Game of Thrones season 8 is filming now in Croatia, Ireland, and other locations around the world, with an air date some time in 2019. But, that doesn’t mean that the beloved HBO series has fallen off anyone’s radar. The sense of anticipation for what is sure to be an explosive culmination of a groundbreaking series is running high.
With all the scrutiny the show and its many stars have received over the years since GoT debuted in 2011, you’d think there wouldn’t be any secrets left to be told. Still, a good PR campaign can steer the media away from certain facts that aren’t exactly top secret, but they're not exactly well-known either.
We can’t wait for the dragons, the betrayals, the Night King, and, finally, winter to arrive, but in the meantime, here are some tidbits about its stars that you may not know.
15 Cersei (Lena Headey) And Bronn (Jerome Flynn) Don't Speak
In the real-not-real Westeros, ruthless Queen Cersei and commoner Bronn, a sell-sword of all things, would never get together. In real life, according to a report in The Telegraph from 2014, the two can’t stand each other and don’t speak on the set. The paper quoted multiple unnamed sources from the GoT set who claimed that the two actors were being kept apart to avoid friction:
"It's a pity because they appeared to have patched things up for a while, but now the word is they should be kept apart at all costs."
That includes, apparently, in front of the camera; the two have not shared a scene. Bronn ended up as Tyrion’s champion — coincidence? The two apparently dated years ago, and it did not end well.
14 Peter Dinklage Was A Punk
It's not that unusual for an actor to also be a musician or have that in their past. And, given the high quotient of violence, betrayal, and mayhem on the show, maybe the GoT higher ups aren't that concerned that Peter Dinklage was in a crazy punk-rap band back in the 1990s called Whizzy.
It was described in a local newspaper review as "an absurdist early Beastie Boys-esque trio with a terrible sound system,” and he wore a shirt made of Wonder Bread, among other stunts.
Dinklage recalls one night when the band was playing in CBGB, a legendary club in New York City, and he got a knee to the face. The cut bled profusely over the stage, and to this day, he told an interviewer for Playboy magazine in 2013 that he has a scar from the incident that runs "from my neck to my eyebrow."
13 Gwendoline Christie Doesn’t Know How Old She Is
We’re not exactly sure how anyone gets away with it nowadays, but apparently Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth, doesn’t know her birthday or how old she is.
Her mother, according to numerous sources, never kept track, and neither does she.
Birthday parties weren’t a thing in the Christie household, we’re guessing. We’re also assuming she doesn’t travel a whole lot. “I don’t know” isn’t what agents typically like to hear. Christie says she’s lost track of her age.
12 Lena Headey Was Broke And Divorced
Lena Headey, who plays Cersei Lannister, has had her share of real-life drama during the roller-coaster ride that is Game of Thrones.
She filed for divorce from husband Peter Loughran back in 2012, and in court papers, claimed she had less than $5 in her bank account.
Say what? The actress claimed that she and her then 2-year-old son were surviving on her credit cards. According to TMZ, the situation arose when Peter asked the court for half of the $46,000 tax refund the couple had claimed in 2011. Lena said she needed money for her son. The court denied both their requests. The divorce was finalized in 2013, but Lena’s ex complained that the custody arrangement allowed her to live in the UK with their son while he was stuck in the US.
11 Jon Snow Really Doesn’t Know Much
Christopher Catesby Harington is his real name, but it seems like he was nicknamed Kit at an early age. Apparently, so early that he didn’t even know his real name was Christopher until he was 11 years old.
As Kit told Interview, “That was kind of a bizarre existential crisis for an 11-year-old to have, but in the end I always stuck with Kit, because I felt that’s who I was. I’m not really a Chris.”
Kit was named after Christopher Marlowe, a British playwright who was alive at the same time as Shakespeare in the 16th century. We’re not sure how you can not know your real name, but apparently it’s the truth.
10 Maisie Williams Leaked Pics
Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark on the show, has something of a good-girl image. There's very little in the way of gossip about partying or anything else, but that doesn't necessarily mean there isn't anything to tell. Maybe she's just good at hiding her wild side. In December 2016, some pics of Maisie on holiday made the rounds of the Internet. In them, she was posing with friends on a rock wearing a thong — and nothing else. Her rep told the NY Post, “The images online were shared from Maisie’s personal social media account. The images are not explicit in nature, but pictures of Maisie and close friends at a spa at a recent visit in Japan.” No word on how the pics ended up on Reddit.
9 Sean Bean Got Hurt For Real
Sean Bean — as Ned Stark — didn’t last more than the first season of GoT, but his memorable exit, beheaded at the hands of Ilyn Payne with his own sword, is still talked about. It served to set the envelope-pushing tone of the series as a whole. Back in 2011, when the first season aired, Sean Bean was out one evening with a topless model by the name of April Summers. According to The Daily Mail, witnesses say that another man made some unwelcome comments about April while she and Sean were outside a bar having a cigarette. Sean apparently had words with the passerby. Later that night, Sean went out for another smoke, and the dude came back for some vengeance. Sean came back in the bar with a cut on his arm and bruises on his face.
A spokesperson for the bar told the paper, "We saw to his injuries with the first aid kit.
He seemed okay and wanted to have another drink." Party on, dude.
8 Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) And Her Clause
When GoT first began its hold on our imaginations in 2011, Emilia Clarke — a.k.a. Daenerys — was the cause of a lot of the show’s early controversy. Dany and Drogo’s explicit love scenes were even somewhat romantic, which is unusual for the Westeros crowd. It was all those views of Emilia in the nude that had people talking. Then, after the season 3 finale, the revealing shots ended, but just for Emilia because she was done with the nude scenes.
It turns out she insisted on the clause once she’d gotten enough recognition as an actress to have some clout.
For two seasons, while so many others in Westeros filmed in the nude, Daenerys stayed clothed. Then, in 2016, came the now-famous scene during season 6, episode 4, when Dany destroyed the Dothraki who had captured her, emerging from their blazing building like the awesome fire goddess she is — her clothes burnt to ashes behind her. In interviews, she’s said it was worth it for the powerful scene.
7 Jon Snow Actually Is Royalty, But Not Really
This one is confusing. For several seasons, we were led to believe that Jon Snow was the bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark, with his true parents a secret. Now, we know that he's actually the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, and he teamed up with Sansa to briefly become King of the North before pledging his kingdom to Danaerys, who turns out to be his aunt. It’s the usual twisty GoT plot line that we’ve come to expect. But, it turns out that real life is just as strange.
Kit Harington’s eighth-great-grandfather was King Charles II of England. King Charles II had no legitimate heirs with his queen,
but he did father more than ten children out of wedlock.
6 Ed Skrein's Sudden Replacement Was "Political"
British actor/musician Ed Skrein played the role of Daario Naharis, sellsword and possible romantic interest for everyone’s favorite Mother of Dragons, in season 3. Abruptly, from the start of season 4, he was replaced with Dutch actor Michiel Huisman, and, it’s not like they looked anything alike. At the time, many observers assumed Ed had left for other acting gigs, but, despite taking on The Transporter Refueled reboot, Skrein didn't want to leave GoT.
“My plan was to stay with 'Game of Thrones' for the long haul. That was always my plan. I would have loved to.”
Skrein made the remarks during an interview with Entertainment Tonight. He told an interviewer for EW that he left the show because of “politics” and denied the rumor circulating at the time that the split came from his end.
5 Sean Bean Got In Trouble
Sean Bean, the former Ned Stark, has a sketchy history with the women in his life. According to a report in The Express, the one-time King of Winterfell and ex-wife Georgina Sutcliffe have a troubled story, to put it mildly. In 2008, when Bean first married Georgina, his fourth wife, he was arrested for allegedly assaulting her. The couple split in 2010, but, apparently they kept in touch. In 2012, Bean was arrested again for allegedly harassing her with abusive phone calls and text messages. In 2013, the two actually got back together again. It’s all over with now, we assume. Sean got married to his fifth wife, Ashley Moore in 2017.
4 Kit’s First Flick Was A Bomb
Kit Harington’s first movie gig was a role in Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, the 2012 sequel in the horror franchise was based on the video game of the same name. Kit played the role of Vincent, the male lead. He could've really anticipated how badly it would bomb.
After all, it did also star sci-fi fave Carrie-Anne Moss and fellow GoT cast member and veteran actor Sean Bean. Cool cast members didn’t sway the critics, however, who gave it a dismal 5% composite score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Audiences gave it a marginally better 35%. The reviewer for The Boston Globe wrote, “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D quickly devolves into a smorgasbord of sutured faces and blades poking the viewer in the eye.” The movie cost $20 million to make and only grossed $17 million domestically.
3 Jerome Flynn Was In A Religious Sect
Jerome Flynn has played Bronn since the first season, and his guest spot became a regular role from season 2 on. His big break in acting came in the British series Soldier, Soldier, which ran from 1991 to 1995. For one of the episodes of the show, he and co-star Robson Green sang a version of the song "Unchained Melody." Simon Cowell heard it and got the pair into the music biz. They performed as Robson & Jerome, and they even recorded the UK's biggest-selling single of 1995.
In 1996, though, Jerome threw away showbiz success and became a follower of American spiritual guru Andrew Cohen and his movement called EnlightenNext.
At one time, Flynn lived in a commune and would travel the country giving readings of Cohen's writing. Cohen’s movement has its critics, however, and after eight years, Flynn became one of them, returning to acting.
2 Emilia Clarke Secretly Experienced A Brain Aneurysm
Back in 2013, GoT star Emilia Clarke had a brain aneurysm. According to a report in the National Enquirer, it happened after the end of season 3 and just after Emilia’s stint on Broadway. An aneurysm is an extremely serious condition involving a weakness in the walls of a blood vessel that can rupture and bleed into the brain. Experts say about 6% of the population already have an aneurysm and many won't ever know it. Symptoms, which include a sudden, severe headache, come on without warning. It’s a scary thing to happen to anyone, but despite the seriousness of the matter, neither Clarke nor HBO made any kind of statement about it. As we know now, Emilia had recovered enough to begin filming season 4 on time, and there doesn’t seem to have been any problems since. We're just glad she's okay now.
1 Sibel Kekilli Has Had Lots Of Exposure
Sibel Kekilli is an acclaimed German actress, and, of course, she played Shae, the Lannister camp follower turned Tyrion's enigmatic lover. She was a pretty popular secondary character and died dramatically at Tyrion's hands after she betrayed him in the season 4 finale. About a decade ago, she went by the name of Dilara in a number of adult movies. She’s not the only scandalous film actress to appear in GoT, however. There are Maisie Dee and Sahara Knight, who both played the role of one of Petyr Baelish's girls in season 2, and Samantha Bentley, a British actress who has played a couple of similar roles in seasons 4 and 5. Then there is Jessica Jensen, in season 3, and Aeryn Walker, who played Craster's wife in season 4.
Sources: telegraph.co.uk, nypost.com, sfgate.com, loudwire.com, vagabomb.com, news.com.au, gq-magazine.co.uk, player.one, lolwot.com, interviewmagazine.com, express.co.uk, looper.com, dailymail.co.uk, dailymail.co.uk, hollywood.com, eonline.com, cosmopolitan.com, dailymail.co.uk, looper.com, msn.com