"All I did was nerd out until I realized I had to concentrate and play a part," admits Pascal, who joined the show this season. Long before he joined the cast, right after Tom DiCillo's Living in Oblivion was released in 1995, Pascal approached Peter Dinklage on the street.
"I can tell you exactly what street it was -- it's so creepy," he laughs. "I told him how much I loved his performance in that, and years later, now I get to act with him." Pascal still hasn't revealed that story to his costar.
Also an immense fan of the show, Christie was especially in love with the books.
"It surpassed all my expectations, and I thought they were some of the most unconventional narratives I'd ever come across," she says. She was most interested in the women of the novels, especially that of her character, Brienne. Asked how often a role like that comes along, she says, "I wish I could say regularly. It's rare, but it's encouraging to me that a part like this, that so many of the female characters on the show, have proved to be so popular."
They're not only popular but also defiant to gender stereotypes. But where many viewers see Brienne as a mere knight, Christie sees far more.
"There's something about that combination of physical strength and beautiful inner vulnerability, as well as the glorious optimism and romance," she says. Those qualities inspire her to consider female archetypes and make her proud to play such an impactful role.
Hand in hand with gender discussion comes that of sexuality. Merely implied in A Storm of Swords, the Red Viper's bisexuality was thrust upon the audience during the fourth season's premiere.
"It's really just an element that is the richness of this person's character," Pascal says. "He's a person who does what he wants, when he wants, and he doesn't think about consequence. He's also somebody who refuses to limit himself of experience. It doesn't make sense to him to not grab at the opportunity to experience something beautiful no matter what shape it comes in."
That mindset makes Oberyn such an appealing, and unpredictable, character. Pascal has chosen to keep the show's future as unpredictable as possible. He sidesteps what fate someone with a hefty revengenda (a term lovingingly stolen from ABC's Revenge) might meet in Westeros.
"They always find a way to surprise the audience," Pascal says. "If you've read the books, you know that events are honored and well-told, but they still find a way to mix things up." That, along with other things, should keep fans of both the book and the show watching on a weekly basis.