20 things you didn't know about 'Game of Thrones'

Helen Sloan/HBO‘Game of Thrones’ season eight premiered on April 14.
  • Since the show’s start in 2011, the show’s viewership has more than tripled.
  • In the Northern Ireland production alone, “Game of Thrones” used 4,000 gallons of fake blood.
  • There were 13,250 visual effects shots in the first seven seasons alone.
  • Visit INSIDER.com for more stories.

After nearly two long years of patiently waiting, winter is finally here. The final season of HBO’s massively popular show “Game of Thrones” premiered last Sunday, much to the excitement of fans everywhere. With pretty much all your favourite characters dead and plenty of loose ends to tie up (like who is going to sit on the Iron Throne), “GOT” season eight is shaping up to be one of the most thrilling yet.

Continue reading for 20 epic facts you definitely did not know about “GOT.”

Post-production took nearly a year on season eight.

HBOSeason one, by comparison, took 17 weeks.

Fans had to wait nearly two years for the final season of “GOT” to premiere – and post-production was one of the main reasons. According to HBO, season eight was in post-production for 42 weeks.

To put that in perspective, the first season of the show was in post-production for 17 weeks.

One of its biggest stars had hesitations about the role.

HBOPeter Dinklage wasn’t sold on Tyrion Lannister.

Peter Dinklage has made a splash as Tyrion Lannister becoming one of the most beloved actors on the show. But it may surprise you to know that he almost turned down that role because he didn’t want to be in a fantasy show.

“I had one hesitation, because of the fantasy genre, I told him I didn’t want a really long beard and pointy shoes,” Dinklage said in a Reddit AMA.

“[Benioff and co-creator Dan Weiss] assured me this character and this world wasn’t that,” Dinklage told Reddit. “They told me about his complexity, the fact that he wasn’t a hero or a villain, that he was a womanizer and a drinker, and they painted a flawed and beautiful portrait of him, so I signed on.”

The show has been filmed in 10 countries.

Courtesy of TripAdvisor / Courtesy of HBOThe Castle of Zafra in Campillo de Dueñas, Spain, was the filming location for the Tower of Joy in Game of Thrones’ season six.

While most people are familiar with “GOT”‘s film locations in Northern Ireland and Croatia, fans might not know that the HBO production has filmed in eight other countries: Republic of Ireland, Morocco, Malta, Spain, Iceland, United States, Canada, and Scotland.

Many of these locations included real-life castles, which is why the sets on the show appear so realistic.

The show embraces visual effects.

HBOThe show wouldn’t be possible without visual effects.

It takes a lot of work outside live-action filming to bring “GOT” to life. In fact, there were 13,250 VFX shots in the first seven seasons alone. The work was siphoned out to 40 different visual effects houses in 13 different countries.

Read more:Here’s how Sunday’s giant ‘Game of Thrones’ battle looked without visual effects

The number of nude people dropped drastically in the seventh season.

HBOOnly seven appeared nude.

Since the show first started, many have been vocal about its use of nudity and its sex scenes. But Broadly found out that the instances of nudity were minimal in season seven, down to just six, in comparison to 33 in the first season.

The cast apparently had to read scripts on secured iPads.

HBOIt’s important to keep it spoiler-free.

Ian Glen, who plays Jorah Mormont, told BBC Radio 5 that production was so worried about paper scrips being leaked that they only allowed the cast to read the script from secured iPads.

“They’re absolutely paranoid now about anyone finding out anything about the series and spoiling it,” he told them.

The final season of the show had a huge budget.

HBOIt was apparently $US90 million.

The final season of the show is expected to be epic, but creators apparently had a $US90 million budget to work with over the course of the season. That means that the reported $US15 million per episode budget soared in comparison to the $US2 million budget in the second season.

There was a lot of fake blood used on set.

HBOThe Red Wedding was especially bloody.

Unsurprisingly, the George R.R. Martin-inspired show features plenty of character deaths, many of which ended in gruesome, bloody ways (remember the Red Wedding?). In the Northern Ireland production alone, “GOT” used 4,000 gallons of fake blood.

And, although we’re on the topic of impressive number stats, the show used 50 miles of fabric for costumes and 52,000 bags of paper snow throughout the eight seasons on air.

The sound of ice dragons is from drunk fans.

HBOThese lucky fans made their mark

It turns out Sound Designer Paula Fairfield had a pretty creative way to get the specific scream for the ice dragon Viserion. After Fairfield originally met a group of fans at Con of Thrones, she asked them to record themselves screaming, which they said they did after a night of drinking.

They met up again at a “Game of Throne” watch party at the Burlington Bar in Chicago and Fairfield let them know what she had used their screams for and they were overjoyed.

Pyrotechnics on the show were no joke.

HBOThe show used propane among other things to create fire-breathing dragons.

From fire-breathing dragons to wooden houses being blown up by Daenerys Targaryen, fire is a major component on the set of “GOT” and it turns out not all of it was CGI (computer-generated imagery).

According to HBO, the show used 163 tons of propane and 3,000 pyrotechnic effects during its eight-season run. They also used 1,102 pounds of Coffee Mate (yes, like the stuff you put in your morning coffee) for pyrotechnics.

The show has featured quite a few celebrity cameos.

Ed Sheeran/FacebookEd Sheeran was one.

If you pay close enough attention, you’ll notice quite a few familiar faces on the show. Some notable names who have appeared include singer Ed Sheeran who played a Lannister soldier, Coldplay drummer Will Champion who played a drummer, and band Sigur Rós who played a musical group performing at Joffrey’s wedding.

Prosthetics took a lot of time.

HBOProsthetics for The Mountain took seven hours to apply.

Major props to the special effects team on “GOT” that used over 24,000 pounds of silicone since season four to bring Martin’s fantasy world to life. Reportedly, the costume prosthetics that took the longest to apply were for the Children of the Forest and The Mountain, which each took seven hours.

Read more:This photo of The Mountain from ‘Game of Thrones’ holding a regular mug looks like an optical illusion

Here’s a great video on the process the SPX team used to create some of your favourite characters.

One actor really skinned a deer.

Macall B. Polay/courtesy of HBOCharles Dance took his role seriously.

In the first season, when the audience is first introduced to Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), he skins a deer. It was a bit unsettling to watch, partly because of Dance’s general acting skills, but also because it turns out that he took it a step further and actually skinned the deer.

“That was a real deer. It was purchased from someone who sells stags and Charles Dance learned on the day how to skin a deer. You never would have known. It seemed like he’d done it his whole life,” executive producer and series co-creator D.B Weiss told the LA Times.

It took months to perfect the Mother of Dragons’ hair.

HBODaenerys is known for long, platinum hair.

Everything on the “GOT” set was done with precision and thought, including the different hairstyles for each character. Daenerys’ vibrant blonde hair took more than two months to perfect and seven different prototypes. In total, the show used just over 12,000 wigs and hairpieces over the course of eight seasons.

Over 1.4 million still photographs were taken on set.

Helen Sloan/HBOHelen Sloan has been taking photographs on set since season one.

Helen Sloan, “GOT”‘s designated unit still photographer took over 1.4 million photographs throughout the eight seasons on set. For those who don’t know, still photographers take photos on set that are often used in the press and for continuity.

This doesn’t include the number of cast selfies that have been posted to Instagram through the years.

The show has won dozens of Emmys.

With over 132 Emmy nominations and 47 wins to their name, “GOT” has nearly surpassed “Saturday Night Live” for the most Emmy wins ever. With yet another Emmy season ahead of them, needs 18 more Emmys to tie “SNL”‘s wins.

Read more:The ‘Game of Thrones’ cast pulled out all the stops for the show’s penultimate Emmy Awards – here are all their looks

The show’s viewership has more than tripled since its premiere.

Helen Sloan/HBOThe viewership has skyrocketed since season one, episode one.

Since the show first premiered in 2011, “GOT” has more than tripled from 9.3 million to 32.8 million in 2018.

The show has an inordinate number of extras.

Rising Sun Pictures/HBOThe show employed many extras throughout its seven seasons.

According to HBO, the show had nearly 13,000 extras in Northern Ireland alone over the course of eight long seasons. The behemoth production also required thousands of crew members.

Maisie Williams kept her brown jacket from the set

Helen Sloan/HBOMaisie Williams as Arya Stark on the eighth and final season of ‘Game of Thrones.’

After filming her final scene as Arya Stark, Maisie Williams got to keep the brown leather jacket she sported on the seventh and eighth season.

The show likes to break records.

OreoOreo made a ‘Game of Thrones’-themed cookie.

With over 100 licenses around the world, “GOT” is officially the most-licensed program in HBO history.

Read more:Oreo and HBO recreated the ‘Game of Thrones’ opening credits using nearly 3,000 cookies

Other popular HBO shows include “The Sopranos,” “Insecure,” and “Sex and the City,” for reference.

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