Even those who don’t watch television know about Game of Thrones, the acclaimed HBO series based on the A Song Of Ice And Fire fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin. Everyone knows about the vigorous helpings of sex, violence, and epic fantasy lore that the show delivers each week, but what’s been discovered behind the scenes might be even more fascinating.
You’d think that with all of the wonton violence and graphic sexuality on screen, the reality behind the scenes might pale in comparison. On the contrary, we’ve discovered a surplus of weird, wild, and wonderful facts that shed light, and raise a few eyebrows, on the creation of the worldwide phenomenon.
1- Torrential Popularity
Game of Thrones is the most pirated show of all time. Its worldwide popularity has shattered records in more ways than one: beside massive ratings and DVD sales, the show has been downloaded illegally more than any other show in television history. This may be set to change with HBO’s new Now service, available to those without a cable subscription.
2- Ireland Loves Game Of Thrones
According to official reports, Game of Thrones has helped Northern Ireland’s economy to the tune of over $100 million, because of tourism related to locations where the show films.
3- It’s One of the Most Expensive Series Ever
HBO spends approximately $6 million to produce each single episode of Game of Thrones. With a sprawling cast, epic location shoots, and custom sets galore, it’s a good thing the show’s popularity keeps the money flowing. Standout episodes like the sea battle filled “Blackwater” have rang up at over $8 million!
4- Worldwide Film Crew
The blockbuster drama series has one of the most extensive collections of filming locations ever, being shot over three continents and in six different countries. The series is often filmed out of chronological order, with scenes recorded in different countries simultaneously to meet story deadlines.
5- “Who Is Jon Snow’s Mother?”
In an effort to convince author George R.R. Martin to let them adapt the famed novel series into a television show, creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss approached him with an answer to the question, “Who is Jon Snow’s mother?” Thankfully for all of us, they surprised the skeptical writer and answered correctly. The rest of us, both readers of the book and viewers of the show, have yet to find the answer.
6- Speaking of Jon Snow: His Butt Was Faked
You probably remember that image of Jon Snow from behind, nude in a cave with wildling love Ygritte back in season three. It might come as a disappointment to find out that you weren’t seeing actor Kit Harington’s real rear end. Harington revealed in an interview, “the only time you saw my ass, it wasn’t my ass.” A crew member bravely stepped in after an injury left Harington unable to film, having to cut his own long hair to match the actor’s set of dark locks.
7- You’ll Never See The Original Pilot
One of the most well known facts about television is that pilots are filmed first, to get the series approval and funding. In the case of Game of Thrones, an entire pilot was filmed – with different actors in the important roles of Catelyn Stark and Daenerys Targaryen – and scrapped, before the show we now know and love was born.