Behold! The return of Game of Thrones is nigh, and many of the noble houses of Westeros are invading North America to promote the epic HBO fantasy.
Just swing your sword and you'll hit a spoiler about the third season (showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss haven't planned any significant departures from the basic storylines of "A Storm of Swords," so don't crack open the third book in George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series if you'd rather be surprised). However, the cast generously shared some new tasty tidbits with us during a Kingsroad stopover at Crossroads Inn. (Okay, it was the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, but play along.)
Read on for some juicier-than-blood-pie morsels from Jon Snow, Arya, Brienne, the Kingslayer and
SPOILER ALERT: BRIENNE IS JON SNOW'S MOTHER. (J/K! BUT SHE *IS* HIS PARTNER IN CRIME)
"I just released the worst spoiler possible!" Gwendoline Christie joked to reporters after
recounting her impromptu lap dance with Kit Harington at the red-carpet premiere in Los Angeles. ("David
Benioff bet Kit that he wouldn't jump up on the revolving Iron Throne," she explained. "He did that, and
he said join me, and I jumped up on his lap. Why not?")
BRIENNE SLAYS THE KINGSLAYER...
...but only in a humorous sense. Gwendoline Christie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau have mad chemistry and really deserve their own comedy spinoff. "She kills him," the actress teased about Brienne's upcoming scenes with Jaime Lannister. "There's an episode where she kills him and he dies it and that's it. There's another spoiler for you."
"It is an adaptation," added Coster-Waldau about the imaginary deviation from Martin's original
THE KINGSLAYER VS. WALTER WHITE
"I am such a huge fan of Breaking Bad," Coster-Waldau enthused about the acclaimed
AMC drama. "It's funny, what I love about that show is you take this guy—who's just a really good, good
guy, he couldn't harm a fly—and then in the end of the show he becomes Scarface. And on the surface
you think Jaime Lannister starts out as horrible, trying to kill an innocent child… He takes a different
journey, but there are some similarities."
THE (DOMINANT) HAND OF THE KING
Although he's a skilled swordfighter in his own right ("He learned it through Skype," quipped
Christie), Coster-Waldau is not ambidextrous. "I might have to work on that," he laughed.
BILLY GOAT ROUGH
Australian actor Noah Taylor, who's playing Locke—a version of the popular Bloody Mummers
leader Vargo Hoat (a.k.a. the Goat)—deserves to share his character's other nickname: the Crippler. "He
bruised my rib!" complained Coster-Waldau, who still had nothing but praise for his new co-star.
"We loved him, absolutely adored him," raved Christie. "He was just the most gloriously savage, entertaining, extraordinary man. You can tell he's dedicated to the work but he's having fun with it all
the time. He was one of my favorites to work with this season."
ARYA'S GLEE PROJECT
"I watch Glee obsessively—it's my guilty pleasure," admitted Maisie Williams.
(This might not be a surprise to those of you who've heard the young actress sing and rap with co-star Isaac Hempstead-Wright in the DVD extras. "How are we going to top ourselves?"
she mused about their Season 3 performance. "Opera?")
HITTING THE BOOKS
Fifteen-year-old Williams clammed up, just for a second, when asked about juggling school with acting. "I started [a new school] in November and I've only actually been for about five full days because I've been off doing other things," she admitted. "I enjoy [working] so much, have such a great time, that it's more important than school to me… If I decide one day I don't want to do this anymore and I need to get some qualifications, then I'll go back."
Meanwhile, she enjoys reading—but "A Song of Ice and Fire" is not on her short list. "George's books,
they're like this big!" she groaned with a gesture signifying the tall tomes. "Oh, how am I going to get
TAKING LIBERTIES WITH THE SOURCE MATERIAL
In addition to the TV series' creation of Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin) replacing the Jeyne Westerling character as Robb Stark's wife ("That's a relationship that develops in Season 3 as well," Michelle Fairley told us about Catelyn and her daughter-in-law), Margaery Tyrell's character is significantly expanded on screen.
"That was always David and Dan's plan," revealed Natalie Dormer, who plays the current future Mrs. Joffrey Baratheon. "When I took the role, they
explained we're going to flesh her out." In a joking aside to co-star Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa, she
added, "We can't all be really important POV characters."
Sansa might be important, but Joffrey's chew toy has been slammed by fans. "This is news to me," said Dormer, turning to Turner: "Did you get a lot of slack when you first started doing it? Aw!"
"The thing that frustrates me," shared Turner, "is the fact if you were a 13-year-old girl thrust into the
exactly same situation I can almost guarantee you would make the same decisions she makes… [But]
she's not going to let people use her [anymore]. She's not going to be so naive [and becomes] a player
of her own. That's what I think will hopefully attract the viewer to her and perhaps think more kindly of
her… I feel she is my first love in a way, it's weird." Say it again: Aw.
DAME OF THORNS
"When you've met Diana Rigg, you know you've met Diana Rigg," Turner said about her legendary co-star, who's joining the cast as Olenna Tyrell—known as the Queen of Thorns for her razor-sharp wit.
"As young actresses, it's kind of NAR—no acting required," added Dormer about the scenes she and Turner share with Rigg. "It's a nice parallel there between Margaery and Sansa watching Olenna at work. She's been there, done that, got the T-shirt, so much wisdom and authority."
"She also knows her character by heart, but she kind of is her character at the same time," noted Turner
with awe. (And maybe a tad bit of fear.) "There are a lot of parallels between her and Olenna."
ABOMINABLE SNOW, MAN
While Turner, Dormer and Rigg spend Season 3 enjoying all the luxuries at the Lannister court, Jon Snow and wilding Ygritte are shivering in Iceland, or what passes for the area beyond The Wall. "There was nothing quite like [walking through] two-foot snow" to heal a broken ankle, joked Harington, who injured himself off set.
"This is Ygritte's territory, this is her home, she can handle whatever it throws at her," noted Rose Leslie. "So there was that element of trying to pull it off slickly and rather smoothly and not falling over, ass-over-tit, in the snow."
John Bradley, who plays Samwell Tardy, called the harsh conditions "traumatic," especially while filming the season's first sequence. "It was just a day of running. I kept running through five-foot snow. At the end of six
hours, I was exhausted—and Sam's been running for about 12. Sam's theoretically fitter than me!"
FANS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS
Ygritte's famous catchphrase, "You know nothing, Jon Snow," has been the subject of many fan encounters for both Harington and Leslie; Leslie is often asked to repeat her famous line. Once, when she said it in her own accent instead of the Northern dialect, Leslie recounted, one waitress "was gutted, absolutely gutted, and she didn't even try covering it up. Her face fell and she genuinely looked me in the eye and said, 'That's not it.' I [offered to] do it again and she just walked off. She ruined our lunch."
For his part, Harington said, "It's always funny when you're with a friend who hasn't seen the show and
someone on the street comes up to you and says, 'You know nothing, you bastard!' And my friend's
there going, 'You gonna settle for that?' And I'm [offering a handshake and] going, 'Thank you very
THE *REAL* STORY IS ONLY JUST BEGINNING
The cast emphasized that Game of Thrones' third installment is "pivotal." "David and Dan really wanted to get to this point," said Dormer. "They felt very attached the idea of getting to Season 3. When you see the season, it's completely understandable why. There's a lot of big epic shocks, a lot of big events, [and] people have a lot of traumatic things happen to them."
If HBO ends up adapting all of the books in the Ice and Fire saga, Dormer says Season 3 will amount to "the big end of the first act, the way movies and plays are in three acts."
"This is the massive finale of the first act."
Game of Thrones returns Sunday, March 31 on HBO.