Over seven seasons, Game of Thrones has established itself as a massive hit despite its fantasy origins. It was a daunting task to adapt this huge work for the small screen as HBO’s budget was big but still a hefty price to make it work. It helps that the show is more grounded than most fantasy. Yes, there are dragons, zombie soldiers and more but it also plays more like pure medieval history than magical stuff and thus helps the production. Through the years, the show has won over critics with numerous awards, backed by a first-rate cast and fans love going through the behind the scenes stuff. That includes images of how these events are put together which can occasionally mar how the show is perceived.
It’s one thing to see everything before CGI where you have clearly fake stuff abounding. It’s another to see actors going around totally out of character and throws off when you see the show. People who play sworn enemies are total friends behind the scenes and several bits have them acting goofier than their characters should. It can throw you off as some fans enjoy the looks before the effects but others are thrown by how they can mar enjoying the show. Here are 15 behind the scenes pics of GoT and how the series can be altered given how you know what things are really like behind the scenes.
15. Bran’s Footwear
Bran’s push out a window is a key moment of the entire saga. It sets off the entire clashes of the Lannisters and Starks and the various politics that throw things into chaos. It also leads to a paralyzed Bran gaining mystical powers, allowing him to see the threat of the White Walkers coming. Isaac Hempstead-Wright has been good playing the role although producers were thrown when he endured a huge growth spurt between seasons and becoming nearly six feet tall. They cover for it by him lying down a lot but still a huge change for the kid. This pic shows him being carted around during his “road trip” in season three and a fun bit in his footwear. His simple boots are now shown to be specially designed with “tennis” soles, pretty comfortable for someone meant to be unable to walk. He has a huge smile too to match it and shows a different view for the seer. One can expect a lot from this character but not looking so stylish while on the road.
14. Lighting It Up
There are a lot of moments in season seven that had fans happy. But one of the biggest had to be when Jon goes on a quest into the frozen wastes to capture a White Walker in order to prove their existence to others. He goes about to assemble a dream team of the show’s best warriors: Jorah, Tormund, Gendry, Beric, Thoros and Sandor aka the Hound. Needless to say, their battles against the Walkers were a major highlight, bantering in between some brutal battles and taking some casualties in the frozen land. The Walkers were brutal in their own terms, including using flaming weapons against the group. However, the impact of one such moment is a bit lost when you see this image. A guy in a green suit with a large green carrier of fire lowering toward the actor. The guy in the coat talking to him as if leading him through the motion is wild as are the guys holding up the large screen to help the effect out. It just robs some of the power of the scene despite the awesomeness of so many actors finally getting together.
13. Bear Feeding
One of the wilder plotlines of the third season was when Jaime and Brienne were sent together on a quest to King’s Landing. The duo were captured by some raiders with Jaime losing a hand and Brienne held captive. They forced her to wear a dress, something this proud knight totally hated and word of her being made a guest for a dinner. Jaime soon finds the plan is to feed Brienne to a bear and the clash is a major highlight of the season. Some might think it was CGI but no, it was indeed a real bear although some camera trickery was used to make it look like it and Christie were a lot closer than they actually were. But between takes comes this nutty sequence when Christie actually feeds the bear herself. Seeing this takes some of the danger out of the scene but fun imagining Christie a lover even to an animal meant to be attacking her.
The mountains around Westeros are a huge sight, a massive wall of ice that is designed to keep out entire armies. To try and scale them seems impossible and suicidal. Nearly sheer cliffs of ice, often with snow billowing around you, Jon Snow felt it was insane. But as it turned out, the wildlings had long ago mastered this and pulled Jon into joining with them. The sequence of him climbing up a rope in a snowstorm was harrowing, making fans worry for a sudden fall and a hard end. Which is why it’s a bit annoying to see the reality of the filming. It wasn’t outside at all but indoors, a studio with a fake ice wall before a green screen. That ruins the illusion but further marring it is how you can see a pair of wires holding to Kit Harington, making sure he’s in place as even with the fact it’s not that big a fall, they want to make sure Harrington isn’t injured. The fact there’s so much safety takes away some of the danger of the scene.
11. Celebrating In Chains
While he became famous with GOT, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau had been a popular actor for several years. He had roles in various films and then got a first shot at fame as an immortal NYPD detective in the short-lived Fox show New Amsterdam. But it’s his role as Jaime Lannister that’s boosted Coster-Waldau to major fame. The Kingslayer is a dark man, willing to kill a child but has shown a bit more honor than expected and his growth over the show has been great to watch. A big bit in season two was Jaime captured by the Starks with plans to ransom him but Catelyn arranges for his secret release as part of a plan. Thus, the usually handsome Coster-Waldau had to spend a while locked up in chains and looking dirty as hell. But in this case, it’s a fun bit as during one day shooting, the crew honored his birthday. So when you watch these scenes again, just remember how the actor was honored while in chains, which makes those scenes a bit different to see.
10. Finger Play
Ser Davos Seaworth (aka The Onion Knight) is a popular secondary character on the show. A smuggler, he serves Stannis before joining with the Night’s Watch. It’s he who pushes for Melisandre to resurrect Jon Snow and serves as his aide as the King in the North. Fans love Liam Cunningham’s performance in the part, strong and tough to carry the show along. A major bit is that during Robert’s Rebellion, Davos was caught smuggling for the wrong side and his fingers were cut off, forced to carry them as a price. It’s a cool bit but making it work on screen is tricky. This reveals how Cunningham has to wear green coverings on his fingers and then the CGI guys edit them out for the final shots. In this case, he’s in a large hall that is now shown to be a total blue-screen background and pretty fake. Davos is a good guy on screen but some of that is taken away by how much work goes into making him look fingerless.
9. Rain Delay
On the audio commentaries for the show’s Blu-Ray releases, a recurring bit from the directors is on the weather. Ireland, where many scenes are shot, is notorious from going from clear and sunny skies to overcast and pouring rain, often at a moment’s notice. Often, they can use that for scenes to match the poor mood and dark vision of the show. But it can also be hell for filming, particularly with the way you have so many actors together on scenes. Here, we have a huge pack of actors on set, just waiting for things to let up before the filming can continue. Many have umbrellas, including some bright green ones and just sitting in chairs talking as the crew mingles about. It’s like a weird take on a baseball game’s “rain delay,” minus the huge tarp. Sure, the show mixes brutal elements for the battles and such but the actors show sometimes you just have to wait it out in order for the weather to work.
8. The Queen Victory
Contrary to popular belief, Emilia Clarke does not dye her hair blond and let it grow out for the show. She simply wears a wig, one that has to be covered up between takes so it doesn’t get too dirty or even blow off. Here’s a sight of this regal, powerful queen with a nylon covering on her hair and a coat over her robes. She’s flashing the “V” sign with her fingers while making a goofy face, just trying to kill time as the crew sets up the next shot. It’s a much different view than on the show with Daenerys looking more commanding and not wanting to show such emotion. Clarke remains a very sexy presence and even in this pic looks great but it still seems a bit off for the character intimidating so many. Daenerys is used to victories and this one shows her flaunting it well but a bit off seeing her so goofy.
7. Laughing Lannisters
The Lannisters, a family so massively screwed up that they make the Duggars look like the Waltons. Jaime may have some honor but a ruthless man willing to toss a little kid out a window and a harsh killer. Cersei is a twisted power-mad sociopath who is willing to let the kingdom burn to keep in power. Tyrion has transformed into a good man but still a drunkard with a dark edge. Tyrion basically hates his sister and vice versa while Jaime loves both (and in Cersei’s case, a bit too much…) and their dynamics come off truly twisted. So it’s funny to see this picture of Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau laughing their heads off together. The trio actually have a good time off camera, including doing audio commentaries and having some fun with the show. Word is that numerous takes are ruined by them cracking each other up and having a great time. It undermines the idea of them as a dysfunctional family when they clearly love hanging together off screen.
6. Little Kids
It’s hard to believe just how vastly different the young actors playing the Stark children looked when the show began. Arya was a tomboy but a truly funny presence while Bran was just a kid who loved climbing around. Things have changed as Maisie Williams transformed Arya into a merciless killer and wicked presence. Meanwhile, Isaac Hempstead-Wright has undergone a huge growth spurt as Bran to boost himself with mystic powers. Both are now back together and ready to take revenge for their family and boost themselves to power nicely. But this pic shows them shooting the pilot and looking just amazingly little kids. They’re both short and sticking out tongues, just scamps having a good time amid the filming. It’s remarkable seeing how both have transformed into utter bad-asses and truly popular characters so remembering them as funny little kids is something else. Just shows how life in Westeros can force anyone to grow up fast.
5. Dragon “Flight”
A skit on Saturday Night Live had Peter Dinklage poking fun at the show’s production by doing scenes opposite a guy in a dragon costume that was intended to be replaced by CGI. It was a fun bit and more so when you consider it’s not that far off from the truth. Many a time, the actors have to pretend they’re gazing at a dragon when it’s a ball on a string or even just blank air. For a recent amazing episode, Daenerys takes onto a dragon to attack enemy forces, a fantastic sequence that fans love. However, the impact is taken away by this shot of Emilia Clarke on top of a complex harness, not even fully completed as cameras surround her. That Clarke has that intense look on her face is funnier, marking how well she has to act to make such a scene work. It was a great scene but loses some of its power seeing a pic like this and “Queen of the Harness” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
4. A Different Kind Of Game
Like many a hit franchise, GOT has inspired slews of tie-in products. That includes board games where fans can play versions of Westeros based on Monopoly or Risk. Or a trading card game utilizing the popular characters and clashes. But this pic from the first season shows a card game breaking out between the Stark children. Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Isaac Hempstead-Wright and Richard Madden sit around a table, calmly playing a game of cards. In a way, it shows how they were all mature for their age, something they’d use to help make their roles so successful. However, it’s also nutty to see them in their full Winterfell outfits indulging in a game as if just kicking back at home. Williams looks to have a decent hand going while Madden works on his and Turner and Isaac look on. It’s a fun bit showing these kids are sharper than they think and how the Starks really do love playing games as much as anyone else.
3. Green Bean
In some ways, you have to admire Emilia Clarke. She spends quite a lot of shooting time in deserts and hot suns while in a wig and various outfits. Other times, she wears not a stitch of clothing, having to go naked before a few dozen cast and crewmembers. She also has to handle most of the FX stuff of Daenerys handling her growing dragons. This picture shows the rough bit of it as she clutches what looks like a covered watermelon meant to be one of her child dragons. The fact she has a loving expression on her face just makes it more hysterical, the sight of this actress doing her best to emote to a big green bean and make it look believable. The CGI guys do a great job making it look like a real dragon but this remains a ridiculous sight in some ways to remind you just how hard it is for the actors trying to make such crazy bits look believable for fans.
2. The Queen’s New Love?
From the start, Emilia Clarke has brought a great power to the role of Daenerys. She’s turned her from an innocent woman to a cunning politician and a powerful force. She controls dragons, she walks through fire and is utterly gorgeous with several lovers through the seasons. She has had some notable ones like Khal and most recently Jon Snow, strong men and very capable fighters. But this pic hints that Clarke may have someone else in mind: Ryan Gosling. Yes, the popular actor appears to be a favorite of Clarke as she shares this image of her holding up a picture of him with a weird expression. Gosling does seem to be a fan of the show but unlikely he’ll do a guest shot and one wonders why Clarke just happens to have a cutout of the actor’s head with her. It does make for an interesting idea as the next time you see Daenerys, keep in mind who her major crush happens to be.
1. Green Mammoth
One of the key episodes of the series was season four’s “The Watchers on the Wall.” It involved an epic clash between the Night’s Watch and the wildlings. It dominated the episode with huge sets and amazing battles. Among them was the wildlings using huge mammoths to attack the Wall and transport troops. Utilized by CGI, it was an impressive sight to thrill viewers and be a standout of the attack. Which is why it’s rather laughable to see how it was created. In order to make a four-legged animal work, the producers had four guys in head to toe green suits walk with stilts in a stumbling motion. It just comes off amazingly goofy, hilarious to see and takes away some of the impact of the big battle. It’s true a lot of FX stuff can mar the final product but it’s still something that when you watch the battle, you can only imagine the weird stilt act instead of the huge monster bounding about.
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