One of the most popular TV shows in the history of television, Game of Thrones has kept us glued to our screens for seven seasons now. The medieval fantasy drama has everything you could possibly wish for: swords, magic, epic battles, dragons, betrayals, violence, gore, nudity, games, thrones… Did I mention the dragons? Because they are awesome! The list of reasons why this is one of the most epic series ever to be produced is endless.
Game of Thrones has appealed to an incredibly large audience. It is so hugely popular and so beloved, that it is hardly a surprise that people want to know more about it. So let’s find out a few facts, compiled by Auntyacid, about the goings-on behind the scenes of this show.
1. The pilot
The original pilot was horrible. In fact, it failed to relay certain crucial plot points which meant that it had to be reshot. In an interview for Variety, David Benioff, the show’s co-creator, said, “We got everything wrong on a very basic level with the writing of it. One of the biggest problems with the pilot was that none of the friends who watched the pilot “realized that Jaime and Cersei were brother and sister, which is a major, major plot point that we had somehow failed to establish.”
2. The cast
Michelle Fairley and Emilia Clarke weren’t the original actresses chosen to portray Catelyn Stark and Daenerys. In the original pilot, these characters were played by Jennifer Ehle and Tamzin Merchant.
3. Close, but no cigar
Several well-known actors almost starred on GoT. Gillian Anderson and Dominic West were approached with roles which they turned down. Sam Claflin, who played Finnick in The Hunger Games, auditioned for Jon Snow and Viserys Targaryen. And Sam Heughan, the star of the Outlander series, auditioned seven times for different roles, including Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell.
4. The prank
David Benioff called Peter Dinklage after the pilot had been picked up. But instead of the truth, he told him that the show got cancelled. Benioff put Dinklage out of his misery six hours later.
5. The direwolves
Sophie Turner bonded with the dog that played Lady, Sansa’s direwolf, and ended up adopting her.
“Growing up I always wanted a dog, but my parents never wanted one. We kind of fell in love with my character’s direwolf, Lady, on set. We knew Lady died and they wanted to re-home her. My mum persuaded them to let us adopt her,” Turner said.
Dothraki is a real language and you can learn it. There is a language course, released by Living Language, that you can take if you want to speak like Khal Drogo.
7. Replacing the actors
There are a few characters who have been portrayed by different actors in different seasons. One of them is Daario Naharis. He was played by Ed Skrein in Season 3, and in the next three seasons he was replaced by Michiel Huisman.
8. Violet eyes
The most distinguishing traits of the Targaryen family in the books are the silver hair and the violet eyes. Originally, Emilia Clarke (Daenerys) and Harry Lloyd (Viserys) were supposed to wear violet contact lenses. However, this idea was scrapped, because the lenses made it more difficult for the actors to portray emotion.
9. Dead or alive?
A lot of the characters who have died on the show are still alive in the books. Some of them are Shireen and Stannis Baratheon, Barristan Selmy, Myrcella Baratheon, and Mance Rayder!
10. The heart
Eating the heart was very unpleasant for Emilia Clarke. It was actually a giant gummy candy that tasted like bleach! Ew!
11. Monty Python
Part of the pilot for GoT was filmed at one of the castles that were used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The show gives a subtle nod to the brilliant comedy in Season 4 episode “Breaker of Chains,” when a Meereenese warrior shouts at Daenerys, saying things like “Your mother was a hamster,” “Go and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person,” and “I blow my nose at you” in Low-Valyrian.
12. What’s in a name?
Game of Thrones‘ names have become a popular choice for babies. In 2014, “Khaleesi” was the United States’s 755th most popular baby name for girls. Once the show started airing in the UK, names like Khaleesi, Arya, Tyrion, Brienne, Sansa, Bran, Sandor, and Theon became more popular in England.
13. The age difference
The show has changed all the ages of the Stark children. The reason for this was not only to make them fit with the actors’ appearance, but also to cause less outrage, because in the books they are all very young children: Bran was seven, Arya was nine, Sansa was eleven, and Rickon was three. Robb Stark and Jon Snow would have been only 15 and 14 years old.
14. Guess who?
George Martin made the show creators, Weiss and Benioff, guess who Jon Snow’s real mother was before allowing them to create the show.
Benioff said, “Basically, it was like: ‘Guess. I want your guess to be intelligent and I want it to be based on the facts of the world.’”
Weiss added, “We had already discussed it. We’d had like a two-hour conversation about it. It was pretty well-trammeled territory for us.”
15. More than one role
A few actors have performed in different roles along the course of the show. Ian Whyte played four characters. The British actor and stuntman played a White Walker in the first two seasons; Gregore Clegane; in Season 3 he was an unnamed giant; and in Season 5 he played the Wildling giant Wun Wun.
16. Another Snow
Jon Snow was almost played by Iwan Rheon, the actor who ended up as Ramsay Bolton.
17. Pirates ahoy!
Game of Thrones has been the most illegally downloaded show in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Four years in a row!
18. Rap battle
HBO released an official Game of Thrones rap album called “Catch the Throne” in 2014. It was free via SoundCloud. HBO did the same again in 2015.
19. Kicking it
Sean Bean used the model of his decapitated head to play football.
20. The end
George Martin may be a long way from finishing the books, but the show runners already know the ending. Martin shared the “broad strokes” of the epic story’s conclusion with Weiss and Benioff.
In an interview for Vanity Fair, Benioff said, “Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be.
“If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character.”