Five Things You Really Didn’t Know About Game of Thrones

You don’t need to speak Dothraki to have been made aware by now that British balladeer Ed Sheeran is scheduled to make an appearance in the upcoming season of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones. He’ll doubtlessly won’t be the only A-lister lining up to get involved either. Yes, the season five finale was watched by 8.9 million people in the US, but there’s still so much more we could learn about our favourite show. Here’s a rundown of lesser known but quite fascinating facts about the series.

Sigur Ros attended Joffrey’s wedding

If you look carefully (and know what you’re looking for) you might be able to spot Icelandic post-rock super-group Sigur Ros in attendance at Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell from episode 2 of season 4, ‘The Lion and the Rose’.

Drummer Orri Páll Dýrason, bass player Georg Hólm and singer Jónsi Birgisson are dressed as lugubrious wedding singers at the ceremony, which should have gone some way to alerting the guests of the inherent unsuitability of the ‘happy couple’. Their song is a dirgeful mix of a track that recurs throughout the series, entitled ‘The Rains of Castamere’, touching upon the show’s running themes of grand conflict and intimate betrayal.

“We probably managed to create the gloomiest version so far,” noted Hólm. “It is maybe not the happiest wedding song, but we think it fit the scene very well.” The band’s rendition struck the perfect tone – nobody was going to suggest that marriage to Joffrey would turn out to be a positive experience.

GoT makes for good gaming

It’s not just a major TV series and a best-selling book cycle. Such has been the success enjoyed by the TV adaptation of George RR Martin’s epic fantasy book cycle, that GoT has spawned a number of video games too. French developer Cyanide kicked things off with A Game of Thrones: Genesis in 2011.

This Windows-based strategy game was followed up with an action RPG in 2012 released for Windows, the PS3 and the Xbox 360. Browser games too are well-catered for, with iGaming hub Betway Casino offering an officially licensed 15-line, 5-reel online slot game featuring artwork and animations from the series, complete with spinning banner sigils to represent the rival families.

Thematic slots are apparently a big trend in online casinos, with more and more slots developers acquiring the rights to tailor their titles after series, with developer Playtech recently signing the biggest ever such deal with DC comics.

A social media game for Facebook titled Game of Thrones Ascent appeared in 2013. Its point-and-click strategy approach quickly found over 9 million players, hungry for a little GoT action between seasons. Most recently, an episodic graphic adventure simply called Game of Thrones began a run of releases in 2014 across multiple platforms. Telltale Games, the developers behind the Walking Dead game series work closely with writer George RR Martin and his TV team to faithfully recreate the atmosphere and plot lines from the books and the show. Actors from the cast make regular voice cameos, and further installments will follow in due course.

Hodor’s fate came with a 2-year spoiler

Actual spoiler alert here: If you don’t know what happened to Hodor in season 6, then best you skip this section and jump to the next item. But if you do know the shocking fate of Hodor, (even if you don’t really understand the supernatural time-twistyness of how it may have happened) then this little snippet might be of some passing interest.

Apparently Hodor’s big reveal last year was signposted entirely by accident, in a blog post from 2014 following a casual chat between George RR Martin and fellow writer Michael Ventrella in an elevator at a literary festival in Washington, D.C in October the previous year. You can read the full account of this curious exchange at Ventrella’s blog, but it’s fair to say that Martin dropped a very big hint upon exiting said elevator, which Ventrella then caught with both hands and eagerly recorded on his blog.

Every book has become a bestseller

Decades before it was ever commissioned as a TV series, Game of Thrones was doing fine for itself as the title of the weighty first book of an epic fantasy cycle dubbed A Song of Ice and Fire. George RR Martin, already an award-winning sci fi and fantasy author, penned the first novel in the sequence in 1991 and found a publisher for it five years later. Each chapter bore the personal perspective of one character of the many who make up the GoT world, inviting the reader to access all the plots and schemes of the various families firsthand.

Initially conceived as a trilogy, the projected book cycle grew to seven volumes, five of which have thus far made it to print. The fifth, A Dance with Dragons, took Martin 6 years to finish and shot straight to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list, and he’s currently embarked upon the sixth, which will go by the title The Winds of Winter. As of today, the books have been translated into 47 languages, and have sold over 60 million copies worldwide.

The TV Series is now very different from the book cycle

The first season aired in 2011 and closely mirrored the events charted over the course of the first book, A Game of Thrones. Gradually though, as the years have rolled on, the TV series has diverged in radical ways from the original books, and now has begun to outpace them. With season seven soon on the way and a further eighth season of six episode planned for 2018 to wrap up the various intersecting plot threads, onscreen events will pave the way for scenes that may not make it into the written word at all. When Ice finally gets to meet Fire, you’ll likely watch the clash unfold on television; possibly the first fictional narrative to jump media streams so deftly and yet retain a uniqueness and character all its own.

When the last tale is told…

When that final episode airs, and no matter who or what sits upon the Iron Throne, the reputation of GoT will be firmly established as a piece of small screen history. Those iconic battle-lined faces, all those characters we try so hard not to grow too attached to let the writing team decide to bump them off, will each have their own fates settled – probably bloodily. Some in battle, and others… Well, it never pays to bet on life expectancy in this series. We found that out over the first season, and it remains as true today after 60 episodes as ever it was when poor Ned Stark exited stage right minus his head, all those years ago.

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