed the issue aside.

"If it happens, it happens, I don't think it will be a problem." he said. "It is possible, and if it did the showrunners have proven themselves so far and I trust them."

He restated his faith in the bosses David Benioff and D.B. Weiss later on, when expressing that they've done a great job choosing which corners to cut in terms of cramming the huge novels into 10 hours of television per season. As a fan of the books, he knows condensing storylines and details is necessary, and believes they've done a great job picking what to cut and change.

The altered ages of the characters (in general, everyone is at least a few years older on the show than in the books) is one such example, and it allows the writers greater freedom. A young Arya taking lives is already a tough sell, and an eight or nine year old girl doing the same would look even less plausible on television. It keeps options open, Portman said, and allows each character to get involved in more mature scenarios.

A fan asked if the actors think their characters represent some of the very few in Westeros who have good morals, and both believed they do. Nairn expressed that Hodor has a pure soul, and when he realized he hurt another person it shocked him greatly. Portman agreed that Pod has good morals:

"Pod is one of the few not interested in power or personal glory," he said. "He wants to live a quiet life, and help as many people as he can."

The panel was home to many lighthearted comments as well, including a fan asking what exactly Pod did to please the women of the brothel, a scene that became one of Game of Thrones' best comic relief moments. Portman flipped on his sunglasses and struck a devilish pose before breaking down into laughter, and he kept the comments PG- Pod is a "very talented and well-endowed man".

The final questions were in a similar vein, with fans asking the actors to choose a character in the Marvel universe they would like to be, as well as which show they would like to see Game of Thrones crossover with. Nairn said he would like to be Thor--he has tattoos of the superhero, and has been a fan as a child--while Portman opted for the Human Torch or Silver Surfer. As for the show mashup, Nairn answered Adventure Time (much to the pleasure of the crowd) while Portman suggested Antiques Roadshow. Of course.

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