Based on a fantasy trilogy by author George R.R. Martin (“A Game of Thrones”, “A Clash of Kings”, “A Storm of Swords”) and primarily shot in four countries (Ireland, Malta, Morocco, and Croatia), Game of Thrones is concerned with the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and the various noble families who are trying to claim the power of the Iron Throne.
The series received critical acclaims and stunning popularity after only two seasons. And by that, we mean it has exploded in popularity, proving to be a ratings juggernaut for HBO. Today, it’s the hottest show on TV and it has been described as “The Sopranos in Middle Earth”. In a 2012 study, “Game of Thrones” (GoT) was ranked as having the second-highest number of deaths per episode, with an average of 14 characters dying in each episode.
Impressive? But it all comes with a price i.e. cast, makeup, costumes, locations, props, production team, visual effects, etc. Here are some fun (but seriously serious) facts you need to know about HBO’s epic fantasy/action series:
- “Games of Thrones” is now shown in 75 countries around the world and it features the largest cast on TV – with more than 275 actors per season.
- The pilot alone cost $10 million, with a price tag of $50 and $60 million for the entire first season. Each episode now averages to about $6 million per episode.
- A 2012 Vulture study proved that the series’ fans are the most devoted than any other show – outranking fans that support “Harry Potter” and “Star Wars”. What’s next? For the “Dothraki” language to be turned into a real language? (Not that we’d be totally surprised or anything)
- Mad magazine played a tribute in 2013 with their parody, “School of Thrones”, which was set in a high school with various students using GoT-styled treachery to become prom king and queen.
- The first season box set sold 350,000 copies in its first 7 day of release – the largest first-week DVD sales for any HBO show. Ever.
- “Game of Thrones” also holds the record for biggest number of digital download sales. With 10.3 million viewers, it’s the third most-watched series in HBO history.
- The colorful Dothraki language was developed by a linguist from the Language Creation Society, who helped scope out the 1,800 words and phrases.
- Fans flock to the Emerald Isle (in Ireland) to see where the show gets filmed. Wherever the show has been filmed, a spike in local tourism has been directly accredited to the show’s enormous popularity.
- The closing episode (“The Children”) of GoT’s Season 4 drew 7.1 million viewers on HBO in US. Inclusive of repeats, GoT’s Season 4 finale drew a whopping number of 9.3 million people.
- GoT’s “The Children” also became the most pirated show in history. Half a day after the episode was released, it was downloaded 1.5 million times. More about “The Children” here.
- Kristian Nairn was a full-time DJ before he landed the role of the loveable giant Hodor. He still DJs in his native Belfast as DJ Nairn during off-season. In addition to spinning vinyl, DJ Nairn also sings, plays guitar, and performs on stage.
- Character wigs, which cost about $7,000 apiece, are made of human hair and can be up to two feet long. They are washed and styled like a real head of hair. For some of the actors who need that uncared-for and greasy look, wigs are processed to make it look like they haven’t been washed in weeks.
- The nurse Robb Stark married aka Talisa Maegyr, is the granddaughter of someone super famous. If you paid attention to the credits, you’d see that her real name is Oona Chaplin. Who’s her grandfather? None other than silent movie superstar Charlie Chaplin.
- According to Social Security Administration records, nearly 150 newborn baby girls were given the name “Khaleesi” (which means “queen”) in 2012. That’s the year of the second season, when Daenerys goes to Qarth and starts to truly become “the mother of dragons”.
- For the fear of not being about to finish his books, “Game of Thrones” creator George R.R. Martin revealed the end to the show producers – oh you know, just in case he meets the end (like any of the characters he has created) way too soon.
- In its first year, “Game of Thrones” bagged a whopping totally of 13 Emmy nominations. The series captured Emmy gold twice—once for actor Peter Dinklage who won the “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series” award for his portrayal of the clever and devious Tyrion. Other Emmys include “Outstanding Main Title Design”, “Outstanding Special Visual Effects”, and “Outstanding Costumes for a Series”.
- Last but not least, in late June, Her Majesty the Queen of England paid a royal visit to the “Games of Thrones” set in Belfast. You know what they say; if Queen Elizabeth II herself can make an effort to say hi, then you know that your TV series has definitely made it! True story.
Mind blown yet? Yup. Thought so. For more behind-the-scenes pictures, check out the gallery below: