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TitanCon 2011 Game of Thrones Guests

Game of Thrones logo

We had a fantastic line up of Game of Thrones guests at TitanCon 2011 as this page will testify.

Maisie Williams ~ Arya Stark

Maisie Williams

© Parris McBride Martin. Photo taken at Easons bookstore signing before Belfast Moot 1 (Nov 2009).

Right from the first time fans got a chance to meet Maisie at Belfast Moot 1 during the pilot shoot in 2009, it was clear that she was the perfect choice to play Arya Stark. The fact that Maisie, a natural right hander, learned how to sword fight as a left hander like her character in the books is all the evidence you need to know Maisie is dedicated to her role and willing to go that little bit extra to do the best possible job she can.

Of course if anyone should need more evidence you need only look at Game of Thrones season one in which Maisie delivered one of the finest debut performances we've seen on TV in a long time. In fact some scenes I felt she almost acted Sean Bean off the screen because I was watching Arya's reactions more than Ned's.

Arya Stark

Arya Stark © HBO 2011

George RR Martin has always said that the kids are the real stars of this series and casting these roles was the hardest part of the audition process. Maisie and Sophie Turner auditioned together and hit it off right away. When they got home that evening they both told their Mums that they wished that they both get the roles together and their wish came true. Unlike the sisters in the show the girls are best of friends in real life and we were so pleased that they were both at TitanCon 2011.

Also at TitanCon Maisie was reunited with her old dancing master, Miltos Yerolemou (Syrio Forel) and we were lucky enough to have Maisie try her hand at a little water dancing to the delight of the lucky crowd members.


Sophie Turner ~ Sansa Stark

Sophie Turner

Sophie Turner, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Maisie Williams and Zunni (Lady). Photo taken March 2010.

Fans of the books have always enjoyed comparing characters against each other, Arya has always been one of the most popular characters, while Sansa has often attracted criticism for certain decisions she makes. Now with the TV show it may feel natural to transfer that opinion straight over but I don't think that's fair. Sansa doesn't get to travel around as much, doesn't get involved in any major action sequences, but I think of the two it's probably the more emotionally challenging role to take on.

So we can count ourselves very fortunate to have a talented actress in Sophie Turner as the eldest daughter of the Stark family. Beautiful and left alone in the lion's den Sansa undergoes mental torture, which really amounts to little more than bullying, at the hands of Joffrey, but while he is King what can she do about it? Season two is where we'll really see this story brought to life in all its painful tragedy and we can't wait to see Sophie tackle it on screen.

Sansa Stark

Sansa Stark © HBO 2011

Speaking of tragic I'm sure everyone remembers the fate of Sansa's direwolf Lady in episode two. What you may not know (unless you follow Winter-is-Coming religiously of course) is that Sophie's family adopted the puppy that played Lady after the shooting of season one. That's the kind of story that can make you smile any time you're feeling down. By all accounts Lady (real name Zunni) has settled into life with the Turner family perfectly, only now Sophie misses Zunni when she is away filming.

Sophie was at Belfast Moot 1 in November 2009 and as mentioned above is the best of friends with Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and we were so happy to see them both again at TitanCon 2011.


Miltos Yerolemou ~ Syrio Forel

Miltos Yerolemou

Miltos Yerolemou is a Shakespearean trained actor based in London with an impressive list of theater credits to his name including work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Globe Theatre. Until recently he only had a small amount of TV and film experience but in 2010 Miltos was cast in HBO's Game of Thrones as the elegent yet deadly sword master Syrio Forel. Syrio is hired by Eddard Stark to be Arya's instructor in the smooth Braavosi fencing style known as Water Dancing.

Syrio Forel and Arya

Syrio Forel training with Arya Stark while Ned watches on. © HBO 2011.

Most of his TV work prior to Game of Thrones was for the BBC including My Family, Black Books, Absolutely Fabulous, Hubub and Walking With Beasts where he played a neanderthal. Miltos had a small role as a waiter in The Inbetweeners film, although you'll only be able to see it on the DVD extras.

Miltos is an incredibly versatile and skilled actor with such diverse talents as Ballroom Dancing, Stage Combat, Stand-up Comic, Puppetry, Stilt Walking, Trapeze, ScubaDiving, Tai-Chi and of course Fencing.

In fact Miltos kindly offered to host a fencing workshop at TitanCon - something we called "Water Dancing Live with Syrio Forel. Just so." This workshop was a huge success with Maisie Williams and Joseph Campo getting on stage to try out some moves, and also several TitanCon members were lucky enough to spar with them too.

Miltos was at Belfast Moot 2 in October 2010 and following on from that he worked with Joseph Campo on episode 6 of Get Joe on the Show. If you haven't seen it check it out below as Miltos puts Joe through his paces in a punishing training regime. Funny stuff!

Just so.


Kristian Nairn ~ Hodor

Kristian Nairn

The first Game of Thrones guest to sign up for TitanCon 2011 was Kristian Nairn who plays the role of Hodor in the HBO TV series. Already a firm favourite with the fans thanks to his appearances at Octocon and Belfast Moot 2 in 2010 he will be a giant presence at TitanCon. Fortunatly for us he says a lot more in person than just "Hodor".

Renowned locally and internationally in the fields of music and performance, Kristian Nairn is a prolific homegrown talent. As a musician, Nairn has tread the boards with such acts as Scissor Sisters, Mylo, Calvin Harris and Alphabeat, as well as being part of bands such as AJ Suzuki and Dublin's very own Daddys Little Princess. As a DJ and electronic music producer, he has held down a constant residency for eleven years in Kremlin, one of Ireland's most popular and enduring venues. His remixes have been played in sets by some of house music's true legends, including the Freemasons and Grant Nelson. As a performance artist, Nairn uses his musicality to fuse together immense performances, often mixing and even playing the music himself.

Kristian Nairn and George RR Martin

Kristian Nairn (Hodor) with George RR Martin. Photo taken at Octocon Dublin 2010 by The Pebble That Hides.

Transitioning from the stage to the screen, Nairn was voted one of the most memorable guests of Channel 4's The Salon, and was consequently used in promoting the show's following season. Nairn's most notable role to date, however, takes the role of fan favourite character Hodor in HBO's upcoming series Game of Thrones, based on George RR Martin's New York Times best selling novels A Song of Ice and Fire. Hodor is a simple-minded giant who works as a stableboy at Winterfell. He has a friendly, childish disposition and is easily frightened despite his great strength. Though his true name is Walder, he is usually called Hodor because that is the only word he ever says. For example "Hodor", or "Hodor-hodor-hodor" or "Hooooodoooooor". Hodor? Trust me when I say Kristian has heard every joke going about needing to learn his lines!

During his free time, Nairn remains a loyal sci-fi and fantasy fan dabbling in not only his on-screen role of Hodor, but also finding himself on the [small] small screen via Blizzard's award winning game, World of Warcraft. Look for him online, behind his DJ booth, and if all goes well, on set shooting a second season of Game of Thrones!


Art Parkinson ~ Rickon Stark

Art Parkinson

Rickon Stark © HBO 2011

Art Parkinson comes from a talented family who live in Moville Co Donegal, Ireland. Art's mother, Movania Parkinson, runs a drama school which Art and both of his two brothers attended from a very young age. Acting very much runs in the Parkinson family.

Art's first professional role was in the horror film Red Mist directed by Paddy Breathnach where he played the young Kenneth.

The part of Rickon Stark in HBO's Game of Thrones was cast quite late in the process. On Art's first day on set everyone turned out to welcome him and now he really is like the youngest brother of the family. Rickon only had three scenes in the entire first season but Art delivered his few lines brilliantly. "No they won't" was a particularly spine chilling moment for me. Rickon will definitely be more involved in the events of season two.

In between the filming of seasons one and two Art worked on a programme called The Larsen Trap where he played the role of Mark, a young boy who is continuously ridiculed by his controlling father. His mother Movania played the role of his mother Niamh in the show.

In many ways we felt like we got four guests for the price of one with Art, his actor brothers Padhraig and Pearce, and of course their mother Movania.


Callum Wharry ~ Tommen Baratheon

Tommen Baratheon

Tommen Baratheon © HBO 2011

We were delighted to have Callum Wharry join us at TitanCon 2011, though only for the later part of the afternoon. Callum had a football match in the morning and of course his team won the match!

Callum went through two auditions in 2010 to land the part of Tommen Baratheon in Game of Thrones, his first major acting role of any kind.

So far in the show Tommen's role has been reduced to just a few brief glimpses here and there, but in time the character will go on to play a very important part in events, beginning in season two where we'll definitely see a lot more of Cersei's youngest child. We are confident that Callum will grow into his role as the show goes on.


William Simpson ~ Storyboard artist

William Simpson

William Simpson is a storyboard artist working on HBO's Game of Thrones, but he is far better known as a comic artist and illustrator. Over his 30 year career Will has worked for all the major comic houses: Dark Horse, DC, Vertigo, Marvel and 2000AD.

Will grew up in Prehen, near Derry, his earliest work was for the Belfast anthology Ximoc in the early 1980s. This led to professional work in the UK, drawing "Big Ben" in Warrior in 1984, and a run on Transformers for Marvel UK in 1985-1987. His first work for 2000AD, a Future Shock, came in 1985, and he was a regular on the magazine from 1987 to 1991, drawing Universal Soldier (1987), Judge Dredd, including episodes of the epic Oz (1987-88), Tale of the Dead Man, and Tyranny Rex (1988). He provided painted art for several Judge Dredd stories, as well as the Rogue Trooper reboot The War Machine in 1989-90. In 1991 he created Sex Warrior with writers Pat Mills and Tony Skinner for Toxic!.

Hellblazer

1991 was the year he made the move into American comics. With writer Garth Ennis, he took over on DC's horror title Hellblazer, which he drew until 1993. He drew an Aliens miniseries, Rogue, for Dark Horse Comics in 1993, and 1994 co-created the sexy vampire miniseries Vamps for DC/Vertigo, with writer Elaine Lee, which returned for two more minseries in 1996 and 1998. Also with Lee, he drew the first issue of Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny for Dark Horse in 1995. He drew a three part Batman story, "Freak Out", written by Ennis, in Legends of the Dark Knight in 1997. Other titles he has drawn include Excalibur (Marvel, 1992), Animal Man (DC, 1993) and Punisher 2099 (Marvel, 1994).

In recent years Will has concentrated primarily on illustration and filmmaking and has drawn storyboards for films including Breakfast on Pluto, Closing the Ring, Reign of Fire, City of Ember and Your Highness. Many of these were filmed in Belfast and this has naturally lead to Game of Thrones. William was at Belfast Moot 2 in 2010 and TitanCon 2011. A fantastic guest who brought a great deal of insight from the other side of the camera which everyone that attended really appreciated.


Game of Thrones Extras

A television show like Game of Thrones would be impossible to produce without the hard work of hundreds of dedicated extras. People prepared to grow beards and go months without cutting their hair just so they have the right look. People willing to get dressed up in any kind of clothing, be it heavy armour or something with little protection from the elements while they are outside for days at a time in the worst imaginable weather, repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again until the director decides he has enough footage.

In the Extras panel we saluted the hard work and sacrifice of the Game of Thrones extras as they relate their experience of working on the first season of the show and provide real insight into what it takes to be an extra. Back in July over 2000 people turned up for the ExtrasNI casting session and if any of those people wanted some advice on how to become an extra themselves this panel had the answers.

The panel was helmed by our very own Laurence Doherty (Rimshot) who has been an extra in Game of Thrones, Your Highness, Killing Bono, City of Ember and Grabbers which comes out next year and includes Laurence's first line of spoken dialogue. At last year's Belfast Moot Parris Martin called Rimshot "the best extra ever". High praise indeed.

Laurence was joined by fellow Game of Thrones extras Marc Addison (Baratheon guard) and Dairmuid McCreesh (Lannister guard). The panel is completed by Samantha Hirst who is not a Game of Thrones extra (though I know she would dearly love to be). Samantha has recently worked as an extra on World War Z, Golden Compass, Stardust, Casualty, Gavin & Stacey, Merlin and Tess of The D'Urbervilles.