Game of Thrones is in a much different place than it was last year, and that difference was reflected in the show’s Comic-Con panel this year. Last time, the cast, crew, and writers were inundated with tough questions about the show’s frequent depictions of rape and sexual violence, as well as its treatment of gender. This year, pretty much everyone was like, “This show is great!!!” — including a woman dressed as Melisandre, who asked a question during 2015’s panel about rape culture on the show. Her comment in 2016? “The women kicked butt,” she said, before inquiring about the upcoming Cersei-Daenerys smackdown, a question which David Benioff and D. B. Weiss swiftly brushed aside.
That was generally how the panel went: moderator Rob McElhenney and curious audience members asking the actors and showrunners about where the show was going in season seven, and Benioff and Weiss being like, Noooooope. If Benioff said more than five sentences in the whole hour, I’d be shocked. Weiss frequently flashed a mirthful smile which he’s had many years to practice.
But Benioff’s reserve could also be attributed to another source. “Sophie Turner made us do vodka shots beforehand,” Benioff said, near the start of the panel, as Turner laughed hysterically down the table. “I’m 20 — I can’t do any of that!” Turner joked in turn, thus beginning her ascension to the Iron Throne of San Diego’s heart.
Of the nine actors who have appeared most frequently in GoT episodes, according to IMDB, Turner was the only panel participant — and boy, did she shine. Below, a few of her highlights:
— When McElhenney asked Turner why she thought Sansa didn’t tell Jon about the impending arrival of the Knights of the Vale at the Battle of the Bastards, she said, incredulously, “Yeah! Yeah, that’s what I was wondering, too!” Her conclusion? “Sansa didn’t tell Jon because she wanted all the credit and it was a more dramatic moment when he showed up — and that makes really good television.”
— “Now here’s the question that I want to know,” Turner said, flipping the script on her moderator, and asking about his own TV show. “Why did It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia not get an Emmy nomination?” McElhenney’s self-deprecating response: “We haven’t done enough seasons.”
— The last question McElhenney posed to the cast was a good one: Who did they think would ultimately win the titular “Game”? Most said either the character they were most affiliated with, or made a pointedly ironic joke. Liam Cunningham suggested the series might end with the Night King on the Iron Throne, his leg hanging over the arm, smoking a Cuban cigar; Iwan Rheon said they should melt the thing down and start a democracy. But Turner was the only one who managed to get a negative reaction from the audience, when she suggested … Littlefinger. “I just think it would be fun!” she said, protesting. “It would be quirky and sadistic! We like that kind of thing — we all watch Game of Thrones.”
— While describing the impact of the Ramsay scene, Turner recalled a recent encounter with a fan: “Someone actually quoted that to me the other day in a park. Someone was like, ‘Your house will disappear, your family will disappear,’ and I forgot that it was from the show — I thought they were cursing me.”
— An audience member asked if, considering that Jon and Sansa were (maybe) no longer blood relatives, and Jon has a well-documented preference for redheads … if that could cause any “issues.” You know: sex issues. “Ahhh, here we go. Let’s get the party started,” Turner said. “Jon likes redheads, he does. But Jon and Sansa grew up together, they might as well be siblings … they have that sibling rivalry. I swear to God, Dave and Dan, if you make anything happen like that, I will kill you.”
— Another audience member wondered: Were there any great stories from production this season? “Kit [Harington] farted a lot,” Turner said, giving us a vivid glimpse of the production of Game of Thrones.
— And finally, she called Miguel Sapochnik “Michelle” by accident, then couldn’t stop laughing about it.
This year’s Comic-Con Game of Thrones panel, brought to you by Sophie Turner’s vodka.