12 October 2016
At the last Emmys Award, HBO’s Game of Thrones became the most awarded primetime TV series in history.
Why won’t it be; in 2016 alone, more than 23 million people worldwide watched each episode of the HBO series.
The series’ intricate plot has undoubtedly made it one of the most appealing series around at the moment.
Many people know the plot but not many know that the behind the scenes plot are even more fascinating.
We’ve put together some of the most fascinating in this piece:
George R.R. Martin never wanted his book on big screen
Author George R.R. Martin had long been notoriously reluctant to adapt his novel series, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, because he didn’t want the onscreen version to tarnish the brilliance of his books. So when David Benioff and D.B. Weiss approached him for HBO, Martin agreed on one condition: they had to answer one question. He asked them who they believed Jon Snow’s true parents are, and when Benioff and Weiss gave the correct answer, Martin gave his blessing. While the rest of the world finally learned during the season six finale that Jon Snow is really the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, we have to admire Benioff and Weiss for finding out the truth years ago.
The series almost never aired
The original pilot episode of the series wasn’t that great at all. It was so bad that HBO executives and producers were so unhappy, they almost ended the show before it began. Actress Sophie Turner said: “We had to re-shoot basically all of it because it was really bad.” Major changes also had to be made to the cast. Notably, Emilia Clarke was brought on to replace Tamzin Merchant in the role of Daenerys Targaryen, and Michelle Fairley took over Catelyn Stark from Jennifer Ehle.
Joffrey Baratheon and Ramsay Snow remain the series’ most hated characters
Until Ramsay Snow hit the screen during season three, Joffrey Baratheon was perhaps the most universally despised character on the show. Irish actor Jack Gleeson did such a convincing job as the sadistic boy-king that R.R. Martin sent him this note: “Congratulations on your marvelous performance; everyone hates you!” Gee, thanks, George.
Producers created real languages for the series
Although Martin only created a rudimentary outline for the fictional languages of his novels, Game of Thrones producers required a much broader vocabulary to use on the show. They turned to Language Creation Society founder David J. Peterson, and he created entire languages for both Dothraki and Valyrian, including grammatical rules and pronunciation guides. If you’d like to learn either language yourself, there are guidelines online.
Red Wedding and Purple Wedding happened real life
R.R. Martin frequently draws from real history for his books, and a notably nasty incident in Scottish history served as inspiration for the infamous Red Wedding in season 3. In 1440, William, the 16-year-old Earl of Douglas and his 10-year-old brother were invited to a feast with James II, the child King of Scotland. The King’s advisors dragged the young Earl and his brother outside, gave them a mock trial and then beheaded them both. The incident would later be known as “The Black Dinner.” Similarly, the Purple Wedding where Joffrey meets his maker was based on a real incident: the poisoning and death of England’s Prince Eustace at a feast in 1153.
Battle of the bastards was largely real
Battle scenes in movies are usually largely developed on computers using high tech animation. This is not the case with the famous battle of the bastards in season 6 where the most popular bastards in the series, Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton, went head to head. During the breathtaking cavalry charge, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) stands alone on the battlefield as Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and Umber horsemen ride toward him at breakneck speed. But Snow’s army suddenly rushes up behind him, igniting one of the show’s most impressive battle scenes. If you thought it had to be green-screen trickery, however, you were wrong. Show runners revealed in a behind-the-scenes video that those were 80 real, live horses charging Harrington at full gallop. Another major question from this battle scene is: How did producers create that impressive pile of bodies on the battlefield during the battle for Winterfell in season 6? A behind-the-scenes video from HBO also reveals that all the bodies were actually life-sized dummies, not computer-generated fakes. The crew acquired hundreds of mannequins, dressed them in appropriate House Umber and House Bolton armor, then coated them in mud and fake blood and piled them in a gigantic heap. Even the dead horses among the men are dummies equipped with saddles.
Arya’s was actually made blind in season 6
Producers of the series try to be as real as they possibly can. For instance, in ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her brother Viserys (Harry Lloyd) have purple eyes and Game of Thrones show runners planned for them to have them on the show, as well.
Unfortunately, the purple contacts affected Clarke so badly that producers decided to ditch the contacts and re-shoot the scenes with her natural baby blues. And that’s not the only eye-opening tale from the set: During most of season six, Arya Stark (Maise Williams) is blinded during her training with the Faceless Men. In order to accurately portray the role, Williams wore completely opaque 16mm-thick contact lenses for her speaking scenes, and a pair with only a pinhole in the center during fight scenes.