Game of Thrones has become one of the most popular and largest TV franchises since it first premiered in 2011. The cast is absolutely giant, and the crew that helps make the magic happen is twice as big. In every episode, hundreds of extras are needed, and hours of rehearsal are required to maintain the quality of the show. With all the people involved, there are bound to be a few behind-the-scenes secrets, right? With the final season airing in April 2019, let's take a look at the craziest things you might not know about Game of Thrones.
People Are Naming Their Babies After Game of Thrones Characters
Since Games of Thrones aired in 2011, the show's influence has been seen in some unusual places. Sure, you're bound to see a handful of Game of Thrones characters out and about on Halloween, but would you name your child after a character on the show? Apparently, lots of people say yes!
Over the last seven years, Khaleesi has been one of the most popular baby names, as well as Daenerys and Sansa. Other names derived from the show have become more popular as the series has progressed. Hopefully, no one will name their child Joffrey.
Kristian Nairn Who Plays Hodor Is a Famous DJ
Ever wonder what the actors did before landing the role of a lifetime on Game of Thrones? Some are pretty interesting! Kristian Nair, famous for play Hodor, was (and still is) a well-known DJ.
Specifically, Nair is a progressive house DJ and used to be the resident disc jockey of Kremlin, a famous gay club in Belfast. When he's not acting, he still DJs at some clubs, occasionally joined by his co-star Arya.
The Dothraki Language Is Fake, But Also Sort of Real
The language that Daenerys speaks with the Dothraki is a completely fictional language, but that doesn't mean the script is jibberish. David Peterson is a "language creator" who constructs artificial languages for television and movies. He created both the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for the show. Technically there is a legitimate script in Dothraki, but sometimes the characters mess up their lines and just run with it.
Emilia Clarke, the actress who plays Khaleesi, has even admitted that she’s not sure what she’s saying at certain parts — she just knows it’s important to get the attitude of the script right while acting.
Sansa And Arya Are Best Friends In Real Life
Although the fictional sisters don’t get much on-screen time together, the actresses who play Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams), are actually best friends in real life. They are often seen at cast parties and events together and laughing, and also share pictures of each other on their social media accounts quite often.
We wonder if Maisie will be Sophie's maid of honor when she gets married to Joe Jonas?
Sophie Turner Adopted Her Character's Dire Wolf
After her direwolf was killed on the show, actress Sophie Turner (who plays Sansa Stark) decided to adopt the dog that played the role of her trusted companion in the first season. The pup, whose real name is Zunni, is actually a Mahlek Northern Inuit dog.
In an interview with Britain's Coventry Telegraph, Turner explained, "Growing up I always wanted a dog, but my parents never wanted one. We kind of fell in love with my character's dire wolf, Lady, on set."
Cersei and Tyrion Are Also Close Friends
Cersei (Lena Headey) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), may be siblings in the show, but the two couldn't loathe each other more. To say the Lannister family is dysfunctional would be putting it lightly, and the brother-sister duo clearly doesn't believe that blood is thicker than water.
While they may be enemies on-screen, in real life the actors are close pals who have known each other long before the show even started filming. Dinklage even helped Heady land her role as the queen.
Only One Actor Has Read The Books
One might think that reading the books the show is based on would be a prerequisite for landing a role on Game of Thrones. But surprisingly, not all of the actors have read George RR Martin's series. In fact, it turns out that just one actor has read them!
At the 2015 Comic-Con International, Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth, said she is the actor who has done her homework. It's been rumored that many of the stars feel as though it’s best for their acting ability if they don’t know too much about their roles. Some don’t even read ahead in the script, so as to make everything that happens to them a surprise.
Ramsay Bolton Could Have Been Played by Jon Snow
Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), is one of the most hated characters on Game of Thrones. Rheon does such a fantastic job playing the Lord that it's hard to imagine anyone else doing it. It's also hard to imagine Rheon playing a character that actually has morals — but that was almost the case.
Rheon initially auditioned for the part of Jon Snow but the casting team decided to go with Kit Harrington. After Rheon auditioned, they knew they needed to bring him back to play the evil villain.
It Was Originally Going To Be A Movie Franchise
When George RR Martin wrote his series of epic fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, he had no idea they would eventually be adapted to television. Because the books were written without production in mind, many of the scenes have been hard to film.
Originally Martin received various offers to make the books into a movie franchise. The offers were to make it into a smaller franchise, with a storyline only focusing on Daenerys and the Stark-Lannister feud.
Theon Greyjoy Is Lily Allen’s Brother
Theon Greyjoy is the character everyone loves to hate in Game of Thrones. Sure, he betrays his family, but you can help but feel bad Theon when Ramsay gets his hands on him. As it turns out, the actor who plays Theon, Alfie Allen, is the brother of the famous singer Lily Allen.
She even has a song about him named "Alfie," which is basically just about him hanging out all the time and smoking weed, something much different from his character in the show.
It’s The Second Most Expensive Show to Produce
Since the show first aired in 2011, Game of Thrones has had an ever-growing budget. In 2015, it was reported that the show had a budget of $6 million per episode. But as of 2019, it's reported that every episode has a budget of $15 million!
That makes Game of Thrones is the most expensive shows in production on television at the moment. The only show that was ever more expensive to produce was the sitcom Friends, which had such an expensive fee due to the high-paying actors who starred on the show.
Many Actors Crossover With Harry Potter
Another hugely popular franchise based on books, the Harry Potter series, features many actors who are also on the show. It makes sense since many of the actors are based in the United Kingdom, but it’s interesting to imagine many of the actors in two different fantasy worlds.
In total, 13 actors who appear in Game of Throne also appear somewhere in the Harry Potter series. Some of the most noticeable are Natalia Tena, David Bradley, Julian Glover, and Ralph Ineson.
The Wardrobe Is Very Extensive
Games of Thrones nail it when it comes to painstaking attention to detail. So it's no surprise that the characters' clothes are meticulously crafted. Every piece worn by the cast is specifically designed for them.
Michele Clapton is the costume designer for the series and uses the clothing to help tell the story and create the characters. For Clapton, she says that creating the clothes for Game of Thrones was challenging because there weren't really any period pieces she could use for reference. Since the show is fictional, she has to rely heavily on her own creativity.
Every Actor Is Older Than Their Character
It's easy to assume that every actor is the same age as the character they play on the show. But in reality, every actor on Game of Thrones is older than the character they play. This is more apparent with certain characters, like Daenerys, who is only a teenager in the books.
The "teen" who takes Bran to the raven was supposed to be 13 years old, but the actor who played him was 23!
It Takes A Long Time To Film
Making Game of Thrones a reality is no easy feat. The show may only air for a few months of the year, but making the show is a nonstop, year-round gig. On average, it takes close to the first half of the year to simply write the upcoming season.
Once the script is squared away, it takes the rest of the year (and often longer) to shoot. If you've been wondering why there was a year-and-a-half gap between seasons seven and eight this is why.
There’s An Alternative Pilot
The pilot is one of the most well-known episodes, as it ends with the infamous scene where Bran is pushed off of the tower and left paralyzed. But this wasn’t actually the first pilot shot.
Apparently, the original was so bad and unpopular amongst viewers that the cast and crew had to re-shoot almost the entire thing. The pilot we all know and love was actually the second version. Meanwhile, the original pilot is in the vault...for now.
Daenerys Is Supposed To Have Purple Eyes
In addition to her long silver hair, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is supposed to have purple eyes while playing the Queen of Dragons, as described in the book. When filming began, Clarke wore purple contacts for her scenes, but the accessory was short-lived.
The purple contacts were so uncomfortable and distracting for Clarke that she had to take them off in order to improve her performance. Purple eyes or not, she is still an ethereal goddess!
The Heart Daenerys Eats Is A Giant Gummy Bear
One of the most gruesome scenes earlier on in the series is when Daenerys eats a horse heart to prove her strength. But don't worry, she didn't actually go full cannibal. Instead, the "heart" was actually made out of a weird gummy- like substance.
The sticky fake blood was also a nuisance for Daenerys. She once told the story of how she got stuck to a toilet seat while covered in the sticky residue.
The Pilot Aired On Sean Bean’s Birthday
There isn't a better way to honor the actor who plays Ned Stark (Sean Bean) than to have the pilot aired on his own birthday? Even though he didn’t make it very far on the show, it was still a great gift for the patriarch of the Stark house.
He also had some fun with his decapitated head, as he claimed he played football with the dummy after his character died.
Only The Show Runners and George R.R. Martin Know How It Will All End
Although Game of Thrones has a long production time, the show has still officially surpassed the books as far as the timeline goes. For that reason, George R.R. Martin remains close with the showrunners to make sure they’re following the storyline.
Martin is still working on more books; however, he has revealed the ending to the showrunners in the tragic chance that he might die before he gets a chance to finish the series.
There's Only One Actor Who Appears In Almost Every Episode
Game of Thrones fans always look forward to episodes when they get to see their favorite character's storyline progress. But with so many characters and plot lines to follow within the entire series, not all characters are seen in ever episode.
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), however, is the one character who has seen the most screentime out of all the others. In fact, Tyrion appears in 61 out of the 67 total episodes that have aired before the final season, likely because Tyrion plays some role in many of the other characters' storylines.
King Joffrey Is Inspired By Joaquin Phoenix
King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is one of the most loved and hated characters from the entire Game of Thrones series. How did actor Jack Gleeson manage to play someone so infuriating, yet loved? Apparently the actor took a bit of inspiration from The Gladiator.
In an interview, Gleeson talks about how he was inspired by Emperor Commodus, who is played by Joaquin Phoenix. Gleeson goes on to explain how he spent hours trying to perfect Commodus's smirk from the film. Suffice to say, Gleeson's character study paid off.
Charles Dance Couldn't Take It
It's no secret that members of the Lannister family have strained relationships with each other. One example of this would be Lord Tywin Lannister's relationship with his son Tyrion. The actor who played Lord Tywin, however, did not agree with his character at all.
Despite how well actor Charles Dance played cruel, he was appalled by how Lord Tywin treated his son Tyrion. Dance often felt so guilty about it, that he felt the need to apologize to Peter Dinklage in between takes! At least we know that Dance isn't that mean in real life.
They Hooked Up Behind The Scenes
If you're a rabid fan of the show (which you most likely are since you're reading this!) then you ought to remember Jon Snow's steamy romance with Ygritte. The two characters may have had their on-screen hookup during their cave rendezvous, but it wasn't long before Ygritte was killed off the show.
Still, the actors that played these characters, Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie, probably played that scene so well because there was actual chemistry there. Not long after Leslie left the show, she and Harrington began dating in real life! On June 23, 2018, the lovebirds tied the knot in Scotland.
Lena Headey Can't Stand One Of Her Castmates
Although actress Lena Headey is chummy with her castmate Peter Dinklage, the same can't be said for the rest of the cast of Game of Thrones. One castmate that Headey probably wouldn't be caught dead with is Jerome Flynn, who plays Bronn.
Headey and Flynn were once in a relationship but unfortunately, it did not end well. Apparently, things ended so bitterly that there is a clause in both of their contracts stating that they will never share a scene or work on the same set!
This Actor Has Appeared In More Than One Role
If you thought that King Tommen Baratheon has looked familiar ever since he re-appeared in season four, it's because he was played by an actor who had a different role early on in the series. Actor Dean-Charles Chapman played the minor role of Martyn Lannister in seasone three and was killed as quickly as he appeared on the show.
However, producers were so impressed by Chapman's performance that they asked him to return the following season as Tommen Baratheon. Chapman played the role from season's four through six, until his character decided to take his own life.
Gwendoline Christie Was Well-Prepared
There are plenty of grueling battle scenes in Game of Thrones and the one between Brienne of Tarth and The Hound is one of the most memorable. Though stunt doubles were used for this fight, just like in any other show, Gwendoline Christie and her scene co-star Rory McCann still had to do much of the work themselves.
Christie explained that she trained for four days a week for two months in order to film this one scene. Christie was so exhausted by the end of it, as many of us felt after watching it.
It Pays To Be The President
There are plenty of celebrities who are self-professed fans of Game of Thrones and Barack Obama is no exception. Like many of us, he too was dying to know what happened to Jon Snow after the cliff-hanger ending that was the season five finale. Though the cast and crew were sworn to secrecy, Obama simply couldn't wait to find out.
Back when he was still President of the United States, Obama went so far as to reach of to GoT producers to find out Jon Snow's fate. They let him view the first episode of season six before anyone else.
George R.R. Martin Says They're Better Than In His Books
George R.R. Martin may have invented the entire world that is Game of Thrones, but even he admitted that there are some things the show does better than his books. Martin loves the actors and actresses on the show, perhaps because they bring his characters to life.
In particular, Martin loves the actresses who play Osha and Shae, Natalia Tena and Sibel Kekilli. Martin has said that the show's version of these characters are "even better than his" versions. That's a high compliment coming from the GoT creator himself!
There's An Accidental Nod To Lord Of The Rings
You wouldn't think that the Game of Thones universe crosses over with any other fantasy universe we have on film and in books. Really, it doesn't but some fans have pointed out a Lord of the Rings easter egg that was too good to ignore. many noticed that one of the swords used in the Iron Throne is exactly like the one Gandalf's Glamdring from Lord of the Rings.
This was just an accidental reuse of a sword mold that the GoT set designer had at the time, despite many people wanting to believe that this was done on purpose.
The Queen Refused The Iron Throne
Queen Elizabeth II missed her chance to pretend to rule the Seven Kingdoms. On a visit to the set of Game of Thrones, the Queen was offered a chance to sit in the Iron Throne. Any fan would have jumped at the chance to have their photo taken sitting on this prop, yet Queen Elizabeth has proven herself to be the exception.
The Queen politely declined the offer, apparently because of the rules of the monarchy. There is one that states the Queen cannot sit on a foreign throne and we guess this applies to fictional ones as well.
Kat Harrington Is Related To Royalty In Real Life
While Kit Harrington plays a character that hails from royalty on GoT, he claims that he hails from royalty in real life as well. Harrington has said that his ancestor is John Harrington, who was a figure on Queen Elizabeth I's court. In addition to those royal ties, the ancestor Harrington is widely accepted as the inventor of the flushable toilet.
Current-day Harrington explains that this is why the toilet is often referred to as "The John." We wouldn't doubt this for a second!
George R.R. Martin Did It On One Condition
It's no secret that George R.R. Martin didn't want his books to become movies. In fact, he purposely wrote the books without production in mind, making everything so complicated that it would all be impossible to film. But when the GoT producers approached him with turning the series into a television show, he obviously relented.
Getting Martin to do so wasn't easy though. He only let producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss move forward with making the show if they could correctly guess who Jon Snow's mother was. Luckily, they got the answer right.
Maisie Williams Does It For The Fans
Part of what makes Arya Stark such an awesome character is the way she relentlessly seeks revenge on a growing list of characters. In the show, she infamously repeats her kill list to herself every night, almost like a lullaby. Thought the series however, the list becomes longer and longer.
Whenever fans meet Maisie Williams, who plays Arya, they often ask her to recite the list with their names added in. Williams is always happy to oblige but fans must be relieved to know that Ayra Stark isn't actually going to come for them.
The Title Sequence Has Important Information
Something that one may notice when they start watching Game of Thrones is how long the title sequence takes. Sometimes, this takes a long time before the episode actually starts but this is because producers are showing you every location that will appear in that episode.
Knowing this, it's important to note that there are four locations that will always appear in the title sequence, regardless if they're featured in the episode or not: King's Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, and wherever Daenerys happens to be.
There's A Nod To Monty Python
Fans of British comedy might have been the only ones to notice this if they listened closely enough. In the season four episode, "Breaker of the Chains," Daenerys and her army arrive outside Meereen. In the episode, Meereenese warriors shout insults at Daenerys in order to taunt her.
If you listen closely enough, some of these insults include, "Your mother was a hamster" or "I blow my nose at you!" These were classic insults from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Perhaps writers should've picked more serious insults since Daenerys wins the battle and frees the Meereenese slaves.
Some Of The Props Were Used As Gifts
Knowing that Game of Thrones is the second-most expensive television show to produce, it's no wonder that the set pieces and props are certified works of art at this point. Everything from the costumes to the swords are crafted with impeccable precision, after all.
Though these pieces are now invaluable works of art, some have been given away as lavish gifts. Of course, no one deserves one more than George R.R. Martin, who was gifted one of the petrified dragon eggs from season one on his wedding day.
She Might Actually Hated More Than Joffrey
King Joffrey is widely accepted among GoT fans as one of the most infuriating characters on the show, if not the most. However, there have been some close contenders for who might actually be the most hated characters on the show, including Ramsay and Cersei.
In fact, Lena Headey has said that people hate Cersei so much, that fans have ripped the books from her hands just so she wouldn't sign it! We're sure that Headey is nothing like Cersesi in real life, but this only goes to show how well she plays the character.
You Can Taste A Part Of The Show
Just like with butter beer from the Harry Potter series, fans of GoT can actually get a taste of the show if they wanted to. You might recall Arya Stark's friend Hot Pie, who baked dire wolf-shaped loaves of bread for the revenge-seeker.
Actor Ben Hawkey, who plays Hot Pie, decided to bring those loaves to the fans when he partnered with the UK-based app Deliveroo to open "You Know Nothing Jon Dough." His pop-up bakery sells loaves just like the ones Hot Pie baked for Ayra in season four.
You'll Never Guess What The Dragon Roars Actually Are
Part of what makes GoT so fantastic is its amazing production value. Every single aspect of the show is produced with a ton of hard work and perhaps no one has a more interesting job than the foley artist. Foley artist Jeffrey Wilhoit and sound editor Tim Kimmel work on all the sound effects for the show.
They revealed to Vanity Fair that the scrape of a dragon claw is actually the sound of Lee Press On Nails. And the dragon roars you often hear? Surprisingly, they used the sound of two tortoises mating for one season, in addition to other angry animal sounds.