If there’s one series we can’t stop obsessing over, it’s Game of Thrones, and the time has never been better to brush up on your GOT trivia!
From costume design secrets to near-miss castings, there are no shortage of interesting stories that have gone on behind the scenes on one of our favorite fantasy series.
Take a look at our list of 15 surprising facts about Game of Thrones below!
1. Game of Thrones holds a pretty impressive Emmys record.
Game of Thrones had many reasons to celebrate at the 2016 Emmys. On top of winning the coveted Outstanding Drama Series award, the series also surpassed the record for the highest number of Emmy Awards won by any fictional series. The series swooped up 12 of the 24 awards they were nominated for in 2016, bringing their total number of Emmys to an impressive 38.
2. The series has had its fare share of musical guest stars.
Fans flipped when they learned that singer Ed Sheeran had scored a guest starring role on Game of Thrones season 7, but he’s not the only famous musician to visit Westeros. Past famous guest stars have included Coldplay’s Will Champion, indie band Of Monsters and Men, Snow patrol’s Gary Lightbody, and more.
3. The showrunners ended up nixing a pretty important battle from the books.
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had some pretty big ideas for bringing the infamous Battle of Green Fork to life but unfortunately, the battle ended up happening off screen instead. According to the showrunners, the plan was to have Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) follow The Mountain into combat at the end of season one, but as fans will remember, Tyrion gets knocked out before he can do so. “We were going to have the camera at Peter Dinklage’s eye level and have him follow this giant, The Moutain, into battle and just see everything,” explained the showrunners on an episode of UFC Unfiltered Podcast. “It’s probably better that we couldn’t do it. It never would have measured up to what we were able to do later.”
4. Arya wasn’t as helpless as we thought during her final battle against The Waif.
We’d be hard pressed to forget the heartstopping chase that occurred between a bleeding Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Waif through the streets of Braavos. Though fans might have feared for Arya’s safety— especially after she tumbled down the stairs — director Mark Mylod revealed later in an interview with Wall Street Journal that we actually had nothing to worry about. Apparently, falling and seeming helpless was all part of Arya’s plan. “Hopefully the audience will be caught up in that beat and then only retrospectively flip back and realize that actually Arya had been running things the whole time in terms of luring the Waif back to the place where she could have an advantage over her,” explained Mylod.
5. The cast filmed fake scenes for season 7.
Given Game of Thrones’ popularity, it’s no surprise that fans are always on the hunt for spoilers — but the cast and crew of the drama don’t make it easy. In fact, Kit Harington recently revealed that he and his costars actually filmed fake scenes for hours ahead of season 7 to throw people off from figuring out what was really to come. Talk about dedication!
6. A key character was missing for the show for an entire season.
While Bran turned out to be an important player in Westors, it’s easy to forget that he was missing from the action for an entire seasons. According to CinemaBlend.com, Bran’s absence was primarily due to the fact that the show wanted to fast forward through the more tedious parts of his storyline. Speaking about the gap to EW.com right before his season 6 comeback, actor Isaac Hempstead said that though it was “quite nice” to take time off, he was ultimately excited to return.
7. The pilot had to be reshot.
It’s not easy to find flaws in Game of Thrones, but there were apparently quite a few in the pilot. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss told Time that they actually had to go back and reshoot the very first episode of the series to better capture the nuances of the characters.
8. HBO had to hire out a specialist to craft the Dothraki language.
If you’ve ever been impressed by how realistic the Dothraki language sounds on Game of Thrones, you’ve got former English professor David J. Peterson to thank. Peterson revealed in an interview with EW that he beat out over 30 applicants to score the coveted HBO gig after coming up with about 1,700 words and “90 percent of the grammar.” As of 2013, Peterson’s Dothraki dictionary is comprised of about 3,700 words.
9. Game of Thrones is among one of the most expensive series to make.
According Mic.com an average episodes costs about $6 million to make. Though that might seem like a lot of cash, it’s also not surprising to hear the series comes with a hefty price tag when you think about all of the actors salaries, special effects, costumes and more. Either way, we’re a bit more appreciative of the final product now that we know how much it costs for one episode to make it to air!
10. There’s a lot of effort that goes into making the costumes on set look just right.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, costume designer Michele Clapton revealed that if the costumes look aged on the series, that’s because they are. Furthermore, Clapton revealed that aging the costumes for the show usually takes an average of two weeks. “When you are shooting in HD, breaking down a costume can’t be done too quickly or it will show,” explained the designer. “You spend two weeks breaking down, patching, dying, repatching. Then you trash it, age it , then trash it again and repair. You can’t just stick a couple of patches on it and spray it with dirt because that is exactly what it will look like on HD televisions.”
11. Kit Harington almost lost the role of Jon Snow to another Game of Thrones actor.
Interestingly, it was none other than Iwan Rheon, who brings the sinister Ramsay Bolton to life, who was almost cast as the series’ hero. Though Rheon lost the role to Harington in the end, the actor clearly has no hard feelings. “I think they made the right choice,” Rheon told Interview according to Time. “It would’ve been a very different Jon Snow if I’d played him.”
12. Author George R.R. Martin filmed a cameo that didn’t make it to air.
According to fansite WinterIsComing.net, the author had a cameo in the series’ original pilot, which ended up being scrapped. In it, Martin played a guest at Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s wedding. The jury’s still out over whether Martin will cameo in the series before it wraps up, but we’re totally hoping he will!
13. Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage sometimes have trouble acting in scenes together.
In a Reddit AMA back in 2014, Dinklage revealed that he has trouble acting opposite Headey because it’s hard to keep a straight face. “Sometimes we have to avoid eye contact so we don’t crack up,” said Dinklage, who was good friends with Headey before they were cast as brother and sister on the show.
14. HBO is already looking ahead to life beyond Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones may be reaching its end, but the good news is that there’s more stories to tell in the land of Westeros. HBO revealed back in May that they’re in the midst on working on more than one Game of Thrones spinoff. There’s no telling how many series will get the green light, but we’ll be looking forward to experiencing more of George R. R. Martin’s stories come to the small screen in the future!
15. Unfortunately, any future Game of Thrones prequels and sequels will have to move forward without showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
The showrunners said in September 2016 that they won’t be taking part in whatever HBO decides to pursue next. “It’s a great world that George created. It’s a very rich world. I’m sure there will be other series set in Westeros, but for us, this is it,” said Benioff in an interview with TV Line.
Game of Thrones season 7 premieres on Sunday (July 17) on HBO at 9/8c.