To date, the series consists of six fully transmitted seasons comprising sixty episodes in total, while the series has been renewed for a seventh season, which consists of seven episodes. Showrunners Benioff and Weiss have stated that going for eight seasons is the ultimate goal.
Production of the series is based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, mainly at the Paint Hall Studios. It is the largest and most expensive television production ever mounted in Northern Ireland. Filming for the series has also been conducted in Malta, Iceland, Croatia, Morocco, Spain, and the USA.
See the production timeline for a more detailed history of the show's development and production.
David Benioff was sent a collection of the first four novels in the series (A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows) by George R.R. Martin's agent. Initially sceptical of the fantasy genre, Benioff became a big fan of the books and invited his friend D.B. Weiss to develop the project with him for a screen adaptation. They initially considered a movie adaption, but realized this would mean losing most of the plot and characters from the books. Instead, they began working on an adaptation for television. They met with George R.R. Martin and spent several hours discussing the project. Martin was impressed with their enthusiasm and that they had already worked out the resolutions to several key mysteries in the books. He agreed with them that the series was a good fit for the cable company HBO, which Martin was already a big fan of.
HBO agreed to option the project in 2007 and active development of a pilot script began. However, this was delayed by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. In October 2008 HBO exercised its option to buy the rights to the series and ordered a pilot episode a few weeks later. Casting announcements were made throughout 2009, with Peter Dinklage the first actor formally announced for the series. The pilot episode was filmed in Northern Ireland and Morocco in October and November 2009.
HBO officially greenlit the series on 2 March 2010. Filming of Season 1 began on 23 July, with Malta replacing Morocco for overseas filming. Several actors from the pilot were recast, requiring the re-filming of most of the first episode. The season wrapped filming on 15 December. HBO later confirmed that the first season had a budget of $60 million. The first season aired on HBO on 17 April-19 June 2011, garnering critical acclaim and steadily rising ratings. HBO confirmed after the transmission of the first episode that a second season had been commissioned.
Production of Season 2 began on 25 July 2011 and wrapped on 12 December. Malta was dropped as a filming location, replaced by Croatia, while additional filming took place in Iceland. The budget for Season 2 was 15% higher than Season 1, necessitated by the addition more ambitious effects sequences and the use of CGI creatures such as direwolves and dragons. The second season aired from 1 April to 3 June 2012, garnering additional critical acclaim and increased ratings. By the end of the second season, the show had become the third-most-successful series in HBO's history, behind only The Sopranos and True Blood. In addition, the DVD and Blu-ray set of Season 1 was released just prior to transmission of Season 2 and immediately became HBO's fastest-selling media release in its history.
Production of Season 3 began on 10 July 2012 and wrapped on 24 November. Morocco was added to the filming roster alongside Croatia, Iceland and Northern Ireland, with the complexities of filming requiring the addition of a third filming unit to the existing two. An additional scene was shot in Los Angeles for safety reasons, meaning that Season 3 was filmed in five separate countries on three continents. The season aired from 31 March to 2 June 2013. The penultimate episode The Rains of Castamere won widespread critical acclaim for its shock twist ending. By the end of the season the show had supplanted True Blood as the second-most successful HBO show in the United States and The Sopranos as its most successful series worldwide.
Production of Season 4 began on 8 July 2013 and concluded on 21 November. Production was more focused this season, with only two units used and filming restricted to Northern Ireland, Iceland and Croatia. This was to allow more of the budget to be concentrated on several major action and effects sequences late in the season.
Production of Season 5 ran from 18 July 2014 to 12 December. Production was focused once more, with two units filming in Northern Ireland, Croatia and Spain, with Spain being a new addition to the show's shooting countries.
Production of Season 6 ran from mid-July 2015 to 17 December. Filming took place in Northern Ireland and Spain, while the production only returned to Croatia for a brief shoot, as they used several locations in Spain as exterior sets for King's Landing, Braavos and Meereen.
Production of Season 7 ran from 31 August 2016 to February 2017, which was later than past seasons, mainly due to the desire to accurately depict the winter that now grips Westeros, and will be shortened to seven episodes, due to the smaller amount of story content remaining, as well as the increased production values and time required to film episodes involving larger set pieces. Filming took place in Northern Ireland, Spain, Iceland and, once again briefly, Croatia.
Adaptation process and catching up with the books
Seasons 1-4: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings & A Storm of Swords
As of 2016, five books have been published in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, and author George R.R. Martin has predicted that there will be two more (though he is struggling not to let the final book run long, in which case it would have to be split, for a total of eight books).
The third novel, A Storm of Swords, was so long that it pushed the limits of how large a published book could physically be without pages falling out. Because the third novel was so long, the production team realized it would be impossible to condense it all into a single season, so the decision was made to adapt its contents across two seasons. While Season 3 ends with the Red Wedding, this actually happened in the middle of the third novel (similar to how Renly Baratheon suddenly died in the middle of Season 2). Jon Snow returned to Castle Black by the middle of the third novel. Daenerys Targaryen had not yet reached Meereen by the middle of the third novel. A few characters did advance further than this in Season 3, i.e. Bran Stark actually passed north of the Wall at the end of the third novel (he had so few chapters in the entire book that the TV producers didn't want to space it out for two full seasons). By the end of the fourth season, most of the characters had completed their story from the third novel.
Season 5 and 6: Intercutting A Feast for Crows & A Dance with Dragons
What was originally planned as the fourth novel was even longer than the third novel, so Martin split it into two novels: A Feast for Crows (the fourth book) and A Dance with Dragons (the fifth book). The fourth and fifth books occur during a simultaneous timeframe: all of the chapters set in the Seven Kingdoms were moved to the fourth book, while all chapters set outside of the Seven Kingdoms (at the Wall or across the Narrow Sea in Essos) were moved to the fifth book. Though of course, despite splitting them because as one book they would have been longer than the third novel, Martin kept making additions to the fourth and fifth novels during the writing process, so both are nearly as long as the third novel.
It would be odd to spend an entire season with one set of characters while the rest do not appear, then reverse this in the subsequent season. So Seasons 5 chronologically presented events in the order that they happened. This is comparable to how J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers actually consisted of two halves: the first half entirely follows Aragorn since the end of the first novel, then the second half backs up in time to follow only Frodo's perspective, but during the same timeframe since the end of the first novel. Peter Jackson's movie adaptation, however, chose to simply intercut between the two storylines to show events in the chronological order in which they occurred. Thus "Season 5" consisted of the majority of the material from A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons.
Seasons 7 and 8: Beyond the books
Given that there are currently five novels (with the third split into two seasons), but given the fact that the majority of the fourth and fifth novels have been adapted in season 5 and 6, there was only a very limited amount of material left to be adapted. Even so, Martin has told producers Benioff & Weiss the general outline of how the final two books are going to progress (so if a bolt of lightning strikes Martin, they'd still be able to finish according to Martin's general plan).
As a result, the total amount of seasons remained unclear for quite some time. During Season 3, in an interview with Mother Jones magazine, Benioff & Weiss said that they thought the TV series might run as many as eight seasons, for a total of 80 episodes, though they were unsure:
- Mother Jones: "So I gather that Game of Thrones could last eight or nine seasons. Does that mean putting novel writing on hold for a decade?
- Benioff & Weiss: "Yes, if we live that long and HBO keeps wanting to make the show. We have the opportunity here to tell a coherent story that lasts for 80 hours. And while a canvas of that size presents all sorts of storytelling problems, it also allows us to spend more time with these characters we love than we'll ever get again.
Soon before Season 4 began, however, in early March 2014 executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss made several comments that they actually felt Season 4 was the "midway point" of the TV series, which would probably last seven seasons. On March 11, 2014, they said in Entertainment Weekly:
- "It feels like this is the midpoint for us...If we’re going to go seven seasons, which is the plan, Season 4 is right down the middle, the pivot point...I would say it's the goal we've had from the beginning...It was our unstated goal, because to start on a show and say your goal is seven seasons is the height of lunacy. Once we got to the point where we felt like we're going to be able to tell this tale to its conclusion, that became [an even clearer] goal. Seven gods, seven kingdoms, seven seasons. It feels right to us.”
The repeated statements Benioff and Weiss made throughout Season 4 that they "always" intended for there to be seven seasons simply contradict previous statements they made in formal print interviews, such as with Mother Jones in 2013 (though plans can and do change over many years).
Benioff & Weiss, as well as George R.R. Martin himself, then provided comments for the April 2014 issue of Vanity Fair (which was released about two weeks after Benioff and Weiss said in Entertainment Weekly that there might be only seven seasons). Contradicting his statements made at the same time in EW that "we're going for seven seasons, it's been our goal since the beginning", Benioff instead repeated that the production team wasn't sure if the TV series would last "seven or eight" seasons.
- "If we're a series and we're four seasons, five seasons in, and it's indefinite as to how long it's gonna go, then I don't think there’s as much pressure as far as, the end is coming, the end is nigh. So, for us, whether it ends up being seven or eight, it's right around there. I think we've always felt — we just completed the fourth season — this is the midpoint. And we're coming around the bend right now."
D.B. Weiss also said in Vanity Fair, after they had just finished Season 4 and were about to start writing Season 5, that they saw the show as running up to eight seasons:
- "We know there’s an end somewhere in the seven-or-eight season zone. It’s not something that goes ten, eleven — it doesn't just keep on going because it can. I think the desire to milk more out of it is what would eventually kill it, if we gave in to that.
Elio and Linda of Westeros.org analyzed these conflicting statements before Season 5 began, and offered an explanation: most TV series do not make their starring cast members sign contracts which last longer than six years. If a TV show is successful enough that it lasts longer than six years, the starring cast members can renegotiate their contracts - and because the show is now a guaranteed hit, their pay can increase drastically. A starring cast member on a longrunning and popular TV series can easily leave the show after the sixth season and enter into a lucrative film career, being paid millions of dollars instead of the several hundred thousand that a TV series can easily afford to pay them in the same time period. A hit TV series might be popular enough and generate enough revenue to sustain this - but the Game of Thrones producers have no way of completely guaranteeing that the TV series's ratings will be as high three seasons in the future.
As a result, in Season 4 the executive producers started backtracking and saying that they had always intended for only seven seasons, because they were in heavy contract negotiations between the starring cast and HBO. Now unsure if they would have more than seven seasons (even though they had previously said they felt they needed at least eight to tell the story in full), they didn't want to promise more than they could confirm.
Westeros.org therefore theorized that going into Season 5, the writers were adapting to a "worst case scenario mode" for the event that they only had seven seasons. This included drastically cutting several major subplots from the novels, such as omitting House Greyjoy's subplots almost entirely, not making mention of Doran Martell's other children (including his daughter and heir, Arianne), and cutting out many major characters that appear in Tyrion Lannister's storyline in the Free Cities. They went on to speculate, however, that once Season 5 had finished production, the TV writers would probably know how the cast contract negotiations worked out, and if it was indeed confirmed that they would get more than seven seasons, they would then restructure accordingly - i.e. not omitting these storylines, but pushing them back to Season 6.
As events unfolded, it was announced in October 2014 that HBO was indeed able to reach a settlement with the starring cast members: based on the unprecedented and continued success of the TV series, HBO agreed to give them all major pay raises. Part of this involved instituting a pay-grade system: while it a large ensemble cast, a few cast members who can arguably be called the core cast. These "Tier A" cast members as they called them were Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), and Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen). Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) are not in the Tier A cast - it is possible they aren't paid as much due to being underaged. A later interview with Entertainment Weekly in March 2015 reported that for Season 5, the Tier A cast members were each paid $300,000 per episode.
As predicted, with these cast contract renegotiations settled, HBO and the writers began intimating that the TV series could run for more than seven seasons. In the same Entertainment Weekly interview, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said that the network would eagerly accept the TV series going on for eight to ten seasons, but only if writers Benioff and Weiss felt it served the story instead of dragging it out (though of course, the TV series has not been "padding" the massive novels series, but omitting many subplots for time). Lombardo said:
- "We'll have an honest conversation that explores all possible avenues. If they [Benioff and Weiss] weren't comfortable going beyond seven seasons, I trust them implicitly and trust that's the right decision—as horrifying as that is to me. What I'm not going to do is have a show continue past where the creators believe where they feel they've finished with the story.
Westeros.org, WatchersOnTheWall.com, and Entertainment Weekly all agreed that what increasingly seems most probable is that like other major TV series such as Mad Men, Game of Thrones will probably end with a "double-sized" seventh season, which is then split into two halves and aired a year apart (i.e. 16 episodes instead of 10, broken into two 8 episode blocks). This would functionally result in the TV series getting "eight seasons", though for purposes of prohibitively expensive cast contract negotiations, it technically wouldn't count as another full season.
Benioff and Weiss also noted in the March 2015 Entertainmenet Weekly interview that the pay issue has largely been solved after successful negotiations, and the series continues to bring in revenue with high ratings, but the major issue they deal with now is the time issue: Game of Thrones is one of the largest TV productions in history, spanning multiple countries with different units filming simultaneously, and the shooting schedule for Season 5 officially lasted a massive 202 days. As they have said before, they physically cannot hope to produce more than 10 episodes at such high quality in a single year, and the scale keeps increasing, with an ever-expanding cast and new set locations. As Weiss said:
- "The money issue was largely supplanted by the time issue. There’s still the money issue; since television budgets are not movie budgets, you’re always making Sophie’s choices in terms of visual effects. We ran up against the absolute limit of how many days we can shoot in a year."
On July 30, 2015, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo announced that the TV series will last at least eight seasons, not only seven. Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour, Lombardo said that while Season 7 was not yet technically ordered, HBO and the writing team felt that there were about two more seasons worth of story (matching the expectation that it is based on a series of seven novels, one of which was so large it was split and adapted as two TV seasons). In contrast with Benioff and Weiss's frequent declarations since Season 4 that they had "always" intended for there to be seven TV seasons (though they had repeatedly said "seven or eight" before Season 4), Lombardo said that "Seven-seasons-and-out has never been the [internal] conversation" between the production team and HBO. Lombardo said,
- "The question is: How much beyond seven are we going to do? Obviously we’re shooting six now, hopefully discussing seven. [Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss are] feel like there’s two more years after six. I would always love for them to change their minds, but that’s what we’re looking at right now."
Lombardo also directly reiterated that HBO is interested in making prequel projects, adapted from Martin's other stories set in Westeros, i.e. the Tales of Dunk and Egg - but he also reiterated that they aren't going to have any serious negotiations about prequel projects until after the main TV series is over, due to the massive amount of work involved.
On April 14, 2016, David Benioff estimated they had 13 episodes left after season six. "We’re heading into the final lap," he said. "That's the guess, though nothing is yet set in stone, but that's what we're looking at." Presumably, season seven would have that number of episodes, and season eight would be six episodes. Weiss and Benioff said they were unable continuing to produce ten episodes of the show in the previous 12 to 14-month time frame. "It's crossing out of a television schedule into more of a mid-range movie schedule," Weiss said.
Catching up with the books
George R.R. Martin himself, in the same April 2014 issue of Vanity Fair, addressed the major and related question which is frequently asked: what will happen if the TV series outpaces the remaining books? What if Martin cannot finish the next novel (the sixth, The Winds of Winter) before Season 6 has to enter production?
Martin stated that while he is trying to focus on writing the remaining novels, he is opposed to rushing them to finish to match the TV series, given that he wants his novels to stand the test of time for decades, like J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Thus while Martin is hurrying, he has accepted that it a real possibility that he cannot finish the next two novels in time, admitting on his personal blog that the show would catch up with him starting season 6.
Martin declined writing an episode for Season 5 and Season 6 to focus on writing The Winds of Winter, and in March 2015 canceled all of his future convention appearances to focus on writing it. Even so, it now appears all but certain that the final seasons of the TV series will probably be released before the final novel, A Dream of Spring.
With 250 speaking roles, almost 90 of them named, the cast was the largest ever assembled for the debut season of a HBO project. The cast grew even larger in the second and third seasons.
The cast includes Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen, Richard Madden as Robb Stark, Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister, Aidan Gillen as Petyr Baelish, Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, Conleth Hill as Varys, Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane, Jerome Flynn as Bronn, John Bradley-West as Samwell Tarly, Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont, James Cosmo as Jeor Mormont, Joe Dempsie as Gendry, Sibel Kekilli as Shae and Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo. The cast is also notable for including a number of teenage and child actors in prominent roles: Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark, Art Parkinson as Rickon Stark and Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon.
Jennifer Ehle was initially cast as Catelyn Stark, but after filming the pilot HBO decided to recast the role with Michelle Fairley. No further details have been given for the reason behind this decision, except that it was amicable. In a similar manner, Tamzin Merchant was initially cast as Daenerys Targaryen, but after filming the pilot she was replaced by newcomer Emilia Clarke.
Several prominent recurring cast members introduced in first season were Julian Glover as Grand Maester Pycelle, Donald Sumpter as Maester Luwin, Gethin Anthony as Renly Baratheon, Ian Gelder as Kevan Lannister, Eugene Simon as Lancel Lannister, Finn Jones as Loras Tyrell, Kate Dickie as Lysa Arryn, Lino Facioli as Robin Arryn, Owen Teale as Alliser Thorne, Dominic Carter as Janos Slynt, Ian McElhinney as Barristan Selmy, David Bradley as Walder Frey, Joseph Mawle as Benjen Stark, Francis Magee as Yoren, Natalia Tena as Osha, Kristian Nairn as Hodor and Peter Vaughan as Maester Aemon.
The second season marked the introduction of many new cast members, including Stephen Dillane as Lord Stannis Baratheon, Carice van Houten as Melisandre, Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth, Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell, Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, Patrick Malahide as Balon Greyjoy, Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy, Michael McElhatton as Roose Bolton, Rose Leslie as Ygritte, Hannah Murray as Gilly, Tom Wlaschiha as Jaqen H'ghar, Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne and Ben Crompton as Eddison Tollett.
For the third season, the cast was further swelled with additions, including Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell, Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Snow, Ciaran Hinds as Mance Rayder, Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane, Anton Lesser as Qyburn, Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei, Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm, Tara Fitzgerald as Selyse Baratheon, Kerry Ingram as Shireen Baratheon, Clive Russell as Brynden Tully, Tobias Menzies as Edmure Tully, Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion, Paul Kaye as Thoros of Myr, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Ellie Kendrick as Jojen and Meera Reed.
For the fourth season, only a few new cast members were added, including Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell, Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand, Michiel Huisman as Daario Naharis, Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Mace Tyrell, Dean-Charles Chapman as Tommen Baratheon, Rupert Vansittart as Yohn Royce and Mark Gatiss as Tycho Nestoris.
For the fifth season, many new cast members were introduced, including Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow, Faye Marsay as the Waif, Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell, DeObia Oparei as Areo Hotah and Keisha Castle-Hughes, Jessica Henwick and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers as the Sand Snakes: Obara, Nymeria and Tyene Sand.
For the sixth season, a small number of new cast members were added, including Max von Sydow as the Three-eyed raven, Pilou Asbæk as Euron Greyjoy, Michael Feast as Aeron Greyjoy, James Faulkner as Randyll Tarly, Bella Ramsey as Lyanna Mormont and Tim McInnerny as Robett Glover.
The series is set on a world where the seasons can last for years at a time. The main setting is the continent of Westeros, which was home to seven feuding kingdoms until they were united by the Targaryen family using dragons some three centuries ago. The dragons died out and the Targaryen Mad King was unseated in a civil war led by Lords Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark, seventeen years before the series opens. Robert has ruled as King ever since, but when the series opens his rule is increasingly undermined by other factions. At the same time, two surviving Targaryen children, having grown to adulthood in exile on the eastern continent of Essos, are now planning to return and retake the Iron Throne, and to this end are seeking a military alliance with other factions.
As both civil war and an external invasion threaten Westeros, another danger arises in the lands to the far north, beyond the vast Wall that forms the realm's northern border, where a supernatural threat believed to be mythical seems to be stirring after millennia of sleep. The only defense lies with the Night's Watch, an under-manned, under-funded order of soldiers once held in honor but now used as a dumping ground for criminals and exiles.
The Great Houses
Westeros is ruled by nine noble houses, who in turn command hundreds of lesser vassal houses. Each of the Great Houses rules a large region and commands significant armies and power in their own right. A list of the Great Houses and some of their more significant vassals follows:
- House Stark of Winterfell: rulers of the North, the largest region of the continent. Officially led by Princess Sansa Stark who is supported by her "half-brother" King Jon Snow.
- House Umber of the Last Hearth: vassals of the Starks who rule over the lands between Winterfell and the Wall. Led by Lord Greatjon Umber.
- House Karstark of Karhold: vassals of the Starks who rule over the north-eastern lands of the North. Led by Lord Rickard Karstark.
- House Mormont of Bear Island: vassals of the Starks who rule over Bear Island, which is north west of Winterfell. Led by the young Lady Lyanna Mormont.
- House Manderly of White Harbor: vassals of the Starks who rule over White Harbor, the only city in the North. Led by Lord Wyman Manderly.
- House Glover of Deepwood Motte: vassals of the Starks who rule over Deepwood Motte, which is located in the Wolfswood north west of Winterfell. Led by Lord Galbart Glover.
- House Hornwood of Hornwood: vasaal of the Starks who rule over Hornwood, which is located in forested lands southeast of Winterfell. Their leader is unknown.
- House Mazin: noble house in the North. Supporting House Stark after the Battle of the Bastards. Their leader is unknown.
- House Arryn of the Eyrie: rulers of the Vale of Arryn. A house noted for its chivalry. Currently supporting House Stark after the Battle of the Bastards. Led by the young Lord Robin Arryn.
- House Lannister of Casterly Rock: rulers of the Westerlands and, after the extinction of House Baratheon, the rulers of Westeros. Richest house in Westeros. Led by Queen Cersei Lannister.
- House Tully of Riverrun: rulers of the Riverlands, the well-traveled central region of the continent. Led by Lord Edmure Tully.
- House Frey of the Twins: vassals of the Tullys who hold the only major crossing of the Green Fork of the Trident. Noted for their large numbers and tendency to always pick the winning side. After the recent murder of Walder Frey their leader is uncertain.
- House Bracken of Stone Hedge: Vassals of the Tullys who rule the lands south of the Red Fork of the Trident river. Led by Lord Jonos Bracken.
- House Greyjoy of Pyke: rulers of the Iron Islands off the west coast of the continent. The ironborn are fierce and independently-minded, but a recent attempt to rebel against the Iron Throne was defeated. After the murder of Balon Grejoy their men were split, they are partially led by King Euron Greyjoy and partially led by Queen Yara Greyjoy. The latter is currently supporting House Targaryen.
- House Targaryen: the former rulers of Westeros before Robert's Rebellion. The family is now destroyed and its survivors are exiles in the far east, now sailing back to Westeros to retake their birthright. Led by Queen Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons.
- House Tyrell of Highgarden: rulers of the Reach, a vast, fertile region in the south of Westeros. The most populous region of the continent and able to field the largest armies. Currently supporting House Targaryen. Provisionally led by Lady Olenna Tyrell.
- House Martell of Sunspear: rulers of Dorne, the southern-most region of the continent. Separated from the rest of Westeros by extensive mountains and a sea, currently supporting House Targaryen. Led by Princess Ellaria Sand.
Extinct Great Houses
- House Baratheon of Storm's End: former rulers of the Stormlands and, after the civil war, the whole of Westeros. It has been legally confirmed to be extinct. Formerly led by King Robert Baratheon and his brothers, Stannis and Renly.
- House Bolton of the Dreadfort: former vassals of the Starks who ruled over the eastern lands of the North, briefly Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. Took over Winterfell from Theon Greyjoy, defeated and annihilated by House Stark at the Battle of the Bastards. Officially declared extinct.
This list of characters describes their location and status as of the first episode of the series.
- Main article: House Stark
- Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell.
- Michelle Fairley as Lady Catelyn Stark, originally of House Tully.
- Richard Madden as Robb Stark, Eddard's eldest son and heir.
- Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Eddard's eldest daughter.
- Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, Eddard's youngest daughter.
- Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark, Eddard's middle son.
- Art Parkinson as Rickon Stark, Eddard's youngest son.
- Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Eddard's bastard son by an unknown mother.
- Joseph Mawle as Benjen Stark, Eddard's younger brother, First Ranger of the Night's Watch.
Retainers at Winterfell
- Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, a ward and hostage for his rebellious father's good behavior.
- Ron Donachie as Ser Rodrik Cassel, master of arms.
- Jamie Sives as Jory Cassel, Rodrik's nephew, captain of the guards.
- Donald Sumpter as Maester Luwin, a maester of the Citadel.
- Kristian Nairn as Hodor, a simple stableboy.
- Margaret John as Old Nan, a retired servant and Hodor's great-grandmother.
- Susan Brown as Septa Mordane, a religious tutor and governess to Arya and Sansa.
- Esme Bianco as Ros, a prostitute working in Winterfell's outlying town.
Vassals and allies of House Stark
- Clive Mantle as Lord Greatjon Umber, Lord of Last Hearth, a loyal vassal of House Stark.
- Dean S. Jagger as Smalljon Umber, Lord Jon's son and heir.
- John Stahl as Lord Rickard Karstark, Lord of Karhold, a vassal and distant kinsman of House Stark.
- Paul Rattray as Harald Karstark, Lord Rickard's son and heir.
- Bella Ramsey as Lady Lyanna Mormont, Lady of Bear Island.
- Tim McInnerny as Lord Robett Glover, the Master of Deepwood Motte.
- Tom Varey as Lord Cley Cerwyn, the heir to House Cerwyn.
- Sean Blowers as Lord Wyman Manderly, Lord of White Harbor, a powerful and loyal vassal of House Stark.
- Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Jojen Reed, the son and heir of Lord Howland Reed, one of Eddard Stark's closest friends and allies.
- Ellie Kendrick as Meera Reed, Jojen's older sister.
House Bolton and retainers
- Michael McElhatton as Lord Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort, a vassal of Eddard Stark.
- Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Snow, Lord Roose's bastard son.
- Noah Taylor as Locke, a vassal and hunter in Lord Bolton's service.
- Charlotte Hope as Myranda, the kennel master's daughter at the Dreadfort, and Ramsay's bedwarmer.
- Richard Rycroft as Maester Wolkan, a maester in service to House Bolton.
- Jamie Michie as Steelshanks, a man-at-arms in service to House Bolton.
- Main article: House Lannister
- Charles Dance as Lord Tywin Lannister, the widowed patriarch of House Lannister and father of Jaime, Cersei and Tyrion.
- Lena Headey as Queen Cersei Lannister, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, twin sister of Jaime, mother of Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen.
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Ser Jaime Lannister, a knight of the Kingsguard, twin brother of Cersei.
- Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Cersei and Jaime's younger brother, called the Imp for his size.
- Ian Gelder as Ser Kevan Lannister, Lord Tywin's younger brother and closest adviser.
- Eugene Simon as Lancel Lannister, Ser Kevan's son, a squire to King Robert.
- Karl Davies as Alton Lannister, a distant cousin of the main branch of the family.
Vassals and allies of House Lannister
- Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne, a squire, a member of one of the Lannisters' vassal families.
- Fintan McKeown as Ser Amory Lorch, a loyal vassal and retainer of House Lannister.
- Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane, Prince Joffrey's bodyguard and sworn sword, long in the service of House Lannister. Known as "The Hound".
- Conan Stevens (Season 1)/Ian Whyte (Season 2)/Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (Season 4-) as Ser Gregor Clegane, Sandor Clegane's brother and the most feared knight in Westeros, called "The Mountain" because of his massive size.
- Anthony Morris as the Tickler, a noted interrogator and torturer in the service of Ser Gregor Clegane.
- Andy Kellegher as Polliver, a master-at-arms in the service of Ser Gregor Clegane.
- Main article: House Baratheon
- Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon, King of the Seven Kingdoms.
- Jack Gleeson as Prince Joffrey Baratheon, King Robert's eldest son and heir.
- Aimee Richardson (Season 1-2)/Nell Tiger Free (Season 5-) as Myrcella Baratheon, King Robert's eldest daughter.
- Callum Wharry (Season 1-2)/Dean-Charles Chapman (Season 4-) as Tommen Baratheon, King Robert's youngest son.
- Gethin Anthony as Lord Renly Baratheon, King Robert's youngest brother, Lord of Storm's End.
- Stephen Dillane as Lord Stannis Baratheon, King Robert's middle brother, Lord of Dragonstone.
- Tara Fitzgerald as Lady Selyse Baratheon, Lord Stannis's wife, originally of House Florent.
- Kerry Ingram as Shireen Baratheon, Lord Stannis's daughter and only child.
Vassals and allies of House Baratheon
- Carice van Houten as Melisandre, Lord Stannis's adviser, a red priestess.
- Liam Cunningham as Ser Davos Seaworth, a former smuggler, now Lord Stannis' most loyal vassal.
- Kerr Logan as Matthos Seaworth, Ser Davos's son and Lord Stannis' squire.
- Oliver Ford Davies as Maester Cressen, Lord Stannis's maester.
- Lucian Msamati as Salladhor Saan, a freesail in Stannis's employ.
- Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, a fierce warrior from the Stormlands.
- Gordon Mahn as Ser Imry Florent, the brother of Lady Selyse.
House Arryn and retainers
- Main article: House Arryn
- Kate Dickie as Lady Lysa Arryn, originally of House Tully, Catelyn Stark's sister.
- Lino Facioli as Robin Arryn, Lord Jon's only surviving son and heir.
- Brendan McCormack as Ser Vardis Egen, the captain of the Eyrie's household guards.
- Ciaran Birmingham as Mord, the Eyrie's chief gaoler.
- Jefferson Hall as Ser Hugh of the Vale, Lord Jon's former squire.
- Rupert Vansittart as Lord Yohn Royce, one of the Arryns' most stalwart vassals and supporters.
- Paola Dionisotti as Lady Anya Waynwood, one of the Arryns' vassals.
- Richard Doubleday as Ser Vance Corbray, a knight of House Corbray.
- Alisdair Simpson as Ser Donnel Waynwood, the Knight of the Gate.
- Main article: House Tyrell
- Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Lord Mace Tyrell, Lord of Highgarden and the Reach. Son of Olenna and the father of Loras and Margaery.
- Finn Jones as Ser Loras Tyrell, Lord Renly Baratheon's former squire and a famous tourney knight.
- Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell, Loras's sister.
- Dame Diana Rigg as Olenna Redwyne, nicknamed the Queen of Thorns, the matriarch of the Tyrell family.
Vassals and allies of House Tyrell
- James Faulkner as Lord Randyll Tarly, Lord of Horn Hill, one of the Tyrells' vassals, and father of Samwell Tarly.
- Samantha Spiro as Lady Melessa Tarly, Randyll's wife.
- Freddie Stroma as Dickon Tarly, Randyll's youngest son and heir.
- Rebecca Benson as Talla Tarly, Randyll's daughter.
House Greyjoy and retainers
- Main article: House Greyjoy
- Patrick Malahide as Lord Balon Greyjoy, Lord of Pyke, father of Theon Greyjoy.
- Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy, the only daughter of Lord Balon.
- Pilou Asbæk as Euron Greyjoy, nicknamed "Crow's Eye", a younger brother of Lord Balon.
- Michael Feast as Aeron Greyjoy, nicknamed "Damphair", a younger brother of Lord Balon.
- Forbes KB as Lorren, a noted raider and reaver in the service of House Greyjoy.
- Ralph Ineson as Dagmer, a noted raider, reaver and ship captain in the service of House Greyjoy.
- Grahame Fox as Ralf Kenning, an ironborn commander.
- Jody Halse as Adrack Humble, second-in-command to Ralf Kenning.
House Tully and retainers
- Main article: House Tully
- Tobias Menzies as Ser Edmure Tully, the son and heir of the ailing Lord Hoster Tully and the brother of Lady Catelyn Stark.
- Clive Russell as Ser Brynden Tully, Lord Hoster's younger brother, a famous knight known as "The Blackfish"
House Frey and retainers
- David Bradley as Lord Walder Frey, Lord of the Twins, an old and prickly vassal of House Tully, past ninety years of age.
- Kelly Long as Joyeuse Erenford, Walder Frey's newest wife.
- Tim Plester as "Black Walder" Frey, the great-grandson of Walder Frey and a noted warrior with a hot temper.
- Tom Brooke (Season 3)/Daniel Tuite (Season 6) as "Lame Lothar" Frey, a son of Walder Frey, nicknamed after the limp he has in his left leg.
- Alexandra Dowling as Roslin Frey, one of Lord Frey's youngest daughters.
- Elizabeth Webster as Fat Walda Frey, one of Lord Frey's granddaughters, recently married to Roose Bolton.
House Martell and retainers
- Main article: House Martell
- Alexander Siddig as Prince Doran Martell, the ruling lord of Dorne, who is heavily suffering from gout and confined to a wheelchair.
- Toby Sebastian as Prince Trystane Martell, Prince Doran’s son and heir to Dorne.
- Pedro Pascal as Prince Oberyn Martell, popularly known as the Red Viper. Younger brother of the ruling Prince Doran Martell of Dorne.
- Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand, Oberyn's paramour and mother to several of his children.
- Keisha Castle-Hughes as Obara Sand, a fearsome warrior and the eldest bastard daughter of Prince Oberyn.
- Jessica Henwick as Nymeria Sand, the second eldest of Prince Oberyn’s bastard daughters.
- Rosabell Laurenti Sellers as Tyene Sand, the daughter of Prince Oberyn by Ellaria Sand, his paramour.
- DeObia Oparei as Areo Hotah, the long-serving captain of Doran Martell’s palace guard, renowned for his loyalty and his longaxe.
- Colin Azzopardi as Maester Caleotte, the maester at Sunspear.
In the Riverlands and the Vale
- Main article: Riverlands
- Jerome Flynn as Bronn, a sellsword met at the Crossroads Inn.
- Emun Elliott as Marillion, a singer and troubadour met at the Crossroads Inn.
- Sibel Kekilli as Shae, a camp-follower and prostitute attached to the Lannister army.
- Mark Lewis Jones as Shagga, a warrior clan chief from the Mountains of the Moon.
- Oona Chaplin as Talisa Maegyr, a battlefield nurse originally from Volantis.
- Paul Kaye as Thoros of Myr, a red priest, warrior, famed drinker and friend of King Robert.
- Philip McGinley as Anguy, an exceptionally-skilled archer of the Brotherhood Without Banners.
- Anton Lesser as Qyburn, a disgraced maester.
- Ian McShane as Brother Ray, a former mercenary who now serves the faith.
- Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson as Lem Lemoncloak, a member of the Brotherhood Without Banners.
In King's Landing
- Aidan Gillen as Lord Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish, the Master of Coin on the king's small council.
- Julian Glover as Grand Maester Pycelle, the master of wisdom on the king's small council.
- Conleth Hill as Varys, the Master of Whisperers on the king's small council.
- Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow, who serves those forgotten by much of the world – the poor, the downtrodden and the infirm – and quickly amassed a large following.
- Ian McElhinney as Lord Commander Barristan Selmy, the head of the Kingsguard.
- Ian Beattie as Ser Meryn Trant, a knight of the Kingsguard.
- Wilko Johnson as Ser Ilyn Payne, the king's headsman and executioner.
- Richard Dormer as Lord Beric Dondarrion, a young lord and popular tourney knight.
- Dominic Carter as Commander Janos Slynt, the commander of the City Watch.
- Miltos Yerolemou as Syrio Forel, a master swordsman from Braavos.
- Andrew Wilde as Tobho Mott, a master armorer and smith.
- Joe Dempsie as Gendry, Mott's apprentice who is secretly a bastard of King Robert.
- Will Tudor as Olyvar, a male prostitute and spy.
- Sahara Knite as Armeca, a female prostitute.
- Josephine Gillan as Marei, a female prostitute.
- Elizabeth Cadwallader as Lollys Stokeworth, a simple-minded noblewoman.
- Eros Vlahos as Lommy Greenhands, a dyer's apprentice.
- Ben Hawkey as Hot Pie, a baker's apprentice.
- Andy Beckwith as Rorge, a street criminal imprisoned in the Red Keep.
- Gerard Jordan as Biter, a street criminal imprisoned in the Red Keep.
- Tom Wlaschiha as Jaqen H'ghar, a prisoner in the Red Keep.
- Roy Dotrice as Wisdom Hallyne, the head of the Alchemists' Guild.
- Paul Bentley as the High Septon, the head of the Faith of the Seven.
- Hannah Waddingham as Septa Unella, a devoted follower of the High Sparrow.
- Tony Way as Ser Dontos Hollard, a knight in service to the crown.
In the Night's Watch
- Main article: Night's Watch
- James Cosmo as Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, commander of the Night's Watch.
- Owen Teale as Ser Alliser Thorne, in charge of training new recruits.
- Peter Vaughan as Maester Aemon, Lord Mormont's closest adviser.
- Michael Condron as Bowen Marsh, the First Steward of the Watch.
- Brian Fortune as Othell Yarwyck, the First Builder of the Watch.
- Francis Magee as Yoren, a recruiter for the Watch.
- John Bradley-West as Samwell Tarly, a nobleman's son, a fresh recruit to the Wall.
- Josef Altin as Pypar, a fresh recruit to the Watch, a former actor.
- Mark Stanley as Grenn, a fresh recruit to the Watch.
- Luke McEwan as Rast, a fresh recruit to the Watch, arrested for rape.
- Ben Crompton as Eddison Tollett, a squire, noted for his pessimistic sense of humor.
- Simon Armstrong as Qhorin Halfhand, one of the Watch's most respected rangers.
- J.J. Murphy as Ser Denys Mallister, a veteran member of the Watch.
- Burn Gorman as Karl, a ranger and former assassin from King's Landing.
- Brenock O'Connor as Olly, a young boy from the Gift.
Beyond the Wall
- Natalia Tena as Osha, a wildling warrior-woman.
- Robert Pugh as Craster, a wildling whose keep provides a safehaven for rangers of the Watch.
- Hannah Murray as Gilly, one of Craster's daughters.
- Rose Leslie as Ygritte, a wildling warrior-woman in the service of Mance Rayder.
- Edward Dogliani (Season 2-3)/Ross O'Hennessy (Season 5) as the Lord of Bones, a famed wildling warrior.
- Mackenzie Crook as Orell, a sinister wildling with unnatural powers.
- Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane, a charismatic wildling leader.
- Ciarán Hinds as Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, the leader of all the wildlings by acclamation.
- Yuri Kolokolnikov as Styr, the Magnar of Thenn.
- Neil Fingleton as Mag Mar Tun Doh Weg, a Giant.
- Struan Rodger (Season 4)/Max von Sydow (Season 6) as the Three-eyed raven.
- Octavia Alexandru (Season 4)/Kae Alexander (Season 6) as Leaf, a child of the forest.
- Richard Brake (Season 4-5)/Vladimir Furdik (Season 6-) as the Night's King, the leader of the White Walkers.
- Ian Whyte as Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun, a Giant.
- Birgitte Hjort Sørensen as Karsi, a Wildling leader.
- Zahary Baharov as Loboda, a Thenn.
- Murray McArthur as Dim Dalba, a Wildling elder.
In Vaes Dothrak
- Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo, the leading warlord of the Dothraki.
- Dar Salim as Qotho, one of Drogo's bloodriders.
- Elyes Gabel as Rakharo, a Dothraki warrior in Daenerys's service as a bodyguard.
- Steven Cole as Kovarro, a Dothraki warrior.
- Amrita Acharia as Irri, a handmaiden gifted to Daenerys.
- Roxanne McKee as Doreah, a servant and adviser gifted to Daenerys.
- Ivailo Dimitrov as Mago, a Dothraki warrior.
- Joe Naufahu as Khal Moro, a warlord of the Dothraki.
- Souad Faress as the High Priestess of the Dosh Khaleen, the leader of the widows of dead Khals.
- Hannah John-Kamen as Ornela, a member of the Dosh khaleen.
- Staz Nair as Qhono, a Dothraki warrior.
In the Free Cities
- Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen, an exiled Targaryen claimant to the Iron Throne.
- Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Viserys's younger sister.
- Iain Glen as Ser Jorah Mormont, a knight of Westeros, exiled by Lord Eddard Stark.
- Roger Allam as Illyrio Mopatis, a magister of the Free City of Pentos.
- Mia Soteriou as Mirri Maz Duur, a healer of the Lhazareen people.
- Mark Gatiss as Tycho Nestoris, a representative of the Iron Bank of Braavos.
- Gary Oliver as Ternesio Terys, a trader from Braavos.
- Faye Marsay as The Waif, an acolyte of the Faceless Men.
- Richard E. Grant as Izembaro, leader of a Braavosi theater troupe.
- Essie Davis as Lady Crane, the leading actress in Izembaro's theater troupe.
- Nonso Anozie as Xaro Xhoan Daxos, a merchant lord of Qarth.
- Ian Hanmore as Pyat Pree, a warlock of Qarth.
- Laura Pradelska as Quaithe, a priestess of the Shadow Lands resident in Qarth.
- Nicholas Blane as the Spice King, the leader of the spice merchants of Qarth.
In Slaver's Bay
- Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei, a slave and translator working in the city of Astapor.
- Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm, a warrior-eunuch of the Unsullied.
- Dan Hildebrand as Kraznys mo Nakloz, a slave-trader and immensely rich merchant in Astapor.
- Clifford Barry as Greizhen mo Ullhor, one of the Good Masters of Astapor.
- George Georgiou as Razdal mo Eraz, a slave-trader and one of the Wise Masters of Yunkai.
- Ed Skrein (Season 3)/Michiel Huisman (Season 4-) as Daario Naharis, a charismatic mercenary.
- Mark Killeen as Mero, a mercenary commander from Braavos nicknamed "The Titan's Bastard".
- Ramon Tikaram as Prendahl na Ghezn, a mercenary commander.
- Joel Fry as Hizdahr zo Loraq, a master of Meereen.
- Reece Noi as Mossador, a slave in Meereen.
- Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Malko, a pirate.
- Enzo Cilenti as Yezzan zo Qaggaz, an extremely wealthy slave-trader in Meereen.
- Meena Rayann as Vala, a female prostitute and an associate of the Sons of the Harpy.
- Gerald Lepkowski as Zanrush, a red priest based in Meereen.
- Ania Bukstein as Kinvara, the High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis
|01||"Winter Is Coming"||April 17, 2011||2.22|
|Lord Stark is troubled by reports from a Night's Watch deserter; King Robert and the Lannisters arrive at Winterfell; Viserys Targaryen forges a new alliance.|
|02||"The Kingsroad"||April 24, 2011||2.20|
|The Lannisters plot to ensure Bran's silence; Jon and Tyrion head to the Wall; Ned faces a family crisis en route to King's Landing.|
|03||"Lord Snow"||May 1, 2011||2.44|
|Jon impresses Tyrion at Castle Black; Ned confronts his past and future at King's Landing; Daenerys finds herself at odds with Viserys.|
|04||"Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things"||May 8, 2011||2.45|
|Ned probes Arryn's death; Jon takes measures to protect Sam; Tyrion is caught in the wrong place.|
|05||"The Wolf and the Lion"||May 15, 2011||2.58|
|Ned refuses an order from the King; Tyrion escapes one perilous encounter, only to find himself in another.|
|06||"A Golden Crown"||May 22, 2011||2.44|
|Ned makes a controversial decree; Tyrion confesses to his "crimes"; Viserys receives final payment for Daenerys.|
|07||"You Win or You Die"||29 May, 2011||2.40|
|Ned confronts Cersei about her secrets; Jon takes his Night's Watch vows; Drogo promises to lead the Dothraki to King's Landing.|
|08||"The Pointy End"||June 5, 2011||2.72|
|The Lannisters press their advantage over the Starks; Robb rallies his father's northern allies and heads south to war.|
|09||"Baelor"||June 12, 2011||2.66|
|Ned makes a fateful decision; Robb takes a prized prisoner; Dany finds her reign imperiled.|
|10||"Fire and Blood"||June 19, 2011||3.04|
|A new king rises in the North; a Khaleesi finds new hope.|
|11||"The North Remembers||April 1, 2012||3.86|
|Tyrion arrives to save Joffrey's crown; Daenerys searches for allies and water in the Red Waste; Jon Snow faces the wilderness beyond the Wall.|
|12||"The Night Lands"||April 8, 2012||3.76|
|Arya shares a secret; a scout returns to Dany with disturbing news; Theon comes home to the Iron Islands; Tyrion administers justice; Jon witnesses a terrible crime.|
|13||"What is Dead May Never Die"||April 15, 2012||3.77|
|Tyrion roots out a spy; Catelyn meets a new king and queen; Bran dreams; Theon drowns.|
|14||"Garden of Bones"||April 22, 2012||3.65|
|Catelyn tries to save two kings from themselves; Tyrion practices coercion; Robb meets a foreigner; Dany finds her ally; Melisandre casts a shadow on the Stormlands.|
|15||"The Ghost of Harrenhal"||April 29, 2012||3.90|
|The Baratheon rivalry ends; Tyrion learns of Cersei's secret weapon; Dany suffers a loss; Arya collects a debt she didn't know was owed; Jon Snow meets a legend.|
|16||"The Old Gods and the New"||May 6, 2012||3.88|
|Arya has a surprise visitor; Dany vows to take what is hers; Joffrey meets his subjects; Qhorin gives Jon a chance to prove himself.|
|17||"A Man Without Honor"||May 13, 2012||3.70|
|Jaime meets a relative; Theon hunts; Dany receives an invitation.|
|18||"The Prince of Winterfell"||May 20, 2012||3.86|
|Theon holds down the fort; Arya calls in her debt with Jaqen; Robb is betrayed; Stannis and Davos approach their destination.|
|19||"Blackwater"||May 27, 2012||3.38|
|Tyrion and the Lannisters fight for their lives as Stannis' fleet assaults King's Landing.|
|20||"Valar Morghulis"||June 3, 2012||4.20|
|Arya receives a gift from Jaqen; Dany goes to a strange place; Jon proves himself.|
|21||"Valar Dohaeris"||March 31, 2013||4.37|
|Jon is tested by the wildling king; Tyrion asks for his reward; Daenerys sails into Slaver's Bay.|
|22||"Dark Wings, Dark Words"||April 7, 2013||4.27|
|Arya runs into the Brotherhood Without Banners; Jaime finds a way to pass the time.|
|23||"Walk of Punishment"||April 14, 2013||4.72|
|Dany hears the price; Jaime strikes a deal with his captors.|
|24||"And Now His Watch is Ended"||April 21, 2013||4.87|
|The Night's Watch takes stock; Dany exchanges a chain for a whip.|
|25||"Kissed by Fire"||April 28, 2013||5.35|
|The Hound is judged; Jon proves himself; Robb is betrayed.|
|26||"The Climb"||May 5, 2013||5.50|
|Four Houses consider make-or-break alliances; Jon and the wildlings face a daunting climb.|
|27||"The Bear and the Maiden Fair"||May 12, 2013||4.84|
|Dany exchanges gifts in Yunkai; Brienne faces a formidable foe in Harrenhal.|
|28||"Second Sons"||May 19, 2013||5.13|
|Dany meets the Titan's Bastard; King's Landing hosts a royal wedding.|
|29||"The Rains of Castamere"||June 2, 2013||5.22|
|House Frey joins forces with House Tully; Jon faces his most difficult test yet.|
|30||"Mhysa"||June 9, 2013||5.39|
|Joffrey challenges Tywin; Dany waits to see if she is a conqueror or a liberator.|
|31||"Two Swords"||April 6, 2014||6.64|
|King's Landing prepares for a royal wedding; Dany finds the way to Meereen; the Night's Watch braces for a new threat.|
|32||"The Lion and the Rose"||April 13, 2014||6.31|
|The Lannisters and their guests gather in King's Landing.|
|33||"Breaker of Chains"||April 20, 2014||6.59|
|Tyrion ponders his options; Tywin extends an olive branch; Jon proposes a bold plan.|
|34||"Oathkeeper"||April 27, 2014||6.95|
|Dany balances justice and mercy; Jaime turns to Brienne; Jon readies his men.|
|35||"First of His Name"||May 4, 2014||7.16|
|Cersei and Tywin plot the Crown's next move; Jon embarks on a new mission.|
|36||"The Laws of Gods and Men"||May 11, 2014||6.40|
|Tyrion faces down his father in the Throne Room.|
|37||"Mockingbird"||May 18, 2014||7.20|
|Tyrion enlists an unlikely ally.|
|38||"The Mountain and the Viper"||June 1, 2014||7.17|
|Mole's Town receives unexpected visitors; Tyrion's fate is decided.|
|39||"The Watchers on the Wall"||June 8, 2014||6.95|
|The Night's Watch face their biggest challenge.|
|40||"The Children"||June 15, 2014||7.10|
|Dany faces some harsh realities; Tyrion sees the truth of his situation.|
|41||"The Wars to Come"||April 12, 2015||8.00|
|Tyrion learns of a conspiracy; Jon is caught between two kings.|
|42||"The House of Black and White"||April 19, 2015||6.81|
|Arya arrives in Braavos; Stannis tempts Jon.|
|43||"High Sparrow"||April 26, 2015||6.71|
|Cersei does justice; Tyrion walks the Long Bridge of Volantis.|
|44||"Sons of the Harpy"||May 3, 2015||6.82|
|The Faith Militant grow increasingly aggressive; Jaime and Bronn head south; Ellaria and the Sand Snakes vow vengeance.|
|45||"Kill the Boy"||May 10, 2015||6.56|
|Dany makes a difficult decision in Meereen; Jon recruits the help of an unexpected ally; Brienne searches for Sansa; Theon remains under Ramsay's control.|
|46||"Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"||May 17, 2015||6.24|
|Arya trains; Jorah and Tyrion run into slavers; Trystane and Myrcella make plans; Jaime and Bronn reach their destination; The Sand Snakes attack.|
|47||"The Gift"||May 24, 2015||5.40|
|Jon prepares for conflict; Sansa tries to talk to Theon; Brienne waits for a sign; Stannis remains stubborn; Jaime attempts to reconnect with family.|
|48||"Hardhome"||May 31, 2015||7.01|
|Arya makes progress in her training; Sansa confronts an old friend; Cersei struggles; Jon travels.|
|49||"The Dance of Dragons"||June 7, 2015||7.14|
|Stannis confronts a troubling decision; Arya encounters someone from her past; Dany reluctantly observes a custom.|
|50||"Mother's Mercy"||June 14, 2015||8.11|
|Stannis marches; Dany is surrounded by strangers; Cersei seeks forgiveness; Jon is challenged.|
|51||"The Red Woman"||April 24, 2016||7.94|
|Jon Snow is dead; Daenerys meets a strong man; Cersei sees her daughter again.|
|52||"Home"||May 1, 2016||7.29|
|Bran goes home; The Night's Watch stands behind Thorne.|
|53||"Oathbreaker"||May 8, 2016||7.28|
|Daenerys meets her future; Arya trains to be No One.|
|54||"Book of the Stranger"||May 15, 2016||7.82|
|Tyrion strikes a deal; Jorah and Daario undertake a difficult task.|
|55||"The Door"||May 22, 2016||7.89|
|Tyrion seeks a strange ally; Bran learns a great deal.|
|56||"Blood of My Blood"||May 29, 2016||6.71|
|Jaime challenges the High Sparrow; Arya faces a difficult choice.|
|57||"The Broken Man"||June 5, 2016||7.80|
|The High Sparrow eyes another target; The North is reminded.|
|58||"No One"||June 12, 2016||7.60|
|Jaime weighs his options; Tyrion's plans bear fruit.|
|59||"Battle of the Bastards"||June 19, 2016||7.66|
|Terms of surrender are rejected and accepted.|
|60||"The Winds of Winter"||June 26, 2016||8.89|
|Cersei faces a day of reckoning.|
|61||Season 7, Episode 1||July 16, 2017|
|Synopsis to be announced.|
|62||Season 7, Episode 2||July 23, 2017|
|Synopsis to be announced.|
|63||Season 7, Episode 3||July 30, 2017|
|Synopsis to be announced.|
|64||Season 7, Episode 4||August 6, 2017|
|Synopsis to be announced.|
|65||Season 7, Episode 5||August 13, 2017|
|Synopsis to be announced.|
|66||Season 7, Episode 6||August 20, 2017|
|Synopsis to be announced.|
|67||Season 7, Episode 7||August 27, 2017|
|Synopsis to be announced.|
|68||Season 8, Episode 1||2018|
|Synopsis to be announced.|
|69||Season 8, Episode 2||2018|
|Synopsis to be announced.|
|70||Season 8, Episode 3||2018|
|Synopsis to be announced.|
|71||Season 8, Episode 4||2018|
|Synopsis to be announced.|
|72||Season 8, Episode 5||2018|
|Synopsis to be announced.|
|73||Season 8, Episode 6||2018|
|Synopsis to be announced.|
- David Benioff - writer/executive producer.
- D.B. Weiss - writer/executive producer.
- George R.R. Martin - writer/co-executive producer.
- Frank Doelger - executive producer.
- Carolyn Strauss - executive producer.
- Bernadette Caulfield - executive producer.
- Guymon Casady - co-executive producer.
- Vince Gerardis - co-executive producer.
- Bryan Cogman - supervising producer (season 4-).
- Chris Newman - producer (season 3-).
- Greg Spence - producer (season 3-).
- Lisa McAtackney - producer (season 5-).
- Michele Clapton - costume designer
- Deborah Riley - production designer (season 4-).
- Ramin Djawadi - composer.
- Nina Gold - casting director.
- Robert Sterne - casting director.
- Vanessa Taylor - co-executive producer (season 2-3).
- Alan Taylor - co-executive producer (season 2).
- Ralph Vincinaza co-executive producer (season 1).
- Mark Huffam - producer (season 1).
- April Ferry - costume designer (season 6).
- Gemma Jackson - production designer (season 1-3).
- David Benioff & D.B. Weiss: episodes 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 55, 58, 59, 60, TBA (season 7), 70, 71, 72 and 73.
- Bryan Cogman: episodes 4, 13, 25, 34, 36, 45, 46, 56, 57, TBA (season 7) and 69.
- Jane Espenson: episode 6.
- George R.R. Martin: episodes 8, 19, 27 and 32.
- Vanessa Taylor: episodes 14, 16 and 22.
- Dave Hill: episodes 44, 52, TBA (season 7) and 68.
In an interview with New York Observer just before Season 5 began, Bryan Cogman explained the writing process for the TV series:
- "It’s varied from season to season as we figured out how this thing works. But it’s basically run the same way the past few years. As we’re shooting one season we’re trading emails and/or chatting on set about the broad strokes of the next season: ”Character X” starts at “blank” and we want him or her to end up at “blank.” Then, as we start to approach the end of production, David and Dan, in some years, will assign the various writers a few characters. For instance, when we were working on Season 4, I was assigned Arya and a few others. So I’d go home and work for a few weeks on my “Arya Season 4,” keeping in mind a few scenes we’d already discussed and what chapters and scenarios and themes from the books we might use.
- Then, in January, when we’re back in L.A., we’d meet for about two or three weeks, armed with the work we’d all done individually, and throw it all up on the board. You debate, you use some stuff, you throw some stuff out, you think up some new stuff. Sometimes what you end up with is really close to the individual outlines. Sometimes it's very different.
- After we map out all the main characters’ individual arcs, using color-coded index cards, we arrange them by episode and get a rough idea of the scene order. From there, we all split up again and each tackle a chunk of the outline—a detailed outline, which sometimes ends up being over a hundred pages. David and Dan polish it, and that’s what we use to script our episodes. I’m generally assigned mid-season episodes—it just seems to work out that way. George wrote a script per season for the first four seasons, but took a break for Season 5 as he’s hard at work on the next book. And while George isn't in the writers room, he reads the outlines and gives his notes.
- From there I write my two scripts—it takes me about a month and half to do both—D&D read them, give notes, I do a rewrite, D&D sometimes do a pass on it themselves. And we continue to tinker with all of the scripts through prep and production. But they’re generally camera-ready when we finish them. They have to be, as we have to have all 10 scripts complete well before shooting starts. We shoot all 10 episodes simultaneously, out of order, like a big, 10-hour movie, with two shooting units going at all times, sometimes in different countries."
Cogman went on to explain that, as of Season 5, there were never more than four people in the writers' room at any one time. Martin didn't actually sit in the writers room even when he wrote one episode each year in Seasons 1 to 3 (he didn't move to Northern Ireland to oversee filming for months at a time the way they did), though they sent him their outlines and he would send them back with notes. In Season 1 the only three people sitting in the writers' room and discussing the scripts were Benioff, Weiss, and Cogman. Jane Espenson wrote one episode in Season 1, but as she has explained, they gave her a copy of the book filled with stick-it notes and strict instructions to adapt a certain page range - but she was not actively contributing on the rest of the season as a whole, and left after Season 1. In Season 2 Vanessa Taylor joined the show and became the fourth person (and only woman) sitting in the writer's room discussions. Taylor stayed through Season 3 but did not return for Season 4, and in Season 5 assistant Dave Hill was promoted up to be a new full staff writer, bringing the number of people in the room back up to four. Cogman said that he felt having such a small number of writers helped keep the show more focused.
- Thomas McCarthy: pilot episode (unscreened).
- Tim Van Patten: episodes 1 and 2.
- Brian Kirk: episodes 3, 4 and 5.
- Daniel Minahan: episodes 6, 7, 8, 21 and 22.
- Alan Taylor: episodes 9, 10, 11, 12, 18, 20 and 66.
- Alik Sakharov: episodes 13, 26, 36 and 37.
- David Petrarca: episodes 14 and 15.
- David Nutter: episodes 16, 17, 29, 30, 49 and 50.
- Neil Marshall: episodes 19 and 39.
- David Benioff & D.B. Weiss: episodes 23 and 31.
- Alex Graves: episodes 24, 25, 32, 33, 38 and 40.
- Michelle MacLaren: episodes 27, 28, 34 and 35.
- Michael Slovis: episodes 41 and 42.
- Mark Mylod: episodes 43, 44, 57, 58, 62 and 63.
- Jeremy Podeswa: episodes 45, 46, 51, 52, 61 and 67.
- Miguel Sapochnik: episodes 47, 48, 59 and 60.
- Daniel Sackheim: episodes 53 and 54.
- Jack Bender: episodes 55 and 56.
- Matt Shakman: episodes 64 and 65.
- See main article "Filming locations"
- Northern Ireland (The Paint Hall Studios in Belfast is being used for all primary interior sets.)
- Malta (season 1)
- Croatia (season 2-)
- Iceland (season 2-4, 7)
- Morocco (season 3)
- United States (season 3, 7)
- Spain (season 5-)
- Canada (season 5)
- The pilot was originally expected to be filmed between 12 October and 6 November 2009, but there was a two-week delay in pre-production. A read-through of the script was held on 12 October 2009. Production and on-location rehearsals began on 24 October. Filming commenced on 26 October and concluded on 19 November.
- Scenes at Doune Castle were filmed on 26–27 October 2009 and are believed to include the Winterfell feast to celebrate King Robert's visit. Some filming was also done in the courtyard.
- The prologue was filmed on 29 October 2009 at Tollymore Forest Park.
- Filming at Cairncastle took place on 2 November 2009, including the scene of Gared's execution and finding the dead direwolf in the snow.
- Filming of the scene between Ros, Tyrion and Jaime in King's Landing was filmed on or prior to 3 November 2009, possibly at the Paint Hall studios.
- Filming at Castle Ward took place on 5 November 2009, including the scenes of Tommen and Bran sparring and Sandor and Joffrey insulting Rodrik and Robb.
- The UK filming bloc was expected to last for 18 days, suggesting that it would finish around 12 November 2009. George R.R. Martin confirmed on his blog that after this date production would move to Morocco for the remainder of the shoot.
- Daenerys and Khal Drogo's wedding was filmed on 16 November 2009.
- Production of the rest of Season 1, including reshoots on the pilot, commenced on 23 July 2010 and ran through 18 December 2010. Filming took place in Northern Ireland and Malta.
- Production of Season 2 ran from 25 July 2011 to 12 December 2011. Filming took place in Northern Ireland, Iceland and Croatia (replacing Malta).
- Production of Season 3 ran from 10 July to 24 November 2012, with Morocco added to the filming roster. An additional scene was also shot in Los Angeles, meaning that filming for Season 3 took place in five countries and on three continents.
- Production of Season 4 ran from 8 July to 21 November 2013. Filming took place in Northern Ireland, Iceland and Croatia, with Morocco dropped. Filming in Iceland was expanded to encompass locations in the south of Westeros as well as beyond the Wall, and took place earlier in the schedule to allow for more filming time.
- Production of Season 5 ran from 18 July to 12 December 2014, with Spain added to the filming roster. Filming also took place in Northern Ireland and Croatia, with Iceland dropped. Additional shooting took place in Canada for the scenes involving the direwolf Ghost.
- Production of Season 6 ran from mid-July to mid-December 2015. Filming took place in Northern Ireland and Spain, with minor additional filming taking place in Croatia.
- Production of Season 7 ran from 31 August 2016 to February 2017. Filming took place in Northern Ireland, Spain, Croatia and Iceland, which returns as a shooting location.
- WatchersOnTheWall.com - a fansite dedicated to covering all developments on the production as they happen.
- Westeros.org - a subset of the Westeros.org website which covers developments on the series.
- Game of Thrones Tour Belfast - A tour of filming locations in Belfast Northern Ireland.
- Game of Thrones on Wikipedia
- Game of Thrones on A Wiki of Ice and Fire
- ↑ 
- ↑ Benioff & Weiss Mother Jones interview.
- ↑ Entertainment Weekly, March 11th, 2014]
- ↑ Vanity Fair, April 2014
- ↑ Vanity Fair, April 2014
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- ↑ http://watchersonthewall.com/game-thrones-reportedly-set-return-iceland-season-7/#more-71161
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