CHARLOTTE: HBO’s wildly popular television series Game of Thrones is midway through its 8th and final season, so it’s time to look behind the thrones at some fun off-screen trivia.
The Internet Movie Database, more familiarly known as IMDb, is arguably the best source of media pop culture trivia in existence, which means GOT, much like its intricate plots and sub-plots, has so many oddities it is impossible to stuff them all into a single column.
From the outset, Game of Thrones has been controversial for its extensive use of nudity and sexual interaction among its characters, so a good starting point falls to off-camera relationships.
Romance behind the scenes
Prior to casting, Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) and Jerome Flynn (Bronn) ended a real-life relationship so badly they each had contract clauses stating they could not share scenes and must remain apart while on set.
On a happier note, Kit Harington (John Snow) and Rose Leslie (Ygritte) were married in Scotland on June 23, 2018, after falling in love while playing an on-screen couple.
Less glamorous, but definitely more functional is the fact that Harington’s great-grandfather invented the flush toilet.
Things you did not know about Daenerys
And speaking of being flushed with embarrassment, following a scene where Emilia Clarke (Targaryen) was covered with so much fake blood after horse heart eating scene in season 1, she actually got stuck to a toilet seat during a break.
On another note, the “raw horse heart” was made of gelatin so Clarke could eat it, but actress said the concoction still tasted so bad that her coughing, gagging and facial expressions required virtually no acting.
For the record, Emilia Clarke, a natural brunette, claims she never dyed her hair until the final season of the show. Those familiar platinum locks were achieved through an elaborate wig and makeup system which over the course of the show involved 12,137 hairpieces.
Though Clarke’s character in the program is Daenerys, during early episodes, she became known as “Khalessi.” So popular was the role that over 160 girls born in the U.S. were named Khaleesi in 2012.
Long life is not guaranteed in the Seven Kingdoms
One of author George R R Martin’s signature traits is killing off popular characters in early and middle episodes. Martin justifies his style by saying it mirrors life. No reflection on George, but when his wife informed him that she would leave him if he got rid of Sansa and Arya Stark, “Stark” reality set in and the two women survived.
Modeled after the Roman emperor Caligula, Baratheon was one character whose demise midway through the series upset no one. Gleeson, himself, patterned his role after Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) in Gladiator (2000).
Since Joffrey’s departure, Cersei Lannister, played by Lena Headey, has filled the vacated spot as the most hated character in the series.
Headey says she is often the victim of fan hatred of her character. At fan conventions, she has been shunned to the extent that at an autograph session at Comic-Con, people actually grabbed their books from her hands to prevent her from signing it.
I get by with a little help from my friends
In wild contrast to his character, Jack Gleeson, who played Joffery, was said to be one of the friendliest, nicest actors on the set. In fact, Gleeson and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) are such good friends that they used to rap together, though you would never know it from their on-camera portrayals.
Also, longtime friends are Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) and Lena Headey. Dinklage recommended Headey to the producers, and whenever their shooting schedules coincided they shared an apartment together. Off the set they are often seen in restaurants and pubs together.
Perfect attendance records
Despite surviving the entire run of Game of Thrones, even Peter Dinklage does not appear in every episode. Dinklage holds the record with 67 shows through the first 7 seasons, followed by Headey at 62.
Only three characters appeared in every show of any given ten episode season; Headey and Gleeson did 10 shows in Season I while Dinklage performed in all the programs in the second and fifth seasons.
Six actors were in each episode of Season 7 but that season did not contain ten shows.
Where are the Seven Kingdoms
GOT may have a record for international locations. Home base for the series is Northern Ireland and most of the interior scenes were shot in Belfast.
Other countries included Croatia, Malta, Morocco, Spain, Republic of Ireland, Canada, Scotland, Iceland and the United States. Fifty of the locations were shot in Ireland, of which 49 were in Northern Ireland.
Emilia Clarke is on record as saying Croatia was her favorite destination during shooting.
Ten principal characters were given the “stamp of approval” in 2018 when they appeared in a series of the UK’s Royal Mail postage. Besides the actors, other important representations featured the Night King, Giants, Direwolves, Dragons and the Iron Throne.
GOT Set intrigue
Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), a member of the London Fencing Academy, was so intrigued by the various plots twists that she only read a script to the extent required to understand her role. In that way, she was able to watch completed episodes when they were broadcast so they would be a surprise without spoiling them.
Meanwhile, during a recent appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Emilia Clarke told the audience that Episode 5 of the final season would blow them away, though earlier she admitted that the producers shot different endings and have yet to confirm which is the final choice.
For housekeeping purposes to wrap up this first installment of GOT trivia:
• Oona Chaplin (Talisa Maegyr) is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin
• Between Seasons 1 and 2, Emilia Clarke suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage and almost died
• Game of Thrones is Maisie Williams’ (Arya Stark) first major acting role.
• By coincidence, the name of a Channel Four (UK) news anchor is John Snow, making the line “You know nothing, Jon Snow” unintentionally humorous
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor is an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is the founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up