George R.R. Martin answered questions at Worldcon on Saturday concerning the upcoming season of Games of Thrones and Mance Rayder. The panel was led by Maureen Ryan and Peter Sagal, you can find a podcast of the discussion by clicking here.
The panel covers a multitude of topics. Here are some of the highlights:
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.