10 Facts About Game of Thrones
Based on the George R. R. Martin fantasy novels A Song of Ice and Fire, Game of Thrones is a fantasy television drama which airs on HBO. Like many great shows, it had a rocky start, with some critics claiming it wouldn't last to see a second season. These doubts were quickly laid to rest, however, as several episodes have attracted over 7 million viewers. This week, we're going to take a closer look at the mythical lands of Westeros and Essos, revealing 10 facts surprising facts about Game of Thrones.
#1) Even The Opening Title Sequence Won an Emmy
Game of Thrones has won countless awards over the course of its five-season-and-counting life, including Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Main Tile Design, as well a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film.
The opening title sequence was created the professional studio company Elastic, with director Angus Walls guiding his team on its creation. As you may already known, it depicts a 3D map of the GoT world, which is then projected into a sphere that's lit by a sun within an armilla. When the camera pans away from the map, it shifts to the locations of various events within the series' episodes. This transitioning is depicted with clockwork gears and gadgets changing as old structures disappear and new ones emerge. The title sequence is only a minute and a half long, but it's done so phenomenally well that it attracted an Emmy Award.
#2) Filmed In Six Countries (and Counting)
A total of six different countries have played host to the production crew of Game of Thrones, including United States, Morocco, Malta, Croatia, Iceland and Ireland. The first season was filmed primarily in the Paint Hall Studios of Belfast, North Ireland (indoor scenes), whereas the outdoor scenes were filmed in the Mourne Mountains of Sandy Brae, Saintfield Estate, Malta, and several other surrounding regions. These exotic locations create a genuine medieval-style atmosphere to which viewers can relate.
The second season of Game of Thrones was filmed primarily in Croatia, with the ocean-side city of Dubrovnik playing a key role in the process. Dubrovnik was constructed over a century ago with tall walls bordering its perimeter. This offered the perfect location to film scenes of King's Landing and the Red Keep for season 2.
Rumors indicate that the upcoming season five of Game of Thrones was filmed in Spain, adding yet another country to its long list of filming locations.
#3) Khaleesi Is Now a Popular Baby Name
Khaleesi, Daenerys Stormborn of House Targarygen of the blood of old Valyria, is arguably one of the most popular characters in the Game of Thrones universe. Played by actress Emilia Clarke, she is the only surviving child of King Aerys II Targaryen. Apparently, GoT fans like Khaleesi so much that they are naming their children after her.
The name/word “Khaleesi” was created by the George R.R. Martin to use in Game of Thrones, but it's since spread into the realm of baby naming. The American Social Security Administration releases a list of the top baby names each year. According to the Administration's list, 146 babies were named “Khaleesi” in 2012, which is more than both “Betsy” and “Nadine.” Would you name your newborn after a Game of Thrones character?
#4) The Parallel To Martin's Past
The family element is constantly emphasized throughout the Game of Throne's series. It's essentially what drives some characters to commit unspeakable acts, but it also brings them together. In an interview with RollingStone magazine, GoT creator George R.R Martin discussed his own childhood and how it played a role in the series.
“I was born in 1948, and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey, which is a peninsula just south of Jersey City. By bus, it was 45 minutes to the heart of Manhattan, but Bayonne really was a world in and of itself. New York was very close, but we didn't go there very often. From the age of four I lived down on First Street, in the public-housing projects, facing the waters of Kill Van Kull, with Staten Island on the other side,” Martin told the RollingStone. The GoT creator also admits that he was poor growing up, and he didn't have a real father-son relationship. These elements influenced his imagination, setting the tone for one of the greatest fantasy stories of all time.
#5) Widely Pirated
Game of Thrones is one of the most pirated television shows of all time. According to the torrent website TorrentFreak, GoT was illegally downloaded more than any other TV show in 2012, 2013 and 2014. There was even one episode which was reportedly downloaded over 4,280,000 times – a number that's roughly the equivalent of the episode's legal viewers. The first episode of season 3 GoT was the most shared file in BitTorrent's history, attesting to the popularity of R.R. Martin's TV show.
Piracy for Game of Thrones was the highest in Austria, prompting Ambassador Jeff Bleich to make a public statement in which he condemned the illegal downloads. Surprisingly, however, GoT director David Petrarca said the illegal downloads didn't hurt the series, but rather it boosted viewership by drawing more attention and social buzz around Game of Thrones.
#6) It Was Almost Scrapped
Game of Thrones was almost scrapped due to a lackluster pilot episode. The original pilot episode was filmed during the months of October and November 2009, in parts of Northern Ireland and Morocco. When producers presented it to HBO, they were asked to make some significant changes, including the recasting of five key roles (see list below). Producers made the necessary changes, however, and Game of Thrones was given the green light to air on HBO.
Tamzin Merchant played the role of Daenerys Targaryen. Jennifer Ehle played the role of Catelyn Stark. Ian McNeice played the role of Illyrio Mopatis. Richard Ridings played Gared. Jamie Campbell Bower played Ser Waymar.
Note: the original pilot episode never aired, and it is unknown if it ever will.
#7) Hodor Was a DJ
Kristian Nairn, who plays the loveable 7-foot-tall stable-boy Hodor of Winterfell, was a professional DJ before he took the role on Game of Thrones. The 39-year-old 'jack of all trades' grew up in Northern Ireland where he performed as a DJ. It wasn't until 2011, however, when he first took a shot at acting. Since then, Nainr has also acquired roles in Ripper Street, The Will Wheaton Project, Treasure Trapped, and several other shows and movies.
You can learn more about Hodor's DJ career by visiting his Sound Cloud account at https://soundcloud.com/kristiannairn.
#8) Charlie Chaplin’s Granddaughter In GoT
You might be surprised to learn that Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter played a small role in Game of Thrones. Robb Stark's wife from season 3, Talisa Maegyr, is played by accress Oona Chaplin. And no that isn't a coincidence; she really is related to the legendary English actor and filmmaker of the silent era, Charlie Chaplin. In addition to acting, the 28-year-old star is also a flamenco and ballerina dancer.
#9) Large Cast of Characters
To say Game of Thrones has a lot of characters would be an understatement. Reports suggest that it has the largest ensemble cast of any TV show ever. Season 3 alone had some 257 cast names recorded, which of course is significantly more than your average TV show. Granted, many of these actors and actresses played small roles, but GoT regardless holds the title of having the largest cast. We won't go into the details for fans who haven't seen the show, but it's also worth nothing that some, or should I say many, characters are killed off.
#10) The Dothraki Language Contains Over 3,000 Words
Professional linguist David Peterson was hired by GoT producers to create an entirely new language for the show. Currently, Peterson has managed to create some 3,000 different words, some of which include Athastokhdevishizar (nonsense) and Fonas chek (Goodbye). The highly skilled linguist even has a website dedicated to the Dothraki language, http://www.dothraki.com/. So if you're looking to learn some new GoT words, check it out.
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