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Game of Thrones: 10 Behind the Scenes Facts

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Spencer Sher
Even if you’re a super fan, we bet you’ll be caught off guard by these surprising behind the scenes facts about Game of Thrones. From alternative casting choices, to production details, to fun facts about the actors, the set of this HBO series is full of fascinating trivia. Today, we’re going to find out what goes on behind the Wall. WatchMojo ranks the most surprising behind the scenes Game of Thrones fact. What do you think is the most surprising Game of Those behind the scenes fact? Let us know in the comments!

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Even super fans don’t know all of these! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Surprising Behind-the-Scenes Facts About Game of Thrones.

For this list, we’ll be taking a look at the most surprising behind-the-scenes/production facts from the hit HBO series Game of Thrones.

#10: Daenerys Targaryen Was Insulted with Monty Python Quotes

In the season four episode “Breaker of Chains,” Daenerys attempts to take the city of Meereen. When she arrives, a “champion” greets her; a warrior selected by the masters of Meereen to best a champion of Dany’s choosing in single combat. As this man waits for Daenerys to decide, he hurls insults at her from a distance. Iif you happen to speak Low Valyrian, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that he’s using quotes from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. Some of his zingers include “Your mother was a hamster” and “I blow my nose at you.” Dang, that’s harsh!

#9: The Actor Who Plays Aemon Targaryen Was Really Blind

Seeing as how “Game of Thrones” revolves around fantastical plot devices like ice zombies, dragons and magic, it would be easy to assume that keeping things “real” isn’t a top priority. However, Peter Vaughan, the actor who played the Night Watch’s blind Maester Aemon from season 1 through 5 was in fact blind - at least partially! Vaughan had a lengthy film and television career that began all the way back in 1931. However the older he got the worse his vision became and when he signed up to play Aemon Targaryen in 2011, his sight had severely deteriorated.

#8: Sophie Turner Adopted Her Character’s Direwolf

One of the most jarring early moments from season one of “Game of Thrones” was when Ned Stark was forced to kill Sansa’s direwolf, Lady to appease the queen’s rage. While the canine character no longer had a place on the show that didn’t mean it no longer had a place in Sophie Turner’s heart! During production Turner grew extremely close to Lady, (whose real name is Zunni) so when it came time to say goodbye, instead she and her family adopted the Mahlek Northern Inuit dog. The two have been inseparable ever since!

#7: The Show Helped Saved Rare Pigs & Their Farm

If there’s one thing that “Game of Thrones” is synonymous with, it is death. So it was quite surprising to learn that during production, the show actually helped save a rare breed of pig! Iron Age pigs have been used regularly on the series due to their uniquely medieval look. For centuries, they have been bred on Forthill Farm in Northern Ireland by the Gracey family. According to owner Kenny Gracey, “Farming has taken a downturn. Costs are too high and we're not getting enough for our produce.” Thankfully for him (and his pigs), the show’s need for traditional animals has helped keep his farm afloat!

#6: Thomas Brodie-Sangster Was a Decade Older Than His Character

When it comes to sticking to the source material, “Game of Thrones” doesn’t exactly have the best track record. For instance, in the books many of the main characters are teenagers, but in the show they are played by actors and actresses in their 20s and 30s. A prime example is Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who landed the role of Jojen Reed in 2013. In the books, Reed is described as being 13 years old, whereas when Brodie-Sangster was playing him, he was already 23, a full 10 years older! Hey, if your looks allow you to play younger, go for it!

#5: The Actors Who Play Bronn & Cersei Lannister Used to Date

Before they were cast-mates on one of TV’s most popular shows, Jerome Flynn and Lena Headey were reportedly an item. The two dated in the early 2000s, but things didn’t end well and according to a handful of sources, they are no longer on speaking terms. This has obviously posed a problem for the producers of “Game of Thrones” as Bronn and Cersei’s peers regularly cross paths. Keeping them apart hasn’t been easy, although eagle-eyed viewers will be quick to note that in the season seven episode “The Dragon and the Wolf”, Bronn exited the meeting with Cersei early so that the two wouldn’t have to share screen time. Must have been a really bad breakup!

#4: Charles Dance Skinned an Actual Deer for a Scene

You only get one chance to make a first impression! For multiple seasons, Charles Dance was one of “Game of Thrones’” most imposing characters. His no-nonsense portrayal of Tywin Lannister terrified viewers on a weekly basis. Part of the reason he was so effective in the role was his, how should we say, hands on approach. When Tywin is first introduced to viewers, he is in the middle of skinning a deer, something that Dance actually did with a real deer! According to him, it was one of the highlights of his time on the show! Not our cup of tea, but still pretty cool.

#3: Emilia Clarke Was Accidentally Glued to an On-Set Toilet

One of the most iconic scenes from season one had an unintended consequence for Emilia Clarke. The scene in question called for Daenerys to eat a horse heart, which was actually just a giant gummy covered in corn syrup. Fake blood is notoriously sticky however, and when combined with a giant sticky gummy heart, well… you have a recipe for a one seriously sticky disaster. By the time she was done shooting, Clarke was covered in sticky substances, and when she went to the washroom she ended up getting stuck to the toilet! How she managed to get off is anyone’s guess, but we can only imagine it involved a pretty embarrassing conversation with one of her co-workers!

#2: Some Big Name Stars Almost Nabbed Key Roles

Throughout “Game of Thrones’” run, we’ve seen no shortage of recognizable faces come and go. But there have been numerous instances in which some of Hollywood’s biggest stars nearly secured a spot on “GOT” only to turn it down or be denied. The “X-Files” Gillian Anderson and “The Wire’s” Dominic West both turned down unspecified roles on the show. Additionally, Sam Claflin, best known for his portrayal of Finnick Odair in the “Hunger Games” franchise, auditioned for the roles of Jon Snow and Viserys Targaryen only to be denied by producers. Of course he would go on to star opposite Emilia Clarke in the romantic drama “Me Before You”, so it all worked out in the end!

#1: Daenerys Targaryen & Catelyn Stark Were Played by Different Actors in the Pilot

“Game of Thrones” got off to a rocky start in 2009. The original pilot, which featured Tamzin Merchant of “The Tudors” fame in the role of Daenerys and Jennifer Ehle in the role of Catelyn Stark, was poorly received by test audiences, forcing HBO to demand that it be re-shot with different actors. As such, Merchant and Ehle were replaced with Emilia Clarke and Michelle Fairley! Other notable close calls included Iwan Rheon almost being cast in the role of Jon Snow and Carice Van Houten almost playing Cersei. Of course they would both later appear on the show as Ramsay Bolton and the Red Woman respectively.

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