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Game of Thrones (TV Series 2011–2019) Poster

(2011–2019)

Trivia

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Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon) received a letter from author George R.R. Martin after the show aired, stating: "Congratulations on your marvelous performance. Everyone hates you!"
Wilko Johnson (Ilyn Payne) retired after the second season because he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. While Payne appears in subsequent novels, his role in the series was effectively replaced with Bronn (Jerome Flynn), who instead accompanies Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) on later missions. Johnson's illness was later found to be treatable anyway, and he was declared cancer-free following extensive surgery in 2014.
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According to Kit Harington (Jon Snow), his performance in the rejected pilot episode was so bad that the creators often jokingly threaten to release scenes of it on the internet if he complains too much.
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According to author George R.R. Martin, Peter Dinklage was the one and only choice to play Tyrion Lannister, and no other actors were auditioned. Dinklage has been nominated eight consecutive times (once for each season) for the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series at the Emmys. He won for the first, fifth, seventh and eighth season, setting a new record for most wins in the Outstanding Supporting Actor category for the same role.
When Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo) first met Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) he rugby tackled her to the floor of the Belfast hotel yelling "WIFEY".
Writer George R.R. Martin was approached several times with plans to adapt his (still unfinished) book series "A Song of Ice and Fire" into a movie, but he rejected them all, as he thought his books were much too expansive to be made into a movie. He had purposely written them to be virtually unfilmable, and he also declined offers to adapt only certain storylines from the book. When David Benioff and D.B. Weiss told him that they wanted to make a series out of it, he asked them who they thought Jon Snow's mother could be. Satisfied with the answer, he agreed to sell the rights to the book.
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After filming her final scenes as Daenerys Targaryen, Emilia Clarke got a tattoo of three dragons on her wrist.
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Composer Ramin Djawadi said that after initially watching some visuals of the show, before starting to compose it, the idea for the main title theme just came to his mind, and he whistled it while he was driving his car to the studio where he started to actually write the piece. The producers asked him to avoid using flutes and solo violins, which they considered a fantasy cliche, so he employed a cello combined with a dulcimer and a kantele, traditional snare instruments, to give the score a Medieval feel and create a sense of mystery and anticipation.
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A gelatin "heart" was made for the scene in which Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) must consume a horse's heart raw. Although it was safe to eat, Clarke said it was still foul tasting enough that her facial expressions and gagging while forcing it down required no acting for the camera.
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Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Rose Leslie (Ygritte) were wed on June 23, 2018 in Scotland. They fell in love while playing the dynamic couple on-screen and he popped the question in September 2017.
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The series has come under repeated criticism for its explicit depiction of physical and sexual violence. Especially recurrent scenes of rape caused large amounts of controversy. Writer George R.R. Martin has defended his artistic choices by saying that he wants to put his readers right into the action, rather than create a safe distance from events by merely summarizing them. He maintains that although his Song of Ice and Fire books (and the series by extension) are epic fantasy, he based them on actual history, where "rape and sexual violence have been a part of every war ever fought". He also claimed that the atrocities in the books, sexual and otherwise, pale in comparison to what can be found in any good history book: "the true horrors of human history derive not from orcs and Dark Lords, but from ourselves. We are the monsters. And the heroes too." He also stated that it is the choice of showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss what scenes from his books they adapt, and how.
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Conleth Hill (Lord Varys) originally auditioned for the role of Robert Baratheon.
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Both Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister) and Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon) were appalled and disgusted at their characters' treatment of their son and uncle, Tyrion Lannister. Dance remarked that it was extremely difficult for him to mistreat a genuinely nice man like Peter Dinklage, so much so, that Dance kept apologizing to Dinklage between takes.
The average cost of production per episode of the show, up to season six, was around six million dollars, with the most expensive episode being season two, episode nine, "Blackwater", which cost a reported eight million dollars. However, HBO decided to set a budget of one hundred million dollars for season six, which meant each episode of the season had an average production cost of ten million dollars. This put the show on par with Friends (1994) as the most expensive television show of all time (although most of the budget of "Friends" went to its stars' salaries rather than the production, as in this show).
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There was a rumor that, prior to being cast, Lena Headey (Queen Cersei Lannister) and Jerome Flynn (Bronn) had been 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. Flynn has however stated this is not true, saying "We were actually in the same scene together, and the last time I saw Lena we were speaking, so I wouldn't believe everything you read, and like I said, [the media] can get pretty desperate for stories." Nevertheless, Bronn and Cersei are only together in one very brief scene on the show, and all their direct interactions happen off-screen.
Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) have matching tattoos of the date 07.08.09, the day they found out that they were cast on the show.
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Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) was voted by fans as the series' most hated character. Headey has said that she is often the victim of fans who direct their hatred towards her character to her personally. People frequently call her names on-line and in public, and at fan conventions, she is more than often shunned. She claimed that during an autograph session at Comic Con, people were actually snatching their books from her hands to prevent her from signing it.
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Maester Aemon Targaryen of the Night's Watch was revealed to be blind in the novels. He was played by Peter Vaughan, who was partially blind.
Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) was doused in so much fake blood during the horse heart eating scene in season one that she got stuck to a toilet seat during a break.
Jack Gleeson based Joffrey Baratheon on Joaquin Phoenix's Commodus in Gladiator (2000).
The terms "First Men" and "Andals" were frequently mentioned on the show, and often only indirectly explained. The "Song of Ice and Fire" books and several bonus features on the DVD give more backstory to these concepts. Westeros used to be populated by the wood nymph-like Children of the Forest, until the First Men invaded the continent from Essos via a land bridge. The Children destroyed the land bridge and waged millennia of war against the First Men, but negotiated a peace when they found a common enemy in the White Walkers. They co-existed for several millennia, and even built the Wall together to keep the White Walkers in the far North. Long after the First Men established kingdoms on Westeros and converted to the Children's forest religion, a second wave of invasion came from Essos. These people, the Andals, succeeded in conquering the entire continent except for the North, and established their religion, the Faith of the Seven, as the dominant one in the South. Through intermarriage, the First Men and Andals slowly mingled; Southern Westerosi are usually of mixed descent, with nobility often having more Andal blood than commoners. The Northerners and Wildlings, though, descend directly from the First Men and still follow their traditions. The phrase "by the Old Gods and the New" thus refers to the old Gods of the Forest from the North, and the Seven-Faced God of the Andals; rulers of Westeros receive the apt title "King of the Andals and the First Men". The complex history often causes some misunderstandings, such as Dothraki warriors referring to all Westerosi as Andals, even though the Northerners have no Andal blood; and the Wildlings often consider themselves the only true Northerners, and will refer to other Northerners as Southerners.
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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 three of this show, the 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.
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In the show, only the banners from the main houses, along with several banners from smaller houses in Dorne and the North, are ever disclosed. According to the Citadel heraldry page on westeros.org, the number of known banners of all houses is three hundred seventy.
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Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) and Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) had been friends for years prior to the show, having worked together on Ultra (2006) and Pete Smalls Is Dead (2010). It was on the set of the latter that Dinklage first read the pilot and he subsequently recommended Headey to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
Daenerys Targaryen's (Emilia Clarke's) dragon Drogon, the largest of the three with black and red scales, is considered in the novels to be the reincarnation of Balerion the Black Dread. Balerion was the largest of Aegon the Conquerer's dragons, and was also responsible for the creation of the Iron Throne.
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George R.R. Martin stated that several of the show's characters were improvements over his own versions in the books in writing and performance, specifically mentioning Natalia Tena (Osha) and Sibel Kekilli (Shae).
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A replica of Gandalf's sword, Glamdring, from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies is forged inside the Iron Throne. Sean Bean (Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark) played Boromir in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Characters from noble houses often had images of their house's sigil incorporated into their costumes. For example, Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) almost always appeared wearing jewelry with images of lions. Sometimes the inclusion is almost indiscernible to the television viewer, such as the blue dress Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) wore throughout season three, which was embroidered with a texture resembling dragon scales.
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Charles Dance dressed an actual stag carcass on-camera for Tywin Lannister's first scene. Dance was shown the procedure the previous day by a butcher.
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Author George R.R. Martin has stated in interviews that in the books, Westeros is roughly the size of South America (which is 4,700 miles long and 3,300 miles at its widest point). However, on the show, it is considerably smaller: 2,000 miles long and 900 miles at its widest. Although the Wall is the largest structure in the "Game of Thrones" world, it is not the tallest. In the books, the tallest structure is the High Tower in Oldtown and the second tallest the Great Pyramid of Meereen. The lands north of the Wall are mostly uncharted (and no map shows it in its entirety), but according to Martin, this area could be as large as Canada, meaning that it would encompass almost half of Westeros.
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George R.R. Martin confirmed that the words of House Bolton are "Our Blades are Sharp", most likely because of the Boltons' history of flaying their enemies alive.
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Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) said that fans often asked her to recite the list of names Arya always recited before sleeping, the names of the people in the series who have injured her or her family, and whom she intends to kill, and to insert the fan's name into the list.
In June 2014, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited the sets at Paint Hall Studios in Belfast as part of a three-day visit to Northern Ireland. They met members of the cast and crew and were presented with a miniature version of the Iron Throne. Elizabeth was offered the chance to sit on the Iron Throne but declined, as the monarch of Great Britain is not allowed 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 on the series.
Women in the Seven Kingdoms 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, and Elia Martell instead of Elia Targaryen. (The only exception seen is Selyse Baratheon, though she married into the family prior to Robert's Rebellion and it becoming the royal dynasty.)
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Executive Producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said the production of the show was a massive undertaking. It lasted the entire year, and they shot the show like a ten-hour movie. For example, season five was shot in five countries, on one hundred fifty-one sets, for two hundred forty days, having one hundred sixty-six cast members, over one thousand crew members, and over five thousand extras.
Much of the inspiration for the War of the Five Kings in the series comes from the War of the Roses, a series of dynastic wars in the fifteenth century where the rivaling houses of York and Lancaster fought for the throne of England. The families 'Stark' and 'Lannister' were clearly inspired by these factions, as were several characters. The Mad King Aerys II is based on Henry VI of Lancaster, who also suffered from bouts of insanity; his wife Margaret of Anjou (nicknamed 'the She-wolf of France') was a basis for Cersei Lannister, as both women were fiercely protective of their sons, and ruthlessly ruled the country through them in absence of their husbands. Henry and Margaret were defeated by Edward IV of York; the young Edward resembles Robb Stark, as he became the leader of the Yorks at age 19 after his father fell in battle, won several battles against the Lancasters, but made a politically unwise decision by impulsively marrying the widow of a Lancastrian; older Edward may have inspired Robert Baratheon, as both men were formidable soldiers who defeated a mad king, but spent most of their latter days drinking and whoring. Edward's friend and confidant, William Lord Hastings, was the likely reference for Robert's friend Ned Stark: Hastings was a powerful figure at Edward's court, who ensured his king's succession by Edward's brother, Richard III, who then had Hastings summarily beheaded years later on grounds of treason. Richard III was, in turn, defeated by Henry VII Tudor (a Lancaster), who had spent many years in exile during Edward IV's reign, like Daenerys Targaryen had during Robert's rule. Henry also returned with a dragon in his weapon, and later (somewhat falsely) vilified and slandered Richard III as an amoral, scheming, physically deformed and unattractive hunchback, making Richard an inspiration for Tyrion Lannister. Lastly, to cement his claim to the throne, Henry married Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward IV, his former enemy, making her a loose equivalent of Sansa Stark who is also used as a political pawn by the Lannisters.
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The inspiration for Joffrey Baratheon draws from many sadistic and unbalanced rulers, such as Roman emperor Caligula, and 15th-century English prince Edward of Lancaster. He was also inspired by Richard II, who was an inexperienced boy-king who constantly misused his powers. He became a ruthless, vengeful tyrant who caused his own downfall by making many powerful enemies.
In 2012, over one hundred sixty baby girls in the U.S. were legally named "Khaleesi", after the character on the show, although it is not the character's name (Daenerys), but a title.
With winning a total of twelve Emmys in 2015 and in 2016, the show took home more Emmys in a single year than any other show, surpassing The West Wing (1999), which had nine.
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Game of Thrones (2011) is the first television series in history to be screened in IMAX theaters.
As of 2014, this was the most watched HBO series of all time, with an average viewership of 16.1 million (season four), slightly ahead of a record that was previously held by The Sopranos (1999).
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Each season shot from July to December. Two units, the "Wolf" and the "Dragon", shot concurrently in various countries. A third unit was added in season six, the "White Walker".
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Iwan Rheon was the primary runner-up to play Jon Snow, and was later cast as Ramsay Bolton. Alfie Allen and Joe Dempsie also auditioned unsuccessfully for Jon Snow, but were later cast as Theon and Gendry respectively.
Carice van Houten (Melisandre) had previously been asked to audition for the role of Queen Cersei Lannister, but was unable to because she was filming Intruders (2011).
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Daenerys Targaryen had purple eyes in the books, but the contact lenses Emilia Clarke wore affected her performance, so they were abandoned.
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Executive Producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said in a podcast once that while making the show they worked all through the year, non-stop. They would write an outline for each season and then start writing the actual scripts while managing production at the same time. The scripts had to be all done by the time they started filming the season, and being such a huge production, they were filming for several months with several units in several countries at the same time so that while some of the actors and actresses were filming with a director on a location, other cast members were filming in a different country with another director. It was important to them that there was always someone from the writing crew at each of the filming units, to supervise. Almost immediately after finishing filming one season, they started writing the outline for the next season. At the same time, the previous season was in post-production (editing, special effects, sound mixing, et cetera) and they had to oversee all these procedures while writing, and then after all that was done, they had to deal with marketing the upcoming season. They noted several times that all they wanted to do when everything was finally done was to "get some sleep".
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Natural brunette Emilia Clarke stated that she never dyed her hair for the show. Daenerys Targaryen's impressive platinum blonde locks were achieved via an elaborate wig and make-up system that took considerable time to get into place. After season seven however, Clarke revealed via Instagram that she had dyed her hair for the final season (she still had to wear her elaborate wig).
This show used many locations to bring Westeros and Essos to life. Most of the Northern scenes were filmed in Northern Ireland. The country was the production's home base and most interior scenes were filmed in a studio in Belfast. Scenes in King's Landing were filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Scenes in Essos were also shot in Croatia. Many of the scenes in Essos and King's Landing were filmed in Malta in the first season, but the production never returned there after season one after causing irreparable damage to a valuable fossil. Morocco was used as a location for Daenerys Targaryen's sequences in Astapor and Yunkai in season three, but the country was dropped as a location after that season. Scenes beyond the Wall were filmed in various locations in Iceland. Season five added Spain as a filming location for Dorne. The production returned to Spain for season six, but it was unclear if it was for Dorne or another location (the locations scouted were different to those used in season five).
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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 his or her surname to the father's. However, the social stigma may not always be lifted even after legitimization.
In the unaired pilot, George R.R. Martin cameoed as a Pentoshi nobleman at the wedding of Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). The scene, alongside most of the pilot, was subsequently re-shot and Martin did not appear.
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According to George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" novel was a major influence behind his "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels, on which this show was based. Many other elements were drawn from ancient European history. Tywin Lannister is loosely based on King Edward I (best known for his depiction in Braveheart (1995)), a ruthless and devious leader whose intimidating presence once reportedly scared a clergyman to death. Like Tywin, Edward was also frequently frustrated by his progeny, whom he felt were lacking in political or military leadership qualities. Edward's great-great-grandson, Richard II, likely inspired Joffrey Baratheon: both were inexperienced and spiteful boy-kings, who had spent little time with their fathers and quickly became deluded by power. The Wall was based on Hadrian's Wall, a man-made fortification that was meant to protect Roman forces in England from barbarian tribes in the north. The War of the Five Kings was based on the War of the Roses, a series of conflicts between factions battling for the English throne in the fifteenth century. Martin also stated to have been inspired by historical fiction and the writings of Tad Williams in bringing back the gritty realism that he felt fantasy had lost along the way. Moreso, he wanted to avoid the many tropes of the genre and make it less predictable, by killing off popular characters, and showing that good people and formidable soldiers don't automatically make good political leaders (a sentiment most clearly reflected in Robert Baratheon).
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Author George R.R. Martin was asked if he had a resolution or ending to the seemingly endless conflict. He jokingly replied that the next book would just be a description of a cloud of dust or snow being driven by the wind across a vast graveyard full of tombstones.
Yara Greyjoy, introduced in the second book and season, was named "Asha" in the books. The name was changed for this show 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.
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Ron Donachie (Ser Rodrik Cassel) and Daniel Portman (Podrick Payne) are father and son in real-life.
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While the first two seasons roughly covered George R.R. Martin's novels "A Game of Thrones" and "A Clash of Kings" respectively, the third season covered about two-thirds of the third novel "A Storm of Swords". The fourth season covered the rest of "A Storm of Swords" and chapters from the fourth and fifth novels "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance with Dragons". The fifth season covered almost entirely "A Feast for Crows", "A Dance With Dragons", and even early events of the unreleased sixth novel "The Winds of Winter". Seasons six through eight were partially based on unpublished storylines George provided showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss that would reportedly appear in "The Winds of Winter", and the last book of the series, "A Dream of Spring", with several major changes the showrunners saw fit to make while adapting the remaining books to the television medium. However, they claimed on several occasions that the ending of the show would be almost exactly similar to George's original idea for the ending of the book series.
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In early 2016, it was announced that season seven would consist of seven episodes, and season eight, which premiered in 2019, would be the final season of the series with six episodes (although of considerable length). Writer George R.R. Martin later revealed that the showrunners originally wanted to conclude the series with three big movies following the seventh season, but since HBO wasn't in the cinema business, this became season eight. According to HBO, they would have loved to extend the series beyond its planned seventy-three episodes, but they ultimately left the decision to what the showrunners thought was best for the series. HBO later planned several spin-off shows.
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In the pilot episode, as the three boys are preparing for the King's welcome, Alfie Allen, Richard Madden, and Kit Harington tried to one-up each other in their shirtless scene by flexing and doing push-ups right before they went on-camera.
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George R.R. Martin intended to write an episode for each season, but did not write one after the fourth season because he was busy focusing on finishing the sixth book of the series, "The Winds of Winter". By the time the show concluded in 2019, the book was still not finished.
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Catelyn Stark was played in the pilot by Jennifer Ehle, but she dropped out when the series was picked up and she was unavailable for re-shoots. Michelle Fairley was cast instead.
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In the unaired pilot, Liam Burke appeared as Aerys II Targaryen, the "Mad King", but his scenes were cut from the reworked version of the episode. Eventually, a flashback scene of Aerys was included in season six, episode six, "Blood of My Blood", and the character was played by David Rintoul.
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This show has had the dubious distinction of being the most pirated television show consistently since 2012, well ahead of second and third placers The Walking Dead (2010) and The Big Bang Theory (2007). In 2017, anti-piracy firms estimated each episode was downloaded more than ninety million times in the week of its initial airing, and over fifteen million times in the U.S., almost equalling the total viewers from legal platforms.
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The role of Tommen Baratheon (Callum Wharry) was completely absent from the third season of the series and was re-cast for season four, but was played by Dean-Charles Chapman, who had appeared on the show playing Martyn Lannister in season three.
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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.
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The Northern Ireland Tourist Board conducts sightseeing tours to a lot of the filming locations.
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Ed Skrein played Daario Naharis for three episodes in season three, but subsequently left the show. Speaking about his departure, Skrein told Entertainment Weekly: "My plan was to stay with Game of Thrones for the long haul. That was always my plan. I would have loved to. It was a wonderful experience, but politics led to us parting ways." The role was re-cast with Michiel Huisman.
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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 two. 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 belonged to Jon Snow, was shown in brief glimpses.
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In 2011, Emilia Clarke almost died when she suffered two brain hemorrhages during filming, first after finishing Season 1 and again after completing Season 3. She was rushed to hospital and was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm and underwent a 3-hour operation.
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This show took its name from the first novel in the book series "A Game of Thrones", which is actually known as "A Song of Ice and Fire". George R.R. Martin's story credit acknowledges the entire series under this title, rather than the title of individual volumes.
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Tom Hollander was reportedly offered the role of "Littlefinger", and now regrets turning it down.
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The original plot left everyone so unsatisfied that HBO agreed to re-shoot most of it, bringing Timothy Van Patten to do the second episode and letting the creators re-write whatever they felt they needed to.
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Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) was often referred to as "Jorah the Andal" mainly by Essosi characters pointing Jorah's Westerosi heritage, despite the fact that House Mormont is a house from northern Westeros, meaning they are descended from the First Men, not the Andals.
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Tamzin Merchant played Daenerys Targaryen in the unaired pilot, but was replaced by Emilia Clarke for the re-shoot and the remainder of the series. While the reason for Merchant's departure was not been made public at the time, George R.R. Martin praised her performance as "wonderful" in his blog. Merchant finally revealed in 2021 that she couldn't get excited about the story and her character in it, especially the sex scenes, and praised Clarke for being able to do so.
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While most of this show was largely faithful to the books, composite characters did appear. The most prominent was the prostitute Ros (Esmé Bianco), who was a composite of several named (Alayaya, Chataya, Kyra) and unnamed characters from the book series. The plotline of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) from the books started to be merged with Jeyne Poole's in season 4, and Gendry on the show (Joe Dempsie) combines elements from the Gendry in the books with Edric Storm, who is also one of Robert Baratheon's bastards. Another composite character was the trader Spice King (Nicholas Blane) in Qarth, who appeared in season two.
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By the end of the fifth season, David Nutter directed six episodes of the show and won an Emmy Award in 2015, but was taken out of commission after season five by a major injury that required several back surgeries. He had to skip seasons six and seven, and after he was healed enough to come back to work, he was invited to direct half of the episodes in the final season. He said that being asked to direct half of the episodes felt like "when you're in the ocean and you can't swim and someone throws you a life jacket. After being out of commission for a couple of years, it was fantastic to get a chance to work with people I care so much about." By the show's end, he is the most frequent director to helm the show, having directed nine episodes.
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Maisie Williams got a tattoo on her neck that reads "No One".
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Over the course of its eight seasons, the show has filmed in ten countries, including Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Morocco, Malta, Spain, Croatia, Iceland, United States, Canada, and Scotland. There have been forty-nine locations in Northern Ireland, and one in the Republic of Ireland.
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Brian Cox revealed that he was offered a role, later revealed to have been Robert Baratheon, but turned it down, a decision he later regretted because his friend Ian McShane did eventually join the series. Cox told Vodzilla: "Stupidly, I turned it down in the early days, because they didn't pay enough money. Now they have more money. And I was silly. I was silly, it was silly, because I'm a complete addict now."
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During the title sequence, there is a "sun" in the sky with several rotating bands around it. These bands depict events from this world's history.
  • The sequence opens with a picture of a city in flames on the slopes of an erupting volcano, next to a watching dragon and a boat full of people. This represents the Doom of Valyria, a series of massive volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that destroyed the Valyrian civilization on Essos; the dragon and people represent the Targaryen family and their dragons fleeing the disaster, and invading Westeros almost a century later.
  • The second time the bands are seen, they depict Robert's Rebellion, represented by a dragon (the Mad King Aerys Targaryen) battling a stag (the Baratheons), a lion (the Lannisters) and a direwolf (the Starks).
  • The final picture shows all sorts of animals bowing to the triumphant stag, symbolizing Robert Baratheon winning the rebellion and usurping the throne.
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Stephen Dillane (Stannis) revealed on an interview given in March 2016 that even though he didn't have anything bad to say about his experience on the show, he didn't particularly enjoy it or understand most of the storylines. He described it as an overwhelming experience, and one that he ultimately undertook for the money.
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Concerning the growing disappointment of some fans in how the show deviated more and more from the books, writer George R.R. Martin repeatedly stated that books and television shows are two separate mediums, "with different strengths, different weaknesses, different requirements". He explained that there have been small changes between the books and the show since the first season, and like the butterfly effect, some of these changes led to larger changes later on: "the longer the show goes on, the bigger the butterflies become. And now we have reached the point where the beat of butterfly wings is stirring up storms. More and more, they differ, (like) two roads diverging in the dark of the woods, but all of us are still intending that at the end we will arrive at the same place." He has stated several times that the ending of the TV show and the book series will not be all that different.
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Roy Dotrice, a frequent collaborator with George R.R. Martin and narrator of the "A Song of Ice and Fire" audio books, was cast as Grand Maester Pycelle but had to withdraw from the role due to health reasons. He was replaced by Julian Glover. Dotrice would later appear in the show as Hallyne.
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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, which was founded in 1348 by the English King Edward III in the early stages of the 100 Years War with France. The arms of the Order of the Garter is a blue belt, or garter, with this same characteristic knot seen on this show. An example can also be seen in the tomb of one of the Order founders, Sir Reginald of Cobham, at Lingnfield Church in Surrey. His effigy has the garter below his left knee.
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A full scale reproduction of a sailing ship was constructed on one of series' soundstages in Banbridge, Northern Ireland. Virtually every shipboard scene in the series was shot on this set, which was redressed to depict different ships.
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Natalie Dormer revealed on The Jonathan Ross Show (2011) that she originally auditioned for another unnamed character before she was offered the role of Margaery Tyrell.
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In the novels, the title of the King of Westeros is "King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm." In the show, "the Rhoynar" is omitted from the title. The Rhoynar are a people from the river Rhoyne in Essos, who immigrated to the southern Westeros region called Dorne where they mixed with the local population. The writers believed this would cause confusion since the Dornish did not appear until later seasons, so it was left out.
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Despite the eighth and final season being extremely divisive among the fan-base, it is in fact the most Emmy Awarded final season of any show in history, winning 12 trophies including the top prize of "Outstanding Drama Series" at the 2019 ceremony.
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Broke Frasier (1993)'s record of most Emmy wins for a television series of any kind (comedy or drama) in 2016, with the show receiving its thirty-eighth award in 2016.
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This show is the most Emmy winning scripted series in history, while the only show having more wins is Saturday Night Live (1975), which is a live variety series. However, it took Saturday Night Live (1975) thirty-nine seasons to gain the title in 2013, while this show got that same amount of awards in only six seasons (at the 2016 ceremony). This show ended up having 59 Emmy wins.
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Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) got a tattoo of a direwolf as in the sigil of House Stark and the words "The Pack Survives" on her forearm.
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Gillian Anderson admitted in 2016 she turned down one character in this series. She had two little sons at the time. It was rumored that the character was Cersei Lannister.
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By the end of its run, the show was awarded a total of 60 Emmy awards, more than any other scripted series in history. 59 awards were given in the annual Emmy Awards ceremonies and another Emmy Founders Award was given to show-runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss as part of the International Emmy Awards ceremony after the show concluded. The show won the "Outstanding Drama Series" Awards 4 times (for seasons 5, 6, 7 and 8) and now holds the record (along with four other shows) for the most wins in that category in the Emmys' entire history.
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The series first premiered in 2011, which also was the 15th Anniversary of the publishing of the first "A Song of Fire and Ice" novel by George R.R. Martin.
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Maisie Williams almost didn't audition for the show because she was upset at not getting a role in Nanny McPhee Returns (2010), which she auditioned for before GoT. But her agent knew that she had what it took to play Arya Stark and pushed her to go.
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A few weeks before the premiere of the final season, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced that co-Creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss will join the ranks of Steven Spielberg, Matthew Weiner, J.J. Abrams, and other key figures by receiving the International Emmy Founders Award in the November 2019 Ceremony, an award that's being given to individuals whose creative accomplishments have contributed in some way to the quality of global television production. Specifically, the Academy stated that "David and D.B. are absolute game changers, visionary storytellers who have created, with their first foray into television, a record breaking global cultural phenomenon with an international following like no other."
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Sam Claflin auditioned for the roles of Jon Snow and Viserys Targaryen.
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By the end of its run, Game of Thrones became the most Emmy-nominated show in television history, at 161 total nominations.
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In March 2014, HBO released a ten-track mixtape called "Catch the Throne" as promotion for the show's fourth season. The tape included rap songs from artists like Common, Big Boi, Wale, Kilo Kish, and others, and each song was related to things in the show in its lyrics. Most of the songs also sampled music from the original Ramin Djawadi soundtracks of the show's first three seasons.
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Each of the Stark children adopted one of six orphaned Direwolves (similar to conventional wolves except for being much larger and powerful) which appears on the Stark banner as their sygil. They were - Grey Wind/Robb Stark, Lady/Sansa Stark, Nymeria/Arya Stark, Summer/Bran, ShaggyDog/Rickon Stark, and the runt of the litter Ghost went to the bastard Jon Snow.
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In an interview, Dutch actor Carice van Houten said she didn't bother with a body double like some actors in the series and performed all her own nude scenes because it made sense for her character Melisandre. Baring all was a part of who the Red Witch was. But Van Houten admitted, "I'm cold in summer, every time I'm shooting, if you don't see a part of me, there are hot water bottles there."
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Despite being heavily criticized by viewers on Social Media, the eighth and final season of the show was nominated for a record breaking 32 Emmy Awards in 2019. All four directors of the season, David Benioff, Dan Weiss, David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik was up for a Directing Awards on top of the Drama Series Awards, since they serve as producers. Alfie Allen, Gwendoline Christie and Sophie Turner got their first ever acting nominees for the show and Emilia Clark and Kit Harington was nominated for their first time in the leading acting categories. Among the nominees there were many returning like Maisie Williams, Lena Heady, composer Ramin Djawadi, Peter Dinklage and most importantly David and Dan, the show-runners, for writing the series finale.
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Writer George R.R. Martin stated that he was relieved when the show ended, as he had hoped to finish the last two books before the TV series would get there. However, unexpectedly, the series outpaced his writing: "I don't think [the TV series] was very good for me because the very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. I'd feel terrible because I'd be thinking: 'My God, I have to finish the book. I've only written four pages when I should have written 40'. But having the show finish is freeing, because I'm at my own pace now." Despite that, Martin took on several other writing assignments after the show's end (including his involvement in the prequel series House of the Dragon (2022)), and as of 2021, the book series remains unfinished.
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Laura Butler, who was Sophie Turner's stand in/body double, looks so much like Turner that some people thought they were twins. She revealed in an interview that some of the other actors and crew kept thinking she was Turner and once Turner's fiancé Joe Jonas even tried to kiss her.
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Oded Fehr was a strong contender for the role of Oberyn Martell.
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Several diseases and / or disorders are referred to, without mentioning their modern medical names. Hodor can understand other people's words but he himself cannot speak other than a single word, meaning he has some sort of aphasia. Tywin Lannister reveals that his son Jaime had great difficulties learning to read and write as a child, often confusing and reversing letters and words, implying that Jaime suffered from dyslexia. The Stone Men suffer from a contagious and progressive disease that dries their skin into a hard tissue, probably a form of leprosy. And the Mad King is described as a man suspecting everyone to be conspiring against him, which of course is paranoia.
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The show was nominated for the Best Drama Series category at the Critics' Choice Awards for every one of its eight seasons- ever since the TV categories at the awards were first presented. It won twice, for seasons 3 and 6.
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Daenerys Targaryen's (Emily Clarke's) three dragons are identifiable by the color of their scales, which is easier to differentiate in the early seasons when they were smaller; Drogon is mainly red, Rhaegal is mainly green, and Viserion is mainly yellow/gold. In this sense, they resemble the three dragons in the classic Atari 2600 game "Adventure"; Rhindle the red, Grundle the green, and Yorgle the yellow.
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Sam Heughan auditioned to play various characters including Renly Baratheon, Loras Tyrell, and a few different members of the Night's Watch.
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Actress Tamzin Merchant was originally cast to play Daenerys for the original GoT pilot, but she and several other actors were fired and replaced when producers decided to revamp the entire thing. She never talked about it publicly until she did an interview with Entertainment Weekly in January 2021 and revealed that she was relieved she was let go. She said the experience was an affirmation about listening to her instincts and following them, because she tried to back out of the pilot and, during the contract process, she did back out. But she was talked back into it by some persuasive people. Then she found herself naked and afraid in Morocco filming a sex scene. She said, "It was a lesson that if my guts are telling me a story isn't something I'm excited to tell, then I shouldn't try to be excited just because other people are telling me that I should be excited. I didn't have any training as an actor, I only have my instincts. And what excites me and what drives me is a compelling story and a compelling character. So for me, Game of Thrones was never that. I think it's a testament to Emilia Clarke for making that role iconic. She was obviously excited to tell that story, and she was epic and excellent. But for me, it wasn't in my heart to tell it."
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The first television series to be presented in Dolby Atmos surround sound.
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During an interview in 2014 when she was 17, Maisie Williams was asked what she thought about all the nudity on the show. She replied, "I'm grown up now and I realise we've all got a pair of boobs, so it's not that big a deal!"
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In 2018 ten principal characters from the series appeared on the UK's Royal Mail postage stamps including: Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), and Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance). Other stamps feature the Night King, Giants, Direwolves, Dragons, and the Iron Throne.
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Neil Marshall, who directed the "Blackwater" episode, said in an interview that working on a series that included so much nudity "was surreal." He said "I'd not done anything like that in my films before. But the weirdest part was when you have one of the exec producers leaning over your shoulder, going, 'You can go full frontal, you know. This is television, you can do whatever you want! And do it! I urge you to do it.' So I was like, 'Okay, well, you're the boss.' This particular exec took me to one side and said, 'Look, I represent the pervert side of the audience, okay? Everybody else is the serious drama side. I represent the perv side of the audience, and I'm saying I want full frontal nudity in this scene. So you go ahead and do it.'"
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The final episode of the series, "The Iron Throne", was watched by a record 19.3 million viewers across HBO's platforms (linear, HBO GO and HBO NOW), exceeding the previous series high of 18.4 million viewers from the previous episode, "the Bells". In addition, the episode was the most-watched broadcast on HBO ever, with 13.6 million viewers for its initial airing, beating the previous record of 13.4 million viewers for The Sopranos: For All Debts Public and Private (2002) from The Sopranos.
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The show won the Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series Award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for each one of its eight seasons. The only other win for the show at the SAG's is Peter Dinklage in the Male Actor in a Drama Series for the final season.
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Author George R.R. Martin based the Dothraki on several historic people, such as the Huns, the Mongols and Native Americans, who were all nomadic warriors, known and feared as excellent horse riders. The word 'Dothraki' roughly translates to 'riders' in their language. The Unsullied were based on several slave-soldiers from ancient history, such as the Egyptian Mamluks, the Greek Spartans, and the Ottoman Janissary troops.
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Despite winning a record breaking number of awards, The eighth and final season of the show received extremely mixed reaction from the internet with some very loud and negative reactions aimed at it. However, in 2022, knowing streaming and viewership data, HBO's head of content Casey Bloys claimed in reality things were not exactly as they seemed on the internet, and that he believes the negative reaction mainly came from social media. "It was a social media backlash," Bloys said. "I think in multiple parts of our society, we are reminding ourselves that Twitter is not real life. We knew it was going to be divisive and, of course, you want all fans to be happy, but that's never going to happen. There weren't a lot of people walking around despondent or upset. It's a take that reads well but probably doesn't fully reflect viewer feelings.". Around the same time, in the context of promoting the spin-off series House of the Dragon, Author of A Song of Ice and Fire book series George R. R. Martin also commented on the backlash and said "The f**king toxic internet and these podcasts out there saying that Season 8 left such a bad impression that people say, 'Oh, I'm never going to watch them again,'" Martin said. "I don't trust them anymore."
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Ray Stevenson and Charlie Hunnam were both approached for undisclosed roles but declined. Stevenson said that he was approached early on, but he passed on the opportunity as he was focusing on a career outside television at the time. Despite seeing many of his Rome (2005) cast mates joining the show in later seasons, he stated that he probably wouldn't, as he preferred to be in a series from the beginning. Hunnam was offered a cameo, but his busy schedule prevented him from taking it.
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In an interview on BBC Radio 4, Jonathan Pryce (High Sparrow) revealed that he had been offered a role at the beginning of the show, but turned it down: "All I did was flip through [the script] and look at the names, look on these strange names, strange dialogue and I thought 'Oh, it's not for me.'" However, he later happily accepted the part of the High Sparrow, stating that "it's a great character. He comes into the story [...] quite relevant because of the present Pope [Francis] who presents himself as a man of the people who'll get down washing their feet and stuff ... yet he is this incredibly powerful figure who has the wherewithal to dispense justice." Coincidentally, Pryce would later play the part of the future Pope Francis in The Two Popes (2019).
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Elizabeth Olsen revealed in a interview she auditioned for Daenerys Targaryen and lost out to Emilia Clarke.
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Joffrey Baratheon suffers from Conduct Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder.
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When Nathalie Emmanuelle (Missandei) was asked what it was like being nude with Jacob Anderson (Gray Worm) while filming their love scene, she said, "You're like, 'Okay, I'm getting naked.' And that was really strange for Jacob and I because we've danced around that scenario and we've become good mates and now we got to be naked around each other." She added that her fellow actors helped by giving her anecdotes about shooting their first nude scenes. "It's never a comfortable thing to do but if you trust your director and actors and the people on set, it's fine. It was treated very well and very respectfully and I feel like we had a really great day showing these two characters being completely vulnerable with each other. And it sort of helps the scene to actually feel very vulnerable and exposed. It's good to use that energy and it made it so much better."
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The title sequence sequence always focuses on certain locations according to a few established rules:
  • each sequence always shows King's Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, and wherever Daenerys Targaryen is at that moment (even if she is not in that episode)
  • there are additional animations for other locations visited in a given episode or season (though some may be omitted due to time/budget constraints)
  • sometimes the principal location of a region is used instead of an actual location (e.g. Riverrun stands in for scenes set elsewhere in the Riverlands), due to time/budget constraints.
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Tricia Helfer auditioned for the role of Queen Cersei Lannister.
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Ian McNeice played Illyrio Mopatis in the unaired pilot, but was unable to appear in the series due to scheduling conflicts. He was replaced by Roger Allam.
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Mahershala Ali auditioned unsuccessfully for a role on this show.
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The series initially followed the standard release schedule of one season per twelve months for the first six seasons, typically premiering in April between 2011 and 2016. However, the seventh season didn't premiere until July 2017 due to the increased complexity of the production (more location shooting and a longer post-production period). The logistical demands for the final season were so extreme that HBO announced in 2017 that it wouldn't air until April 2019, a wait of twenty-one months since the previous season.
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Jamie Bamber auditioned for the role of Jaime Lannister.
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Throughout the series, they use very dark lighting to avoid having to add CGI, particularly evident in the whole of season eight.
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Nathalie Emmanuel said in a podcast interview in May 2021 that she's frustrated that just because she agreed to perform nude in one episode of the Game of Thrones series, now producers and directors assume she will get naked for any role. She then pointed out that that isn't true. "What people didn't realize was that, I agreed to certain terms and specific things for that one particular project. And it didn't necessarily apply to all projects."
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Derek Halligan was cast as Alliser Thorne, but left the show before production began. He was replaced by Owen Teale.
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Rachel Hurd-Wood was considered for the role of Sansa.
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The opening sequence was originally to show a messenger raven as it flies across Westeros from Castle Black (past the Wall to Winterfell, Moat Cailin, the Kingsroad, the Eyrie and the Riverlands) to King's Landing, where it enters an empty throne room and pecks at the swords of the Iron Throne. This was eventually changed to a simple map of Westeros.
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The 'Seven Kingdoms' actually consist of nine different regions. The name predates the Targaryen invasion, when The North, the Iron Islands, the Vale, the Westerlands, the Stormlands, the Reach and Dorne made up the original seven kingdoms (some under different names). The Riverlands didn't exist then as they were ruled by the Kingdom of the Isles and the Rivers (the later Iron Islands). After the Targaryen conquest, the Riverlands were created, as well as the Crownlands, which would serve as an administrative region for the capital, King's Landing. However, these areas have never been kingdoms, so most Westerosi do not count them as such.
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Large portions of seasons 4 and 5 were adapted from the fourth and fifth books in the series, 'A Feast for Crows' and 'A Dance of Dragons'. The events of the books take place in the same time frame, with 'Feast' dealing with events in the Seven Kingdoms, whereas 'Dance' focuses on what happens at the same time beyond the Wall and in Essos. The TV series alternates between these story threads, rather than telling them in succession.
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Elena Satine screentested against Emilia Clarke for the role of Daenerys Targaryen.
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Simon Fisher-Becker was originally set to play the High Septon of the Faith of the Seven, which he confirmed in an interview, but David Verrey was cast.
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Eugene Simon, who portrayed Lancel Lannister, had originally auditioned for Joffrey Baratheon's role.
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Benjamin Gur auditioned for the part of Trystane Martell in season five.
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Also known as Game of Starbucks, due to a goof in Game of Thrones: The Last of the Starks (2019) where a Starbucks cup was visible on a table in one scene.
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Was voted by DigitalSpy.com's readers as the greatest TV Series of the 21st Century in October 2020.
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Danny Dyer revealed that he auditioned for a role.
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Karen Gillan unsuccessfully auditioned for the series.
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In the books, Lord Commander Mormont of the Night's Watch has a raven that is often around him, and can speak. Even though it usually repeats only single-syllable words from conversations that it just overheard, the animal shows signs of intelligence, as it almost always repeats the appropriate word. According to author George R.R. Martin, some were relieved that the creature was omitted from the show, as it was a controversial character.
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The top executive at the Australian broadcaster Foxtel shocked attendees at the Sydney premiere for House of the Dragon last week when he insulted Game of Thrones (2011) star Emilia Clarke. Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany called the beloved actress a "short, dumpy girl" when talking about why he didn't start watching Game of Thrones immediately. Foxtel apologized, claiming his remarks were "misunderstood."
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The title sequence is primarily inspired by maps and legends shown in fantasy novels. The mechanical elements incorporated was the idea of title designer Angus Wall, who envisioned "a mad monk in a tower somewhere, who was somehow keeping track of all this action and creating as he went along."
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Millie Bobby Brown auditioned for an unknown role.
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In 2022, George R.R. Martin seemingly expressed dissatisfaction with the show's version of Euron Greyjoy (played by Pilou Asbæk), saying "HBO's Euron Greyjoy is way, way, way, way different from mine."
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The cast has featured one Oscar winner (Jim Broadbent) and five Oscar nominees (Sir Jonathan Pryce, Ciarán Hinds, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Max von Sydow, and Richard E. Grant).
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Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey and Natalie Dormer have worked with actor Matt Smith who plays Daemon Targaryen in the prequel series 'House of the Dragon'.
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Frank Herbert's best-selling sci-fi fantasy novel "Dune" has been considered to be pre Game of Thrones and has been regarded by critics as "Game of Thrones in Space". Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo) plays Duncan Idaho in Dune (2021).
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Cast members have appeared in Star Wars. Doctor Who and X-Men.
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Jason Momoa and Natalia Tena both appeared at Armageddon Expo in Wellington, New Zealand.
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Harry Lloyd had played Will Scarlett in the BBC series Robin Hood (2006) based on the Robin Hood myth. Game of Thrones is inspired by myths and histories.
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When the series aired on SOHO in New Zealand, all episodes were given the Restricted 18 rating for graphic violence, profanity, sex and nudity.
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Thomas Sangster. Iain Glen. James Cosmo. Alexander Siddig. Owen Teale. Nonso Anozie and Robert Pugh starred in The Last Legion (2007).
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Maisie Williams gave insight in a video with GQ Magazine, discussing the Queen's role in the series saying "That's true, it didn't seem like she'd (The Queen) watched it. Not that I was mad about it, she's got other things to do. I bet she watched The Crown, though, so whatever. But she was really lovely. She remarked on the throne, and she said, "Oh, that doesn't look very comfy", and I thought, "Yeah, it doesn't." But I kept forgetting all of the rules because at the beginning you say, "Your Majesty" and then afterwards you say, "Ma'am", like "jam" or "ham", but not like "palm", I think".
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

George R.R. Martin stated that the infamous "Red Wedding" was the hardest chapter for him to write in "A Storm of Swords". He was so emotionally attached to the characters that he wrote the rest of the book first, then that chapter last. Executive Producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, upon reading it, declared it was one of the major reasons they decided to option the books for a television series. Their dramatization differs from the book in a few details, most notably that Robb's wife is not present at the wedding, nor is she killed. Whether she is pregnant is unknown.
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George R.R. Martin's wife once said that she will leave him if he kills off Arya or Sansa.
After filming his death scene, Sean Bean played football with his replica head.
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Series author George R.R. Martin reported on his blog that after the filming of the episode in which Sansa's direwolf Lady is executed, the dog that played Lady, a Northern Inuit named Zunni, was adopted by Sophie Turner (Sansa).
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The 6'3" Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) has stated that the most gruelling scene she ever had to play in the series was in season four, episode ten, "The Children", when she fought sword-to-sword with 6'6" Rory McCann (Sandor "The Hound" Clegane). She spent two months training, three to four days a week, with swordmaster C.C. Smiff just to build up the required stamina for her fight scene.
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Executive Producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss stated when the show began they set a rule of "no prophecies, dreams, or flashbacks". All three rules were eventually broken, with the inclusion of Bran's dreams of the three-eyed raven, prophetic visions in the House of the Undying experienced by Daenerys, and a flashback scene to Cersei's childhood.
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Grand Maester Pycelle's elderly and feeble demeanor is an act, briefly alluded to in a scene from season one's finale Game of Thrones: Fire and Blood (2011) showing Pycelle doing a series of exercises and stretches. A deleted scene between Pycelle and Tywin Lannister shot for the third season (included on the DVD/Blu-ray set) shows Tywin seeing through Pycelle's charade, after which he adopts his normal posture and speaking cadence, and explains that he maintains this facade in order to appear harmless. In the series, the only time Pycelle speaks in his regular cadence is to Tyrion in Game of Thrones: Valar Morghulis (2012).
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Daenerys' dragons are named Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion. Each one is named after someone she has lost in her life: Drogon, the largest dragon with black and red scales, was named after her husband Khal Drogo; Rhaegal, who has green and bronze scales, was named after Daenerys' brother Rhaegar Targaryen, who was killed by Robert Baratheon during Robert's Rebellion; Viserion, the cream and gold scaled dragon, was named after Daenerys' abusive brother Viserys. She claimed that she named her dragon this because "Viserys was cruel and weak and frightened, yet he was my brother still. My dragon will do what he could not."
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Kit Harington revealed that he used Jon Snow's fate to avoid a speeding ticket. The officer asked him to either reach to the Police station to be booked or to tell him whether Jon will again be alive in the next episode. Kit told him the secret.
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George R.R. Martin has said that some fans have correctly guessed the ending of the series. One of the most popular fan theories was that Jon Snow is in fact a Targaryen, with his true father being Rhaegar Targaryen and true mother being Ned Stark's sister Lyanna. This was confirmed in the season six finale. It was then debated whether this would make him an heir to the Iron Throne, as his presumed father was married to another woman (Elia Martell) and he would still be a bastard; however, because the Targaryens were known to practice bigamy, Lyanna and Rhaegar may have been married, making him a legitimate heir. The seventh season finale confirmed that Rhaegar had annulled his previous marriage, and legally married Lyanna, making Jon (or Aegon Targaryan as is his real name) a legitimate son.
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On this show, King Renly Baratheon has his own Kingsguard and inducts Brienne of Tarth into the order. In the novels, they are known as the Rainbow Guard, but HBO elected to omit the name as it could be interpreted as a jab at Renly's homosexuality, which is only subtly referenced in the novels, but made explicit in the series.
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In every season except the seventh, at least one monarch or claimant to a throne dies. In season one they are Robert Baratheon (king on the Iron Throne), Viserys Targaryen (claimant to the Iron Throne), and Khal Drogo (a khal is a chieftain similar in position to a king); in season two, Renly Baratheon (claimant to the Iron Throne) and Xaro Xhoan Daxos (King of Qarth); in season three, Robb Stark (King in the North); in season four, Joffrey Baratheon (king on the Iron Throne); in season five, Mance Rayder (King Beyond the Wall) and Stannis Baratheon (claimant to the Iron Throne); in season six, Balon Greyjoy (King of the Iron Islands), Cleon (King of Astapor, an unseen character) and Tommen Baratheon (king on the Iron Throne); and in season eight, the Night King (king of the White Walkers), Euron Greyjoy (King of the Iron Islands, possibly renounced), Cersei Lannister (queen on the Iron Throne), and Daenerys Targaryen (queen on the Iron Throne, though uncrowned). The seventh season is unique as no monarchs die, though two kings effectively surrender their sovereign status: Jon Snow (King in the North) pledges fealty to Daenerys, a claimant to the Iron Throne; and Euron Greyjoy (King of the Iron Islands) pledges fealty to Cersei, the queen on the Iron Throne. The eighth season also ends with Yara Greyjoy (Queen of the Iron Islands) pledging fealty to Bran Stark, the king of the Six Kingdoms.
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As mentioned on the show, the ominous song "The Rains of Castmere" was originally composed to commemorate the brutal decimation of House Reyne by Tywin Lannister. The books add that the song was so effective in reminding people of the wrath of the Lannisters, that all Tywin had to do was send a minstrel playing the song to seditious bannermen to make them cooperative again. The song finally became so widespread by Lannister soldiers that it is considered the unofficial Lannister theme song. Ironically, the song was played throughout each episode of the fourth season (save for the ninth episode) to foreshadow the deaths of Tywin and Joffrey.
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The first five seasons were largely based on the published novels, though beginning late in season five, the series unexpectedly began to surpass the contents of the books. Beginning with season six, the show started to include a large amount of original content, based on, as author George R.R. Martin put it, the "major beats" of the two future novels that he shared with the showrunners during "several days of story conference". The showrunners stated there were "three 'holy shit!' moments" revealed by Martin: Shireen Baratheon would be sacrificed by her father, and the meaning of Hodor's name and its correlation to his eventual death; and an unspecified third in the final episodes, which is heavily implied to be Daenerys becoming the "mad queen" and destroying King's Landing. Martin responded "yes and no" to fan inquiries about whether the show would spoil the final two novels, and the producers stated, "So much of what we're doing diverges from the books at this point . . . there are certain key elements that will be the same". Several plot points from the series have been confirmed to be intended for future novels: Martin stated that Tyrion and Daenerys will "intersect", Alan Taylor stated that Martin told him Jon and Daenerys would meet and ally against the Others (White Walkers), and Isaac Hempstead Wright stated that Martin plans to end the series with Bran Stark as king. Martin also confirmed that Danaerys' death, Jon returning to the Wall and the North seceding from the rest of Westeros would all be addressed in the ending to his novels.
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In the novel, Robb Stark's wife is named Jeyne Westerling. House Westerling is a staunch supporter of House Lannister and takes part in the sinister scheme to bring the Starks down. They secretly orchestrate the entire affair between Robb and Jeyne in order to break his marriage pact with the Freys. In the show, Robb's wife is called Talisa Maegyr, and her backstory is also changed considerably. In addition to this, she dies while carrying Robb's child along with Robb and Catelyn at the Red Wedding. In the novel, Jeyne does not attend the wedding, she is not pregnant, and discovers the fate of her husband while residing in Riverrun. The reason for the name change was that the writers made so many significant changes to the character in the show, that author George R.R. Martin suggested to make her a different character altogether. He came up with the name "Talisa", and the surname "Maegyr" was chosen because in the books, it was the name of one of the ruling families in Volantis (where Talisa is from).
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Executive Producer David Benioff confirmed in the season six "Inside Episode 5" video that the way Hodor came about the name "Hodor" was George R.R. Martin's idea.
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The Night's Watch is loosely based on several militant Catholic organizations from the Middle Ages, such as the Knights Hospitallers and the Knights Templars. Both groups defended the faith and the Holy Land, its members usually joined for life after abandoning all their wealth and titles, and taking vows of poverty and chastity. Jon Snow's murder in Game of Thrones: Mother's Mercy (2015), in which he is stabbed by Alliser Thorne, Bowen Marsh, Othell Yarwyck, Olly and his other Watch brothers, was also strongly influenced by history, i.e. the assassination of Roman Emperor Julius Caesar who was stabbed to death by Roman Senators led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus on March 15, 44 B.C. Especially the fact that Caesar's trusted friend Brutus was one of the killers is paralleled by John's protegee Olly delivering the final blow.
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In the novels, there are two separate subplots: in the North, Ramsay Bolton is arranged to marry Sansa Stark's best friend Jeyne Pool, who is passed off as "Arya Stark" to solidify the Boltons' hold on the North; the Boltons are aware that she isn't Arya, but they play along with the ruse anyway, since Jeyne grew up at Winterfell and most people don't know what Arya looks like. In the Vale, Littlefinger intends to wed Sansa to Harrold Harding, who will become Lord of the Vale after the sickly Robert Arryn (Robin on the show) dies; Littlefinger hopes that the Vale will be able to take the North back from the Boltons. On the show, these two storylines were merged together from season 2, because the Vale plot was felt to be less relevant, and the writers wanted to keep Sansa involved in the events in the North. Since Jeyne does not have a major role on the show, Sansa became the most suitable marriage choice for Ramsay.
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According to Sound Designer Paula Fairfield, Daenerys' dragon Drogon is designed to sound similar to her late husband Khal Drogo, of whom the sound team considers Drogon to be a metaphorical reincarnation.
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Contains spoilers for the novel "A Storm of Swords" and "Winds of Winter": In the novels, after the Red Wedding where Robb and Catelyn Stark are murdered, Catelyn's corpse is found by Beric Dondarrion who trades his life for hers, and the newly resurrected Catelyn, using the nom de guerre "Lady Stoneheart", takes control of the Brotherhood without Banners to hunt down and execute those who betrayed her family. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss decided to omit this storyline from the series, hinting that they didn't want to rely on resurrections too much (as Jon Snow's return from death was already planned) and that author George R.R. Martin's ideas for Lady Stoneheart in his upcoming books simply clashed too much with their long-term plans for the show. They also said that "Catelyn's last moment was so fantastic and Michelle [Fairley] is such a great actress, to bring her back as a zombie who doesn't speak felt like diminishing returns". Martin stated in a 2017 Time Magazine interview that he disagreed with their decision, calling it "the first major diversion of the show from the books and, you know, I argued against that, and David and Dan made that decision."
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The names of Daenerys's dragons foreshadows their roles in the series. Viserion was named for her cruel brother Viserys, who was openly antagonistic to her and only used her for his own purposes. Viserion was killed by the Night King and was resurrected a Wight, thereby becoming her adversary. Rhaegal was named for her older brother Rhaegar, who was known to be kind and honorable, and was beloved throughout Westeros. After the death of Rhaegal, all the kindness that seemed to be left in Daenerys seems to be gone. Finally, Drogon was named for her husband Khal Drogo, who vowed to conquer and destroy Westeros and ravage its people in Game of Thrones: You Win or You Die (2011); in the end, Daenerys uses Drogon to destroy King's Landing and massacre its population.
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Maester Aemon is the first prominent character on the show to die of natural causes. Hoster Tully (Catelyn's father and Lord of Riverrun) also died of natural causes, but only appears on-screen after his death at his funeral. Old Nan also died of natural causes, according to the producers, after the death of Margaret John, who portrayed her, but the death was never seen or mentioned on-screen.
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Sean Blowers (Lord Wyman Manderly) was the first Northern Lord to proclaim Robb Stark (Richard Madden) King of the North, and call Jon Snown (Kit Harrington) King of the North is the last character to say a line in the series. After Sansa is crowned Queen, he is the first of the Northern Lords to proclaim "Queen in the North!", with all joining in unison. The last words spoken in the series.
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In the novels Tyrion Peter Dinklage has his nose cut off during the Battle of Blackwater Bay, depicted in Game of Thrones: Blackwater (2012). The show changes his injury to a scar which could easily be applied with makeup. Dinklage remarked on the change, "It would cost a lot of money, because they'd have to put a little green sock on my nose. Every scene I was in they'd have to [digitally paint] over my face in every frame and that's costly and time consuming."
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Former U.S. President Barack Obama personally asked the makers about Jon Snow's fate following the season five finale, and also requested to see season six before anyone else, because he was such a fan of the show.
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In Game of Thrones: Second Sons (2013), Melisandre is shown performing a ritual with leeches to cause the deaths of Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon and Balon Greyjoy, which all came to pass in later episodes. George R.R. Martin has stated that a theme of his books is that magic should not be trusted. In the retrospective book "Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon" Martin stated, "You're supposed to debate that. Melisandre wanted everyone to think that the spell she did with the leeches killed the three kings, but there is another explanation: Her ability to see the future through the flames showed her that the kings were going to die because of the machinations of other characters. Seeing their deaths were coming, she just staged this demonstration to take credit for their deaths".
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Although not shown on the show, where Ser Arthur Dayne used two swords, the true sword that Ser Arthur wielded was a sword named "Dawn", forged from a fallen meteoroid, just as strong as Valyrian steel. Unlike the other Valyrian swords of Westeros, like Longclaw (Mormont) and Ice (Stark), Dawn wasn't passed from Lord to Lord of House Dayne. It was bestowed upon a knight of House Dayne deemed worthy of using it. The wielder of Dawn was given the title "Sword of the Morning".
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Excluding the title sequence, the Fire and Ice theme was heard only twice in the series' run: both pertain to Jon Snow as he leads the Night's Watch defense against the Wildlings; and the other is when he is named King in the North by the Northerners.
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In the first seven seasons, the opening titles have an intricate astrolabe decorated with murals meant to represent the history of Westeros and Essos that predates the show: the Doom of Valyria (a volcanic eruption which seemingly ended the age of dragons), Robert's Rebellion (the uprising of the great houses against the Mad King, Aerys Targaryens), and the Rise of House Baratheon as the rulers of Westeros, the point in history in which the show starts.

In the eighth season, the opening titles went through a major redesign: the astrolabe shows murals depicting three crucial events that took place during the run of the show and led to its current moment in history: (in reversed order) the breach of the Wall, the Red Wedding, and the birth of Daenerys' dragons.
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Joe Dempsie, who plays Gendry, said in an interview that he felt awkward at first filming his sex scene with Maisie Williams (Arya) because he'd known her since she was 11 and she ended up topless in front of him. On top of that, he was almost ten years older than her when they filmed it. He admitted the experience was "obviously slightly strange" for him. At the same time, he said he didn't want to be patronizing toward Maisie, who was now a grown woman, so they just "had a lot of fun with it." Williams was told by the show creators that she could decide how much or how little she would show during the scene. When the time came, Williams committed to it by going topless and partially pulling her pants down. While she ended up revealing half her butt to the crew and the world audience, no one could see her breasts except Dempsie. He joked that he tried to look into her eyes at that point but it was very difficult considering how much she had obviously "grown" since he first met her. Suddenly she was laying on top of him kissing him and he just went with it.
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Throughout the series, Arya's death list has included Joffrey Baratheon, Cersei Lannister, Tywin Lannister, Ilyn Payne, Meryn Trant, Walder Frey, Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane, Sandor "The Hound" Clegane, Polliver, Rorge, Melisandre, Beric Dondarrion, and Thoros of Myr. By the fifth season in Game of Thrones: The House of Black and White (2015) the list had narrowed to four people (Meryn Trant, Cersei, Walder Frey, and Gregor Clegane). The only names on the list that Arya personally kills are Meryn Trant, Walder Frey, Rorge, and Polliver. By the series' end, Ilyn Payne is the only person who appeared on the list who may still be alive; the character was retired when actor Wilko Johnson had to pull out due to health reasons.
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Originally in Arya and Gendry's love scene, Maisie Williams bare breasts were seen. However, the producers decided to cut it as they felt Maisie Williams's nude scene crossed the line and in the broadcast version, only Maisie Williams's bare upper chest, side boobs and bare buttocks are seen.
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Nero, the Roman Emperor, was considered to be a major influence behind Aerys Targaryen II ("The Mad King"), who threatened to burn King's Landing down to the ground with hidden wildfire and murder the capital's five million inhabitants.
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It is speculated that Daenerys Targaryen is based on the ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra, given the many similarities: Daenerys Targaryen was born into the royal family of Targaryen which ruled Westeros, as Cleopatra was born into the Ptolemaic dynasty that ruled Egypt. Brother-sister marriages were very common in both the Targaryen and Ptolemaic dynasty, and the former's founder, Aegon, married two of his sisters. Daenerys' brother Viserys was killed by her lover Khal Drogo, as Cleopatra's brother was defeated by her lover, Julius Caesar. Like Cleopatra, Daenerys spoke multiple languages, and grew up in exile. In her late teens or early 20s, Daenerys raised an army in exile, lived in a pyramid and worked with foreign leaders in her attempt to reconquer Westeros. Daenerys participated in several battles, and seduced several powerful men to further her political ambitions. Other inspirations include Joan of Arc, who also famously burned on a pyre (although to her death, unlike Daenerys); Alexander the Great, who also amassed many foreign people into his army; and Henry VII Tudor, who was exiled to France but marched back with a grand army, sporting a dragon in his sigil.
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In the source novels, Ramsay marries Jeyne Pool, believing she's Arya Stark. He constantly tortures his wife, and even forces her to have sex with his dogs. Jeyne was Sansa's best friend, and that's why Sansa feeds Ramsay to his own dogs in the end.
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In the first episode, "Winter is Coming", Daenerys steps into a steaming hot bath and does not wince or scorch from the heat. "Winter is Coming" was the first hint in the series that she was fireproof. The other being season one, episode ten, "Fire and Blood".
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In the novels, the Iron Throne is a 40-feet, immovable, asymmetrical behemoth that is made from an actual 1000 swords welded together; according to author George R.R. Martin, the Great Hall around it is as big as Vatican City's St. Peter's Basilica. The seat is 20 feet above the ground, and can only be accessed by a flight of stairs, so that the king or queen is addressing people down below from 40 feet away. Martin admitted that this was too impractical and less dramatic for the show, so they downsized it to a much smaller throne, made from 200 swords at most, and the person sitting on it almost at eye level with the audience. Throughout the series, the only characters that can be seen sitting on it are Eddard Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, Cersei Lannister, Tywin Lannister, Tommen Baratheon, Jaime Lannister, and Aerys II Targaryen ("The Mad King"). The last two are only shown seated on it in flashbacks during Bran's visions.
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In the flashback scene at the beginning of Series 5, Maggy the Frog tells young Cersei Lannister that she will marry a king, be a queen for a while, and that she will have three children who will all die before her. The series omits a fourth prophecy that was only in the books: she will be choked by the hands of her 'valonqar' (high Valyrian for 'little brother'). Cersei believes it will be Tyrion Lannister and yet, fans speculated that Jaime Lannister (who is also younger) would do the deed, and that it would be his redemption. However, in the final season, neither Tyrion nor Jaime kills Cersei, and both Cersei and Jaimie are killed in a rockfall when Daenerys Targaryen attacks King's Landing. While some claim that Maggy the Frog's prediction was therefore false (even though it wasn't even in the series), others claim that it technically came true, as Jaime holds down Cersei in embrace in the cellar, and thereby convinces her not to try and escape her death.
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Dominic West and Perdita Weeks were offered parts but declined. West politely passed as he wanted to spend more time with his children. His role had been Mance Rayder (later played by Ciarán Hinds). Weeks was cast as Roslin Frey, Edmure Tully's wife, but passed on the opportunity to star in 'The Heretics', a series that was later canceled. Unfortunately, by then, Alexandra Dowling had already been cast (although she only appeared in one episode).
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The final two seasons of the series, which focus on Daenerys Targaryen's war for Westeros against Cersei Lannister, loosely resembles the culmination of the War of the Roses fought in England in the fifteenth century. Daenerys crosses the Narrow Sea to take back the Iron Throne with an army of Unsullied and Dothraki, as well as Tyrell, Martell, and Ironborn allies, similar to Henry Tudor's conquest of England in 1485, who, after being exiled to France for twenty years by Edward IV, crossed the narrow English Channel with a French and Scottish army bolstered with Welsh and English defectors to take back the English throne from Edward's brother, King Richard III. Henry's banner also sported a dragon. Cersei's ascension to the Iron Throne following the suicide of her son Tommen, whom she had acted as regent for, bears several similarities to the ascension of Richard III who claimed the English throne after the mysterious disappearance of his nephew, the 12-year-old King Edward V, whom Richard had been acting as regent for. Henry Tudor succeeded in deposing Richard, who died in battle, similar to Cersei who died during Daenerys' assault on the Red Keep.
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It's theorized that the reason why Ygritte said to Jon Snow "You know nothing" was because it was her way of calling him a idiot. In the series, Jon Snow makes a lot of bad, poor and dumb decisions such as ignoring Sansa Stark's advice to take back Winterfell. Trying to stop Daenerys Targaryen from using her dragon to help the army. Bringing the Wildlings south of the wall. Revealing to Daenerys Targaryen his true identity etc. Kit Harrington admitted in a interview that he found "You know nothing, Jon Snow." confusing.
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Lena Headey revealed that she shot a scene of Cersei suffering a miscarriage for the final season, but it was ultimately cut.
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Although it is mentioned many times, and is a plot point in the animosity between the Lanisters and Tyrion that Tyrion was the reason their mother was dead (giving birth to him) Peter Dinklage is actually older (born June 11, 1969) than both Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (born July 27, 1970) and Lena Headey (born Oct 3, 1973).
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Bran Stark bears some similarities with Paul Atreides, the main protagonist of the sci-fi fantasy novel Dune (2021) by Frank Herbert. Bran Stark's father Lord Ned Stark is killed at the order of King Joffrey Baratheon. After Ned's death, Bran flees from King's Landing with Osha, Hodor and Summer when Winterfell is taken over by Theon Greyjoy. Bran has the power of "greensight", the ability to see visions of the past, present and future, and after Queen Cersei Lannister is killed and Daenerys Targaryen is murdered by Jon Snow, Bran Stark becomes king of the Seven Kingdoms. Bran's status as the Three-Eyed Raven, who has the memories of all his forebears, also resembles the Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserit order, who also receives all memories of her predecessors, and becomes a completely different persona as a result.
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