YES! Game of Thrones Last season will be aired in 2019, and everyone is talking about it. Well, most people. While you may be all caught up on the events of the show, true fans will want to arm themselves with extra Thrones trivia to see them through classroom discussions, pub conversations, and heated arguments with a significant other. If you’re looking to go beyond the show and learn some genuine, solid-gold facts about Game of Thrones, I’ve got you covered. What follows are the most interesting bits of trivia you’ll read about TV’s most epic of shows.
1. George RR Martin cameo
The original, unseen pilot for Game of Thrones featured a cameo from George RR Martin as a Pentoshi nobleman. Sadly, his scene was cut from the final version of the pilot, which was drastically altered from its original form. He has never appeared in the HBO show since, although hasn’t ruled out some screen time in the final season. As an added bit of trivia… he does appear in this Game of Thrones spoof by Funny Or Die, critiquing his own work and slow-writing style.
2. Total death count…
According to one, excellent YT video, the death count for Game of Thrones stands at 150,966. Oh my. This figure includes all the estimated deaths in the battles, along with major and minor characters actually killed off in the normal running of the show. The biggest death scenes are the Battle of Blackwater Bay, the Battle of the Wall, and Hardhome, which swell the numbers significantly.
3. Be more Bean
It’s unsurprising, but some of the actors hired for season 1 of Game of Thrones to play Stark roles were told to ‘speak like Sean Bean’. According to one interview, when the showrunners asked Bean if he could talk in any other accent, he simply said “No”. Kit Harington was apparently coached by the famous northern actor, who plays Ned Stark, and the pair bonded during that first season. Interestingly, none of the female Stark roles were asked to assume Bean-like accents.
4. On the head, Ned!
During filming for the final episode of season 1, Sean Bean and the rest of the cast played football with Ned Stark’s head. During a Reddit discussion with fans after the final episode of season 1, Bean admits that the cast had a little fun with the model of his detached head. When asked ‘Was it weird to see your own head on set’ he replied: “It was a bit strange, yeah, a bit creepy. We just kicked it around like a football!”
5. House theft
Did you know that the Baratheon House actually stole its banner and values from another house? According to Game of Thrones lore, a chap called Orys Baratheon seized Storm’s End from House Durrandon, centuries ago. Not only that, Orys also stole their sigil and house motto. Read all about Game of Thrones sigils and banners right here.
6. Lily liar
Lily Allen, the singer, lied about turning down the role of Yara Greyjoy. Her brother, Alfie Allen, plays Theon Greyjoy and Lily claimed that she had been offered the role as Theon’s on-screen sister, Yara. Lily also claimed that she refused the role because of the incest scenes between Yara and Theon. However, Alfie spoke to Vulture, quashing the rumour by stating: “The only thing I’m going to say on this is that’s not true”. So, er, that’s really all he needed to say.
7. Bribery in Westeros
Game of Thrones is the hottest ticket on TV, and loads of actors want a piece of the action. While Jim Broadbent is the latest big-name TV star to appear (he’s playing the Arch Maester in S7) many won’t have gotten as far as the casting director. Not for a lack of trying, though. One actor sent the casting director of Game of Thrones a Stormtrooper with their face on it as a please appearing in the show, while others have sent personalised playing cards and even Kit Kats. Okaaaaaay.
8. Different Dany
Emilia Clark, who plays Daenerys, is now a household name. She’s the postergirl of the show, and the one fans think is most likely to claim the Iron Throne. But did you know she wasn’t in the original pilot? Her and Cait Stark were recast after the original pilot, likely due to poor performances or ill-fitting personalities from the original actors. It’s tough to imagine Daenerys as anyone else, or Cait Stark without Michelle Fairley.
9. Band in certain countries
Game of Thrones has turned into a magnet for musician cameos. Ed Sheeran has appeared in season 7 already (singing a song to Arya), and Bastille (who appear later in the run) are coming soon. Previously, the show has featured appearances from Sigur Ros, Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol, Mastadon, Will Champion from Coldplay, and Of Monsters And Men.
10. Blame the pilot
I’ve alluded to this previously, but the original pilot episode really wasn’t very good. While few people have actually seen it, the Game of Thrones showrunners have spoken about it during interviews. According to them it originally featured a scene depicting the death of Jon Arryn, and of Rickard and Brandon Stark (Ned’s older brother). The original director, Tom McCarthy had his credit removed entirely from the final version of season 1 episode 1.
- Hills and spills
Did you know there are actual brothers working on Game of Thrones? Varys’ (Conleth Hill) brother, Ronan Hill, has won 3 Emmy Awards for his sound-mixing work on Game of Thrones, making him the more successful – if lesser known – Hill brother. You’ll be pleased to know that, in real life, both brothers have a fine head of hair.
- Fake out
During the filming of Game of Thrones S6 Kit Harington (Jon Snow) had to keep hiding under umbrellas every time a drone flew overhead, to avoid his resurrection becoming known. He seems to be the master of misdirection, as recent news suggests he has filmed over 15 hours of fake scenes for season 7 to throw the spoiler-leakers into disarray. Good.
13. Winning the Game of Thrones
The Winds of Winter (the final episode in season 6) is the most popular Thrones episode ever, with over 8.9 million viewers first watching (in the US). It’s also the longest too, clocking in with a run time of 69 minutes. The second most popular is Mother’s Mercy, the finale of season 5, which got 8.11 million viewers. The least popular, if you’re wondering, is The Kingsroad (S1.02) with 2.2 million viewers, slightly less than the first ever episode.
14. The eyes have it!
Forget all the Red Weddings, the trials by combat, and the stabbing of Jon Snow – the most expensive death in Thrones (to date) was the demise of Meryn Trant, at the hands of Arya. It happens in the final episode of season 5, Mother’s Mercy, and sees the Stark girl stabbing out Trant’s eyes (“She couldn’t really poke out his eyes,” says showrunner David Benioff). Some expensive CG and make-up work went into that one.
15. Varys the killer
This will come as no secret to anyone who has read the books, but did you know that Varys is actually responsible for the death of both Grand Maester Pycelle AND Kevan Lannister in George RR Martin’s version of events? He murders them with a crossbow at the end of book 5, part 2. This doesn’t necessarily mean Cersei’s revenge – blowing up the Sept of Baelor with wildfire – won’t happen in the books, but it does kill off two major characters in a very different way.
16. Hidden talents
Natalia Tena – the actor who plays Osha (Rickon’s now sadly-dead wildling protector) is actually in a band called Molotov Jukebox. She’s the lead singer and she plays the accordion. That’s an interesting set of talents, and makes for a strange CV. If you want to check out her music, this is a link to her YouTube channel.
Hodor’s real name was changed from Walder to Willis from book to TV show, presumably to avoid any confusion with the Frey characters. It’s not the first time character names were changed. Yara Greyjoy is also known as Asha in the books, and the guy who revives The Hound – Ray – is known as The Elder Brother. It’s also worth noting that the character ‘Cold Hands’ is Benjen Stark in the show, but that remains unconfirmed in the books.
20. Four Ned
Fun fact here, to bore your friends with or insert into a very niche pub quiz. Ned Stark has been played by four different actors in Game of Thrones – can you name all of them? Ok, maybe not. Sean Bean plays Ned Stark in season 1, until meeting his end at the hands of Ilyn Payne. In the first Bran flashback in season 6 we see a very young Ned (played by Sebastian Croft) and his brother Brandon at Winterfell. Later in S6 we get a more substantial look at younger Ned (Robert Aramayo) at the Tower of Joy, rescuing his sister. Finally, and this is a cheeky one, season 6 also has Kevin Eldon playing Ned in the theatrical version of Thrones as played out on stage in Braavos.