Warning: contains spoilers for Game Of Thrones season 7.
If you’d like to know the nerdy secrets behind Game Of Thrones season seven but can’t quite find the time to sit down in front of hours and hours of disc commentaries and featurettes, then fret no more, we’re here to help!
From the unexpected (Kit Harington’s ancestor invented the toilet) to the silly (Sophie Turner nicknamed Sansa Stark’s heavy fur ‘Roger’) to genuinely fascinating production secrets, here are 154 nerdy little details revealed by the vast Game Of Thrones creative teams and cast…
1. Arya Stark poisoning the Freys at The Twins wasn’t supposed to be Dragonstone’s opening scene. The episode was originally to have opened with the Night King and his army marching through the blizzard, but Maisie Williams and David Bradley’s performances made them push that scene to the start.
2. When Walder Frey’s face is pulled off to reveal that of Arya Stark in Dragonstone, there were no special effects used. Maisie Williams wore a latex mask of David Bradley’s face, the rest was all performance.
3. The painter seen finishing off Cersei Lannister’s painted floor-map when she and Jaime first meet in Dragonstone is played by Jim Staines, the graphic designer who originally designed the map. The map was hand-painted on tiles by a master painter and made for a very delicate set on which no heavy equipment could be placed.
4. Cersei’s courtyard, on which her map is painted, originally had an extra storey of wall around it, but that was removed this season in preparation for a key upcoming shot in season eight in which it was important to be able to see the sky from it…
5. Creating the montage of Samwell Tarly doing menial tasks at the Citadel took around three weeks of shooting in ten-second bursts. For it, they built several new sets including the Citadel privy and washroom.
6. It’s not just us. Everybody loves Bella Ramsey, the young actor who plays Lyanna Mormont. Director Jeremy Podeswa calls her “an instinctive acting genius.” Bryan Cogman said of her, “She comes in word perfect and nails everything and puts everyone else to shame.” “She’s a G,” says Nathalie Emmanuel.
7. Euron Greyjoy’s costume was designed to evoke the rock and roll spirit of Keith Richards. He’s supposed to always be “the coolest guy in the room”.
8. “I don’t know what it is they like about it,” said Gwendoline Christie when she was told fans love the dynamic between Tormund and Brienne. “She’s just not that into him!”
9. Sophie Turner and Gemma Whelan went to the same school, King’s High School for Girls in Warwick.
10. The Lannister soldier Arya talks to while sitting around the campfire with Ed Sheeran and Thomas Turgoose is Billy Postlethwaite, son of legendary actor Pete Postlethwaite.
11. Ed Sheeran is a huge Game Of Thrones fan, and is friends with some of the cast, including Maisie Williams. Composer Ramin Djawadi wrote the song Sheeran sings about Cersei and Jaime in Dragonstone, based on a song sung by Symon Silver Tongue in George R.R. Martin’s A Storm Of Swords.
12. In his current role as TV interviewer, actor Mario Lopez interviewed Jacob Anderson and Nathalie Emmanuel and they were star-struck by his past role as Slater in children’s TV series Saved By The Bell.
13. Season seven is the first time we’ve seen beyond the map room at Dragonstone Castle. The room was remade for this season to expand it. The walls on that set can now be removed to provide better shooting access. The carved stone dragon has been redesigned for this year too.
14. The winding steps leading up to Dragonstone Castle gates are real and located at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in Spain. Dragonstone beach is Zumaia beach.
15. The old Meereen pyramid throne room was adapted into the Dragonstone Castle audience chamber for season seven.
16. Dany’s angular, craggy throne at Dragonstone is inspired by the real rock formations on the Spanish beach that stands in for Dragonstone beach. Rubber imprints of the real stone were taken in Spain and used to recreate the look in the Belfast studios.
17. Indira Varma (who plays Ellaria Sand) bought word-based game Bananagrams onto set to play between takes. Diana Rigg (Olenna Tyrell) played it with her in the green room, both of them in full costume.
18. On the Dragonstone map room in Stormborn, Peter Dinklage picks up an Unsullied model that he nicknamed “Tiny Jacob”, to which he kept singing “Hold me closer Tiny Jacob” to the tune of Elton John’s Tiny Dancer.
19. The vision that the Hound sees when he looks into the fire in Dragonstone is the same vision Bran sees, of the Night King’s army marching southwards, confirms director Jeremy Podeswa: “we’re getting another take on Bran’s vision”.
20. The quarantine ward corridor at the Citadel only really had four doors, the rest were added by CG set extensions. “I felt like cabin crew” said John Bradley, about John’s trolley.
21. There’s no CG extension on the Dragonstone audience chamber, that’s all there in real life.
22. Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (who plays The Mountain) bench-pressed Nathalie Emmanuel (who plays Missandei) at the season seven wrap party in Spain.
23. It took Bryan Cogman a little over a month to write Stormborn. They’re getting harder to write, says Cogman, as more and more characters are reunited. “It was a tremendous challenge to not fall into recap mode where characters who had never met, or hadn’t seen each other since season two, the natural thing is to have them start filling each other in on what happened. You realise that the audience has seen all this.”
24. The original plan with Stormborn was to have Dany arrive at the Castle and discover Melisandre already there in her map room waiting for her as a cliff-hanger for the episode, but that was scrapped because it undermined the significance of Dany’s homecoming.
25. The Dragonstone map room gets incredibly hot. By the end of one of the ten-page dialogue scenes, “it was like a sweat lodge,” says Cogman.
26. In season six, twenty-three named characters were killed off according to stunt coordinator Rowley Irlam.
27. In season seven, Dany’s dragons are now the same size as a Boeing 747.
28. Liam Cunningham played the dad in the 1995 film adaptation of A Little Princess, Nathalie Emmanuel’s favorite film as a child.
29. Because this season is accelerating towards the endgame, “we move a lot quicker,” explains Cogman. “There’s big passages of time, sometimes even between scenes, where in earlier seasons we might have spent more time with an army or someone travelling however many miles, maybe spend two episodes of them travelling and camping and talking on the way, now they just arrive, because it’s a real world war and the story needed that increased momentum.”
30. The number of ravens sent between characters in season seven became a sort of running joke among the writers, says Bryan Cogman.
31. The actor who played Samwell’s brother Dickon Tarly in season six, Freddie Stroma, wasn’t available to return in season seven due to commitments on Time After Time, so was replaced in the role by Tom Hopper for this year.
32. Iain Glen, who plays Ser Jorah Mormont, had his upper torso covered in rubber prosthetics for the greyscale scenes. It took three make-up artists four hours every day to apply it. It took four weeks to build the prosthetic.
33. Gemma Whelan and Pilou Asbaek rehearsed the Yara/Euron fight for weeks, then on the last night of rehearsals, Gemma threw out her back and was unable to do the fight. They shot the fight with Gemma’s double Kim McGarrity, then two months later, shot sections again using a double for Pilou, and spliced the two. Any shot over Pilou’s shoulder onto Gemma was filmed months after those going the other way.
34. There were forty stunt performers on the ship for Euron’s attack on Yara’s fleet.
35. The ship Euron lands on to attack Yara and the Sand Snakes is the same ship used for every deck scene ever on Game Of Thrones. When Stannis sailed into Blackwater Bay, when Dany crossed the sea from Meereen to Westeros… it’s all the same ship, in a car park in Belfast.
36. The oral sex scene between Grey Worm and Missandei was inspired by a 1978 Hal Ashby film Coming Home, in which Jon Voight and Jane Fonda share a similar moment.
37. Originally, the season three characters of Grey Worm and Missandei were going to be brother and sister, but after the first chemistry read-through, the storyline was changed to make them potential love interests for each other.
38. The transition between Grey Worm giving Missandei oral sex and the next scene in the Citadel contains a cheeky scripted joke insisted on by showrunner Dan Weiss. We see Grey Worm’s head move down Missandei’s body, then cut to the archmaester inserting his hand into a vaginal-shaped gap between two books in the Citadel library. “That is not an accident, it was painstakingly scripted and shot,” confirmed Bryan Cogman.
39. In Missandei and Grey Worm’s sex scene, Jacob Anderson was wearing a modesty sock on his private parts.
40. “I think Grey Worm’s got a willy is my understanding,” says Jacob Anderson. “But he doesn’t have balls.” So now we know.
41. Samwell’s time at the Citadel was nicknamed ‘the anti-Harry Potter’ by the writers, because the character expects to go to a Hogwarts-like institution and be mentored by a Dumbledore-like character, but instead gets a fussy academic—the archmaester—who’s no help at all.
42. Writer Bryan Cogman met a doctor at a previous Thrones screening who told him about a condition called necrotising fasciitis, which he used as inspiration for Ser Jorah’s greyscale. The SFX team researched leprosy and a drug called Krokodil, said to dissolve human flesh, to make the prosthetic.
43. Iain Glen’s greyscale prosthetic concealed a rig with tubes from which ‘pus’ could be pumped out while the skin was being removed by Samwell.
44. The scene between Jon Snow and Littlefinger set next to Ned Stark’s grave wasn’t in the original episode outline, but was introduced by Bryan Cogman. It includes several visual echoes of a similar confrontation between Ned Stark and Littlefinger in season one, including the chokehold in which Jon puts Baelish, which is a direct mirror to season one, episode three, Lord Snow.
45. Originally, when Jon left Winterfell to go to Dragonstone, there was a scene of him saying goodbye to his Direwolf Ghost. Jon emerged from the crypt, petted Ghost and said “Take care of her, watch over her for me.” “But I guess those Direwolves are expensive!” said Bryan Cogman.
46. Jessica Henwick, who plays Sand Snake Nymeria, was only available to shoot for a single day on season seven due to her commitments on Marvel’s Iron Fist. They had planned to shoot her death scene with a double and film her in New York on a green screen and use face replacement, but they managed to fly Henwick over for a day, along with her stunt double on Iron Fist.
47. The Ironborn fighter who falls into the water on fire during Euron’s attack is played by stunt performer Vladimir Furdik, who also plays, among many other roles, the Night King.
48. When Euron lifts up the Sand Snake he’s just killed on a sword, she was pulled up on a wire (obviously!).
49. SFX coordinator Barrie Gower, who worked on Episode II Attack Of The Clones, was inspired by Star Wars for the burning embers seen flying around the ship during Euron’s attack. The embers are a practical effect, not added in post-production.
50. The scene of the Sand Snakes’ corpses hanging off the bow of the boat was an unscripted addition by director Mark Mylod.
51. The computer-generated rock formations added to the flat plains location where the Loot Train dragon attack was filmed were a deliberate echo to Monument Valley, a location memorably used in westerns directed by John Ford.
52. The scene in which Littlefinger gives Bran the Catspaw dagger has two close-ups inspired by Silence Of The Lambs, in homage to “the late, great Jonathan Demme” – Bran Stark looks straight into the camera when he delivers the line “Chaos is a ladder”, and Littlefinger does the same in response.
53. When Bran dismisses Meera in episode four, temperatures on the sound stage had reached around ninety degrees Fahrenheit, not even taking into account the many furs both actors were wearing. They were boiling hot.
54. The young actors all affectionately named their fur cloaks. Sophie Turner’s was apparently named ‘Roger’.
55. A reference discussed for Bran’s performance as the Three-Eyed Raven was Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen, a character who is above everyone else but still a part of his old self remains deep inside.
56. The Weirwood tree in the Godswood at Winterfell is a real tree painted with white latex to give it its unusual hue.
57. In the scene where Arya pushes Bran’s wheelchair through the Winterfell courtyard as the three Stark siblings are united again, slight Maisie Williams had difficulty pushing it through the mud, so boards had to be laid on the floor and disguised to make it easier for her.
58. Between scenes, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams, who are great friends off-set, have a running joke in which they speak to each other in Northern (and sometimes Welsh) accents.
59. The cave underneath Dragonstone island is built on a sound stage in Belfast, using polystyrene foam ‘rocks’. The seams of dragonglass around the cave walls was actually bitumen, as used to surface roads. They had to be especially careful when using real flame torches to light it, as the tar-like substance can be extremely flammable.
60. The cave paintings in Lascaux, France were an inspiration for the painted cave walls underneath Dragonstone Castle, as was Werner Herzog documentary Cave Of Forgotten Dreams.
61. To film the Loot Train dragon attack, there were eight cameras running simultaneously.
62. Many of the stunt performers in the Loot Train attack alternated between playing the Lannister soldiers and Dothraki riders. “Oftentimes they might have been fighting themselves in some of these shots,” says director Matt Shakman.
63. They set a record for setting the most stunt performers on fire in one go in The Spoils Of War: twenty.
64. Emilia Clarke films her scenes riding Drogon by sitting on a moving rodeo bull-type rig against a green screen in Belfast.
65. Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, especially the helicopter attack on the village, was an inspiration for the changing viewpoints and aerial beauty versus ground chaos of the dragon attack on the Loot Train in episode four.
66. There are 419 VFX shots in episode four, The Spoils Of War.
67. When Jaime Lannister falls into the water at the end of episode four, it was shot dry-for-wet. The actor was dropped backwards on a cable so his clothes would move and blew smoke around him so it looked as though he was underwater.
68. There are more dragon shots in episode four than in all of season six combined.
69. There were two hundred extras and fifteen carts, which were digitally replicated and extended for the loot train attack.
70. In the production offices, as you go up the stairs, there’s a version of the map painted on Cersei’s courtyard, but one that includes Belfast.
71. Winter having arrived made it especially difficult to light Winterfell in season seven. Because of the cold weather, the window shutters would have been kept closed, hence losing the DPs their lighting position, so much more work had to be done around fireplaces and using candlelight.
72. The tide on Dragonstone beach was also a real trouble-maker. Boats and equipment kept having to be dragged up and down the beach to maintain the same distance between the shoreline and the actors while the tide was moving in and out. Look closely in the background and you’ll see the tide having filled the mouth of the cave on Dragonstone beach supposedly seconds after Jon and co. walk out of it.
73. Don’t even get the show’s creators started on footprints in the sand. Nightmare, apparently.
74. Winterfell master-at-arms Ser Rodrik Cassel was played by Scottish actor Ron Donachie, who is the real-life father of Daniel Portman, who plays Podrick Payne.
75. Sixty horses were used for the Dothraki charge at the Lannister army in episode four.
76. Pause the mud-splattered shot from the point of view of a Dothraki rider making the charge towards the Lannisters and you may notice that the character riding on the left is entirely computer-generated.
77. Originally in episode five, after emerging from the water, Bronn and Jaime had a long Monty Python-esque conversation about the best way to kill a dragon, how thick its skull was and where its heart would be, but it was too comic and didn’t match the tone of the rest of the episode, so was cut.
78. The mist Tyrion is surrounded by when walking through the battlefield after the dragon attack in episode five is mostly real. Filming was heavily disrupted by mist on the Spanish plains, but on this occasion, it was a happy accident.
79. The rock Daenerys is standing on to deliver her speech to the defeated Lannister soldiers is fake and had to be constructed because the giant fake rock they’d planned to use had accidentally been shipped early back to Belfast.
80. The background artists playing the Lannister soldiers and Dothraki army were Spanish and mostly did not speak English. Emilia Clarke noted the irony that it was Dany’s first speech to a crowd actually delivered in English.
81. From season five onwards, they brought a military trainer in to teach the supporting artists how to move like a real army. In preparation for the Battle of the Bastards in season six, they deliberately trained the Bolton army separately to the Stark force, to engender a sense of rivalry between the two groups.
82. When the Tarlys are burned by Drogon, in the original script they were supposed to die screaming like the people killed by Drogon in the Meereen fighting pit in season six, but because of the proximity, they realised the column of flame would be so hot at that distance that the Tarlys would instantly carbonise.
83. Two stunt performers wearing Tarly masks were set on fire, and those scenes were digitally blended with the actors’ performing it and the SFX-created models of their ash bodies.
84. Director of Photography on episode five, Rob McLachlan, chose to light the scene in which Jaime tells Cersei they can’t defeat Dany’s dragons as if the sun was setting, as a metaphor for the sun setting on the once-powerful Lannister empire.
85. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s armour as Jaime Lannister is so noisy when he moves that most of his dialogue performed when wearing it has to be redone later in ADR.
86. In the scene where Jon Snow strokes the dragon on the clifftop, the winds were so heavy that Kit Harington’s cloak threatened to billow out and whip him off the cliff, so he was held down with a safety cable.
87. The maesters at the Citadel are intended as a satire on academia. It’s “me and Dan and David [Weiss and Benioff] getting back at our professors,” says writer Dave Hill. [The two showrunners first met on a PhD programme in Ireland.]
88. It became clear while filming that the magnificent Jim Broadbent, who played the Archmaester in season seven “was not fully aware of the full mythology of the show”, says director Matt Shakman diplomatically, so needed a run-through of the major plot points before scenes. They all loved working with Broadbent.
89. Human hair combusts at 800 degrees is just one of the very strange facts the team has had to research to make this show. A great deal of debate in the writers’ room was also done on the precise nature of a eunuch’s nether regions, “how much is left?” says Dave Hill.
90. Peter Dinklage and Conleth Hill (Tyrion and Varys) have a running joke in which they try to get younger actors to break character and start laughing in their group scenes.
91. Kit Harington’s fur cloak weighs 20kg and had a cooling unit installed in it because of the high temperatures filming in Spain and on the sound stage. In fact, whenever you see a group of people wearing big fur cloaks in a scene and not walking around, they have cooling systems underneath them.
92. In season one, filming conditions were so cold they had to digitally erase the actors’ visible breath. In every other season but that one, they’ve been adding digital breath in to make the scenes look colder than they are.
93. The beach that stood in for the beach at King’s Landing, where Gendry kills the Lannister guards, is actually a nudist beach. On the locations recce, it was filled with nudist sunbathers.
94. The set for Gendry’s forge has been every tavern that’s ever featured on the show – the one attacked by Wildlings near the wall, the backstage of the theatre in season six… all of them.
95. One of the Lannister soldiers Gendry kills is played by actor and comedian Kevin Eldon, who played a member of the Braavos theatre troupe in season six. “But you would never be able to tell” says director Matt Shakman. We could tell.
96. John Bradley had to go to calligraphy school at the art department for several weeks to learn how to scribe the one page Samwell writes out in the episode five scene where Gilly discovers Prince Rhaegar’s annulment from Elia Martell.
97. Iain Glen (Ser Jorah) and Jerome Flynn (Ser Bronn) used to play football against each other. Glen was at RADA, Flynn was at Central. “He used to kick the shit out of me,” says Glen. Flynn is Godfather to Glen’s oldest son.
98. The Citadel library is just two stacks and a set of shelves at one end, the rest has all been digitally extended.
99. The scene of Sam leaving the Citadel was designed to mirror the scene of him arriving there in season six, directed by Miguel Sapochnik.
100. Assistant director Adele Smyth Kennedy makes a cameo as a serving girl in the secret employ of Littlefinger in the scene where Arya is observing him from the shadows of Winterfell.
101. Unlike other TV shows where they often work sixteen-hour-days, on Game Of Thrones they choose instead not to stop for lunch and to work straight through for ten hours.
102. The scene of Thoros emerging from the shadows of the prison cell at Eastwatch is inspired by the scene of Marlon Brando emerging from the shadows as Kurtz in Apocalypse Now.
103. The shot of Jon Snow and the group leaving Eastwatch to venture beyond the Wall was a deliberate reference to Sam Peckinpah’s 1969 film The Wild Bunch.
104. Actor Paul Kaye, who plays Thoros of Myr, added the idea about his character drinking rum and toasting the Hound as they walk off on their perilous mission.
105. If you phone the Game Of Thrones production offices, Ramin Djawadi’s theme music is what you’ll hear on hold.
106. Underneath their costume boots, the Wild Bunch group beyond the Wall were all wearing modern climbing crampons to make sure they didn’t slip on the thousand-year-old Icelandic glacier they were walking across.
107. Director Alan Taylor came full circle with Jon Snow and his Valyrian steel sword Longclaw – in season two he shot the scene in which Commander Mormont gave Jon the sword, and in season seven, he shot the scene in which Mormont’s son Jorah refuses its proferred return to his family.
108. The snow at Winterfell is a combination of foam, used in the background, and paper, used in the foreground where it lands on actors’ hair and costumes.
109. They deliberately staged the Arya/Sansa confrontation about the letter Sansa wrote under Cersei’s coercion, in the butcher section to hint at the idea that either might do away with the other. Each is framed with ominously bloody meat behind them during the scene.
110. Look closely at Grey Worm and Missandei’s outfits and there are shared motifs in the designs to subtly link the characters.
111. The camera operators and directors have a friendly rivalry over whose shots are used most often in trailers. Everybody wants their work represented in the season trailers.
112. Gemma Whelan provides a voiceover for each of the horses’ inner monologues when she does her episode commentaries. They’re all Northern and mostly ask for carrots and sugar lumps. Her voice for Direwolf Nymeria sounds like Jane Horrocks.
113. The Wight bear that attacks the group beyond the Wall in episode six was nicknamed ‘Lumpy’ on set. It was largely a WETA creation, filming a wireframe mock-up with a flame bar attached so it could be set of fire and be wrestled with.
114. ‘Lumpy’ the bear’s paw prints in the snow were made by a kind of pogo stick with a bear footprint.
115. The frozen lake location is actually Wolf Hill quarry in Belfast, three acres of which had to be filled with concrete to create a level surface for the fake ice to be put on top. The island they’re marooned on is made of fibreglass and wood.
116. Actor Joe Dempsie, who plays Gendry, was made to run through every Iceland location they had in order to create the montage of Gendry’s marathon run back to Eastwatch to send a raven to Dany and warn her about the group’s situation.
117. Ser Beric Dondarrion’s flaming sword is actually two swords, one he draws and one that’s lit on fire. The fire effect is all done in camera, with no VFX.
118. While the snow on set was being squeegeed and dressed, director Alan Taylor played Christmas carols over the Tannoy as a joke.
119. Alan Taylor confirms that Benjen Stark does indeed die after rescuing Jon. “He meets his end here,” says Taylor.
120. Camera operator Sean Savage travelled all the way back to Iceland from Belfast just to shoot the shot of Viserion opening his blue eye after being reanimated by the Night King. “I just thought I can’t do eight years on this show without shooting this shot. It’s a big moment,” said Savage.
121. The opening credits sequences is always exactly ninety seconds. Whenever they add in a new location to the map, they cut something else out.
122. Outside King’s Landing in the opening scene of the season finale there were only forty Unsullied, digitally made to look like thousands.
123. According to the showrunners, Rory McCann, who plays The Hound, has the largest thumbs in the cast. So now you know.
124. The Dragon Pit scenes took twelve days to film, during which time the cast became slightly hysterical. Gwendoline Christie and Kit Harington had an ongoing ‘Mummy/Baby’ routine between takes. It was disturbing and very naughty, says David Benioff.
125. While filming Game Of Thrones, Rory McCann has to walk around with half his beard shaved so there’s room for The Hound’s burns prosthetics to be applied.
126. Pilou Asbaek felt so bad about his character’s rude digs at Tyrion’s height in the Dragon Pit scene that he apologised to Peter Dinklage between every take.
127. Jon Snow’s monologue about people making false promises and words stopping having any meaning was filmed on a very significant day, that the showrunners say they were not allowed to mention on the commentary. Perhaps the day US election results were announced, or the day of the presidential inauguration?
128. Kit Harington’s ancestor John Harington, invented the toilet. Thomas Crapper came later, he says.
129. Stunt performers are referred to as “stuntees” by cast and crew.
130. Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey had acted together in an indie film and a pilot before working together on Game Of Thrones. They were friends and Peter was part of the reason she took the job.
131. Lena Headey’s one repeated wish for her character is for Cersei to have a scene on a horse, with a sword. So far, that wish hasn’t been granted.
132. The two showrunners had a real argument over how many times Harrag should knee Theon between the legs in their beach fight, three (as in the rule of three) or four (two times quickly, twice). They went for four in the end but it’s still a bone of contention between Weiss and Benioff.
133. Throughout Cersei’s time on the show, her serving ladies style their hair exactly as she does. Handmaiden Bernadette wore long hair in the early seasons and now sports a pixie crop like Cersei post-walk of shame.
134. The shot of a hooded Sansa staring out from Winterfell’s ramparts in the snow was referred to as The French Lieutenant’s Woman shot.
135. When riding away from King’s Landing after breaking with Cersei, Jaime puts a glove over his golden hand so he won’t be recognised in a world without photographs, say the showrunners.
136. The montage of the snow falling all over Westeros near the end of the episode was inspired by director John Huston’s film adaptation of James Joyce’s short story The Dead, the last paragraph of which describes snow as “general over all of Ireland”.
137. They joked about having planned for the crew to wear masks of [Kit Harington’s fiancée] Rose Leslie’s face while he was filming Jon and Dany’s sex scene, just to wind him up. They didn’t do it.
138. Dragonstone Castle is designed to incorporate elements of a dragon, sharp edges, scales and teeth. The 850 hexagon-shaped tiles on the floor of the audience chamber are designed to evoke scales, while the gallery is shaped like teeth.
139. The Dragonstone map table was inspired by a cross between WWII military strategy maps, with the dragons representing the air force, and a chess board, with the Unsullied made to resemble pawns.
140. The skull of Balerion the Dread, which Cersei shoots a Scorpion bolt through, took two months to carve from Polystyrene. It’s 30 feet long, 11 feet high and 16 feet wide and includes 20-30 horns and 70 individual teeth.
141. The shipping crates they used to transport the fifty dragon skulls made by the art department from Belfast to Spain were painted and reused to dress the cavernous set standing in for the cellars of King’s Landing. That set was an historical shipyard in Seville in which part of the seventeenth-century Spanish armada was built.
142. The Dragon Pit set is actually a Roman amphitheatre that would have seated 40,000 people when still complete. Only twenty five per cent of it remains today, none of which Game Of Thrones was allowed to touch with its set for the parlay scene.
143. Highgarden Castle is actually Almodóvar del Rio castle, in Cordóba, Spain. Safety handrails had to be removed and plenty of greenery was brought in to disguise modern elements that couldn’t be safely removed.
144. When Arya returns to Winterfell in episode four, The Spoils Of War, one of the two Stark soldiers who rudely tell her to go away is played by Danny Kirrane, whose E4 sitcom Wasted, coincidentally stars Sean Bean in full Ned Stark get-up as his character’s spirit guide.
145. The Winterfell set was not originally built to withstand seven seasons of filming. It’s all made from plasterwork and timber and is constantly damaged by rain throughout the year, necessitating lots of maintenance.
146. The Casterly Rock set was adapted from the Riverrun set used in season six.
147. The Loot Train dragon attack had 200 supporting actors and between 60 and 80 horse stunt performers, digitally replicated to look like tens of thousands.
148. In season 6, there were 11 shots of Dany riding her dragon. In season 7 there were over 80.
149. When the Dothraki riders stood up on their horses to shoot arrows at the Lannister soldiers during the Loot Train attack, a special leg frame device in which they inserted one foot was engineered for each of the stunt performers to support the stance.
150. The attack on the Loot train set the world record for the most stunt performers set on fire in a single shot: twenty.
151. Iain Glen (Ser Jorah) and Conleth Hill (Varys) are big Manchester United fans and were invited to train with them for a day and meet all the players during their pre-season training in LA.
152. Liam Cunningham explains Ser Davos’ Newcastle accent as “Geographically because he’s from Flea Bottom, which is the worst slum of King’s Landing, and essentially, King’s Landing is kind of London and Winterfell is up North, so geographically twere Westeros a mirror reflection of the UK, he’d probably have a Cockney accent. It was a bit wide boy for me and I wanted something softer. Basically the reason we went with it was because of Ned, because Ned was from the North and there was a similarity in character to him, so when he was gone we sat down and had a chat about it and that Newcastle accent is gorgeous. It’s soft.”
153. When designing the look of Viserion the ice dragon, they combined his healthy season seven model with the sick, emaciated model of him used when the dragons were chained up underneath the Meereenese pyramid, and added extra deterioration to his scales and wings.
154. The showrunners promise that Kit Harington is “going to be swinging that Valyrian steel sword a lot” in season eight.