The HBO hit series Game of Thrones is currently running on its 5th season. The series is an adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s unfinished book series A Song Of Ice and Fire which he began writing in 1991. When the show premiered, who could have expected all the swords, beheadings, violence, sex, incest and mystical creatures? Each episode of the show has given fans exactly what they want: a show that is loyal to the book but isn’t afraid to make some changes. The series has built up an incredible cast over the last 4 and a half seasons and fans are putting pressure on Martin to finish the 6th and latest book, titled The Winds Of Winter. He is determined to release the 6th book before the 6th season begins next spring.
Thanks to its popularity, there have been conventions, cosplayers and merchandise sold all over the world. You can now buy GoT bobbleheads, graphic novels, beer, card games and video games. In the beginning, viewers might have thought of GoT as influenced by Lord Of The Rings, but they were very wrong. The show is totally different from Peter Jackson’s LOTR.
Just like any other successful enterprise, there are some fun facts both casual and diehard fans ought to know. Some of these you probably know, but these tidbits will surely interest fanboys and fangirls:
Game of Thrones is one of the most expensive TV shows to ever be produced. One episode costs an average of $6 million to make; that’s 3 times more than the average episode cost of The Big Bang Theory. Season 2’s episode “Blackwater” cost a whopping $8 million to make, which makes sense when you see the CGI and sets involved. Wow.
2. DJ Hodor
Kristian Nairn, who plays Hodor in the series, was actually a full time DJ before landing the role of the silent and lovable giant. The Irish actor stands at 6’10” and is the tallest cast member on GoT. Off season, Kristian still DJs in his home, Belfast. Kristian is also talkative on the set as compared to his character. According to fellow cast member Isaac Hempstead-Wright (aka Bran), “Kristian has a dry, witty sense of humour which is hysterical”.
Oona Chaplin, who plays Talisa of Volantis, is the granddaughter of the great Charlie Chaplin. Acting is certainly in her blood. Other cast members also have famous relatives; Harry Lloyd, who plays Viserys Targaryen, is the great-great-great grandson of Charles Dickens. Alfie Allen, who plays Theon Greyjoy, is the brother of British singer Lily Allen.
4. Adopted Direwolf
Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, adopted her on-screen direwolf “Lady” after the pet was sacrificed to appease the Queen and her son at the end of season 1. Sophie said that she always wanted to have a pet dog when she was young but her parents wouldn’t allow it. She renamed the dog Zunni.
GoT is filmed across 3 continents and 6 countries. The producers, cast and crew have travelled through the US, Malta, Morocco, Croatia, Iceland and Northern Ireland for shooting. In most cases, locations overlap to meet the deadlines.
6. Dothraki Language
Jason Momoa, who played the great Kahl Drogo, explains that the Dothraki language that was developed for the show sounded like a mix of Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars and Fozzie Bear from Sesame Street. You can also learn the Dothraki language! There are tonnes of online resources as well as language books to learn Dothraki and Valyrian.
7. Gummy Heart
The “horse heart” Daenerys had to eat in a Dothraki ritual was actually a gummy bear kind of food. Looks very real!
8. Aemon Targaryen Is Truly Blind
Peter Vaughan, who plays Maester Aemon Targaryen, is partially blind in real life. He states that he will work as long as he’s fit and healthy to continue working. He’s 92 now and still enjoys acting.
Direwolves are a real, extinct breed of wolves. They were 25% larger and heavier than normal grey wolves. Sansa’s direwolf in the series is actually an Inuit dog. Eventually Lady was so well behaved that she played all other direwolves on the series. Some of it is CGI of course, but in most scenes, Lady does the acting.
10. Lemon Cakes
Everyone knows Sansa Stark’s favourite dessert is lemon cake! Thus fans have been sending Sophie Turner lemon cakes. However, Sophie started to hate lemon cakes as she was receiving so many almost every day. She stated, “I can’t hate another cake more than lemon cakes”.
11. Joffrey’s Many Talents
Jack Gleeson’s character is 13 years old in the books, but in real life he’s actually 23 years old. Gleeson also played a kid in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and he is the voice of Ferb in Disney’s popular cartoon Phineas and Ferb. George R.R. Martin congratulated him for playing the character so well. He said “Congratulations on your marvellous performance! Everybody hates you now”.
12. Emilia Clark Disappearance
Emilia Clarke got stuck in a toilet stall on set due to fake blood that got a bit too sticky for comfort. Emilia also does not dye her hair blonde, but wears a wig which costs $7000 to make.
13. Khaleesi Is Thy Name
Because of the show’s popularity 150 babies were named Khaleesi in 2012, according to the United Social Security Administration records. Khaleesi means “queen” in the fictional language of Dothraki.
14. Just In Case I Die
George R.R. Martin has told the producers of the show how the story will end just in case he dies before finishing the remaining books. He fears that he might die before finishing the task ahead of him, so he made an important decision to reveal the ending plot to a few select people. The two creators of the show, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, have a rough idea of how it will end in case the TV show catches up with the book.
15. The George W. Bush Severed Head
There’s a scene in season 1, episode 10 where Joffrey forces Sansa to look at her father’s severed head. When Joffrey points to her septa’s severed head, if you look closely, another prop head resembles ex US president George W. Bush. HBO denies this, however, the producers cut the special feature that involved the prop head and apologised for any resemblance.
16. Peter’s Veggies
Peter Dinklage is vegetarian. All the “meat” he eats on-screen is actually veggie meat. Peter is actually the only actor George R.R. Martin, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff considered for the role of Tyrion Lannister and it’s obvious he does a great job.
17. Pirating Off the Charts
Game of Thrones is the most pirated and downloaded TV show. According to BitTorent, the 2013 season finale was downloaded 5.9 million times. The good news is, HBO doesn’t mind it too much. According the HBO CEO Richard Plepler, it’s a good marketing vehicle for the next generation of fans and viewers.
There is a GoT burlesque show in California and Vancouver. The burlesque show is called “Live, Dirty and Dangerous”.
George R.R. Martin is a big fan of Tolkein’s LOTR, but he states it is missing aspects of worship and ritual which are part of everyday life in one way or another. The Tolkien universe does has its own form of religion and spirituality in The Silmarillion. Although Martin does not practice religion, he said that he finds spirituality and religion fascinating and he believes in the afterlife. The new season of GoT in particular is much heavier with religious themes, adding another interesting concept to the series.
Have you been watching season 5? We can’t wait for some new books and the rest of this season!
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