Did you know that Game of Thrones is an international phenomenon with over 20 million viewers? Did you know that it has spawned a cultural legacy unlike any other modern television show? Did you know that if you are naive enough to start liking a character on Game of Thrones that said character will be horrifically murdered and all your hopes and dreams will be immediately crushed and you’ll vow never to love another Game of Thrones character again only to fall into the same trap of thinking a character you care about is safe at the exact moment that they are brutally executed and then you cry yourself to sleep for the rest of your life because nothing matters?
What’s that? You do know all of those things? Well then, I guess that means you’ve been paying attention. But whether you’re a huge fan of Game of Thrones or someone who prefers to read 10 arbitrary facts before getting into a new show, here’s 10 (Spoiler Free) Facts You Didn’t Know About Game of Thrones.
10. The Original Pilot You’ve Never Seen
Back in the fall of 2009 – otherwise known as Before Game of Thrones, or BGT – Tom McCarthy directed the pilot of Game of Thrones. This is the same Tom McCarthy who wrote and directed dramedies like The Station Agent (with Peter Dinklage), Win Win, and last year’s Adam Sandler film The Cobbler. So, not exactly a genre fitting choice for what we now expect Game of Thrones to be.
Eventually, the pilot was scrapped, rewritten, and reshot, trading its locations of Scotland and Morocco for Northern Ireland, Croatia, and Malta. Tim Van Patten ended up taking over for Tom McCarthy, and issues that were in the original pilot – such as the Starks not being fully fleshed out characters – were rectified. In addition to insiders who saw the original pilot claiming that they didn’t even know until the end of the episode that Jaime and Cersei were brother and sister, the original pilot had different actors portraying Daenerys and Catelyn.
9. Game of Thrones Babies Are a Thing
After Game of Thrones became an international phenomenon, new parents started honoring the show and their favorite characters by naming their unsuspecting children after them. In 2014, 1544 babies were named Arya in the United States, making it the 216th most popular name, four spots ahead of the totally normal name Jennifer.
In addition to Arya, 368 babies were named Khaleesi – which technically is a title bestowed upon a person meaning “Queen,” and not a name – while 60 were named Tyrion – why wouldn’t there be more?! Tyrion is the best! – and 15 were named Theon in 2013, which (thankfully) decreased to 11 in 2014, presumably once parents caught up on Season 2 and 3 and saw what Theon was up to.
8. Nine Cast Members Have Appeared in Harry Potter
If Game of Thrones is an institution, then Harry Potter is a cult hell-bent on world domination, and if you like Game of Thrones, odds are you subscribe to the Harry Potter cult in all its glory as well. What you may not have known is that there have been several casting crossovers between the Wizarding World and Westeros, with 9 cast members on Game of Thrones appearing in Harry Potter over the course of its eight films.
Actors Ciaran Hinds, Bronson Webb, Ralph Ineson, and Edward Tudor-Pole all had roles in both series, while Julian Glover, who plays the atrocious Grand Maester Pycelle, also voiced the atrocious Aragog the spider in The Chamber of Secrets; thus confirming that he always plays a disgusting sub-human monster.
Other actors of note are Ian Whyte, a British basketball player, who played Madame Olympe Maxime in full body shots for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, as well as the old white walker in Season 1 and 2. Never one to leave the set of Game of Thrones, Whyte then played Gregor Clegane in Season 2, as well as Dongo the giant in Seasons 3 and 4, then Wun Wun the giant in Season 5. Not to be forgotten are Natalia Tena as Osha the wildling in GOT and Tonks, a member of the Order of the Phoenix. Catelyn Stark herself – mother of the Starks that we all love – Michelle Fairley was actually Mrs. Granger – the mother of that famous muggle Hermione Granger that we can’t help but love.
None of these actors, however, are to be outdone by David Bradley. Seemingly only comfortable when he’s playing a disgusting psychopathic slob, Bradley played Game of Thrones Enemy Number One, Walder Frey, as well as ultimately powerless but nonetheless despicable Argus Filch in Harry Potter. Both characters are the worst, and we wish them both a speedy demise at the hands of the respective heroes in our respective fantasy series.
7. Not Enough Male Nudity
If you know Game of Thrones is famous for its gratuitous female nudity, what you might not know is that its quickly becoming equally famous for its lack of male nudity. Over the course of the series, cries from the media and celebrities have been getting louder regarding Game of Thrones seeming objection to showing full frontal male nudity on the same scale as it shows female nudity.
Cast members such as Joffrey himself, Jack Gleeson, says “I think that is one good thing, to not just objectify women but also objectify the beauty of the male genitalia! We’re all objects together.” While Joffrey’s *spoiler* *spoiler* Natalie Dormer says “They could definitely ramp it up!”
Other celebrities that have joined the quest for more male nudity on thrones include Kevin Bacon, who says “How hard would it be to just show one or two wieners every couple of minutes? This is an issue of gender equality. Come on, I’ll play a naked wizard or something.” As well as Anna Kendrick, who tweeted this, regarding character Darrio Naharis: “Madonna kissed Drake, Hilary’s running for president, but HBO STILL hasn’t shown this dude’s dick??”
6. Constantly Changing Intro
Do you ever fast forward through the Game of Thrones intro, saying to yourself that it’s just too long and boring to watch every time? Well, don’t! While everyone knows that the Game of Thrones intro shows a very cool map over its very iconic theme song, what many don’t know is that the locations in the intro change whenever a new land is introduced into the show.
The intro is meant to orient the viewer to Westeros, making it clear where each storyline is taking place and how far away it is from the other action happening in the show. With a series so bent on the strategy and so called “games” behind obtaining the titular “throne,” the opening does a fantastic job of portraying each location as moving pieces on a game board, and as a result each episode shows us the state of the game, where we are, where we’re about to be, and how far we still have to go.
5. Maester Aemon Is Ae-mazing
Peter Vaughn, the actor who plays the blind Maester Aemon of The Wall, is actually blind in real life. The actor portrays Aemon as a wise and trusted man, and his blindness lends the character a compassionate side not often seen from those on Game of Thrones. Always the calm old man, Maester Aemon has seen a lot of shit in his time, or more accurately, not seen it.
Appearing in 11 episodes, Vaughn does not only share blindness with his character, but he also shares an old age not often seen by those who inhabit Westeros – and certainly not by those who live at Castle Black. In real life, Vaughn is 92 years old, making him – in official Westerosi terms – The Coolest Fucking Maester Around.
4. Geore R R Martin Has Game of Thrones Insurance
Well, it’s not insurance in a technical sense, but seeing as George R.R. Martin still has two books in The Song of Ice and Fire series left to write – with no idea on when those books will be complete – Martin has taken out an insurance policy of sorts. Soon after Game of Thrones started on HBO, Martin sat down with showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and told them the ending of the books, in case he dies before he has a chance to finish writing; or perhaps – if people on Twitter are as dangerous as they claim – if Martin gets assassinated by angry fans who are upset that he has murdered their favorite characters.
While it is likely that the series – set to go 8 or 9 seasons according to HBO – will wrap up before the books, at the very least it is reassuring to know that no matter what happens the TV series will end in a way that is condoned by Martin himself.
3. Game of Thrones: Brought To You by WordStar 4.0
George R.R. Martin knows what he’s doing, and he doesn’t need the internet or a fancy computer to do it. When discussing how he writes his books, Martin said that he despises spellcheck and autocorrect; which actually makes sense considering that most of the words and names in the Game of Thrones series are just a jumble of arbitrary letters.
To avoid the crutches of the 21st century – and perhaps to stop hackers trying to steal his work – Martin writes on a DOS computer using WordStar 4.0. Regarding modern word processors and computers constantly trying to tell George R.R. Martin what to do, Martin has said “I don’t want a capital. If I’d wanted a capital, I would have typed a capital. I know how to work the shift key.”
2. The Pirates in Game of Thrones Aren’t the Only Pirates In The World
Though Davos Seaworth is Game of Thrones’ most famous pirate, he’s far from the only one. In fact, Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world, constantly breaking its own records for illegal downloading that it had set in previous episodes.
In a recent example, the Season 5 episode “The Wars to Come,” was downloaded 13 million times, resulting in a reported $44 million dollar loss for that one episode alone. Meanwhile, another Season 5 episode, “Kill the Boy,” racked up 2.2 million downloads in just twelve hours, a new record, and one proving that though the TV ratings for Game of Thrones are spectacular, they’re only the tip of the iceberg in terms of counting just how many people want to watch Game of Thrones.
1. How Do You Hodor?
At this point in the list it’s clear that Game of Thrones is taking over the world and no one has a problem with that, but there’s one thing we’ve yet to discuss; Hodor. Everyone’s favorite giant, Hodor is the closest thing there is to pure goodness in Game of Thrones, and everything he does is pure bliss, even though technically all he does is say Hodor. But there’s actually more to it than that.
According to the actor who plays Hodor, Kristian Nairn, there are around 70 different ways to say “Hodor,” and each way means something different and helps Hodor express a different feeling. “There’s angry Hodor, happy Hodor, sad Hodor, frightened Hodor, curious Hodor, bashful Hodor, sheepish Hodor … and naked Hodor,” says Nairn. And while you might think that Nairn would get frustrated being the only actor on Game of Thrones to only be able to say one word, the best news is that he loves it, claiming, “Oh, I’m so happy to say it!”
As long as Hodor is happy, we’re all happy, and all will be well in the realm.
Did you know any of these facts, or were you as surprised as “*surprised* Hodor?” Are there any facts we missed that you think people don’t know about Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments!