Perhaps the two most complicated and intricately designed shows on television at the moment—if not ever—are HBO’s Game of Thrones and Westworld. Each series is filled with disorienting narrative tapestries being layered atop one another, and in the case of Westworld, that includes the sneaky use of unannounced nonlinear storytelling techniques too. It’s thus a wonder how unusual (and satisfying) it is that both have dived deep into the pop culture zeitgeist—to the point where they dominated San Diego Comic-Con’s cavernous Hall H every bit as the quarter-billion-dollar superhero movies that seemed built for such a venue.
The complementary nature of the shows is something Westworld star Ed Harris made explicit during his first trip ever to SDCC. Sitting at a long table in front of 7,000 screaming fans, the Oscar-nominated actor primarily reserved a bemused disposition to the frenzied atmosphere of it all, smiling like a kid at a circus built to excess with a hundred more clowns than might be necessary. Hence his answer when panel moderator Reggie Watts asked him why folks like Westworld so much.
“Well Reggie, that’s a really good question,” Harris deadpanned to plenty of audience laughter. “In a way it’s like Game of Thrones. You watch Game of Thrones, and I don’t know everything that’s going on in that thing, but I enjoy watching it. And there are a lot of storylines going on, and some people get into trying to figure it all out, and other people sit and just enjoy watching it show by show.”
Indeed, as someone who wrote volumes in Westworld reviews, each week left plenty to unpack for days… but I’d be lying if I pretended I understood every scene as it was occurring.
Westworld’s co-showrunner Jonah Nolan also took a moment to pause the proceedings to say, “Can we note two things for a second? One: Ed Harris is at Comic-Con. And two: Ed Harris is a Game of Thrones fan!”
Indeed, it’s good to know that even the notorious Man in Black can also find such material confounding. Although, we’re now very curious about what Game of Thrones sticking points leave Harris pondering what just happened…
Westworld returns in 2018 (and just dropped an epic teaser trailer at SDCC). But hey, Game of Thrones is airing on HBO every Sunday at 9pm right now!
Read and download the full Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition magazine here!