Over the course of eight seasons, Game of Thrones has broken many records, sparked some controversy, and brought us 73 ambitious television episodes. And of course we all wanted our own kite.
The series ended with its last season in 2019, but there is more Thrones TV on the move. While we're waiting for George R. R. Martin's Prequel House of Dragons to reach HBO, here are 70 facts about Game of Thrones. Valar morghulis .
1. There is an unventilated Game of Thrones pilot.
The first pilot directed by Spotlight author and director Tom McCarthy was so terrible that he had to be put on hold and re-recorded. "We misunderstood everything on a very basic level when writing," show co-creator David Benioff told Variety . One of the biggest problems? None of the friends he and Weiss had invited to watch the pilot "realized that Jaime and Cersei were brother and sister, which is an important, important point of action that we had somehow not identified." A copy of this original script was unearthed in 201
2. Catelyn Stark and Daenerys Targaryen were originally played by other actors.
In the original pilot, Catelyn Stark and Daenerys Targaryen were played by Jennifer Ehle and Tamzin Merchant, respectively. At the time of the show, they had been replaced by Michelle Fairley and Emilia Clarke.
3. The Stark children were different in age on the show than in the books.
When the book A Game of Thrones begins, the Stark children are much younger than their on-screen colleagues. Bran should be 7 while the actor who played him (Isaac Hempstead Wright) was 12; Arya (played by Maisie Williams) went from 9 to 13, while Sansa (Sophie Turner) went from 11 to 15 and Rickon (Art Parkinson) went from 3 to 6. Perhaps in the biggest, um, strong difference If Game of Thrones had stayed true to its source material, Robb Stark (Richard Madden) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) would only be 15 and 14 years old.
4. George R. R. Martin had a cameo in the original episode.
George R. R. Martin had a cameo appearance in the original pilot as a guest at Daenerys and Khal Drogo's wedding. When the role of Daenerys was re-cast, the scene had to be scrapped. Martin later advocated a less glamorous, but probably more memorable role: a severed head on a stake. But according to Martin: "These severed heads are expensive … If I don't provide my own, I won't become a severed head!" Benioff and Weiss offered him the opportunity to make a cameo in season 8, but Martin didn't I don't have time because he was working on The Winds of Winter .
5. There were a number of other casting calls to Game of Thrones .
Ehle and Merchant were not Game of Thrones the only ones that could have been. Gillian Anderson declined an unspecified role in the show, as did The Wire Dominic West. Judging by the fact that, according to West, the role would have turned "six months in Reykjavik", it was probably Mance Rayder, a role that eventually went to Ciarán Hinds.)
The Hunger Games Sam Claflin auditioned for franchises for Jon Snow and Viserys Targaryen, and Outlander star Sam Heughan for auditioned for a variety of roles, including Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell, seven times . Mad Men star Jared Harris and Oscar winner Mahershala Ali were also reportedly available for roles on the show.
6. Arya Stark was the hardest character to cast.
"I remember that we probably looked at 300 girls in England and didn't find the right Arya," said Benioff at SXSW in 2017. "We just couldn't fill them."  They found Maisie Williams going through foreplay videos in a Moroccan hotel lobby with poor Wi-Fi, and selected her video using a small thumbnail that looked promising. "There was just something about that tiny little thumbnail that just seemed right," said Benioff. "She looked about 7. As if she were 12, but she kept going. So we clicked on the audition video and waited about 40 minutes for it to download. When we saw this audition video, it was just great. "
7 Peter Dinklage almost rejected the role of Tyrion Lannister.
In a Reddit AMA, Peter Dinklage gave the reason why he was not immediately sold at Game of Thrones .
"I had a hesitation because of the fantasy genre I said [showrunner David Benioff] I don't want a really long beard and pointy shoes," said Dinklage. "[Benioff and D.B. Weiss] assured me of this character and this world was not. They told me of its complexity, the fact that he was not a hero or villain, that he was a womanizer and a drinker, and they painted a mistake and a beautiful portrait from him, so I signed up. "
8. Kit Harington appeared with a black eye at his audition.
The night before his audition Game of Thrones Kit Harington landed at a McDonald’s late in the night with a woman he was dating. Because it was full, they sat down at a table with another couple they didn't know. Shortly thereafter, the man started making rude comments to Harington's date. Unfortunately, he only realized how big his potential opponent was after Harington got up and challenged the stranger. "I was hit," Harington admitted, getting a fresh shine. On the plus side, he thinks his damaged face is part of what brought him the role. "I think this man who hit me in the face might have helped me get the job," he said. "So if you watch, thanks."
9. David Benioff pranked Peter Dinklage by telling him that the show had been canceled.
After the pilot was picked up, David Benioff prank Peter Dinklage by calling him and telling him that the show had been canceled. "I think it was when the pilot was picked up," said Benioff. "I was with Tom McCarthy and we called him from a Yankees game." It took Dinklage six hours to learn the truth.
Dinklage himself was a fan of pranks on the set, and he told Jimmy Kimmel Live in an appearance on . "I like to pretend I'm dead. It's always fun," said Dinklage. "Only my legs are stretched out in the caravan. You really have to fall to the floor in a very uncomfortable position." He said he would wait hours for someone to find him.
10. The nudity of the show was not easy for Emilia Clarke.
Although Daenerys Targaryen turned out to be a career-changing role for Clarke, the actress admitted that her early days on the set were not easy. On her first day of shooting, she fell off a horse in front of the crew and cried humiliated. There was also all the nudity required of her character – not to mention a notorious rape scene. "Once I had to take a little break," she told Esquire about filming the first season. "I said I need a cup of tea, cried a little, and I'm ready for the next scene."
As she The New Yorker said after the series finale aired: "In so many of these early moments, you have probably seen Emilia's pain rather than Daenery's because it is not pleasant and not easy A film set is an incredibly scary place for the first time. "
11. Sophie Turner adopted Sansa Stark's Direwolf.
Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, adopted Zunni, the Northern Inuit dog who appeared in season one the series played their pet direwolf. "When I was growing up, I always wanted a dog, but my parents never wanted one," Turner said to Coventry Telegraph in 2013. "We sat on the set in the Direwolf mine Figure, lady, in love. We knew that Lady had died and they wanted to bring her back home. My mother persuaded her to let us adopt her. “Unfortunately, Zunnie died in 2017 .
12. Eating the "horse heart" was terrible for Emilia Clarke.
The horse heart that Daenerys had to eat in season 1 was essentially a giant gummy bear – one that Clarke said tasted a bit like bleach. (Noodles also ran through the arteries.) She ate 28 hearts and apparently vomited a lot between shots. To make the procedure worse, all the fake blood made Clarke so sticky that she was stuck to a toilet.
13. Jon Snow's night watch cape was made from an IKEA rug.
Game of Thrones owes much of the iconic appearance of his characters to 70 to 100 customers per season for costume designer Michele Clapton, who oversaw a team from all over the world. In perhaps the greatest evidence of the costume team's creativity, Clapton revealed that some of the show's luxurious-looking cloaks are made of IKEA rugs. “We take everything we can; We cut and shave them and then add strong leather straps, ”she said. After this shot, IKEA created a series of instructions on how to turn your SKOLD rug into a cape.
14. Charles Dance acquired some battle skills for a scene in Game of Thrones .
Seasoned actor Charles Dance took his role as Tywin Lannister very seriously: in season 1, his character had to skin a deer in one scene and he worked with a butcher to learn the skill so that he could actually do it while filming could do; He told the Daily Beast that it was the craziest thing he did in Game of Thrones . "This butcher arrived with a dead animal and they gave me a little space to work, gave me a sharp knife and showed me how to skin it and spill the guts in a bucket," Dance said. "The next day they gave me another dead animal and we shot it. It was a damn good time, but it took me two days to get the smell off my hands. "
15. Sean Bean was having fun with his own beheaded head.
In a Reddit AMA, Sean Bean recalled kicking the model of Ned Stark's beheaded head "like a soccer ball" on the set.
16. The Internet spoiled Robb Stark's fate for Richard Madden.
While readers of George RR Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire knew that Robb Stark's days were likely to be counted in Game of Thrones Richard Madden – the actor who played him – decided to as part of his preparation for the television role to keep the books in the dark. But that didn't stop fans or the internet from telling the Golden Globe actor that his reign as king in the north would be short.
"A thousand people spoiled it before I had a chance to pick up the third book," said Madden to Entertainment Weekly . "I read [the books] season after season. I don't want to prevent Robb from going where I have been since the beginning of the show. I also made the fatal mistake of googling. So this kind of what reinforced people's intentions – said something terrible was going to happen and giggled. "
17. The Red Wedding was based on real historical events.
Martin told Entertainment Weekly in 2013 to : "No matter how much I earn, there are things in history that are just as bad or worse." Examples include the 1440 Black Dinner – a dinner / trap that ended in the murder of two children – and the Glencoe Massacre of 1692, in which soldiers who claimed to need protection because of a full fortress killed their hosts. Martin used both events as inspiration for Game of Thrones & # 39; s Red Wedding.
18th If you look closely at the faces in the House of Faces, you may recognize someone.
Occasionally, the team ends up behind the scenes of Game of Thrones in front of the camera: Many of the faces in the Hall of Faces of the house Black and White belonged to the production team of the show. "You need enough faces so that you don't feel the repetitions, but you obviously can't face thousands and thousands of people because it is prohibitively expensive," said Weiss. "We used all the face shapes that we have ever used before. Both David [Benioff] and I appeared many, many times in the Hall of Faces … there are at least 20 or 30 of me."
19 . Game of Thrones weapon masters were inspired by history.
Tommy Dunne, who served as weapons master at Game of Thrones said Mental Floss in 2014 when he was making weapons for the show: "I [looked] at different periods and different periods – Egyptian, monolithic" and modeled some of the show’s weapons based on their real historical counterparts.
Not all weapons on the show were created equal. The weapons department would make "hero weapons" for the camera out of modern materials like steel, but they were too dangerous to actually use in combat. For this they made blades either from aircraft aluminum – which is strong and flexible and safer to fight – or, if it was a matter of stunts or animals, from one exception: the arrows were: apart from the rubber tip s, we have them just like the real one made. If they were made of weaker wood, they would break when they left the arch.
Flaming arrows have been modified, however. "A normal arrow could be 32 inches, but for burning arrows [like we used in Season 2’s Battle of the Blackwater]," said Dunne to Mental Floss, "we add another six to eight inches to a larger piece of wood. Then we put on a foam bundle that is impregnated with one is. " chemical mixture and we burn it so that it turns blue depending on the mixture the special effects team applies to it. "
20. Dothraki is a real language.
In 2014, Living Language published a conversation language course in which you can speak like Khal Drogo in no time. The course was designed by linguist David J. Peterson, who worked with HBO to create the Dothraki that was heard on the show, here you can learn some key terms.
21. Dwight Schrute of the Office influenced Dothraki.
In an episode of The Office taught Dwight Schrute Dothraki in 2012 and combined an accusative noun and a transitive verb to create the sentence Halsriss . Linguist David Peterson hadn't thought about it, but he liked it so much that he canonized it and called it "Schrutean Compound."
Dwight Schrute is not the only person who influenced Dothraki: The Dothraki word for eagle kolver was named after Stephen Colbert. And the word for good and kind is erin – the name of Peterson's wife.
22. You can learn High Valryian through an app.
In addition to the "real" languages it teaches, Duolingo offers a class in High Valyrian to enhance your Game of Thrones experience.
23. The White Walkers had their own language.
Peterson called this language Skroth. "" It was supposed to be the very first scene in the show where the White Walker comes and cuts off the guy’s head. There are parts where you can hear them grumble and vocalize, ”Peterson said in 2015.
But ultimately Skroth was scrapped because, according to Peterson,“ I think in the end they decided they didn't want them to actually do anything say and even subtitles. To be honest, that could have been a bit cheesy for the show's opening scene. “For season two, a sound designer created an icebreaking sound that eventually brought Skroth to life – but without an actual language behind the sounds.
24. Multiple characters were played by multiple actors.
A handful of characters were played by more than one actor during the show, particularly Daario Naharis (Ed Skrein in season 3, Michiel Huisman in season 4, 5 and 6), Tommen Baratheon (Callum Wharry in season 1 and 2, Dean-Charles Chapman in seasons 3 through 6) and his sister Myrcella (Aimee Richardson in seasons 1 and 2, Nell Tiger Free in season 5) and Gregor "The Mountain Clegane (Conan Stevens in season 1, Ian Whyte in season 2 and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson in season 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.)
25. Ser Pounce, King Tommen's beloved cat, is dead.
Ser Pounce – King Tommen's royal cat – was introduced in season 4 and proved to be an excellent prop for Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) to win the heart of another king, the very young and very sweet Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman). It only took one scene for the little fuzzball to find its way into the hearts of the audience, and for a while Ser Pounce became a kind of internet sensation. But after Tommen's suicide death, the cat disappeared.
If the timing seemed suspicious, you were clearly paying attention. "Cersei hated the name" Ser Pounce "so much that she couldn't allow him to survive," Benioff told Entertainment Weekly about the cat's untimely death. "So she came up with her most diabolical [execution]. Ser Pounce & # 39; s death was so terrible that we couldn't even get it on the air."
26. There was more than one connection between Monty Python and the Holy Grail .
Part of Game of Thrones was filmed in one of the castles for Monty Python and the Holy Grail . Three seasons later, in "Breaker of Chains," a nameless Meereenese warrior calls Daenerys a series of tauntings, including "Your mother was a hamster", "Go and cook your butt, sons of a stupid person" and "I blow" my nose on you ”… of course in Low Valyrian.
27. The most instagramated Game of Thrones place is in Croatia.
Game of Thrones has been shot around the world, but the most uninspired location is Krka National Park, a popular tourist attraction in southern Croatia known for its breathtaking waterfalls. You can spot the location from several episodes, including Season 4 Breaker of Chains, in which Arya and The Hound cross the Riverlands.
28. The show's VFX artists based the dragon's movements on real animals.
In order to create realistic movements for Daenerys dragons, the effects team was inspired by actual animals. According to Sven Martin, visual effects supervisor, they examined the wings and behavior of birds and bats. The colors of the dragons came from animals such as frogs and cheetahs. And when Dany stroked Drogon, his behavior was feline.
29. Starving dragons were the most difficult VFX challenge.
Martin said that the toughest scene he ever created took place in season 6 when Viserion and Rhaegal were chained underground and did not eat. “My animator and I put ropes around our necks,” said Martin, “and our VFX producer Sabrina Gerhardt held the [reins]so to speak, when we played what it would be like to be an injured dragon. We filmed the whole thing and that helped us pin down the details. It was very similar to motion detection without the technical process as it helped us find the subtleties of the performance. "
30 The kites would be too big to fly in real life.
The heaviest bird ever flown was approximately 150 pounds and the largest pterodactyl was 550 pounds. Both animals were much smaller than Dany's dragons – so according to experts, Drogon wouldn't be able to take off in real life.
31. Jackhammer and bison vocalizations were used to create the dragon's sound design.
Sound designer Paula Fairfield, who joined Game of Thrones in season 3, used many different techniques to create the sounds of the dragons. Among them were Tibetan chants and vocalizations of bison and their own dog. She used a jackhammer, shouted Game of Thrones fans, and dangled bones among other things to produce the sound of Zombie Viserion.
Fairfield told Vanity Fair that she saw Drogon as Dany's lover and Viserion and saw Rhaegal – whom she called "the brothers" – more like Beavis and Butthead. Her favorite scene from season 7 included "The Brothers … wake up on the cliff in the morning and they belch and they hiss and get up, getting ready to do business in the north." … these scenes are everything. I mean, they're just as fun as – for me at least – like the kites that fly around blowing up. "
32. The show inspired scientists.
In 2018, entomologist Brett Ratcliffe made headlines for naming three newly discovered beetle species after Dany's dragon. He referred to them as Drogoni, Rhaegali and Viserioni . And in 2019, Australian scientists named a new species of bee flies Paramonovius nightking after the night king.
33. Daenerys Targaryen originally had purple eyes.
In the books, Targaryen's family members are distinguished by their silver hair and purple eyes. While filming, Daenerys and Viserys (Harry Lloyd) Targaryen originally wore purple contact lenses, but Benioff and Weiss decided that they negatively affected the actors' ability to portray emotions.
34. The time between seasons 5 and 6 was Kit Harington's "darkest time".
"My darkest time was when the show seemed to be so much about Jon when he died and came back," Kit Harington told Variety about his years on the show. "I really didn't like the focus of the entire show on Jon – though this invalidated my weak link problem because it was about Jon."
Even though Jon was dead on the show, Harington had been spotted doing it on the set – and was still wearing his famous Jon Snow locks, which made fans wonder if he was really dead at all.
"It was not a very good time in my life," said Harington. “I felt like I had to feel like the happiest person in the world, even though I actually felt very vulnerable. I had a shaky time in my life there – I think a lot of people in their twenties. At that time I started therapy and started talking to people. I had felt very insecure and hadn't spoken to anyone. I had to be very grateful for what I have, but I was incredibly concerned about whether I could act at all. "
35. But this" dark "time brought Kit Harington out of a speeding ticket.
After Harington's sixth season was committed to keeping his fate secret, he had to give up the answer after he The officer, a fan of the show, gave him two options: either deal with the speeding penalty or tell him whether Jon Snow would live or die in the next season. Harington initially thought the man was joking but after a second look he said, "I'm going to live next season." The officer replied, "On your way, Lord Commander."
36. The White Walkers were made with extensive prostheses.
The Wights and White Walkers contained some VFX elements, but most of the creatures were created using extensive foam prostheses that were created in one process e actors were glued hours. Creating a single prosthetic character took four to six weeks and the work of 10 to 15 artists.
Their weapons were similarly complex. According to Dunne, the weapon of the White Walkers of choice is "a little more complicated because it's an ice sword … These are clear resin swords that are baked in the oven – it's clear glass that looks like an ice shard."
37. Emilia Clarke suffered two aneurysms during the course of Game of Thrones .
In a 2019 play for The New Yorker Clarke revealed that after completing the first season of Game of Thrones Clarke was working with a trainer when she felt , "A rubber band squeezed my brain. I tried to ignore the pain and push it through, but I just couldn't. I told my trainer to take a break. Somehow I made it almost crawling into the locker room. I reached the toilet, dropped to my knees, and became seriously and seriously ill. In the meantime, the pain – stinging, stinging, contracting pain – was getting worse. At some point I knew what was going on: my brain was damaged. “
She had an aneurysm. "As I learned later, about a third of SAH patients [subarachnoid hemorrhage] die immediately or shortly after," Clarke wrote. "For those who survive, urgent treatment is required to seal the aneurysm because the risk of second, often fatal, bleeding is very high."
It was the first of two aneurysms that Clarke saw while filming the aneurysm. The second happened after the show's third season after Clarke underwent brain surgery. "I came out of the operation with a drain from my head. Parts of my skull had been replaced with titanium, ”she wrote. "Nowadays you can't see the scar that curves from my scalp to my ear, but at first I didn't know that it would not be visible. And above all there was constant concern about cognitive or sensory loss. It would be concentration "Memory? Peripheral view?" She kept the aneurysms secret until 2019.
Clarke naturally survived and has since founded a charity called SameYou that helps people recover from brain injuries and strokes.
38. Peter Dinklage won a Golden Globe for Game of Thrones in 2012 but his mother chose Guy Pearce.
Before Dinklage won the Golden Globe for Game of Thrones in 2012, he spoke to his mother in New Jersey who said to him, "Have fun, but did you see Mildred Pierce ? Guy Pearce is so good. He'll win. "He ironically noticed how mothers humble us all.
39. You probably mispronounced Khaleesi .
During an interview for the Allusionist podcast, linguist Peterson described the widespread mispronunciation by Khaleesi as "a real thorn in the side." So how should we say the Dothraki word?
"I wanted to make sure that something that was spelled differently was spoken differently," Peterson said about his process of converting the handful of Dothraki words that George RR Martin had created into a full language. "It worked pretty well for everything except the word Khaleesi … 39; ka-LEE-see & # 39; to be pronounced. So I had to choose: & # 39; Will I spell this thing because I know How will people pronounce it, or will I honor this spelling and pronounce it differently? & # 39; I made the latter decision and I think it was the wrong decision. "
(Das heißt, in seinem Buch Living Language Dothraki schreibt Peterson, dass" viele Dothraki-Wörter mehrere Aussprachevarianten haben, oft abhängig von ob der Sprecher Muttersprachler oder Nicht-Muttersprachler ist. Khaleesi hat zum Beispiel drei verschiedene Aussprachen: khal-eh-si, khal-ee-si und kal-ee-si ", was zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt im Buch geschrieben steht "ka-lee-si.")
40. Die Hauptrolle in Game of Thrones machte es Isaac Hempstead Wright unmöglich, ein "normaler" College-Student zu sein.
Als er nicht Bran Stark spielte, war Isaac Hempstead Wright Student an der Birmingham University. Aber er gab zu, dass es nicht einfach war, seine Rollen als Co-Ed und Star einer der beliebtesten Fernsehserien in Einklang zu bringen. "Ich konnte meine Hallen nicht verlassen, ohne ein Selfie machen zu müssen", sagte der Schauspieler zu Esquire UK. "Ich hatte die nettesten Mitbewohner. Aber es machte es ziemlich schwierig, Freunde zu finden. Ich glaube nicht, dass ich jemals eine normale Universitätserfahrung machen kann, was irgendwie traurig ist. Ich konnte mich nicht entspannen und ausgehen und etwas trinken oder mich betrinken oder was auch immer, denn wenn ich es täte, würde jemand sagen: 'Ich habe Bran gesehen und er war total fertig.' "
41. Beide Emilia Clarke und Lena Headey haben Sarah Connor von The Terminator gespielt.
Clarke spielte neben Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator Genisys die Rolle von Sarah Connor. Die Rolle wurde zuvor gespielt von Cersei Lannister selbst, Lena Headey, in der kurzlebigen Fernsehserie Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles .
42. Die Bäume, die die Kingsroad säumen, sind möglicherweise nicht mehr lange in der Nähe.
Of Von den rund 100 Buchen, die ursprünglich vor 240 Jahren gepflanzt wurden, sind noch etwa 60 @PatrickDCregg des Woodland Trust übrig geblieben. #pensionertrees #GoT
Game of Thrones: Dark Hedges-Baum fällt bei starkem Wind https://t.co/7NZGTjuesp[19659002weiblich-Ann-MarieFoster(@AnnMarieCFoster) 27. Januar 2019
Die Menschen sind schon lange nach Nordirland gekommen, um die bezaubernden du nklen Hecken zu erkunden, aber das Erscheinen des malerischen Ortes in Staffel 2 von Game of Thrones hat die Touristenattraktion wirklich auf die Karte gesetzt. Besucher, die heutzutage die "Kingsroad" entlang gehen, werden jedoch möglicherweise feststellen, dass etwas nicht stimmt. Laut The Independent entwurzelten 2019 starke Winde einen der berühmten Buchen von Ballymoney, die seit dem 18. Jahrhundert ein herausragendes Merkmal der Stadt sind. Früher gab es auf dem Gelände 150 Buchen, heute stehen nach unterschiedlichen Schätzungen nur noch 60 bis 90 Bäume. Einige fielen früheren Stürmen zum Opfer, andere leiden unter Fäulnis.
43. George R. R. Martin ließ die Showrunner erraten, wer Jon Schnees Mutter war.
Bevor er D.B. seinen Segen erteilte. Weiss und David Benioff, George RR Martin, stellten den beiden Möchtegern-Showrunnern die Frage, die zuvor Tausende und Abertausende von Fan-Spekulationen ausgelöst hatte: „Wer ist Jon Schnees wahre Mutter?“
„Es war einer Testfrage sehr ähnlich.“ Benioff erzählte Vanity Fair im Jahr 2014. „Im Grunde war es wie folgt:‚ Vermutung. Ich möchte, dass Ihre Vermutung intelligent ist und dass sie auf den Fakten der Welt basiert “, fügte Weiss hinzu. „Wir hatten bereits darüber gesprochen. Wir hatten ein zweistündiges Gespräch darüber. Für uns war es ein ziemlich gut frequentiertes Gebiet. “
44. Sean Bean never learned who Jon Snow’s parents were.
Although Sean Bean knew from the beginning that his character, Ned Stark, would die early on, he wasn't told many other plot points—not even the fact that Jon Snow wasn’t actually Ned’s bastard.
When asked if he knew of Jon’s true parentage, the actor admitted, “No. Like with everything with Game of Thronesit was kept very dark and secret … I think that’s the kind of magic and the glory of Game of Thrones—that’s why it’s so stunning and breathtaking when these secrets are revealed.”
45. One actor played five characters in Game of Thrones.
Welsh actor and stunt performer Ian Whyte has played a grand total of five roles on Game of Thrones. In Seasons 1 and 2 he was a White Walker; also in Season 2, he played Gregor Clegane (one of three actors to play that role). Whyte—who is more than 7 feet tall—has played a giant many times: In Seasons 3 and 4, Whyte played Dongo the Doomed; in Seasons 5 and 6 was Wun Wun; and finally, in Seasons 7 and 8, he played the unnamed wight giant taken down by Lyanna Mormont.
46. The Battle of the Bastards took inspiration from history.
To create Season 6’s Battle of the Bastards, director Miguel Sapochnik looked to real life conflicts, especially the Battle of Cannae in 216 BCE, in which the Carthaginians circled the Romans and won. The sequence required 65 stunt performers—which is more than some films use.
47. Kit Harington needed a safe word while filming The Battle of the Bastards.
In a behind-the-scenes featurette, longtime Game of Thrones camera operator Sean Savage shared that his very favorite scene to film over eight seasons was the moment during the Battle of the Bastards "when Jon Snow is forced to the ground and then trampled. And this seemingly immortal hero of ours looks like he's close to the end."
When Harington fell to the ground, Savage stood over him and filmed from above as tons of stuntmen piled on top of the actor. The scene wasn't entirely scripted, so in order to ensure that Harington wouldn't be injured, "we had a sort of safe word [so] that we could call it off at any point," Savage said.
48. The actor who played Ramsay Bolton was almost cast as Jon Snow.
Iwan Rheon was the runner-up to play Jon Snow. The role went to Kit Harington, and Rheon went on to play Roose Bolton’s sadistic bastard son, Ramsay, instead.
“I think they made the right choice; it would’ve been a very different Jon Snow if I’d played him,” Rheon told Interview magazine in 2016. Ramsey was eaten by his own starving hounds, who were unleashed by Sansa Stark—and though it’s hard to imagine his death being any more brutal, the original shot was actually dubbed “too gruesome” to air.
49. Game of Thrones was the most pirated tv show for six consecutive years.
According to TorrentFreak, Game of Thrones was the most pirated show for six consecutive years—from 2012 to 2017. In 2015 it had more than twice the illegal downloads of the second most pirated show, The Walking Dead. In 2018, The Walking Dead finally took over the top spot … but only because Game of Thrones hadn't released a new episode since 2017. In 2019, the premiere of the final season pirated 55 million times in just 24 hours, according to The Verge.
50. It wasn’t Lena Headey making Cersei Lannister’s Walk of Atonement in Season 6.
Rebecca Van Cleave performed the scene nude, while Headey did it clothed; the show’s VFX team then merged the scenes together. Van Cleave beat out more than 1000 other actresses to film that scene. She told Entertainment Weekly that “I never in a million years would have thought I would be in Dubrovnik surrounded by hundreds of extras and crew members throwing food at me, but it was amazing.” (Fun fact: The production’s Christmas tree featured a Walk of Shame ornament—a naked Barbie with its hair cut short, wearing a sign that read “shame!”)
51. Game of Thrones has an official rap companion album.
In 2014, HBO put out an official Game of Thrones-themed rap album called “Catch the Throne,” which they released for free via SoundCloud. They did it again in 2015, before the show’s fifth season (though volume two contained some heavy metal tracks). Contributors include Method Man (“The Oath”), Snoop Dogg (“Lannister’s Anthem”), Big Boi (“Mother of Dragons”), Talib Kweli (“Lord of the Light”), and Anthrax (“Soror Irrumator”).
52. The Loot Train Attack took 18 days to shoot.
D.B. Weiss described Season 7’s Loot Train Attack sequence—in which Daenerys rides Drogon into battle in Westeros for the first time—as “like a time travel movie … what if someone had an F-16 that they brought to a medieval battle?” The shoot was a massive logistical challenge. It took place in Spain, and required the presence of many different departments, “all working at the very extremes of their abilities,” production designer Deborah Riley said in a behind-the-scenes interview. “There’s a lot of continuity to make sure that we’re in the right space in the right part of the process reflecting the right amount of burn.” Not only were there set dressing challenges, but they also needed to have cameras flying in perfect time with pyrotechnics so that VFX artists could put Drogon in later. In Season 6, there were 11 shots of Daenerys on Drogon; there are more than 80 in the Loot Train Attack sequence alone.
The sequence took 18 days to shoot, and, according to Director of Photography Robert McLachlan, took weeks and weeks of planning ahead of time. “Everything has to be so tightly nailed down well in advance in order for it to be budgeted. Each one of those shots with a dragon in it is budgeted to the second. It's so wildly expensive to create those images,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “There's also a lot of planning ahead in letting the visual effects department know where we're going to need more smoke than we would physically be able to create after the fires start—adding more fires and building it up, putting in elements we wouldn't be able to do otherwise for safety concerns or sheer logistics.”
53. The one-shot in the Loot Crate Attack is actually several shots spliced together.
Mid-battle, there’s a seemingly-seamless one-shot of Bronn (Jerome Flynn) running through the chaos, but there are actually three cuts in the sequence. “We could have done it in one shot, but in order to add things like burning bodies and dragons flying overhead, we ended up splitting it into three segments that the visual effects department helped us meld together,” MacLachlan said. “They did a fantastic job. Even knowing where the cuts are, I can't even see them, watching them now.”
54. The showrunners knew well before the series ended how the books will end.
George R.R. Martin told D.B. Weiss and David Benioff the “broad strokes” of how the series will end. “Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be,” Benioff told Vanity Fair in 2014. “If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character.”
55. Martin didn't expect the show to catch up with him.
The series did catch up to Martin's books, of course, and then overtook them. After the series finale aired to a fair amount of backlash, Martin gave an interview in which he noted, “People know an ending—but not the ending,” Martin said. “The makers of the TV show had overtaken me, which I didn’t expect.”
"I’ve been so slow with these books," Martin told Rolling Stone. "The major points of the ending will be things I told [Benioff and Weiss] five or six years ago. But there may also be changes, and there’ll be a lot added."
In another interview, Martin said that if Benioff and Weiss been totally faithful to the books, the show would have run for five more seasons.
56. The final season featured several callbacks to Season 1.
Prior to Season 8, Maisie William said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that after she knew the ending to season 8, she went back and rewatched the first season.
"After reading the scripts I went back and watched season 1 again, because so much of it refers back to that season," Williams said. "There are so many scenes that will look similar. And also I watched just to remind myself of the arc I've taken already. I wanted Arya to go full circle and try for some kind of normalcy like when she was younger."
57. Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, who plays The Mountain, needed a stunt double for the first time ever in season 8.
Ahead of Season 8, Iceland native Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, who played Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane in the TV series, told Mashable the final season was "the hardest season I’ve filmed for Game Of Thrones." Filming got so complicated that, for the first time in his four seasons on the show, Björnsson—who is a strongman in real life, and recently broke the world’s deadlift record—needed a stunt double to play The Mountain.
“All the seasons prior to this season that we just finished filming, I never had stunt doubles. I always did everything myself," Björnsson said. "But the last season I filmed … I had a stunt double there."
58. Scientists calculated the odds to try and predict who would survive season 8.
Reidar Lystad and Benjamin Brown—injury epidemiologists at Sydney's Macquarie University—watched all the episodes of Game of Thrones that had aired before Season 8 with an eye toward mortality trends and determined some key factors that they think indicated who was most likely to live or die in Season 8, statistically speaking.
The study found that low-born males with a high level of loyalty were the most likely to be killed, while upper-class women had a better survival rate. In addition, switching allegiances seemed to lengthen a character’s lifespan.
Using these criteria, the researchers suggested that Sansa and Arya Stark had the best statistical chance of surviving the series as they changed allegiances.
The study s howe d that while Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister had the high-born factor working in their favor, the fact that they remained fiercely loyal to their initial goals probably did not bode well for their ultimate survival.
Not far behind the Stark sisters in terms of survival probability were Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister, who Lystad told HuffPost were both "very much still in the running."
Considering that Sansa, Arya, Jon, and Tyrion are all alive, and Daenerys and Cersei ended up dead, it seems the researchers’ predictions were spot-on.
59. Through the end of Season 7, injuries—especially open neck wounds—and fire were the most common ways to be killed.
Injuries—specifically an open neck wound or injury to an unspecified part of the body—were the most likely cause of death on the series until the end of Season 7, while burning (a.k.a. the only way to kill a White Walker, and a punishment Daenerys's dragons are very skilled at inflicting) was the second most common way to be knocked off. In theory, after Season 8’s two big dragon-led battles, it became the #1 way to die in Westeros.
60. Real people named their kids after Game of Thrones characters.
In the year 2014, per the Social Security Administration, “Khaleesi” was the United States’s 755th most popular baby name for girls, up from 1021th place in 2013. In England, Khaleesi, Arya, Tyrion, Brienne, Sansa, Bran, Sandor, and Theon also saw a rise in popularity after Game of Thrones began airing. (What, no Dagmer Cleftjaw?)
After Daenerys torched King’s Landing, Vulture interviewed several parents who had either named their children that or Khaleesi to see if they had any regrets. Thankfully, they seemed at peace with their decisions. Hector Morales Rivera, who has a 6-year-old named Daenerys, said, “I don’t have any regrets. I still love her name, I have very fond memories because of that name, because of how attached I have been to this series.”
61. A lot of pets have been given Game of Thrones-related names, too.
Pet parents have not been immune to the Game of Thrones naming trend. Banfield Pet Hospital, the largest general veterinary practice in the U.S., analyzed its records database and found that Khaleesi and Arya have been popular pet names, too, but Lady and Ghost top the list in terms of popularity.
62. George R.R. Martin regrets that he didn’t finish Winds of Winter sooner.
"It’s been an incredible ride," George R.R. Martin said of the Game of Thrones experience. "And almost all of it has been great. Obviously, I wished I finished these books sooner so the show hadn’t gotten ahead of me. I never anticipated that." The reason the television show's narrative has gone ahead of Martin is because he has been working on The Winds of Winterthe sixth book in the series, for years—and it still doesn't have a release date (though he is, apparently, “writing every day”). On top of that, there is also supposed to be a seventh book called A Dream of Spring to follow.
63. Season 8's “The Long Night” was Maisie Williams’s first battle.
“The Long Night,” which was filmed in Ireland over the course of 55 nights, marked Maisie Williams’s first time in battle. “Arya’s never in it. Episode 9, I skip every year,” Williams told Entertainment Weekly. “I’ve never been around that way of working. I feel like I’ve always been part of this big show but in terms of being part of the episodes that really define us, this is my first taste of it. … You try and you train but nothing can prepare you for how physically draining it is. It’s night after night and again and again and it just doesn’t stop. … But the sense of achievement after a day on set is unlike anything else. One of those really tough days, you know it’s going to be part of something so iconic and it will look amazing.”
64. At first, Maisie Williams wasn’t sure people would be excited that it was Arya who killed the Night King.
Williams said she was so excited when she found out that it was Arya, and not Jon, who took out the Night King—but she did have some reservations. “I immediately thought that everybody would hate it; that Arya doesn’t deserve it,” she told EW. “The hardest thing is in any series is when you build up a villain that’s so impossible to defeat and then you defeat them. It has to be intelligently done because otherwise people are like, ‘Well, [the villain] couldn’t have been that bad when some 100-pound girl comes in and stabs him.’ You gotta make it cool. And then I told my boyfriend and he was like, ‘Mmm, should be Jon though really, shouldn’t it?’”
But Williams was fully on board after thinking about what Melisandre had told Arya many seasons ago—that she would shut “brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes” forever. “When we did the whole bit with Melisandre, I realized the whole scene with [the Red Woman] brings it back to everything I’ve been working for over these past six seasons—four if you think about it since [Arya] got to the House of Black and White,” Williams said. “It all comes down to this one very moment. It’s also unexpected and that’s what this show does. So then I was like, ‘F*** you Jon, I get it.’”
65. Emilia Clarke didn’t see Daenerys’s big turn coming.
After she read the final Game of Thrones scripts, Clarke told The New Yorker that “I took a very long walk around London in a daze, not quite knowing how to digest the news … I had no idea what to expect for this last season. I hoped for some juicy things to get into, as I always do for each season, but I didn’t see this coming. … Even for a part that I’ve given so much to and I’ve felt so much for, and for a character that’s seen and lived through so much, I don’t know that there was any other way. But it was a shocker to read.”
66. The showrunners compared Daenerys's arc to a legendary film character.
Benioff and Weiss had previously told Clarke that Daenerys’s arc mirrored that of Lawrence of Arabia. “I watched Lawrence of Arabiaand I was, like, ‘Great, cool. He’s brilliant. He survived, and it’s wonderful,’” she said. “But then you remember how that movie ended, with Lawrence’s disintegration. I didn’t quite put those two things together. Or maybe I didn’t want to see it coming because I care about Daenerys too much. Fundamentally, he’s brought in as a savior. He goes in and fights for the people, but then, ultimately, it’s a story about how power corrupts absolutely. You see power turn this man wild and mad. He can’t see anymore through the haze, the giddy highs, of being in charge. And that’s what Daenerys experiences.”
67. Emilia Clarke watched speeches of dictators to prepare for Daenerys’s speech after burning King’s Landing.
"In giving all these speeches in fake languages, I watched a lot of videos of—now it seems funny—dictators and powerful leaders speaking a different language to see if I could understand what they were saying without knowing the language," Clarke told Variety. "And you can! You absolutely can understand what Hitler’s f***ing saying, these single-focus orators speaking a foreign language. So I thought, 'If I can believe every single word I’m saying, the audience won’t need to be looking at the subtitles too much.'”
Clarke said that she put a lot of pressure on herself to nail the scene. “Any actor will tell you the days on set are long and then you go home and do your homework, which is learning your lines for the next day. This is learning a fake language on top of that! It almost killed me,” she said. “Then the weirdest thing happened—I walked on set, didn’t need a rehearsal, and I got through the whole thing perfect on the first go. The rest of the day it was like Daenerys was just with me. That’s the only time I got through that speech without getting anything wrong, when it was on camera. If you had asked me to do it the next day, I’d already forgotten it.”
68. Kit Harington didn’t read the scr ipts before the table read—so he was shocked by a number of the final season’s moments.
Because he didn’t read the scripts ahead of time, Harington found out in front of his co-stars that Arya killed the Night King. “I was surprised, I thought it was gonna be me!” the actor told Entertainment Weekly. “But I like it. It gives Arya’s training a purpose to have an end goal. It’s much better how she does it the way she does it. I think it will frustrate some in the audience that Jon’s hunting the Night King and you’re expecting this epic fight and it never happens — that’s kind of Thrones. But it’s the right thing for the characters. There’s also something about it not being the person you expect. The young lady sticks it to the man.”
Clarke knew that Harington hadn’t read the scripts, so she made sure to sit across from him during the table read, to “watch him compute” their last moments on the show together, she told Entertainment Weekly. When they got to the moment where Jon killed Daenerys with a dagger to the heart, he recalled, “I looked at Emilia and there was a moment of me realizing, ‘No, no…’” at which point Clarke nodded and sank down in her chair.
“He was crying,” Clarke told EW. “And then it was kind of great him not having read it.”
69. The events on Game of Thrones led to some marital disagreements.
Like so many Game of Thrones fans, the friends and family of the people who create the show had a serious investment in the series’ characters and storylines. In 2015, while appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live!Amanda Peet admitted that she threatened to divorce David Benioff if anything happened to Jon Snow.
"I said, 'I've heard all this stuff … [Kit Harington] got a haircut, I don't want to divorce you, what's happening?'" Peet said. Benioff assured his wife that Jon wasn't going to die, but obviously that wasn't true—or at least not at the time. "I don't love you anymore," Peet (jokingly) told her husband. "I said, 'If you kill him, that's it.'"
But not even Parris McBride, George R.R. Martin's wife, was immune to petitioning (read: threatening) her husband when it came to advocating for which characters she wanted to see still standing when the series concludes. "[George’s] wife did actually say that if he ever kills off Arya or Sansa, she's going to leave him," Maisie Williams revealed in 2015. "I'll just keep smiling, and say 'If you want to stay with your wife, you've got to keep me alive!'"
Based on what happened on the show, it seems like both Peet and McBride have reason to be happy.
70. There’s a prequel coming.
It’s called House of the Dragonand it will take place 300 years before the events of Thrones. Though we won’t see any of the characters we know and love in the show, the behind-the-scenes team does have a few familiar faces: George R.R. Martin is co-creating alongside Ryan Condal; Condal will serve as co-showrunner alongside director Miguel Sapochnik.