The sixth season of the highly acclaimed HBO series Game Of Thrones is underway and has everyone glued to their couches on Sunday nights. We’re only a few episodes in and people are already freaking out at how much has been revealed so far on the show. I won’t spoil anything, but let’s just say it’s turning out to be a season chock-full of revelations and surprises.
Speaking of revelations, the cast behind one of the most successful shows in cable history have a few little known revelations of their own. It’s always fun to dig into the lives of the people who play our favorite characters, and it’s all the weirder when it comes to a fantasy period piece like Game Of Thrones in which every character is immensely different from the people who play them. I’ve compiled 10 little secrets from the cast of George R.R Martin’s bloody epic turned TV show for your viewing pleasure. How did I attain these nuggets of information, you ask? Well, let’s just say I have eyes and ears everywhere. We’ll call them little birds that whisper in the wind… let’s just leave it at that, shall we.
Khal Drogo and his Dothraki clan may be terrified of the sea, opting to build “wooden horses” (they’re called ships, fellas) to take them from shore to shore instead, but actor Jason Momoa doesn’t seem to have any second thoughts about getting into the water. During his rookie years in Hollywood, the actor once played a strapping lifeguard on Baywatch: Hawaii, and will finally make his DC Universe debut as Aquaman, lord of the seven seas and occasional fish whisperer, in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Justice League movie in 2017. If you’re wondering how Jason Momoa secured the role of the barbaric yet strangely fan-favorite Khal Drogo, he did it in the most badass way possible… by doing the Haka. The Haka, mind you, is an ancestral war cry, dance, or challenge from the proud Māori people of New Zealand. If you ask me, I don’t think people behind Game Of Thrones or the execs at HBO could look the other way after a such a raw, power-driven audition like that.
12 Lena Heady (Cersei) and Jerome Flynn (Bronn) Hate Each Other
One of the key elements to any successful show is how well its cast and crew get along when the cameras aren’t rolling. It’s difficult to tell a story with a multitude of intertwining characters and storylines if the actors are having backstage beefs with one another. Fortunately, the cast of Game Of Thrones seem to get along extremely well and are like a close-knit albeit unrelated family…except of course, for Lena Heady and Jerome Flynn, who have fallen in and out of bitter relationships with one another since 2002. Apparently Heady and Flynn don’t even speak a word to each other on set!
11 Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) is Lily Allen’s Brother
Theon Greyjoy, who was at one time arguably the most hated character on the show thanks to his vile behavior, may now forever be known as the guy who got his “pride and joy” snipped by the inherently sadistic Ramsay Bolton during one of the most unsettling depictions of torture in a TV series. However, actor Alfie Allen was made famous way before his days as the heir to the ‘Iron Islands’ on Game Of Thrones. Alfie is in fact the brother of popular singer-songwriter Lily Allen, and he was even the main subject of one of her songs titled…you guessed it, “Alfie”.
She sings, “Ooooo Alfie get up it’s a brand new day, I just can’t sit back and watch you waste your life away, You need to get a job because the bills need to get paid…”
I think we can all agree that Alfie took his sister’s advice to heart and made something of himself. The once-lazy Alfie finally quit being a weed-smoking couch potato and landed himself a pretty sweet deal, wouldn’t you agree?
10 Sibel Kekilli (Shae) Was A Different Kind of Actress...
The beautiful Sibel Kekilli, famously known on Game Of Thrones as Shae, the prostitute turned love interest of overwhelmingly fan-favorite Tyrion Lannister, used to work as an adult film star before Hollywood came a calling. You read that correctly. Her stage name used to be Dilara. And now you can Google that name…you know, for research purposes. She left the world of adult films and ventured into acting after moving to Germany, before being (ironically) asked to play the role of a prostitute in Game Of Thrones. Talk about a serious case of typecasting! But fret not, because Game Of Thrones has opened up a lot of opportunities for Sibel to explore more diverse characters. She is currently playing Sarah Brandt on the German TV show Tatort and is set to star in a film titled Im Feuer due in 2017.
9 Lady the Direwolf Belongs to Sansa… in Real Life
Some of the most beloved characters on Game Of Thrones aren’t even human. I’d wager that if you asked most fans to rank their favorite to least favorite characters on the show, the magnificent direwolves would rank somewhere way on top. Then again, that should come as no surprise since the wolves are basically big, overprotective, inherently obedient dogs… and who doesn’t adore dogs, right?
Sophie Turner, the actor who plays the much beloved Sansa Stark and can most recently be seen playing Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse, adored her direwolf on the show so much that she eventually decided to adopt the Mahlek Northern Inuit Dog all for herself! That’s right, Sophie Turner is now the proud human companion to Zunni, formerly known as Lady on Game Of Thrones. In a lengthy interview with The Coventry Telegraph, Sophie said that she had always wanted a dog but was never allowed to have one when she was younger. But then the Turners fell in love with Zunni on set and managed to persuade the producers to let them keep her.
8 The Night's King Killed Batman’s Parents
Apart from being the ferocious face of fear and malevolent leader of the prophesied ice-army known as the White Walkers, the Night’s King was also responsible for the heinous murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents in Batman Begins. That’s right, the frozen zombie boss in Game Of Thrones was also an equally cold hearted killer in Gotham City, back when Christopher Nolan had just churned out his first Batman film in what would become a standard-setting trilogy. British-American actor Richard Brake, who played Joe Chill in Batman Begins, can also be seen in the music video to Muse’s “Knights of Cynodia”. Coincidentally, Joe Chill could also be the street name for the Night’s King because of how unintentionally apt it is.
7 Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) Was the “Wake Up Guy”
A lot of folks are only now coming to know of the charming and charismatic Peter Dinklage after his rise to pop-culture superstardom on Game Of Thrones, but the fact is he has been showing up in movies and TV shows for a very long time. While his acting prowess speaks for itself, little credence is given to just how powerful his voice is, and in my opinion, Peter Dinklage has one of the best voices in Hollywood today. Apparently the producers of Seinfeld, one of the biggest and most popular TV shows ever made, seemed to have shared that opinion and decided to cast Dinklage in one of the show’s episode as the memorable “Wake Up Guy”, whom we later learn is named James. Now that you know that, you’ll probably never watch that episode the same way again.
6 Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) Can Bust a Move
Does a girl have a name? Arya Stark, one of the topmost favorite characters on Game Of Thrones, may be bent on creating lists of characters on the show whom she wants dead, but actress Maisie Williams has less vengeful tendencies in real life. Arya’s real-life counterpart loves to dance. Maisie has been a student of the Susan Hill School of Dancing since she was 10, and stated in a recent interview with Yahoo! that she would love to perform on stage or in front of a live audience just to show people what she can really do as a dancer. But don’t just take her word for it, the video above went viral in 2012 and for good reason. Because Game Of Thrones is regarded as dark, gritty, and oftentimes depressing, it’s fun to watch the cast of the show enjoy themselves off set. In the video, the feisty, violent Arya Stark busts out some seriously epic dance moves to the likes of LMFAO and Beyoncé in grand flash mob style.
5 Kristian Nairn (Hodor) Is A DJ
Hodor isn’t a man of many words. In fact, much like Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, the only word Hodor knows is his own name. But when he’s not saying “Hodor” ad nauseam, the gentle giant’s real-world counterpart, actor Kristian Nairn, is busy scratching turntables and being a professional DJ! In fact, he’s actually pretty good at his parallel career and even began incorporating elements from Game Of Thrones into his electronic works of aural art once the show really took off. Here’s the kicker…Kristian puts his skills on display at raves all over the world called “Rave Of Thrones”. No I’m not kidding, and you can watch the video above to see for yourself.
When asked about choosing between his acting career and DJ-ing fulltime, Nairn said that both careers differ and he had no reason to choose.
4 Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) Doesn’t Know Her Birthday
It’s hard to believe that anyone doesn’t remember their own birthday, but that’s exactly the case with Brienne of Tarth herself, Gwendoline Christie. Apparently her mum never kept track of Gwendoline’s date of birth and the tradition of celebrating one’s birthday was never a big deal in the Christie household. As weird as it sounds, Gwendoline doesn’t really know her exact date of birth to this day, and has also lost track of her exact age!
3 Peter Vaughan (Aemon Targaryen) Is Blind In Real Life
Peter Vaughan, the charismatic British thespian who played the wise and insightful Master Aemon Targaryen, is a total bad-ass hailing from an era when grit and resilience were things people truly prided themselves over. Peter was born in 1923 and has enjoyed a long and illustrious career in the field of entertainment and performance arts, receiving a coveted BAFTA nomination for his moving portrayal of an Alzheimer’s patient in Our Friends In The North, a BBC Two drama that aired in 1996. Ironically, ‘Our Friends in The North’ sounds exactly like something you’d hear in an episode of Game Of Thrones.
2 Tamzin Merchant Was Almost Khaleesi
Can you imagine anyone other than Emilia Clarke playing the silver-haired Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the first of her name; the Unburnt, Queen of Mereen, Queen of the Andrals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons? No, probably not, but there was a time when someone other than Miss Clarke was inked in to play the role of our great Khaleesi instead! Gasp!
1 That Wasn't Kit Harington's (Jon Snow) Butt
Remember when Jon Snow and Ygritte had a little naughty-naughty time in that cave back in season three? Of course you do. Apparently Jon is proficient at tongue stuff, if Ygritte is to be believed, despite him being a virgin at the time and all. Good on you Jon, you cheeky b*stard!
Anyway, if you thought that was a glimpse of Kit Harington’s bare behind you caught during the deed, you sir are sorely mistaken. Kit had injured his ankle and was unable to film certain scenes during that time, prompting the producers to get a crew member who was of the same height and build as Kit, and who had similar hair color, to step in and film a quick shot of Jon Snow jumping into a pool. Unfortunately for the stand-in, he had to trim his long black locks to match the length of Jon Snow’s on the show… but hey, at least his butt is now immortalized in one of entertainment’s most prominent sex scenes. What’s even better is that Jon Snow and Ygritte are a real-life couple now. That’s right, actors Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie found actual romance on set and have been seeing each other ever since.
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