Unfortunately, all good things eventually come to an end, and "Game of Thrones" is, sadly, no exception. HBO recently announced that the show's final season will air in April 2019, with only 6 episodes to finish off the fantastic journey. However, while we wait for the season premiere, what better way to spend your days than recall and appreciate some GoT facts.
When Emilia Clarke first met her on-screen husband Jason Momoa, he screamed "WIFEY!", ran across the hall, and rugby-tackled her to the floor.
Charles Dance found Lord Tywin's treatment of his son appalling. In fact, so appalling that Dance kept apologizing to Dinklage between takes.
Peter Dinklage, who portrays Tyrion Lannister in the show, appears in more episodes than any other cast member. Dinklage is in total of 61 out of 67 episodes.
While filming season 7 in Iceland, temperatures sometimes dropped down to -20°F (-28°C). Much of the cast had inadequate thermal underwear. Norwegian actor Kristofer Hivju, who plays Tormund Giantsbane, made sure that all of the cast members got merino wool underwear from Norwegian clothing company Devold.
Although Sansa's direwolf Lady saw an untimely end in season 1, the dog who played the well-behaved beast survived the ordeal. Sophie Turner, the actress who plays Sansa, asked her mom to adopt the pooch after the filming was done and before she knew it, the Mahlek Northern Inuit pup named Zunni found a loving home with the Turner family. While Lady's life was short, which in unsurprising considering the show we're talking about, luckily, Zunni had plenty of time to enjoy her doggy days until her alleged passing a year ago.
While many characters were given life through a tedious casting (and recasting!) process, only one actor was ever considered for the role of Tyrion Lannister. Peter Dinklage was George R.R. Martin, David Benioff, and D.B. Weiss's first and only choice for Tywin Lannister's youngest son. And it was truly meant to be, as Peter Dinklage not only won a variety of awards including Emmy and Golden Globe, but he is forever burned into our minds as the god of wine and...
Although Cersei and Tyrion don't share fond feelings towards each other despite being siblings, the actors behind them, Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage get along just fine. In fact, they get along so well that whenever their shooting schedules line up, Dinklage and Headey share an apartment, drive to the set together, and are frequently seen going to local pubs and restaurants to eat. Also, Dinklage was probably the reason Headey got the role of Cersei, as he recommended her to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, having previously worked together on other projects.
Jack Gleeson, who plays the sadistic and cruel King Joffrey Baratheon (Lannister? Hill?), says that his portrayal of the loathsome boy-king was partly influenced by Joaquin Phoenix’s Commodus in "Gladiator". The actor revealed that the most notable characteristic that he tried to implement while playing Joffrey was Commodus' smirk.
Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth, said that the most grueling scene she ever filmed was the fight between her and The Hound. She spent 2 months training, 3-4 days a week with swordmaster C.C. Smiff, just to build up the required stamina for her fight scene.
Kit Harington and Rose Lesie, cast members who play Jon Snow and Ygritte, were wed to each other on June 23, 2018 in Scotland. They fell in love while playing the dynamic couple on-screen and he popped the question in September of 2017.
The man behind the villainous Ramsay Snow -ahem- Bolton, Iwan Rheon, was originally aiming for a completely different role. It was another bastard from the North, Jon Snow. By the end of casting period Rheon and Harington were tied for the role of Jon, however the showrunners ultimately chose Kit. And perhaps for a good reason, as Iwan's portrayal of Ramsay was truly memorable.
In the novels, Maester of Castle Black, Aemon Targaryen, is revealed to be completely blind, which is unsurprising as the character is over a hundred years old. So old, in fact, that many even forget that he was a Targaryen. The actor who plays this wise character, Peter Vaughan, was actually partially blind at the time of filming the show. Maester Aemon was also Vaughan's last role.
Prior to being cast, Lena Headey, who plays Queen Cersei, and Jerome Flynn, who plays Bronn, were in a relationship that ended on such bad terms that each had a clause inserted into their contracts that they were never to share scenes and must remain apart on set.
"Game of Thrones" definitely has many fans worldwide and it's no surprise that Barack Obama is one of them. According to the actor who plays Davos Seaworth, Liam Cunningham, after season 5 aired, the former US president approached one of the directors and asked about Jon Snow's fate. The showrunners also revealed that Obama once asked to see the first episodes of season 6 before everyone else, and they agreed.
Queen Cersei was fan-voted as the series' most hated character. The actress who plays the role, Lena Headey, said that the fans' hatred for the character often translates to her personally as people at times insult or shun her in real life. While there are plenty of people who adore her and her portrayal of Cersei, Headey reported that during an autograph session at Comic Con, people would snatch their books from her hands to prevent her from signing it.
With millions of dollars spent per episode, it's no longer a surprise that everything about the show is expensive. Even the petrified dragon eggs that appear briefly in season 1 before being hatched into majestic beasts are a complete work of art. Worthy enough to serve as a wedding gift to the book author George R. R. Martin as one of the three was gifted to him to celebrate his marriage to a longtime partner Parris McBride.
Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, says that when fans meet her, they often ask her to recite the list of names Arya always recites before sleeping (the names of all people who'd caused her or her loved ones harm) and to insert the fan's name into the list.
It is not a secret that "Game of Thrones" is one of the most expensive TV shows to ever air, with its opening season's budget reaching an estimated $50–60 million mark. However, as the show progressed, it quickly overthrew the original budget and completely exploded by the time it reached season 6. The sixth season had a mind-boggling budget of over $100 million, a series record, with over $10 million cost per episode. And you can definitely see where that money went.
The actor who plays Hot Pie, Ben Hawkey, teamed up with with UK food delivery service Deliveroo to launch his Game of Thrones-inspired bakery, "You Know Nothing John Dough". They served direwolf loaf for £1.30, inspired by the one Hot Pie baked Arya in the show.
In sharp contrast to his turn as sadistic Joffrey, everyone on the show describes actor Jack Gleeson as a warm and friendly person. He is also good friends with Sophie Turner, who he often has to antagonize on-screen.
While there are some characters played by multiple actors in the series, there is also an actor who played multiple characters. Dean-Charles Chapman played a minor role of Martyn Lannister in Season 3, but was later cast as Tommen Baratheon for later seasons.
Executive Producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said the production of the show is a massive undertaking. It lasts the entire year and they shoot the show like a ten-hour movie. Season 5 alone was shot in five countries, on 151 sets, for 240 days, having 166 cast members, over 1,000 crew members and over 5,000 extras.
George R.R. Martin was inspired to write the novel series "A Song of Ice and Fire" after years of writing for restrictive television budgets, and deliberately wrote the series to be nearly unfilmable. After the success of "The Lord of The Rings" Martin was approached to license the novels into a series of films, one project was proposed using only Daenerys' story line, and another project proposed only including the conflict between the Starks and Lannisters. Martin declined every film offer, reasoning that his books contained too much story to work as films, and the box office failure of "The Golden Compass" made him concerned that if the first film was not a success the series would be cancelled.
George R.R. Martin has stated that several of the show's characters are improvements over his own versions in the books in both writing and performance. He specifically mentioned Natalia Tena as Osha and praised Sibel Kekilli as Shae, even going as far as saying that "her Shae was better than [his] Shae".
One of the most iconic scenes in season 1, where Daenerys eats a heart of a stallion at Vaes Dothrak, was actually less brutal and more funny in real life. Actress who brought Dany to life, Emilia Clarke, says that while eating the heart was absolutely disgusting, and she was reaching for a bucket between each take, the funny part was her getting stuck to the toilet as she was covered in fake blood that was very sticky.
Fans of the series have spotted this hidden gem while looking for easter eggs. A replica of Gandalf's sword, Glamdring, from the "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" trilogies is forged inside the Iron Throne. Sean Bean (Eddard "Ned" Stark) played Boromir in the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy. While it might seem like a cool nod to the beloved wizard, Gandalf's sword being part of the throne is only a matter of practicality. The people who created the throne used whatever molds were already available to them, and Glamdring happened to be one of them.
Kit Harington claims his ancestor is John Harington, a prominent figure in Queen Elizabeth I's court, as well as the inventor of the flush toilet. Kit also says his ancestor is the reason we sometimes refer to the toilet as "the john".
Wilko Johnson, who played Ilyn Payne, retired after the second season because he was diagnosed with cancer. While Payne appears in subsequent novels, his role in the series was effectively replaced with Bronn (Jerome Flynn), who instead accompanies Jaime on later missions. In 2014, Johnson announced that he was cancer-free.
In June 2014, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited the "Game of Thrones" set in Belfast as part of a three-day visit to Northern Ireland. Elizabeth was offered the chance to sit on the Iron Throne but declined, as the monarch of Great Britain is not supposed to sit on a foreign throne, even a fictional one. Some news sources claimed Elizabeth is a viewer of the series, though Maisie Williams remarked on the visit, "I did not get the impression she is a fan" as the Queen was unaware of her role in the show.
The actor behind Melisandre, Carice van Houten, could've played Cersei Lannister. She was asked to audition for the role of the queen, but was unable to because she was filming "Intruders".
In the series, Charles Dance's character, Tywin Lannister, was previously married to a woman named Joanna, who died birthing Tyrion and with whom he had three children. In real life, Dance was previously married to a woman who was also named Joanna, and has three children.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster was 22 when he was cast as 13-year-old Jojen Reed.
Daenerys had purple eyes in the books, but the contact lenses Emilia Clarke wore affected her performance so they were abandoned.
Many people approached George R.R. Martin to produce a movie for his unfinished "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, but he refused them all, thinking that it would be too expensive to produce accurately. When the showrunners Benioff and D.B. Weiss told him that they wanted to make a series out of it, Martin asked them one question that sealed the show's fate. The mastermind behind the books' many twists and turns wanted to know who they thought Jon Snow's mother was. Benioff and D.B. Weiss's answer satisfied the author and he sold the rights to the book.
In the year 2012, around 160 baby girls in the U.S. were legally named "Khaleesi", after the character in the show, although it is not the character's name, Daenerys, but a title that is an equivalent of 'queen' in Dothraki language.
Kit Harington broke his ankle in 2012 when he was locked out of his apartment building in London and fell while trying to climb to his flat. During season 3, the film crew had to figure out how to shoot around the injury, including the use of stand-ins in "Jon Snow wigs". Harington felt so guilty that he bought the production manager a bottle of whiskey.
The Stark children were all aged up for the series. At the start of George R.R. Martin's novels, Robb Stark and Jon Snow are 14 years old, Sansa Stark is 11, Arya is 9, Bran is 7, and Rickon Stark is just 3 years old. At the start of the series, Robb and Jon are 17, Sansa is 13, Arya is 11, Bran is 10, and Rickon is 6.
The first season used Northern Inuit dogs, a type specifically bred for wolf-like appearance, to stand in for the direwolves (the Stark's house sigil). However, since direwolves are known to be much larger than normal wolves, real wolves were digitally composited into scenes for Season 2. This strained the budget and the schedule, which is why there are only a handful of scenes with Grey Wind (Robb Stark's wolf), Summer (Bran Stark's wolf) and Shaggydog (Rickon Stark's wolf); Ghost, who belongs to Jon Snow, is shown in brief glimpses.
In the pilot episode as the trio are preparing for the King Robert's welcome, Alfie Allen, Richard Madden, and Kit Harington each tried to one-up each other in their shirtless scene by flexing and doing push-ups right before they went on camera. You decide who won!
Producer David Benioff wanted the theme song to be the Lannister song "The Rains of Castamere." Co-producer D.B. Weiss convinced him not to do it. And we're more than glad because the current theme song is absolutely iconic. Also, "The Rains" weren't exactly pushed to the side either, as the melody plays in many episodes, as well as performed by Icelandic avant-rock band, Sigur Rós, who had the fortune (or misfortune) to perform for King Joffrey during the Purple Wedding.
During the series you can see characters wearing belts with a particular knot twisted after the buckle, this is clearly visible in most knights. The knot is actually correct and was used in medieval times, is often referred to as a garter and used to fix leg armor pieces to the knights' legs below the knees. It is one of the symbols of the English "Order of the Garter", the highest chivalric order.
Women in Westeros typically take their husband's surname upon marriage, with the exception of the house holding the Iron Throne, where the surname is only inherited by birth and not marriage. This is why consorts to kings and heirs of the Iron Throne retain their own name, e.g., Cersei Lannister instead of Cersei Baratheon, Margaery Tyrell instead of Margaery Baratheon.
Before season 1 aired and we all became familiar with the TV show, there was an unreleased pilot episode. The unaired pilot was very different from what the actual first episode "Winter is Coming" turned out to be, with the most notable differences being in the cast. For example, instead of Emilia Clarke, young princess Daenerys was played by Tamzin Merchant. Also, author of the book series, George R. R. Martin was playing a Pentos nobleman with a giant hat! We'd pay good money to see that!
In Westeros, bastards (also "natural child" or "baseborn") born to nobles are given surnames different than their father's, according to the region where they were born. The surnames are mostly associated with the geographic or climatic features of the respective regions: Flowers (The Reach), Hill (The Westerlands), Pyke (The Iron Islands), Rivers (The Riverlands), Sand (Dorne), Snow (The North), Stone (The Vale), Storm (The Stormlands), or Waters (The Crownlands). Special surnames apply only to noble-born bastards who are openly acknowledged by their noble parent. Noble-born bastards unacknowledged by their noble parent (like Gendry), or those whose parents are commoners, can't use the special surname. A noble-born bastard can be legitimized by royal decree and change their surname to the father's. However, the social stigma may not always be lifted even after legitimization.
Gregor Clegane, better known to us as The Mountain, or Cercei's monster, was recast twice throughout the show history. He was played by Conan Steven in season 1 and Ian Whyte in season 2. Whyte went on to play the lovable giant Wun Wun, while an Icelandic professional strongman Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson ended up playing the Mountain in the remaining seasons.
When we meet Tywin Lannister in season one, he definitely leaves a sense of authority after him, masterfully skinning a stag (an allusion to Robert Baratheon's fate) while lecturing his son Jaime about family and legacy. Actor Charles Dance was actually skinning a deer in the scene! A butcher gave him a quick tutorial on how to do it the day before they started shooting, and Dance reports that he thinks he did a great job. Too bad he didn't get a nice cut of venison as the carcass was quickly snatched away after the scene was done.
While most of the characters have direct counterparts in the books, there are several characters that are composites. The most notable is the prostitute Ros, who is a composite of several named (Alayaya, Chataya, Kyra) and unnamed characters from the books. Another composite character is the trader Spice King in Qarth, who appears in Season Two.
Starting off in the series, Carice van Houten, who plays Melisandre and Liam Cunningham, the actor behind Davos Seaworth, play enemies. However, they previously starred together in the film "Black Butterflies", playing lovers.
Yara Greyjoy, introduced in the second book and season, is named Asha in the books. The name was changed for the television series to avoid confusion with Osha. However, in the German dubbed version she is called Asha, like in the books. Similarly, Lysa Arryn's son Robert is named Robin in the series to avoid confusion with Robert Baratheon.
Four locations are always shown in the main title sequence, regardless of if the episode has scenes set there: King's Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, and wherever Daenerys is. King's Landing is always shown first, with the crowned stag of House Baratheon. Winterfell is shown first in the hands of House Stark, then sacked and torched, and later with the House Bolton sigil. The Wall is the last main shot before the camera pans to Essos. The sequence shows up to six locations.