Game of Thrones fans proudly post their favorite cast members’ family banners each week in preparation for the conclusion of the beloved series. Despite the series just ending, GOT Mania is at its absolute peak.
As anticipation mounts for spin-off series and prequels, people are fanning out come up with conspiracy theories, compare on-screen interpretations to the book, and analyze episodes scene by scene, frame by frame. In efforts to further promote the end of an HBO dynasty, cast members are getting more vocal about giving viewers a behind the scenes look at what was going on in Westeros, beyond the wall, and off the make-up chair.
For those who love GOT and want a little more to tide them over until whatever comes next, we’re offering up behind the scenes secrets, including some that go all the way back to season one.
For the super fans, check out how many tidbits are revealed to further increase the breadth of Game of Thrones know-how and gain a crown as GOT trivia master. Here are 20 secrets behind the scenes of Game of Thrones that even the biggest fans don’t know–until today!
20. The Big Mistake Before The Coffee Cup
Everyone has been talking about Daenerys, Mother of Dragons, Lover of the Vanilla Soy Latte, ever since a Starbucks (or Starkbucks if you will) cup of Joe was accidentally left in a scene during season eight. This isn’t the only time cast and crew slipped up and allowed a slice of modern life into the seven kingdoms.
Although this is less noticeable, Aidan Gillen (who plays Petry, Littlefinger Baelish) accidentally left his watch on during filming. It was not edited out and could be spotted several times from beneath his robe. Trolls online couldn’t wait to ask Little Finger if he was on time for his latest bout of plotting!
19. Ramsay As Jon?
Brilliant baddy Iwan Rheon, who played the cut-throat sociopath Ramsay Bolton, seems as if he was made for the role, even if it wasn’t the one he wanted. The truth is, the actor, who hails from Wales, wanted to play Jon Snow. Although Rheon had a solid audition, the role went to Kit Harington instead.
The producers knew talent when they saw it and instead waited until season three to connect with Iwan Rheon to see if he’d consider another, very different, much more sinister character. GOT fans can now agree that this was the right casting choice, but it’s interesting to know what led up to Iwan’s joining the crew.
18. The Cast Member & Super Fan Who Wants No Spoilers
Natalie Dormer portrayed the politically savvy Margaery Tyrell, who was determined to climb the royalty ladder even if it meant having to marry not just one, but two Lannister children. While actor Natalie Dormer was dedicated to her role, the only lines that she was studying were her own.
The star knew that she wanted to be able to binge watch the show like the rest of us without knowing what was happing next. Dormer only read the portions of script needed for her own scenes and chose to be surprised watching the show when it aired. So fun, but we’re not sure we could resist knowing all the spoilers…
17. Game Of Drones – Protecting The Secrets Of The Realm
Game of Thrones fans will stop at nothing to find out what is happening during filming. GOT location manager Robert Boake says, “We’ve worked out that every three hours, someone tries to get on one of our sets,” and adds about making sure no one spoils the final season, “We use drones for location patrol, [drone-stopping devices] to take down their drones and we doubled the number of security guards we had last season, so we’ve taken more precautions this year than any show, ever.”
The technology to destroy these spy drones can cost upwards of 25K, which adds to the budget of this expensive show.
16. The Vitriol Against Joffrey Warranted A Congrats Letter
While Jack Gleeson has retired from acting (for now) he will go down in history as one of the most despised villains in King’s Landing (and everywhere else). While we don’t know if Gleeson will act again, or if anyone will be unable to unsee him as the unlovable to everyone but Cersei Lannister brat, he certainly brought his A-game performance.
It turns out GOT series author George R.R. Martin was so pleased with Jack Gleeson as tantrummy sadist King Joffrey that he wrote him an unusual congratulatory letter about his acting ability. The note read, “Congratulations on your marvelous performance. Everyone [despises] you!”
15. Those Who Dislike Each Other Are BFFs In Real Life
The venom between Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) and Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) is only present in front of the cameras. The two animal rights activists and actors have been pals for years before they were even cast in their iconic roles. The duo were coworkers on Ultra and on Peter Smalls Is Dead, and Dinklage is said to be the person who recommended Headey sit atop the iron throne.
The small screen siblings have even been known to share an apartment if the filming schedule allows it and are often seen enjoying meals with each other. That doesn’t do much for the storyline, though!
14. No Bathroom Breaks For Dani
Fake bodily fluids for TV and movies are usually made up of a combination of colored goos that are often compared to sticky and sweet corn syrup. In the first season of GOT, a scene required Daenerys Targaryen to be covered in fake fluid. This resulted in a lot of sticky side effects, so much that the star found herself glued to a toilet seat during a bathroom break.
Actor Emilia Clarke recounted her embarrassing moment with Jimmy Kimmel saying, “It kind of just stays sticky for quite a long time and then there was a moment when we were filming it that I disappeared… And I was stuck to the toilet.
13. Off Set Fractured Bones Hidden
It can be hard to remember that these epic characters are just regular folks. Back in 2012, Kit Harington accidentally locked himself out of his London apartment building and attempted to get in by climbing through a window. Apparently, Kit is less lucky than his alter-ego Jon Snow and broke his ankle.
Because of this foible, he spent most of season three limping around set and extra stand-ins were hired to shoot more demanding (standing) scenes. Kit attempted to make it up to the production manager by purchasing him a bottle of spirits to ease the pain of handling the hassle he caused.
12. What Really Happened After Ned Stark Lost His Head
Let’s not forget about Ned Stark, who was a major player and star in season one of GOT. Spoiler ahead–after filming the scene where he lost his head, actor Sean Bean had a good sense of humor about his fortune. When he knew that they no longer needed his prosthetic head he decided it would be fun to play a game of football, using his own head.
Bean expressed his feelings to Vulture during an interview about his one season run on the show, “It was fine. At least I knew where I stood. You can’t really change it when a good author has written it that way. You can’t say, ‘I want to stay on!’ But he had a good inning.”
11. Costumers For The Night’s Watch Shopped At IKEA
Thankfully they didn’t need to skin an army of furry animals to clothe all the actors in the north for GOT. Knowing it would be both costly and unnecessary to use real fur for the hundreds of extras, the costume crew got creative. The fur capes which adorned the Night’s Watch men are simply IKEA carpets and rugs that have been dyed, cut, and worn in to resemble the cloaks we see on screen.
IKEA needs a new slogan; ‘Come for the meatballs, stay for the carpets and warm attire, because winter is coming!’ But seriously, BRB while we go buy all the makings of a Night’s Watch costume!
10.Kit Bribed A Police Officer With GOT Insider Scoop
How much would you be willing to sacrifice your work integrity for a solid GOT spoiler? Kit Harington admitted that he used his insider information to convince a police officer to forget about a speeding ticket.
The cop apparently requested that Harington either spill the tea on whether Jon would be brought back to life following his season five death or drive to the police station to accept his fate. Kit apparently told the officer about what was about to happen to Jon Snow, and his driving record remains clean. Clearly telling the story doesn’t help Kit’s reputation, but we’d all appreciate more spoilers!
9.You Won’t Defeat Anyone With That Rubber Sword
Game of Thrones knives, swords, and ‘needles’ aren’t made of Valyrian Steel or even Dragon Glass. Whether it’s an army or an individual battle scene, GOT characters are carrying rubber swords that are better suited for play than fighting. Sorry to burst your bubble with this less than sharp fact.
Even when he isn’t fighting, Jon Snow’s sword that sits in his belt is a light rubber, which we’re guessing made it a lot easier for Kit Harington to walk around set. While genuine ‘Viking’ swords were generally no more than 4.5 to five pounds, that weight can make it difficult for anyone walking around set, especially if you nick yourself on the pointy end!
8.Tip Top Set Security For Key Scenes
Security is an issue with any popular show and GOT is no different. There were 200 guards at work during the infamous Cersei Lannister walk of atonement. As the seasons progressed, so has the fandom and the work it takes to keep spoiler helicopters and drones from flying over the set.
You would think this would be less likely when filming takes place in remote locations like Northern Ireland (where much of season eight was shot), but it was a constant concern to keep people guessing episode after episode what was going to happen next. And the costs to prevent spoilers were high!
7.Not So Threatening Inspiration Behind The Dragons
Since dragons are, well, not real, the production crew had to turn to animals that really exist for inspiration. Special Effects Supervisor Sven Martin said, “We looked at big goose animals when they are on the ground, how they play with their wings even though they’re not able to fly.” He added, “When (Dani is) stroking him, he should be a little bit like a cat.”
Another production lead was looking to make the dragons appear more aggressive, like when they are going to battle, and used everything from Komodo dragons to toads, lizards, bats, eagles, and owls for inspiration, as well as warriors when they are about to attack, as a reference for movement and realism.
6.9/11 And The Wall
The special effects team used footage from 9/11 to determine how the Wall should come down in the north because it’s one of the largest structures in modern history that we have a record of coming down. Bauer, of the production team, said, “We knew it was going to be a task. Over the eons, the ocean water would’ve eaten away at the bottom (of the Wall). The way the ocean waves crash against it would eat it away. It would freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw.”
Turning these thoughts into realism, along with calibrating all the finite details, including exactly how the ice would shatter, were key to bringing fans a realistic and epic moment crucial to GOT history.
5.Fake Meat For Tyrion
Peter Dinklage has been vocal about his love of animals. He encourages fans to adopt rescue animals instead of searching for ‘Game of Thrones like’ dogs and is a strict vegan. Dinklage even appeared in a 2014 PETA ad to implore others to go vegan, too. In order to work around Dinklage’s food restrictions, scenes that show him consuming meat are really tofu and other soy/non-meat products.
And Dinklage isn’t the only non-meat-eater on set. It turns out there are a lot of animal advocates, from Lena Headey, who speaks up about the treatment of circus animals, to Little Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsay) who is a vegan and environmentalist.
4.Who Breaks Character Most Often
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see the behind the scenes bloopers from Game of Thrones! While the show is all about drama, intrigue, and white walkers, the actors themselves are having a great time together, especially in between scenes.
Peter Dinklage says that he and Lena Headey must avoid looking at each other during scenes they share for fear of making the other burst into laughter. Dinklage said during a Reddit Ask Me Anything session that, “People think the mood on set is very serious, but sometimes the most serious scenes can produce the most laughter on set.”
3.The Not So Intimidating Moon Door
The Moon Door inspires fear in anyone, whether they’re afraid of heights or not, but it’s all about the camera work and post-production. There is virtually no risk for the actors who performed around this doom-bringing door into the abyss.
Those who watched the behind the scenes commentary from season four know that as Sophie Turner (Sansa) revealed, “It’s like a meter deep. Just like green screen floor and then you put a crash mat on top of it.” So, if you’re still having bad dreams about being pushed to your death, don’t; it’s just some very clever behind the scenes work to make your heart stop.
2.Most Disliked On Screen, Most Lovely In Real Life
Game of Thrones has influenced fans everywhere. The uptake of names of characters from the show becoming baby names is seriously trending, that is of course except for a few of the most disliked characters, including the wine drinking twin Cersei Lannister.
Castmates confirm that Lena Headey is quite funny and a complete sweetheart. The Queen herself also has 10 tattoos that we’re guessing Cersei wouldn’t approve of. Headey is said to adore horror movies and owns many dogs who she loves dearly. The only onset drama has been avoided since Headey broke up with Jerome Flynn (who plays Bronn) by keeping the pair away from each other, as it’s been reported to have been a messy split.
1.The Lady Who Ended Up With Lady
With so many animal advocates on sets, fans must know that even animals who have fictional deaths are treated well both on set and after their time on the show is done. GOT author George R.R. Martin assured fans on his blog that Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa, adopted the dog who played Lady after she met her end on the series.
The dog is named Zunni and she’s a Mahlek Northern Inuit Dog, so not really a Dire Wolf of any kind. We’re sure that Zunni is excitedly getting ready for Turner’s wedding to Joe Jonas and is thoroughly enjoying the “afterlife.”
Sources: The Things