101 Behind-The-Scenes Facts And Small Details You Didn't Know About “Game Of Thrones”

Ryan Pattie

1. Sean Bean (Ned Stark) used to sit in a corner and read Game of Thrones on set when he wasn’t filming.

2. Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) remembers being 13 years old and really embarrassed that she had to do the period scene in Season 1 because she knew the boys that she’d had a crush on would see it.

3. Sophie cried at the read through for the final season, but says she didn’t cry as much as Kit, though!

4. Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) remembers that her first day on set involved acting in the scene where she flicks pigeon pie at Sansa, and they kept telling her to aim better.

5. Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys, said that her first day on set was in Belfast where she shot a scene on a horse — only she was very embarrassed because she kept accidentally sliding off the horse.

6. Liam Cunningham (Ser Davos) walked away from the show with a Dothraki sword and the stag that he gives Shireen.

7. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau did not get to keep Jaime’s hand after wrapping — even though he said it was the one thing he wanted.

8. The very first scene Kit Harington (Jon Snow) filmed was a shot of film walking down the ramparts, but his favorite part of shooting the entire series was filming the scene where he was unable to behead Ygritte in Iceland during Season 2.

9. Kit said he wasn’t embarrassed when he had to act dead on a table during the first two episodes of Season 6. In fact, he said it was VERY easy and he even fell asleep a few times.

10. Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) was always mentally prepared for her character to die every time she went into a new season.

11. It took Gwendoline a long time to digest the storyline for Season 8, but she thinks they did a good job.

12. Gwendoline said that playing the part of Brienne changed the way she walked after four months of shooting, and that her costume was often “very intense and very painful.”

13. Sophie’s fiancé, Joe Jonas, was on set for most of the final season. So not only did he figure out the ending, but they made him sign an NDA.

14. Maisie got to keep Arya’s coin and one of her jackets, and Sophie got to keep Sansa’s corset as well as a scroll from the final season.

15. During the first season, Maisie remembers not being trusted to eat her lunch without a bib to protect her costume from food spillage — and said it was sort of humiliating.

16. None of the cast correctly guessed the ending of the show.

17. Emilia has FOUR wigs she uses when playing Mother of Dragons — and they all have names! Dany, Diva, Candice, and Blondie.

18. Lena Headey calls her short Cersei wig “The Turnip.”

19. At the beginning of the show, Emilia only had one wig. That had to change over the years because they would get dirty and ruined when shooting some scenes, especially ones with smoke/fire.

20. During Cersei’s Walk of Shame in Season 6, the styling team had to have ten wigs prepared — 5 for Lena Headey, and 5 for her double.

21. Sophie said that basically everyone on the show wears a wig, and even some of the men have beard inserts to make facial hair look less patchy.

22. A few years into filming, Sophie had to start wearing wigs after she damaged her hair by going from red to blonde.

23. In Season 6, Maisie was required to wear blind contact lenses which she said were very thick and painful. She also could not see out of them.

24. The sounds the dragons make were inspired by the noises tortoises make while mating.

25. A crane with a 15-foot-high arm and a flamethrower mounted to it was used for the dragon fire. It could shoot as far as 50 feet and was programmed to follow Drogon’s movements.

26. Queen Elizabeth visited the set of Game of Thrones, but according to David Benioff, she didn’t sit on the fictional throne because “the Queen of England is not allowed to sit on a foreign throne.”

27. David Peterson created the languages for the show. In order for the actors to learn the lines of language, (Valyrian, Dothraki) he would record the lines and have the actors listen to them on their phones.

28. Many of the luxurious-looking capes seen worn on the show, including Jon Snow’s fur cloak, are made from IKEA rugs.

29. If you hadn’t already noticed, the opening credits of the show change from week to week, showcasing where the action will take place in each episode.

30. During “The Battle of the Bastards” episode, there were 160 people on set that were there specifically to take care of all of the horses.

31. Dragonglass is made from obsidian, but the weapons created for the show were 99% rubber.

32. According to a 2017 report from Money.com, Game of Thrones costs $10 million per episode, the same amount the final season of Friends cost, though the latter was less about production value, and more because all six members of the main ensemble received $1 million per episode.

33. For the final series, the cast had to download an app in order to get the script. Once they finished the script, it would magically disappear — like Snapchat. (Also, the app doesn’t have the ability to screenshot!)

34. Showrunner Dan Weiss said that the creators have known the final major beats for the ending of the show for the last five years.

35. Sophie was the first one to finish reading the scripts for the final season and the first one to write to David and Dan about it.

36. Kit found out the fate of the last season during the final table read because he had decided not to read the script ahead of time.

37. David and Dan weren’t aware that Kit was going to wait until the official table read to read the script for the first time, so they initially thought his failure to communicate his thoughts with them was because he hated it.

38. At one point during filming the last season, Dan and David had taken the precaution to set up giant shipping containers on the street so that nobody could see what they were filming, but a concert came into town and set up a Ferris wheel — so that plan ended up being a massive fail.

39. Dan and David consulted with George R.R. Martin for the final season, but they are not going to tell people what the differences are in the show and in the unreleased books.

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

40. Showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff directed the finale of the series.

41. HBO was more than happy to grant them more episodes, but Dan and David knew deep down that Season 8 is where the story is meant to end.

42. After the finale airs, Dan said that he “plans to be very drunk and very far from the internet.” (AHHH, so many possibilities to what this could mean!)

43. They’ve come a long way since they shot the original pilot — nope, not the one you’ve seen in Season 1. There was a whole OTHER pilot.

44. Dan referred to showing the pilot to people for opinions as, “one of the most painful experiences of my life.” David said while taking notes, he remembers writing in all caps, “MASSIVE PROBLEM.”

45. One of the original pilot’s major issues was that it wasn’t clear Jaime and Cersei were brother and sister. David said that is “a major, major plot point that we had somehow failed to establish.”

46. Dan and David recall Sophie and Maisie “hugging each other and bawling” at the pilot’s wrap party because they were afraid the show wouldn’t get picked up, and they’d grown really close as friends in a short amount of time.

47. The showrunners ended up recasting and reshooting 90% of it.

48. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau called the first pilot “unbelievably bad.”

49. The roles of Daenerys and Catelyn were recast when the showrunners reshot the pilot.

50. Sean Bean (Ned Stark) and Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) never had to audition, instead they were chosen to play their roles.

51. Kit had a black eye during his Game of Thrones audition because he’d gotten in a fight at McDonald’s after another diner spoke disrespectfully to his date.

52. Maisie, who was 12 at the time of auditioning for Game of Thrones, initially went for the role of Arya Stark because she wanted to have enough money to buy a new laptop.

53. Emilia listened to gangster rap before she went into her audition for Game of Thrones and remembers thinking, “I’m just going to have to nail this.”

54. John Bradley thought there was no way he would get the part, especially because he was so inexperienced.

55. Jacob Anderson (who plays Grey Worm) remembers that his first day filming was in Morocco, and after he filmed he thought they wouldn’t ever bring his character back.

56. Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark) had no prior acting experience before Game of Thrones. He was ten when he first started.

57. Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon) has retired from acting. He said, “It’s not like I hate it, it’s just not what I want to do.”

58. Hannah Murray (who plays Gilly) was only 22 when she first got brought on. She said she was excited for all the different ways she could play Gilly at the audition, but they stopped her after just one.

59. Hannah was roommates with Jacob Anderson before he got cast on the show.

60. The cast and crew filmed for nine months for the last six episodes, where they’d previously filmed for six months for 10 episodes.

61. George R.R. Martin had an idea for a Game of Thrones/Westworld crossover involving GoT characters in an android hoist park of their own, but the idea was shot down.

62. The most interesting encounter Maisie had with a fan happened when the fan asked her if she wanted to go see the BTS movie with her and her mom — and Maisie said yes!

63. John Bradley once had a fan tell him that Sam’s character gave him the bravery to ask out a girl he’d been in love with for years — and she said yes!

64. Rory McCann (who plays The Hound) said there were “no assholes and no divas” within the huge cast that they had.

65. The Red Wedding was inspired by a real massacre called “The Black Dinner,” during which a king of Scotland invited a clan he’d been fighting with over to make peace over a feast. When the meal was over, they dragged them out and killed them in the courtyard.

66. Maisie Williams will be one of Sophie Turner’s maids of honor at her wedding.

67. The two are actually BFFs in real life and even share matching tattoos of the date when they were first cast.

68. More people yell “Tyrion!” versus “Peter!” when they see Peter Dinklage out in public.

69. Hannah had worked with Joe Dempsie (who plays Gendry) during her first job, which was the show Skins.

70. Sophie said that her favorite day on set was when Arya was reunited with Sansa, saying it was both “funny and difficult” because they couldn’t keep it together.

71. Maisie said it was kind of awkward reuniting with Sansa on screen because it was a bit strange having to act in front of each other again after acting apart for so long.

72. During the scenes with Joffrey, Dan and David used to tell Sophie “Look at Joffrey as if he’s Justin Bieber and imagine that life.”

73. To practice for Shireen’s death scene, Kerry Ingram said, “They took me out to an empty car park in the middle of Belfast and had a vocal coach scream with me.”

74. When Emilia received the final script for Season 8, she read it and then walked around London for three hours to process it all.

75. In real life, Kit is married to Rose Leslie, who played Jon Snow’s first love, Ygritte, in Season 3.

76. The first time Maisie and Sophie met was during their screen test for a chemistry read. At the end they both hugged and told each other that they hoped the other would land the role.

77. Maisie and Sophie’s parents were both at a read through during Season 1 when Sean Bean was present. In typical teenage fashion, they both said their parents were being “really embarrassing” around Sean.

78. Emilia said the horse heart she ate in Season 1 was made out of solidified jam but says it “tasted like bleach and raw pasta.”

79. Emilia was covered in so much sticky fake blood while filming that scene that when she went to take a bathroom break, she got stuck to the toilet seat.

80. Michele Clapton — a costume designer for the show — said that the sound crew absolutely hated the early Kingsguard armor because the metal scales made too much noise.

81. Sean Bean described seeing the prop of his head from Ned’s beheading as “a bit strange” and “a bit creepy.” He also said that they “kicked it around like a football.”

82. Hafthór Björnsson (The Mountain) won a World’s Strongest Viking competition by carrying a massive 30-foot, 1,433-pound log FIVE steps.

83. Nikolaj used to accidentally rip his pants a lot in the first season.

84. According to Michele Clapton, every character’s costume is intentional and are ALWAYS meant to portray a story — “often hinting at loyalties and desires.”

85. Also, special attention is given to costumes that characters wear when they die.

86. Lena Headey’s (Cersei) walk of shame scene was done by a body double named Rebecca Van Cleave. They filmed Van Cleave nude while Headey wore a beige shift, then the visual effects team combined their performances.

87. Isaac took a year off from playing Bran and didn’t appear in Season 5, so when he came back for Season 6 he remembered thinking, “Argh! I’ve forgotten how to act!”

88. Nathalie remembers receiving The Call — the one where she learned she got the part — when she’d just come home from shopping at Tesco.

89. At the time, Nathalie was struggling financially and working at Hollister in Liverpool before she snagged the role of Missandei. After her first season of shooting, she had to go back to working retail because it wasn’t life-changing money.

HBO / Hollister

90. At least 13 actors who were in the Harry Potter film series have also been on Game of Thrones.

91. Ian White played Wun Wun, but the 7’1″ actor also filled the role of The Mountain during Season 2.

92. Joe Dempsie said that fans get his character (Gendry) confused with Daniel Portman’s character (Podrick) all the time.

93. Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister) learned how to skin a deer for a Season 1 scene in which he’s shown skinning a real deer.

94. Peter Dinklage is a vegetarian in real life and the meat he eats for the show isn’t real.

95. Iwan Rheon (who played Ramsey Bolton) hopes that Jon Snow survives in the end.

96. To help maximize security for the final season, each actor’s character had a different name on the call sheet.

97. Richard Dormer (Lord Beric Dondarrion) said the first episode of Season 8 “will give you a small taste of what’s to come.”

98. George R.R. Martin’s earliest memory of a fantasy story is when he owned dime store turtles when he was little. He kept them in a bowl with a play castle, but eventually they would die in a few months despite him feeding them the right amount of turtle food. That’s when he imagined they were fighting over a “turtle throne.”

99. Natalie Dormer (Margery Tyrell) said the cast played a lot of Words with Friends. When speaking about Diana Rigg (Lady Olenna), Dormer said, “she’ll beat you every time.”

100. To get out of a speeding ticket, Kit Harington told a police officer about Jon Snow returning for Season 6 after he was killed in the Season 5 finale.

101. Some fans have correctly predicted Game of Thrones’ ending. George R.R. Martin stated that “at least one or two readers had put together the extremely subtle and obscure clues that I’d planted in the books and came to the right conclusion.”