MANILA, Philippines - Earning raves and good reviews for defying the TV "fantasy" genre make it likely for HBO's "Game of Thrones" (GOT) to leave viewers wanting for more.
The Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series earned a strong following from a highly successful first run, thus, a second season. The medieval fantasy, based on the best-selling series of A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R. R. Martin, returns in Asia this April.
Created and executive produced by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, GOT 2 takes off from what were left of season one - dragons, sexual obsession, conflict for power, loyalty, all for the claim of the Iron Throne. With returning and new cast members, this season's 10-episode run promises more tension and treaties as "war" comes to Westeros.
Surviving The First 'Game'
Three of the series' most followed characters shared, in an e-mail interview with Bulletin Entertainment, their fond moments of the past season and how they prepared for the much awaited follow-up to the series.
Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen, said of her character: "She (her character) is not where she was in season one. But she is not where she will end up being, finally. So she is still growing, she is still learning, and she is still being asked a lot of. There are still lots of problems that come in her way that she has to overcome." Her marriage to Khal Drogo (played by Jason Momoa) trained her to become their tribe's queen - young but strong and confident.
Strong women characters like those of Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) and Daenerys', possessing or aspiring positions of power, emerged throughout the first season.
Playing Daenerys' character requires overcoming the huge challenge of being naked in most of her scenes, said Clarke. "I'm a young girl, it was frightening. But I, first and for most, just put myself in Dany's shoes and knew what was needed to be shown from what Dany (Daenerys) had to overcome. And it was a harsh reality of what you've saw. And it was actually through those really difficult scenes that I felt my most connection with her, and saw what it was she had to deal with. So it was a huge bonding experience (to the character) to me as an actress."
At the end of season one, Daenerys was seen naked, holding three new-born dragons. According to Clarke, playing Daenerys brought out the mother in her.
"Dany's relationship with the dragons is huge maternal and she is incredibly protective over them. So it's something that has always been there in season one. She has always, under the surface, known about (the dragons). And in season two, they come to fruition, and they've got the physicality that she can protect and look after and pin her hopes on, basically," revealed the English actress.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who is Jaime Lannister "Kingslayer" and the twin brother (make that lover) of Cersei Lannister, thought it was amusing to see himself in an armor for the first time. "I said, 'That's Prince Charming from Shrek!"'
Playing a controversial character is something weird but relatable for Coster-Waldau.
"Well, the incest thing is of course weird when you think about it, especially when if you consider it with your own family [laughs]. But the way I see it, I think of it as: He fell in love with this girl, she happens to be his sister. I can relate to falling in love with someone," he said.
The Danish actor elaborated with his own take of Jamie Lannister's famous line "doing such vile things out of love."
"I think it is out of love and I think he is... I really, really like Jamie Lannister. And I think that if people knew the truth about him and about why he became the 'Kingslayer,' they would change their opinions," said one of GOT's villains.
Another series' favorite is Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow, the bastard son of the slain Lord of Winterfell Ned Stark.
In the show's first season, Jon was more of an outcast character. If not playing Jon, Harington would prefer to play Tyrion (Peter Dinklage).
He said, "I really like Tyrion. I think Tyrion's a great character.'
Even so, the English film, TV and theater actor believes that he has a "Jon Snow" in him. "I think I wouldn't have gotten the part if they weren't there. I think he's an introverted guy. He thinks a lot. He contemplates a lot around him. And I think I do the same to an extent," he added.
In season two, expect the introvert Jon to loosen up a bit as he will be interacting with a "wilding" woman.
(War is coming as "Game of Thrones" returns to Asia for a second season on Saturday, April 21, at 9 p.m. exclusively on HBO/8 p.m. HBO HD. For more playtimes, log on to hboasia.com.)