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Game of Thrones is an American fantasy drama television series produced by the HBO cable network. It is based on the novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, written by George R.R. Martin, who serves as a producer, creative consultant and scriptwriter on the television series. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss created the television series and serve as executive producers, showrunners and the main writers.

To date, the series consists of six fully transmitted seasons and one season currently in transmission, comprising sixty-five episodes in total, while the series is currently airing its seventh season, which consists of seven episodes. Showrunners Benioff and Weiss have stated that going for eight seasons is the ultimate goal, with the eighth season consisting of six episodes.[1]

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.

Production history

Eddard promo

A HBO promotional image of Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark.

Season2CastEW

An Entertainment Weekly promotional photo of some of the Season 2 cast. From left to right Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage.

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.[2]

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.”[3]

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."[4]

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.[5]

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.[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).[7] 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.[8]

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.[9]

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."[10]

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."[11]

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.[12]

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.[13]

Casting

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 TargaryenRichard Madden as Robb StarkCharles Dance as Tywin LannisterAidan Gillen as Petyr BaelishAlfie Allen as Theon GreyjoyConleth Hill as VarysRory McCann as Sandor CleganeJerome Flynn as BronnJohn Bradley-West as Samwell TarlyIain Glen as Jorah MormontJames Cosmo as Jeor Mormont, Joe Dempsie as GendrySibel 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, Mark Stanley as Grenn, Josef Altin as Pypar 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 SeaworthNatalie 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.

For the seventh season, Jim Broadbent was cast as Archmaester Ebrose.

Premise

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:

Extinct Great Houses

Cast

This list of characters describes their location and status as of the first episode of the series.

House Stark

Main article: House Stark

Retainers at Winterfell

Vassals and allies of House Stark

House Bolton and retainers

House Lannister

Main article: House Lannister

Vassals and allies of House Lannister

House Baratheon

Main article: House Baratheon

Vassals and allies of House Baratheon

House Arryn and retainers

Main article: House Arryn

House Tyrell

Main article: House Tyrell

Vassals and allies of House Tyrell

House Greyjoy and retainers

Main article: House Greyjoy

House Tully and retainers

Main article: House Tully

House Frey and retainers

House Martell and retainers

Main article: House Martell

In the Riverlands and the Vale

Main article: Riverlands

In King's Landing

In Oldtown

In the Night's Watch

Main article: Night's Watch

Beyond the Wall

In Vaes Dothrak

In the Free Cities

In Qarth

In Slaver's Bay

Episodes

# Image Title Airdate Viewers
01 101 WIC "Winter Is Coming" April 17, 2011 2.22
Ned Stark receives the royal family at Winterfell; Daenerys Targaryen meets Khal Drogo.
02 102 TK "The Kingsroad" April 24, 2011 2.20
Ned and his daughters depart for King's Landing; Catelyn looks at Queen Cersei in a new light.
03 103 LS "Lord Snow" May 1, 2011 2.44
Jon Snow impresses at Castle Black; Dany embraces a new role; Ned surprises Arya.
04 104 CBABT "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things" May 8, 2011 2.45
Ned makes a shocking discovery; the Watch receives a new recruit; Catelyn rallies her bannermen.
05 105 TWATL "The Wolf and the Lion" May 15, 2011 2.58
Robert and Ned clash; Catelyn receives a cold reception; King's Landing holds a tournament.
06 106 AGC "A Golden Crown" May 22, 2011 2.44
The Eyrie holds a trial by combat; Viserys Targaryen gets what he asked for.
07 107 YWOYD "You Win or You Die" May 29, 2011 2.40
Ned confronts Cersei; Robert signs a decree – but his words are not honored.
08 108 TPE "The Pointy End" June 5, 2011 2.72
Tywin Lannister and Robb Stark prepare for battle; Cersei takes advantage of Sansa.
09 109 B "Baelor" June 12, 2011 2.66
Ned goes before King Joffrey; Jon learns a secret about Aemon; Dany turns to blood magic.
10 110 FAB "Fire and Blood" June 19, 2011 3.04
Dany says a painful goodbye but gets new hope; Arya assumes a new identity.
11 201 TNR "The North Remembers April 1, 2012 3.86
Stannis Baratheon plots an invasion; Tyrion returns to King's Landing to act as Hand of the King.
12 202 TNL "The Night Lands" April 8, 20123.76
Theon Greyjoy returns to Pyke; Tyrion demands accountability; Davos Seaworth recruits for Stannis' cause.
13 203 WIDMND "What Is Dead May Never Die" April 15, 20123.77
Catelyn Stark arrives at Renly Baratheon's camp; Tyrion sets a trap; Theon makes a choice.
14 204 GOB "Garden of Bones" April 22, 20123.65
Tyrion attempts to temper Joffrey's cruelty; Davos witnesses Melisandre's impossible feat.
15 205 TGOH "The Ghost of Harrenhal" April 29, 20123.90
Jaqen H'ghar makes a promise to Arya; Tyrion harnesses a secret weapon.
16 206 TOGATN "The Old Gods and the New" May 6, 20123.88
Chaos breaks out in the streets of King's Landing; Theon executes his plan; Robb swears vengeance.
17 207 AMWH "A Man Without Honor" May 13, 20123.70
Dany appeals to the Thirteen; Catelyn confronts her prisoner; Cersei confides in Tyrion.
18 Tyrion and Varys 2x08 "The Prince of Winterfell" May 20, 20123.86
Tyrion focuses on defense strategies; Robb is betrayed; the wildlings take an interest in Jon.
19 209 B "Blackwater" May 27, 20123.38
Stannis' fleet attacks King's Landing; Tyrion rallies the troops; Cersei makes a contingency plan.
20 210 VM "Valar Morghulis" June 3, 20124.20
Dany enters the House of the Undying; Jon proves himself to Qhorin; the capital recuperates.
21 301 VD "Valar Dohaeris" March 31, 2013 4.37
Jon meets the King Beyond the Wall; Robb's frustrations intensify; Daenerys takes on a new advisor.
22 302 DWDW "Dark Wings, Dark Words" April 7, 2013 4.27
Sansa lets down her guard; allies join Bran's mission north; Arya falls in with a new camp.
23 303 WOP "Walk of Punishment" April 14, 2013 4.72
Jaime learns a lesson; Robb and Catelyn arrive at Riverrun; Tyrion makes arrangements for Pod.
24 304 ANHWIE "And Now His Watch Is Ended" April 21, 2013 4.87
Rules are broken at Craster's Keep; Dany makes commands; Jaime nurses his injuries.
25 305 KBF "Kissed by Fire" April 28, 2013 5.35
Jon makes a choice; the Hound faces fire; Jaime shares a story with Brienne.
26 306 TC "The Climb" May 5, 2013 5.50
Jon and the wildlings reach the Wall; Melisandre finds the Brotherhood; Tywin plans strategic unions.
27 307 TBATMF "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" May 12, 2013 4.84
Brienne faces a formidable foe; Gendry hears the truth; Tywin counsels the king.
28 308 SS "Second Sons" May 19, 2013 5.13
Stannis retains Davos; Joffrey toys with Sansa; Dany approaches Yunkai.
29 309 TROC "The Rains of Castamere" June 2, 2013 5.22
Robb tries to appease Walder Frey; Bran discovers a special skill; Jon's loyalty is tested.
30 310 M "Mhysa" June 9, 2013 5.39
Tywin grows impatient; Jaime struggles with change; the people of Yunkai asses Dany.
31 401 TS "Two Swords" April 6, 2014 6.64
Jaime and Jon receive cold receptions; Tywin brokers the Lannister legacy; Arya runs into an old foe.
32 402 TLATR "The Lion and the Rose" April 13, 2014 6.31
Joffrey and Margaery are married; Ramsay shows off his pet; Bran realizes where he needs to go.
33 403 BOC "Breaker of Chains" April 20, 2014 6.59
Jon proposes a bold plan; Arya witnesses more unfairness; Dany puts her trust in Daario.
34 404 O "Oathkeeper" April 27, 2014 6.95
Littlefinger confides in Sansa; Jaime sends Brienne on a mission; Dany enacts revenge.
35 405 FOHN "First of His Name" May 4, 2014 7.16
Tywin and Cersei come to an understanding; Jon and Bran draw close; Dany debates her next step.
36 406 TLOGAM "The Laws of Gods and Men" May 11, 2014 6.40
Stannis and Davos seek fresh funding; Jaime makes a deal as all eyes turn toward Tyrion.
37 407 M "Mockingbird" May 18, 2014 7.20
Tyrion finds a champion; Littlefinger handles a threat; Daario entreats Dany to let him do what he does best.
38 408 TMATV "The Mountain and the Viper" June 1, 2014 7.17
Sansa steps up; Dany questions one of her own; Tyrion's fate is decided.
39 409 TWOTW "The Watchers on the Wall" June 8, 2014 6.95
The Night's Watch face their biggest challenge.
40 410 TC "The Children" June 15, 2014 7.10
An unexpected arrival north of the Wall changes circumstances; Tyrion acts on impulse.
41 501 TWTC "The Wars To Come" April 12, 2015 8.00
Varys provides Tyrion with a fresh option; Dany's rule is challenged; Jon is caught between two kings.
42 502 THOBAW "The House of Black and White" April 19, 2015 6.81
Arya arrives in Braavos; Jaime embarks on a rescue mission.
43 503 HS "High Sparrow" April 26, 2015 6.71
Jon enforces his command; Sansa returns to Winterfell.
44 504 SOTH "Sons of the Harpy" May 3, 2015 6.82
Rebellion breaks out across Meereen; the Sand Snakes hear about Jaime's arrival in Dorne.
45 505 KTB "Kill the Boy" May 10, 2015 6.56
Dany debates mercy and revenge; Jorah and Tyrion sail through the ruins of Valyria.
46 506 UUU "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" May 17, 2015 6.24
Olenna returns to King's Landing; the Sand Snakes attack.
47 507 TG "The Gift" May 24, 2015 5.40
Theon's loyalties are revealed; Melisandre asks Stannis to consider a greater sacrifice.
48 508 H "Hardhome" May 31, 2015 7.01
Jon and Tormund make their case before the wildlings of Hardhome.
49 509 TDOD "The Dance of Dragons" June 7, 2015 7.14
Stannis makes a personal sacrifice; Jon returns to the Wall.
50 510 MM "Mother's Mercy" June 14, 2015 8.11
Arya encounters unforeseen consequences; Stannis marches; Cersei atones.
51 601 TRW "The Red Woman" April 24, 2016 7.94
Daenerys finds herself on familiar terrain; Arya learns to listen.
52 602 H "Home" May 1, 2016 7.29
Bran looks into the past; Theon makes a decision.
53 603 O "Oathbreaker" May 8, 2016 7.28
Cersei makes plans for Ser Gregor; Ramsay receives a gift.
54 604 BOTS "Book of the Stranger" May 15, 2016 7.82
Theon heads home; Daenerys shows her strength.
55 605 TD "The Door" May 22, 2016 7.89
Arya is given an assignment; Bran travels without supervision.
56 606 BOMB "Blood of My Blood" May 29, 2016 6.71
Tommen forms an alliance; Gilly meets Sam's family.
57 607 TBM "The Broken Man" June 5, 2016 7.80
Jaime takes charge; Jon and Sansa gather troops.
58 Varys and Tyrion in No One "No One" June 12, 2016 7.60
Cersei chooses violence; Brienne and Podrick arrive at Riverrun.
59 Battle of the bastards jon snow "Battle of the Bastards" June 19, 2016 7.66
The battle for Winterfell ensues; Daenerys deals with the Masters.
60 610 TWOW "The Winds of Winter" June 26, 2016 8.89
Power shifts in Westeros; Bran learns the truth; Daenerys sets sail.
61 Dragonstone ep Dany in sand "Dragonstone" July 16, 2017 10.10
Arya makes a lasting impression; the Hound sees a vision; Daenerys comes ashore.
62 702 S "Stormborn" July 23, 2017 9.27
Melisandre visits a familiar place; Jon makes a decision.
63 703 TQJ "The Queen's Justice" July 30, 2017 9.25
Jon attempts to form a new alliance; Jaime makes a strategic maneuver; Euron brings Cersei a gift.
64 704 TSOW "The Spoils of War" August 6, 2017 10.17
Daenerys takes action; Littlefinger offers Bran something from his past.
65 705 E "Eastwatch" August 13, 2017 10.72
Tyrion has concerns about Daenerys; Jon sets out for a mission.
66 706 BTW "Beyond the Wall" August 20, 2017 10.24
Jon and his companions run into trouble in the North.
67 Episode-67-1024 "The Dragon and the Wolf" August 27, 2017
Synopsis to be announced.
68 GoT S7 Placeholder Season 8, Episode 1 2018/2019
Synopsis to be announced.
69 GoT S7 Placeholder Season 8, Episode 2 2018/2019
Synopsis to be announced.
70 GoT S7 Placeholder Season 8, Episode 3 2018/2019
Synopsis to be announced.
71 GoT S7 Placeholder Season 8, Episode 4 2018/2019
Synopsis to be announced.
72 GoT S7 Placeholder Season 8, Episode 5 2018/2019
Synopsis to be announced.
73 GoT S7 Placeholder Season 8, Episode 6 2018/2019
Synopsis to be announced.

Credits

Former:

Writers

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."[14]

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.[15]

Directors

Cinematography

  • Alik Sakharov: episodes 1, 2, 9 and 10.
  • Marco Pontecorvo: episodes 3, 4 and 5.
  • Matthew Jensen: episodes 6, 7, 8 and 23.
  • Kramer Morgenthau: episodes 11 and 12.
  • P.J. Dillon: episodes 13, 57, 58, 62 and 63.
  • Martin Kenzie: episodes 14, 15, 16 and 17.
  • Jonathan Freeman: episodes 18, 20, 21, 22, 31, 55, 56 and 66.
  • Sam McCurdy: episode 19.
  • Anette Haellmigk: episodes 24, 25, 32, 33, 38, 40, 43, 44, 53 and 54.
  • David Katznelson: episode 26.
  • Chris Seager: episodes 27 and 28.
  • Robert McLachlan: episodes 29, 30, 34, 35, 49, 50, 64 and 65.
  • Fabian Wagner: episodes 36, 37, 47, 48, 59 and 60.
  • David Franco: episodes 39, 41 and 42.
  • Gregory Middleton: episodes 45, 46, 51, 52, 61 and 67.

Filming locations

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)[16]
  • Morocco (season 3)
  • United States (season 3, 7)
  • Spain (season 5-)
  • Canada (season 5)[17]

Filming dates

  • 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.

External links

References

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