15. Does a Girl Have a Name?
Game of Thrones has been very influential in the baby name game. In 2012, after the show debuted, 160 girls worldwide were named Khaleesi. In England, Arya and Khaleesi are more popular than ever, followed by Tyrion, Sansa, Daenerys and Brienne. More than 300 girls were named for Arya Stark in 2017.
14. Jon Snow’s Mother
Before entrusting his beloved series to show creators Weiss and Benioff, Martin threw them a curveball by asking them to identify Jon Snow’s real mother. Although Snow’s mother’s identity had not yet been revealed by the books, Martin wanted to see if Weiss and Benioff had read enough of the books to make an intelligent guess. Weiss said “We had already discussed it. We’d had like a two-hour conversation about it. It was pretty well-trammeled territory for us.” They passed the test.
13. Queen Elizabeth II Declined the Throne
Queen Elizabeth II visited the Game of Thrones set but declined to take a seat on the Iron Throne. Elizabeth follows royal protocols about never sitting on anything but the English throne, even in the fantasy realm. Elizabeth and Prince Phillip visited filming sets in Northern Ireland, which have pumped $149 million into the local economy.
12. Three Dragon Eggs
Daenerys was given three dragon eggs as a wedding gift when she married Khal Drogo. The producers later gave one of the eggs to George R.R. Martin when he married Parris McBride. As Martin revealed, thankfully no one was killed. “The hearth is Lannister red, but the bride wore Tyrell colors. Unlike most Westerosi weddings, no one was killed and only tears of joy were shed.”
11. King Joffrey’s Inspiration
Jack Gleeson’s King Joffrey is one of the most hated television characters of all time. His sneering, egomaniacal man-child terrorizes the Stark family until he meets his end. Gleeson based his portrayal in part on Joaquin Phoenix’s version of Commodus in the movie Gladiator.
The character also resembles real-life sadistic tyrant Caligula.
10. You Know Nothing Jon Snow
Jon Snow had instant chemistry with one of the Free Folk, Ygritte, during the show’s first season. That chemistry carried over into real life, with Kit Harrington marrying the actress, Rose Leslie, in June of 2018 at her family’s Scotland castle.
9. A Bad Breakup
Actors Jerome Flynn (Bronn) and Lena Headey (Cersei) were romantically involved, but they had a bad breakup. A source from the crew say the two must be kept apart during filming. “Jerome and Lena aren’t on speaking terms anymore and they are never in the same room at the same time,” a member of the crew informs me. “It’s a pity because they appeared to have patched things up for a while, but now the word is they should be kept apart at all costs.”
8. Gregor is Three Different Actors
If you’ve ever watched GoT and thought “huh, the Mountain looks a little different,” it’s not just because the show hasn’t been on for a while. Gregor The Mountain Clegane has been played by three different actors. Conan Stevens was on board for season one, but he was replaced by Ian Whyte in the second season. The character was played by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson for the fourth, fifth and sixth seasons.
7. You’ve Never Seen the Real Pilot
There is an unaired first pilot that was shelved by the network. “We got everything wrong on a very basic level with the writing of it,” said show co-creator David Benioff. Catelyn Stark and Daenerys Stormborn were played by Jennifer Ehle and Tamzin Merchant, respectively. Ehle is a Tony and BAFTA-winning actress. Merchant is best known for her role as Georgiana Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. They were replaced by Michelle Fairley and Emilia Clarke.
6. Might Have Beens
Several well-known actors actually turned down roles in the show, most notably Gillian Anderson. (No one knows which role, but it could have been Cersei.) Dominic West turned down the role of Mance Raydar. Meanwhile, Outlander star Sam Heughan auditioned seven times for various roles, including Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell, but was never cast.
5. Dothraki is Real
Well, as real as other made-up languages from literature. Famous linguist David J. Peterson worked with HBO and Martin to fully flesh out the language, which was released as a Living Language course in 2014.
4. Peter Dinklage the Only Option
Martin said he imagined Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister long before the show as ever made. When it was time to cast for the role, Dinklage was the only person considered for what turned out to be the role of a lifetime.
3. Monty Python Connection
The Game of Thrones pilot was actually filmed in one of the castles where Monty Python and the Holy Grail had been filmed. Three years later, one of the Meereenese warriors makes a reference to the famous farce by yelling “Your mother was a hamster,” “Go and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person,” and “I blow my nose at you.” All three are Python taunts. However, the character spoke in Low Valyrian, so most of us missed it.
2. An Actual Dead Stag
Game of Thrones pays lots of attention to authenticity. When Twin Lannister is introduced in season 1, he is shown skinning a stag. (The stag is the sigil of House Baratheon, so it is a sign of how the Lannisters are coming for them.) In reality, actor Charles Dance was actually skinning a dead stag with a knife.
1. The End is Known
Although the last GoT book has yet to be completed, Martin has told the showrunners what they can expect. Weiss and Benioff said “Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be,” Benioff told Vanity Fair. “If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So, we just sat down with him and literally went through every character.” Fans are on the edge of their seat waiting for the outcome of the series!