25 Fun "Game of Thrones" Facts You May Not Knowby IMDb-Contributing-Writers | last updated - 20 May 2016
Everyone knows "winter is coming," but when it comes to trivia about HBO's hit TV series "Game of Thrones," you may be closer to that know-nothing Jon Snow than you thought. Here are 25 interesting tidbits about the world of Westeros. — Gina Carbone
Warning: Plot points from the show, including the current Season 6, are referenced ahead.
Tyrion is the main character, as proven by math.
No single character has appeared in every episode of "Game of Thrones" to date. Only three characters, so far, have been in every episode of a given season. Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) and Jack Gleeson (King Joffrey Baratheon) were in every episode of Season 1, and Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) was in every episode of Season 2 and Season 5.
Also, mathematicians scoured author George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" book series and published a paper in MAA’s Math Horizons, analyzing who is the most interconnected character in the series. Their results showed that Tyrion interacted with the most characters. As a result, they wrote, "Our analysis suggests that he is the true protagonist of the book."
Fake blood left Emilia Clarke stuck to the toilet.
You know you have a weird job when it sticks you to the toilet. Emilia Clarke told Jimmy Kimmel that, during filming for the Season 1 scene where Daenerys Targaryen ate a stallion's heart, she ended up covered in so much sticky fake blood that, when she took a bathroom break, it stuck her to the toilet.
Clarke told Vulture the fake horse's heart was truly "disgusting" to eat. "They promised me that it would taste similar to a gummy bear, and it definitely didn’t. The best way to describe it is sort of a congealed, jam kind of thing. On the outtakes, there will be me heaving into a bucket. It’s such a reflex, when you taste something that’s just so revolting. You kind of instantly just want to get rid of it. It’s safe to say that I didn’t eat lunch that day."
The guy who plays Ramsay was the runner-up for Jon Snow.
Iwan Rheon now plays the villain Ramsay Snow Bolton, but he was almost the hero of the story.
The actor told the Telegraph, "I auditioned for the pilot of 'Game of Thrones' and was down to the last two for Jon Snow." He obviously didn't get the role that went to Kit Harington, but when he was eventually cast as Ramsay, the producers just gave him the character of "Boy" so as to avoid spoilers about who he was really playing. "I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone about it from the beginning of filming to the broadcast of the end of Season 3. I was supposed to say to everyone, 'Oh, my character is Boy,' which was really embarrassing."
The Lannisters would've loved the original theme song.
Co-showrunner David Benioff reportedly wanted the HBO show's theme song to be the House Lannister song, "The Rains of Castamere," immortalizing Twyin Lannister's destruction of House Reyne. But co-showrunner D.B. Weiss convinced him not to do it. However, "The Rains of Castamere" has gotten a workout on the show, with characters referencing and playing the song, and it has also been featured over the end credits.
The author had a cameo in the unaired pilot.
George R.R. Martin had a Hitchcock-like cameo in the pilot that never saw the light of day. The whole pilot was reshot, with many recastings, including Michelle Fairley replacing Jennifer Ehle as Catelyn Stark and Emilia Clarke taking on the role of Dany, who was originally played by Tamzin Merchant. Author George R.R. Martin shot a scene with Merchant. But when it was cut, his only appearance in the series was cut with it.
As he explained in a web chat, "Actually, I made a cameo in the original pilot, which was filmed in Morocco. I was a Pentoshi nobleman and one of the guests at Dany's wedding to Khal Drogo. However, subsequently we recast the part of Dany. So, the entire Morocco wedding sequence was cut, and my brilliant cameo was left on the cutting room floor."
There are a lot of little Khaleesis out there.
Khaleesi is actually a title: It's the Dothraki version of queen, but fans have embraced it as a name for their baby girls. According to a Social Security Administration list of baby names in 2014, Khaleesi was the 755th most popular baby name for girls. In 2013, it was the 1,021st most popular baby. So, it's only getting more popular over time.
Joffrey was modeled after Caligula.
King Joffrey Baratheon, arguably the most hated character in the show (at least until the rise of Ramsay), was reportedly modeled after Roman emperor Caligula, who was cruel, sadistic, tyrannical, and sexually perverse. A Redditor noticed the physical resemblance between Joffrey and Caligula, which is Latin for "Little Boot."
The Red Woman was almost the Lion Queen.
We get so used to seeing certain actors as their characters that it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role. But Carice van Houten told Vulture she was originally up for Lena Headey's role of Cersei Lannister. "I thought the queen would be a great part," van Houten said. "They asked me to audition, but I couldn't do it, because I was shooting something else. I think it was Intruders, with Clive Owen, and there was no way."
Sam Heughan auditioned for "Game of Thrones" seven times.
Fans now know and love him as Jamie Fraser on "Outlander," but Sam Heughan told Vulture he actually auditioned for "Game of Thrones" seven times.
"I auditioned for Renly, Loras, some of the members of the Night's Watch," he said. "And I'd always get so close! I'd be like, 'Guys, just give me a sword!' Everyone was going in for those parts. But you know, it's funny about those things. You're up for so many things and coming from those auditions and testing on other shows. I had more experience, more experience with the process. And maybe I was more confident." As a result, when it came time to audition for Jamie, it just felt right and everything fell into place.
Sophie Turner adopted "Lady."
Sansa Stark bonded quickly with Lady, her ill-fated direwolf, and Sophie Turner has a similar bond with Zunni, who played Lady in Season 1 and then joined the actress's family. As Turner told her hometown newspaper, the Coventry Telegraph, "Growing up I always wanted a dog, but my parents never wanted one. We kind of fell in love with my character’s direwolf, Lady, on set. We knew Lady died and they wanted to re-home [Zunni]. My mum persuaded them to let us adopt her."
There's room for only one Allen sibling on this show.
Alfie Allen, who plays Theon Greyjoy, is the brother of famous singer Lily Allen, who wrote a not terribly flattering song about her brother called "Alfie." (Sample lyrics: "My little brother's in his bedroom smoking weed/I tell him he should get up cos it's nearly half past three.")
In a Reddit Ask Me Anything, Lily Allen said she had been asked to do a "Game of Thrones" cameo, and she claimed she was asked if she'd be interested in playing Theon's sister Yara. However, Alfie Allen refuted that, saying his sister was not offered any role on the show.
Charles Dance really did skin a stag for his first scene.
Charles Dance told the Daily Beast the craziest thing he ever did on "Game of Thrones" came in his very first scene as Tywin Lannister back in Season 1, Episode 7, when his character was introduced while skinning a stag.
He said the showrunners approached him, asking, "Are you a vegetarian, Charles?” He replied, "No, why do you ask?" And then they told him about the deer. "So, this butcher arrived with a dead animal, and they gave me a little room to work in, gave me a sharp knife, and showed me how to skin it and spill the guts into a bucket," Dance recalled. "The next day, they gave me another dead animal, and we shot it. It was a bloody good time, but it took me two days to get the smell off my hands."
It cost more than $10 million to shoot each episode of Season 6.
"Game of Thrones" is an epic, expensive production, and you can see all of the money on screen for each episode, especially in the current Season 6. In Entertainment Weekly this past April, reporter James Hibberd wrote about the massive budget for the show: "The show easily costs north of $10 million per episode at this point — not that you'll hear HBO complain."
As Tech Insider noted, that's a jump from earlier season reports, including in Season 2, when the showrunners said they had to beg HBO for an extra $2 million to film the Battle of the Blackwater, which brought that episode's price tag to an estimated $8 million. Over time, the show has only gotten bigger and more ambitious. For example, Season 5 shot in 5 countries, on 151 sets, for 240 days, with 166 cast members, more than 1,000 crew members and more than 5,000 extras.
Dean-Charles Chapman has played two Lannisters.
Dean-Charles Chapman started playing King Tommen in Season 4, but the role of Tommen was originally played by Callum Wharry. Meanwhile, Chapman had previously played Martyn Lannister, who was captured by Tullly forces along with his brother Willem, both sons of Kevan Lannister. So, Chapman went from playing one of Cersei Lannister's cousins to playing one of her sons.
Natalie Dormer avoids spoilers by only reading Margaery scenes.
Here's one way to avoid accidentally sharing spoilers during interviews. Natalie Dormer told Jimmy Kimmel she only reads the parts of the show's scripts that apply to her character, Margaery Tyrell.
As she explained, "I watched Season 1 like a fan, like you. So, when I joined them in the second season, I wanted to go back to feeling like a fan. I stopped reading other people’s storylines. I only read the scripts that are relevant to Margaery and Highgarden and King’s Landing. So, when the show airs, I’m sitting on the couch watching it like you."
"The Lord of the Rings" was a major influence.
It may seem obvious that author George R.R. Martin was inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy "The Lord of the Rings," when writing "A Song of Ice and Fire." But it's true. And the film series has some connections to the TV series, including the link of Sean Bean. Bean played Boromir in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and Ned Stark in "Game of Thrones" Season 1. Because Sean Bean's characters tend to die in everything, he never made it past the first installment of either series.
Sophie Turner was fooled about Jon Snow's fate.
Before filming Season 6, Kit Harington told Entertainment Weekly he had to lie his castmates about Jon Snow's fate. Some actors (like Liam Cunningham, who plays Davos) were not fooled, but apparently Sophie Turner (Sansa) bought it hook, line, and sinker. "Sophie Turner, bless her, wrote me a really long letter about how much she loved working with me – and I still got it," Harington told EW. "That made me chuckle."
David Benioff almost got divorced over Jon Snow.
Co-showrunner David Benioff was already a famous author and screenwriter (25th Hour, Troy, The Kite Runner, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) before co-creating "Game of Thrones." He is married to actress Amanda Peet, who warned her husband she would divorce him if he killed off Jon Snow. Technically, Benioff did kill off Jon Snow. But since he's still around, the marriage is still keepin' on, too.
Fans really, really loved that White Walker battle.
As of now, the top-rated episode, by IMDb users, is Season 5, Episode 8, "Hardhome," which currently has a 9.9/10 rating from more than 43,300 users. Not only did that episode thrust Jon Snow into battle with White Walkers, it gave us the first conversation between main characters Dany and Tyrion.
Fans were less fond of Sansa's battle.
As of now, the lowest-rated episode, by IMDb users, is Season 5, Episode 6, "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken," which got its title from a visit to Dorne and was controversial with fans for Sansa's storyline with Ramsay and Theon in Winterfell.
However, Jeremy Podeswa was nominated for the Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Emmy for directing this episode.
Lena Headey used a body double for Cersei's penance.
At the end of Season 5, Cersei Lannister had to do a nude penance walk through King's Landing, aka her walk of "shame." Actress Lena Headey used a body double for the scene, with an actress named Rebecca Van Cleave doing the walk naked.
Headey told Entertainment Weekly that some fans thought she was "less of an actress" for using a double. But she explained, "I've done nudity. I'm not adverse to it. But I know I'm a very emotional actor, and I get really driven by that. In order to do my job, I allow myself to be really vulnerable. I don't know any other way to do my job. Things really affect me. And the thought of being naked for three days and trying to contain her in the way she would be, I think I would feel very angry. I didn't want to be angry. I don't think Cersei would be angry. I did what I thought she would do, emotionally."
Contact lenses are hit or miss.
Maisie Williams wore painful contacts to play blind Arya Stark/No One in Braavos at the end of Season 5 and the start of Season 6. Williams told the New York Times, "For a lot of the close-ups, I had contact lenses that were opaque. So, I couldn’t see anything anyway. For the fight scenes, I had contact lenses I could see through [for safety reasons]."
Daenerys Targaryen has purple eyes in the books, but David Benioff said that, when they tried filming Emilia Clarke with colored contacts, it lessened the performance. Thus, they abandoned the lenses.
Peter Dinklage was the only actor considered for Tyrion.
When they originally started casting the show, George R.R. Martin said there were two roles he and the showrunners agreed on instantly: Peter Dinklage for Tyrion Lannister and Sean Bean for Ned Stark. Martin said they never considered anyone for Tyrion but Dinklage, and no one else read for the part.
However, Dinklage almost turned down the role, because it was in the fantasy genre. "I [had] known David Benioff, he was an acquaintance, and I was a huge fan of his writing. So, that really got me inquisitive about the project: that and HBO," Dinklage explained in a Reddit AMA. "I had one hesitation, because of the fantasy genre. I told him I didn’t want a really long beard and pointy shoes, and they assured me this character and this world wasn’t that. They told me about his complexity, the fact that he wasn’t a hero or a villain, that he was a womanizer and a drinker. They painted a flawed and beautiful portrait of him. So, I signed on."
So far, Dinklage has two Emmys and a Golden Globe Award for his role.
George R.R. Martin got the dragon eggs as a wedding gift.
Even though George R.R. Martin's wedding cameo in the pilot never aired, he did walk away with a great wedding gift for himself. According to BuzzFeed, the designer of the dragon eggs that Dany got for her wedding gave one of them to Martin when he married Parris McBride in 2011.
Natalia Tena is the only star to influence her print counterpart.
In 2011, a few months before George R.R. Martin published his fifth book in the series, "A Dance With Dragons," Collider asked if he approached the writing of certain characters differently, having seen their performances on the HBO show. He said yes, but only in one instance.
"The only actress who’s really made me rethink a character is Natalia Tena as Osha," Martin said. "She’s younger, more attractive, and more dynamic than I had initially written that character. And, when Osha comes back into the story, as I hope that she will, I’m definitely going to take that into account."