Game of Thrones is a big deal. It’s one of the biggest shows that’s ever been made in recent memory. Whether you just jumped into the show recently or you’ve been following it since A Song of Ice and Fire‘s first book came out in 1991, the fanbase for this franchise is huge. We’ve been waiting with baited breath to find out what happens next, but with the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, nowhere in sight yet, the only way to find out the end of the story is to watch the show. Season six moved past the events of the first five books into uncharted territory, leaving book fans in the same boat as people who only watched the show. Season seven is bound to be the same way simply because we don’t have another book to base the show on. This affects the way we look at the news about what goes on behind the scenes: every shot released to the public is a clue as to what’s going to happen.
While there has been news about the making of season seven of Game of Thrones, we haven’t gotten much because they want to keep the secrets of the show under wraps. However, we’ve learned quite a bit from what has been talked about, and we can make some educated guesses about where the show is going. The behind-the-scenes crew has gotten into how they’ve made the sets and costumes and even ho far they’ve written the scripts. There are also popular theories that can be supported by past events and what we’ve learned from the behind-the-scenes process. There are even a few things from seasons past that is finally becoming important again and possible vengeance to be had by more than a few characters. Here’s what you need to know about the behind-the-scenes process of Game of Thrones.
15. Every Detail Matters
Throughout the whole show, everything that’s been on the Game of Thrones set has been made specifically with the history and lore of Westeros in mind. This is why different regions and characters dress in certain ways, to the point where their cultures feel real. The same goes for the things they use.
Tommy Dunne, the weapons master for Game of Thrones, sat down with Mental Floss to talk about the process he goes through to make all those weapons for all those characters every single season. He draws a lot of inspiration from history but recreates his weapons using modern day techniques and materials. For example, the hero weapons are made with steel blades, but the weapons the cast actually uses for fighting are made of aircraft aluminum, which won’t hurt anyone.
If you’re an extra on the show doing some sort of fighting or stuntwork, your weapon’s blade is probably made of rubber. The shields are made of plastic (except for the aluminum shields of the Unsullied). As for arrows, apart from rubberized tips, they’re the real deal. “An arrow has a residual strength, so once you let go of that string on the bow, it creates a bend in the arrow itself. If you have weak wood, it will shatter straightaway,” Dunne explained.
14. Team Dany Got Another Costume Change
Daenerys Targaryen gets a new costume change every year, but this year, her entire team has gotten a costume upgrade. During the beginning of the series, Daenerys was wearing a lot of white before graduating to blue during seasons 2 and 3. While her earlier outfits were all about playing up her femininity and making her look less threatening (especially in comparison to her three growing dragons), this costume change seems like she’s all about looking authoritative. That seems to be a theme with everyone since aspiring leader Jon Snow and current Westerosi ruler Cersei Lannister are both wearing black in this season as well, but this is the first time Daenerys has worn anything this dark and strong looking. Her choice in wardrobe might also be an indicator that she’s aware that she’s moving to a very cold place in comparison to the balmy heat of Slaver’s Bay. More interestingly, the pants she always wears under her dresses are on full display here, showing that she means business and isn’t afraid of showing it.
13. Tormund And Brienne Get More Time Together
One of the sweetest interactions throughout season 6 was when Brienne of Tarth met Tormind Giantsbane. Ever since they met in early season 6, everyone’s been clamoring for more scenes between the two. The relationship would be a great thing for Brienne, who’s had a lot of bad luck when it comes to guys. First, she fell for Renly Baratheon as a teenager and was so head over heels that she didn’t notice that Renly was in love with Loras Tyrell, who died recently in the worst church service ever in the season finale. Then, she fell in with Jaime Lannister, and it seemed like the feeling could possibly be mutual. The problem with Jaime is that his lifelong incestuous romance with his twin sister got in the way, and considering he’s still at his sister’s side despite everything she’s done, that’s not likely to change. The fact that Tormund is interested in her might be a real turning point for her since she never saw herself as someone conventionally pretty. Even if this romance isn’t in the books, it’s great television.
12. Ed Sheeran Is Making A Cameo
Maisie Williams, who plays Arya, is a huge fan of Ed Sheeran. In a SXSW panel, it was revealed that Ed Sheeran would finally be showing up in a cameo. According to David Benioff, they’ve been wanting to get him on the show for years specifically for Maisie’s benefit, and they happened to get him for this season. A lot of other musical acts have been on the show before, so he wouldn’t be the first. Past Game of Thrones musical cameos have included members of Coldplay, Mastodon, Of Monsters and Men, and Sigur Rós, although not all of them were actually showing off their musical chops. Of Monsters and Men were in season 6 as a traveling band, and Sigur Ros sang “The Rains of Castamere” during Joffrey’s wedding in season four. Not every musician on the show has been recognizable either. Certain members of Mastodon passed under our radar on the first watch because they were disguised as wildlings that got turned into Wild Walkers.
11. The Visual Effects Are Wild Enough To Get In The Guinness Book Of Records
The visual effects on Game of Thrones have gotten better every year. Season 7 will be no exception. Since Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal are going to be the size of commercial airplanes, it stands to reason that the visual effects need to be able to deliver and make them look good. The effects, according to Sam Conway, are going to bring the “chaos and mayhem” in season 7, and he does it using everything at his disposal. “We handle gas, we handle water, we handle wind, we handle smoke, we handle pyrotechnics, we handle engineering, blood, snot, you know, everything,” Conway says. “Everything you could possibly imagine is our trade.” According to David Benioff, they’re not holding anything back when it comes to the effects. “In one battle scene we set more stuntmen on fire than have ever been simultaneously set on fire,” Benioff told EW. “Our stunt coordinator really wanted to get in the Guinness Book of World Records for this.” That should give us a good picture of the wild ride we’re going to go on as the audience.
10. The White Wedding?
One major turning point for season 7 has to be the theory that Sansa will end up having yet another wedding. The first was to Tyrion Lannister, but that was annulled (probably illegally) so she could marry Ramsay Snow. Now, there’s a huge chance that she’s going to marry Littlefinger in a wedding already being dubbed the “white wedding.” While the Red Wedding (Edmure Tully and Roslyn Frey’s) and the Purple Wedding (Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell) ended horribly, as did Sansa’s marriage to Ramsay (which we’ll be calling the Black Wedding), the White Wedding might go differently.
Littlefinger has been setting himself up as a viable option for Sansa to marry (in service of his own plans to win the Iron Throne), so there’s a very good chance that Sansa takes him up on that and marries him (no doubt thanks to her own capacity for manipulation, part of which she learned from Littlefinger himself). From there, she could either manipulate him for her own ends or arrange his death for his part in condemning her father to death and putting her in this situation in the first place. That second option is more likely, but the evidence for that isn’t found in a theory but in official photoshoots and trailers.
9. This Picture Might Have Spoiled Something Huge
This weapon was seen in the trailer being used by Arya. This is weird enough in itself because Arya has very rarely been seen without Needle when she has it in her possession, which she currently does. To make matters even weirder, that’s no ordinary knife. It’s the knife that was used by the hitman Cersei hired to kill Bran back in season 1 when he was still unconscious from his fall after he saw her and Jaime together.
That knife, if you remember the first season, belonged to Littlefinger. Why would Arya have it? We don’t know how Arya gets her hands on the knife, but we definitely know why she’d have it: she might be Littlefinger’s killer. Littlefinger was the guy who betrayed her father, which led to him being beheaded at the Sept of Baelor while Sansa and Arya watched. Arya killing him would be almost poetic, especially if she did it at Sansa’s behest. Sansa and Arya started off as bickering sisters, but the two of them uniting on this, using their differing skills to kill Littlefinger, would be wonderful television.
8. The Stark Family Photo
Entertainment Weekly did a photoshoot, reuniting the remaining Stark siblings a lot earlier than planned. It was great to see the four surviving Stark siblings (all of whom are narrating characters in the books) together again after so many seasons apart. They’ve all been on vastly different journeys and are totally different people than when they started. This also goes to show that while the Starks have been very unlucky even by Westerosi standards, it’s hard to knock them out of the count for good.
The Starks have a (well deserved) reputation for dying in various horrible ways, but these four have survived for vastly different reasons. Bran has survived thanks to his supernatural abilities and the loyalty of his friends like the Reeds and Hodor. Jon has survived by clawing his way up the Night’s Watch hierarchy, making the right friends and decisions, and getting resurrected by Melisandre. Sansa has survived by becoming a colder but wiser person with a gift for manipulation and the ability to endure just about everything. Arya has survived because she was always scrappy, racking up a kill count higher than a lot of others in the series.
7. Season Eight Is Already Written
It turns out that it’s not just season 7 that’s ready to be made. Season 8 has already been written and so has the timeline for the four Game of Thrones prequel spin-offs. According to HBO programming president Casey Bloys, the spin-off prequels are still a process and only one is getting made, but that one series will be on the same level as the Game of Thrones series. When asked why four ideas are getting developed, Bloys said that the unusual approach works for Game of Thrones because of the world building involved.
“You couldn’t do this with a lot of shows. In talking with the drama group here, and the nice thing is George has created an entire universe … The other reason, frankly, as I said, is the bar is so high. If you only developed one, everything would rest on that one shot … I want to make sure that [any prequel] feels worthy. We have some amazing writers who want to take a shot at this. They’re also looking at different times in the universe and all will have different feels. This increases our odds of finding one that’s unique.”
While the showrunners know how season 8 is going to end, the goal is to get season 7 off the ground this summer. “The show has proven that TV is every bit as impressive and in many cases more so than film. What they’re doing is monumental. When you see these battles in season 7, and what I imagine season 8 will be, it’s a big, big show. We’ve done a lot of great shows, but this one combines the complex characters we love with a huge cinematic scope. I think this is the first show to prove that can be done — and we’re the first people to pay for it.”
6. Spoilers Aren’t A Huge Deal For The Showrunners
Considering what we’ve seen in the official behind the scenes footage, spoilers are all over the place. Even if you’re not actively looking, chances are you’re going to see something pertaining to the plot of the upcoming season. According to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who sat down with the Huffington Post, a lot of the theorists are on the right track. “What’s interesting, though, is every year there are huge spoilers online where people find out real stuffand they will post it, and you go, ‘Oh my God, they just spoiled the whole season online!’ But then, because there are 10,000 other spoilers out there, they’re not real. It just gets lost in the shuffle… So, it’s all out there by the way … if you can find it.”
However, creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff aren’t all that upset about it because people who look for spoilers are just ruining the fun for themselves. “It’s crazy enough to be the person crawling through the bushes in Northern Ireland with a telescopic lens taking pictures – there are crazy people out there,” Benioff says. “But the idea that people want to go to sites and find out those spoilers … it’s like if there was a website called Last Pages of Great Books, would you read that?” Personally, I disagree: some people find theorizing to be a lot of fun, and while it’s not great to go and intentionally spoil something for someone, it can be a lot of fun to theorize based on what’s already been released.
5. Game Of Thrones Is Partnering Up With The MLB
Some advertising tie-ins are perfect, and some are really weird. The partnership between Game of Thrones and the MLB falls decidedly into that second category. Over the course of the summer, the MLB will be hosting special Game of Thrones themed nights, where they’ll be giving away merch, ticket packages and more. The MLB did something like this with The Force Awakens, but this is going to be way more involved. The MLB announced the move on their website. “Currently, at least 19 teams are scheduled to participate, including the D-backs, Red Sox, Reds, White Sox, Astros, Dodgers, Royals, Marlins, Brewers, Twins, Athletics, Phillies, Pirates, Mariners, Giants, Cardinals, Rangers, Rays, and Nationals.” If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones and also love baseball, this season might just be the best one yet for you.
4. Even Bran Thinks He’s Going To Mess Up The Wall
The upcoming season looks bleak for everyone who’s lucky (or unlucky) enough to still be alive to see it. However, few people have it quite as bad as Bran Stark and Meera Reed. They’re the ones who uncovered the truth about Jon’s real parents, but they’re stuck beyond the wall with no way to get back. On top of that, Bran is now “it” in the White Walker game of tag that kicked off the deaths of Hodor and Summer, and there’s a very good chance that if he passes the Wall and into Westeros, he’s going to break the magic on the Wall and allow the White Walkers in. He’s the Three-Eyed Raven now and the situation is pretty dire.
Isaac Hempstead-Wright sat down with Entertainment Weekly to talk about season 7, and he revealed that he finished filming all his scenes months before everyone else did. He also believed that despite everything in season 6, Bran’s still very much on the side of the angels. “I think the thing with Bran is that he’s had to change massively. His circumstances are pretty bad, but overall I think Bran has maintained his sense of being good. He hasn’t gone, like, ‘Oh man, I have all these amazing powers now, let’s mess some things up!'”
3. We Finally Get To See Oldtown
This promo photo of Sam and Gilly hanging out in Oldtown was enough to make me breathe a sigh of relief. Sam and Gilly are supporting characters, but their journey is vitally important to the story because, without Sam, the Night’s Watch is going to be in a load of trouble without a maester. On top of that, he’s been away since before Jon got forcibly fired from his position as Lord Commander by mass stabbing, so there’s definitely going to be a day of reckoning when Sam and Gilly get back and find that Jon’s not in the Night’s Watch anymore. On top of that, recent photos have revealed that Gilly’s baby, Sam, is not an infant anymore, meaning that there’s been a lot of time since they set out from the Wall and the beginning of season 7. While photos have hinted that they might be leaving Oldtown, no photos have shown Sam with a maester’s chain, which means that Sam actually becoming a maester is a bit up in the air.
2. What Happened In Dorne?
Dorne was a huge deal in season 5, and we got a glimpse of them in season 6 at the beginning and end of the seasons. Their story is vastly different from what happened in the books, so we’ve been flying completely blind for that portion of the story. Because of the drastic changes, a lot of fans haven’t been cool with anything happening in Dorne. Those who are hoping for the players in Sunspear to get wiped off the map might get their wish this season. While we haven’t see Ellaria or the Sand Snakes much in photos (it would be hard to disguise them among the arriving Targaryen army, after all), we can infer a lot from what we’ve seen.
[SPOILERS AHEAD] Watchers on the Wall did a report that Euron Greyjoy was going to be siding with Cersei in the wars to come, attacking team Targaryen and making off with a few main characters. “If this mix of suspicions and spoilers pans out, it would mean Obara and/or Nymeria are the Sand Snakes who die during the sea battle, while Ellaria and Tyene survive… Only to be kidnapped, paraded through the streets of King’s Landing, and meet what I can only imagine is an even worst fate at the hands of Cersei and Euron. Together, these two like-minded mad monarchs could think up truly perverse tortures and executions.” [SPOILERS END] That being said, we have no way of knowing if this is the case until we watch, so, for now, this is just conjecture.
1. The Costumes Are “A Story In Cloth”
Game of Thrones Easter eggs and spoilers abounded in the video “A Story in Cloth,” which gets into the costuming for the show. The video itself is well worth a watch, but if you don’t have time, we’ll sum it up for you. We saw a lot on how the costumes were made, but the bits that will probably stay with you will be the bits that end up forecasting certain events in the series. There’s one shot in the video that shows Ellaria and Cersei in the same room together, with one of them much worse for wear than when we last saw them. Another shot gave theorists evidence that more Giants might be coming, perhaps to avenge fan favorite Wun Wun’s death, or worse, to take part in the Night’s King’s army. Another shot showed someone standing behind Sansa, possibly holding Needle, Arya Stark’s weapon. There’s a lot to get into here, but we’ll only see how everything plays out once we look back on the season proper.
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