Each Game of Thrones episode contains approximately 1253 twists, turns and jaw-droppingly dramatic moments. So it’s probably no shocker that behind the scenes, things are just as eventful.
From misleading sets to fake blood catastrophes, here are the best on-set secrets the GoT cast tried to keep under wraps. (And don’t worry – no spoilers here).
1. Season one scripts went missing
In 2011, George RR Martin lost two season one scripts in the post. “The envelope was torn open at one end, and both scripts were gone… I am convinced the scripts were stolen,” Martin wrote on his blog at the time.
Understandably, the author / series creator wasn’t happy about the situation, and posted a request to fans on his blog to look out for anyone trying to sell the scripts on eBay: “Like Bloodraven, I have a thousand eyes and one. So let’s keep ’em all peeled, boys and girls”, he penned.
Luckily, no spoilers leaked out – though to this day, the scripts still haven’t been found.
2. The show features fake meat
Dog owner/animal lover Peter Dinklage is a vegetarian, which means any ‘meat’ he eats during the show’s many feasts is specially crafted from non-flesh products eg tofu.
In fact, he feels so strongly about vegetarianism that back in 2014, Dinklage starred in a TV ad for PETA where he was seen stating: “By buying meat, eggs, and dairy products, you’re paying for cruelty.”
3. The Moon Door is a farce
You know that great big gaping hole in the floor of the Eyrie that you really don’t want to accidentally trip over? Yeah, well, it’s a lot less scary in real life.
“It’s like a meter deep,” Sophie Turner revealed during a commentary on the HBO Season 4 DVD. “Just like green screen floor and then you put a crash mat on top of it.”
4. The dragons were inspired by farmyard animals
To get the GoT dragons’ movements right, the special effects team sought inspiration from an unusual source. “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,” Game of Thrones effects supervisor Sven Martin told Wired.
As for the scenes with Emilia Clarke’s Daynerys AKA Mother of Dragons, where the dragons are a little more subdued? Martin explained that he wanted her favourite dragon, Drogon, to appear almost kitten-esque. “When she’s stroking him, he should be a little bit like a cat”, he said.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
5. The showrunners love teasing Jon Snow
“We had a whole story about how HBO felt he was too Disney; he was too Harry Potter,” showrunner DB Weiss said in an SXSW audience Q&A earlier this year.
“We wrote a [fake] scene for Kit Harington where his face melted off,” confessed fellow co-showrunner David Benioff.
Explaining that they told Kit (in gory detail) just how messed up his face would be for the rest of the series, Benioff said: “It was his upper lip and all of his hair… Kit’s got great hair and a great pout.”
“He was a good sport about it, but you could tell he was really sad,” Weiss added.
6. Arya was the hardest role to cast
According to showrunner Benioff: “[Arya and Sansa] start so young, but we knew if the show worked, [the characters] were going to go to extremely dark places, so it was a tricky thing, casting people and just hoping they would blossom into the women that they’ve become.”ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
“I remember we probably looked at 300 girls in England and could not find the right Arya”, he revealed at a SXSW Q&A. Safe to say they nailed it in the end.
7. A major character is related to Harry Potter by blood
Stannis Baratheon actor Stephen Dillane’s son Frank played Tom Riddle in in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) – so maybe there’s hope for a Game Of Hogwarts crossover project?
Frank’s still acting, and is a regular character on The Walking Dead spin-off, Fear The Walking Dead.
8. Laughing on set is a problem
It’s not all blood, dragons, swords and seriousness on set – Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey have to actively avoid eye contact during some of their most intense scenes for fear of cracking each other up.
“People think the mood on set is very serious,” Dinklage said during his Reddit AMA. “But sometimes the most serious scenes can produce the most laughter on set.”
9. Fake-blood can be troublesome
Emilia Clarke once revealed that after one gory scene with a horse heart she was so drenched in fake-blood that it led to a slightly embarrassing predicament on set.
“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,” Clarke confessed on Jimmy Kimmel.
10. Stuntmen play pranks on each other
Game of Thrones stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton recently revealed how painstaking the stunt scenes can be. “There [will be] a clip [lasting] three or four seconds, and then it’s taken us six weeks to prep it, and get it ready for that”, he told HuffPost. “One whole day of filming might actually be only three seconds of actual camera time.”
That’s a lot of waiting around, so it probably makes sense that the stunt team like to entertain themselves on set. “Sometimes just before a take they’ll knock a weapon out of someone’s hand, so they’ve got to quickly pick it up before they call action,” Hanton added.