Since HBO’s “Game of Thrones” (once again) leads the pack of contenders for the Primetime Emmy Awards 2016 (with 23 nominations for its 6th season), we figured the epic fantasy drama deserves a dedicated blog post.
The excitement of all the nominations received kind of a buzz kill when HBO announced that season 7 of GoT will not return until summer 2017 – changing the show’s usual strategy of premiering each season in spring time.
Also, the network is confirming for the first time that the next edition will consist of only 7 episodes (instead of the usual 10, bummer!). Anyway, in the meantime, here’s 10 Fun GoT Facts that you most likely didn’t know about!
*Spoiler alert for all aired episodes*
1. THERE’S AN UNAIRED PILOT.
The first pilot, directed by Spotlight writer-director Tom McCarthy, was so terrible that it had to be shelved and reshot completely.
2. CATELYN STARK AND DAENERYS TARGARYEN WERE ORIGINALLY PLAYED BY OTHER ACTORS. By Jennifer Ehle and Tamzin Merchant to be precise.
3. SANSA STARK ADOPTED HER DIREWOLF IN REAL LIFE.
Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, actually adopted Zunni, the Northern Inuit dog that played her pet direwolf on the series’ first season.
4. DOTHRAKI IS A REAL LANGUAGE (for geeks only).
Like fellow sci-fi/fantasy languages Klingon (from Star Trek) and Quenya (from The Lord of the Rings), Dothraki is an actual language that you can learn.
5. DAENERYS TARGARYEN ORIGINALLY HAD VIOLET EYES.
During shooting, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Viserys (Harry Lloyd) Targaryen originally wore violet contact lenses, but showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss decided they negatively impacted the actors’ ability to show emotion.
6. A LOT OF DEAD CHARACTERS ARE ALIVE IN THE BOOKS.
More than a handful of characters are alive in Martin’s books, but dead on the show. These include: Shireen and Stannis Baratheon, Night’s Watchmen Pyp and Grenn, Barristan Selmy, Myrcella Baratheon, and Mance Rayder.
7. SHOOTING THE HORSE HEART SCENE WAS AN UNPLEASANT EXPERIENCE.
The horse heart Daenerys had to eat in season one was essentially a giant gummy candy—one that, per Clarke, tasted a little bit like bleach (though eating a real horse's heart would still be worse, we presume).
8. REAL PEOPLE ARE NAMING THEIR KIDS AFTER GAME OF THRONES CHARACTERS.
In 2014, per the Social Security Administration, “Khaleesi” was the United States’ 755th most popular baby name for girls. No joke. Over in Britain, Khaleesi, Arya, Tyrion, Brienne, Sansa, Bran, Sandor, and Theon also saw a rise in popularity (poor kids).
9. THE STARK KIDS ARE DIFFERENT AGES IN THE SHOW THAN IN THE BOOKS.
When A Game of Thrones-the-book starts off, the Stark children are much younger than their on-screen counterparts.
10. IT’S BEEN THE MOST ILLEGALLY DOWNLOADED SHOW FOR FOUR YEARS RUNNING.
According to TorrentFreak, Game of Thrones was the most pirated show of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. In 2015 it had more than twice the illegal downloads of the second most pirated show, The Walking Dead.
Alright fine and one secret special bonus fact:
THE SHOWRUNNERS ACTUALLY KNOW HOW THE BOOKS WILL END.
Martin has told Weiss and Benioff how the series will end. Quoting: “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.”
(with thanks to Mental Floss !)