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[[File:Eddard promo.jpg|thumb|350px|right|A HBO promotional image of [[Sean Bean]] as Lord [[Eddard Stark]].]] [[File:Season2CastEW.png|thumb|right|350px|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]].]]
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[[File:Eddard promo.jpg|thumb|250px|right|A HBO promotional image of [[Sean Bean]] as Lord [[Eddard Stark]].]] [[File:Season2CastEW.png|thumb|right|250px|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]].]]
   
 
'''''Game of Thrones''''' is an American fantasy 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.
 
'''''Game of Thrones''''' is an American fantasy 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 two transmitted seasons comprising twenty episodes in total. [[Season 3]] is currently airing. A [[Season 4|fourth season]] has been commissioned, with yet further seasons planned (but not yet confirmed). Production of the series is based in [[wikipedia:Belfast|Belfast]], [[wikipedia:Northern Ireland|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 taken place in [[wikipedia:Malta|Malta]], [[wikipedia:Iceland|Iceland]], [[wikipedia:Croatia|Croatia]] and [[wikipedia:Morocco|Morocco]].
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To date, the series consists of four transmitted seasons comprising fourty episodes in total. Two further seasons have been commissioned,<ref>[http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/game-thrones-renewed-two-more-694544 The Hollywood Reporter]</ref> taking the show up to a sixth year/season.
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Production of the series is based in [[wikipedia:Belfast|Belfast]], [[wikipedia:Northern Ireland|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 [[wikipedia:Malta|Malta]], [[wikipedia:Iceland|Iceland]], [[wikipedia:Croatia|Croatia]], [[wikipedia:Morocco|Morocco]] and the [[wikipedia:United States|USA]].
   
 
==Production history==
 
==Production history==
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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.
 
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, whilst 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 on 1 April-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 ''[[wikipedia:The Sopranos|The Sopranos]]'' and ''[[wikipedia:True Blood|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.
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Production of Season 2 began on 25 July 2011 and wrapped on 12 December. Malta was dropped as a filming location, replaced by Croatia, whilst 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 ''[[wikipedia:The Sopranos|The Sopranos]]'' and ''[[wikipedia:True Blood|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. The season is expected to air from 31 March to 2 June 2013.
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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 (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.
   
A fourth season was not confirmed until after Season 3 began transmission, however prep-work for it began as soon as work on Season 3 was concluded.
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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.
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Two further seasons have been commissioned,<ref>[http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/game-thrones-renewed-two-more-694544 The Hollywood Reporter]</ref> taking the show up to a sixth year.
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==Future seasons, and catching up with the books==
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===The initial plan===
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It is generally projected that the TV series will last seven or eight seasons, but no one is entirely sure.
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As of 2014, 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).
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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).
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As a result, while there are projected to be seven novels, splitting the third novel into two seasons should mean that the TV series will end with Season 8.
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Even so the producers have never been sure about this, and often simply gave the figure of "seven or eight" seasons.
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===Seasons 5 and 6: Intercutting the fourth and fifth novels===
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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.
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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 the TV series's plan is that Seasons 5 and 6 will be intercut to chronological present 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.
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Thus "Season 5" will consist of the first half of ''A Feast for Crows'' and ''A Dance with Dragons'', and then "Season 6" will adapt the second half of ''A Feast for Crows'' intercut with the second half of ''A Dance with Dragons''. The combined result will be the same: "two books worth of material" will be adapted by "Seasons 5 and 6", but simply, Season 5 will cover the first half of both books, Season 6 the second halves of both. David Benioff has also commented that while it was relatively easy to end Season 3 with the Red Wedding, and Season 4 with the actual ending of the third novel...Season 5 doesn't really have a clear "climax", because it will end in the ''middle'' of the storylines from the fourth and fifth novels.
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===How many seasons?===
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Given that there are currently five novels, and the third was split into two seasons, '''there is currently enough print material to adapt through the end of Season 6.''' 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).
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After Season 3 ended, there was considerable discussion about the future of the TV series, particularly the question what would happen if the TV series began to outpace the novels.
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Soon before [[Season 4]] began, 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'':
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:"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.”<ref>[http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/03/11/game-of-thrones-7-seasons/ Entertainment Weekly], March 11th, 2014]</ref>
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Even so, Benioff and Weiss had earlier used the figure of ''eight'' seasons, because the third novel was split into two seasons. Making seven seasons would short one of the later novels.
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Moreover, George R.R. Martin originally planned the entire story of the ''A Song of Ice and Fire'' series to be a trilogy of books, but during the writing process the story massively expanded. He knew by the time that the first book, ''A Game of Thrones'', was released that it would have to be far longer.
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Martin's originally planned trilogy would consist of three novels: ''A Game of Thrones'', ''A Dance with Dragons'', and ''The Winds of Winter''. He had to split to subsequently split these into different novels. The storylines originally planned for "Book 1: A Game of Thrones" were split across three novels: ''A Game of Thrones'', ''A Clash of Kings'', and ''A Storm of Swords''. Thus the ending of the third novel is actually the climax which was supposed to conclude "Book 1" of the original trilogy.
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Originally, George R.R. Martin even planned to emphasize how much of a break this was by making a five year time-jump between the end of ''A Storm of Swords'' (the finale of Season 4) and the beginning of the next novel (Season 5), though he later abandoned the time jump because he felt it was irresistible so show what actually happened immediately afterwards.
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However, because the third novel was split across two seasons, the finale of "Season 4" is what actually adapts the ending of the third novel, the climactic ending of the ''originally'' planned "Book 1".
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Put another way, if the entire story can be divided into three classical "Act" breaks, they would be:
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Act I:
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*''A Game of Thrones'' - adapted as "Season 1" of the TV series
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*''A Clash of Kings'' - adapted as "Season 2"
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*''A Storm of Swords, Part 1 of 2 (ending with the Red Wedding) - adapted as "Season 3"''
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*''A Storm of Swords, Part 2 of 2 - adapted as "Season 4"''
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Act II:
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*''A Feast for Crows'' - first half adapted in Season 5, second half in Season 6
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*''A Dance with Dragons'' - second half adapted in Season 5, second half in Season 6
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Act III:
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*''The Winds of Winter'' - adapted as Season 7?
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*''A Dream of Spring'' - adapted as Season 8?
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"The second half of the third novel" (adapted as "Season 4" of the TV series), is therefore not the "midway" point of the story, but the end of "Act 1 of 3".
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===Catching up with the books===
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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).
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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 TVseries would last "seven or eight" seasons.
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:"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."<ref>[http://winteriscoming.net/2014/03/benioff-and-weiss-on-planning-for-the-end-were-coming-around-the-bend-right-now/ Vanity Fair], April 2014</ref>
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George R.R. Martin himself, in the same 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 7 has to enter production?
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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 the four years between Season 4 and Season 8.
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Martin also made two major points:
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First: If the producers of the TV series are worried that they will outpace his books...why would they ''decrease'' the length of the TV series from eight to seven seasons? This would mean that material from the fifth (and current) book would have to be condensed, and ultimately, they'd use up all printed material even sooner. So if they don't want to outpace the books (for fear that they would lack direction), why would they rush to finish the TV series in only seven seasons? It makes more sense to try for eight seasons.
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Second: For that matter, the fourth and fifth novels were nearly as long as the third novel. They form "Act 2 of 3" for the overall story, when it took the TV series four seasons to tell the story of "Act 1 of 3". Martin's suggestion is therefore that instead of making two TV seasons out of books four and five, why not simply spread out the material more to make three seasons out of it? In this case, they would have enough print material to sustain through Season 7, before having to worry about adapting his final two, unpublished books. This would not mean they would have to pad out the material: on the contrary, a large amount of material from the books is cut for time from the TV series adaptation. Similar to splitting the third novel across Season 3 and Season 4, if they split the fourth and fifth novels across Seasons 5, 6, and 7, it would not only forestall outpacing the printed books, but also make for a more cohesive story that doesn't require drastic condensations. In this case, expanding to make yet another season, the TV series could potentially run for '''nine seasons'''.
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In Martin's own words:
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:"The season that's about to debut covers the second half of the third book. The third book [''A Storm of Swords''] was so long that it had to be split into two. But there are two more books beyond that, ''A Feast for Crows'' and ''A Dance with Dragons''. A ''Dance with Dragons'' is itself a book that’s as big as ''A Storm of Swords''. So there’s potentially three more seasons there, between ''Feast'' and ''Dance'', if they split into two the way they did [with ''Storm'']. Now, ''Feast'' and ''Dance'' take place simultaneously. So you can't do ''Feast'' and then ''Dance'' the way I did. You can combine them and do it chronologically. And it's my hope that they'll do it that way and then, long before they catch up with me, I'll have published ''The Winds of Winter'', which’ll give me another couple years. It might be tight on the last book, ''A Dream of Spring'', as they juggernaut forward.<ref>[http://winteriscoming.net/2014/03/george-r-r-martins-plan-to-keep-the-show-from-catching-up-in-vanity-fair/ Vanity Fair], April 2014.</ref>
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Martin went on to suggest that anything is possible and if worse comes to worst, if the TV series doesn't want to outpace the books, they might simply take a year off the way ''Breaking Bad'' or ''Mad Men'' have done. Nor would this need to be a year with no actual new content: HBO could make a prequel miniseries or TV movie adapting other time periods in the history of Westeros, then return to the main "Game of Thrones" TV series after he has released the final two books.
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It is entirely possible that HBO might make prequel projects based on the events of [[Robert's Rebellion]] (featuring young Eddard Stark and setting up the events of the main series), or going even further back to adapt Martin's ''Tales of Dunk and Egg'' prequel series set ninety years before the main series, which detail the adventures of Ser [[Duncan the Tall]] ("Dunk") and Prince [[Aegon V Targaryen]] ("Egg") - Aegon V being the younger brother of Maester [[Aemon]]. Martin even pointed out that his recent novella ''The Princess and the Queen'', detailing the devastating civil war known as "The Dance of the Dragons" fought between [[Rhaenyra Targaryen]] and her half-brother [[Aegon II Targaryen|Aegon II]], would be an interesting project to adapt.<ref>[http://www.vanityfair.com/vf-hollywood/george-r-r-martin-interview Vanity Fair], "George R.R. Martin Has a Detailed Plan For Keeping the Game of Thrones TV Show From Catching Up To Him.</ref>
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Subsequently, Martin half-jokingly told ''The Hollywood Reporter'' on March 19th, 2014, that the TV series might even need a major theatrical movie to serve as an ending, because the CGI budget would be massive. Or that HBO might consider making, ''Tales of Dunk and Egg'' theatrical movies, because they are relatively episodic and stand-alone novellas (or maybe just as TV-movies):
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:It all depends on how long the main series runs...Do we run for seven years? Do we run for eight? Do we run for 10? The books get bigger and bigger (in scope). It might need a feature to tie things up, something with a feature budget, like $100 million for two hours. Those dragons get real big, you know."<ref>[http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/game-thrones-movies-eyed-by-689629 Multiple 'Game of Thrones' Movies Eyed by George R.R. Martin]</ref>
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Martin was then, however, interviewed by ''The Wall Street Journal'' a few days later on March 21st, 2014. He responded to the speculation his comments in ''The Hollywood Reporter'' had caused, which seemed to contradict Benioff and Weiss leaning more towards seven than eight seasons. The interview asked about his comments that the TV series could simply make up to nine seasons, by expanding the current remaining books instead of outpacing the ones he hasn't finished yet, or that it might even need a movie to finish:
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:Question: "There’s been recent talk about a ''Game of Thrones'' movie to finish the series."
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:George R.R. Martin: "Yes, I got in trouble for that." ''[laughs]''
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:Question: "What happened?"
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:Martin: "This is all pie-in-the-sky stuff. People are asking me how the series is going to end. Is it going to be seven seasons? Is it going to be 10 seasons? Are there going to be movies? We talked about all these possibilities. But right now we have four seasons. That's all that's been ordered. HBO has not ordered Season 5, so we certainly don’t know about Season 7, Season 10, or any movies. But there's a lot of possibilities that are being kicked around, and it all depends on so many things. Will our ratings continue to go up? Will the show continue to be popular? Sometimes shows fall off. Sometimes people change. Executives change or something, and the new guy doesn't love the show. You don't know anything. I worked in Hollywood from 1985 to 1995, and the one thing I learned is nobody knows anything and it's a day-to-day process. So right now we’re enjoying Season 4 and we’re hoping we'll get an order for Season 5 within a month or so, and then we'll do that one. And then we'll see where that leads.<ref>[http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/03/21/george-r-r-martin-shelved-game-of-thrones-cameo-to-work-on-winds-of-winter/ The Wall Street Journal], George R.R. Martin interview, March 21st, 2014.</ref>
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===Summary===
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Generally:
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*As George R.R. Martin himself has pointed out, no one is entirely sure how long the series will run, because even shows that are very popular in their fourth season might get very low ratings in their sixth season and get abruptly cancelled. The future is unknown. HBO only actually orders the series one season at a time, so while the production team is beginning to work on Season 5 (as of early 2014) it hasn't been officially ordered yet. Nothing is guaranteed for years in advance, and HBO might cancel it later.
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*No matter how many seasons ''Game of Thrones'' has, HBO as well as Benioff and Weiss have tentatively said that they are willing to subsequently make prequel projects focusing on other events from centuries' worth of Westeros's history. Specifically, they might want to adapt the ''Tales of Dunk and Egg'' prequel novellas set ninety years before the main series. Martin has pointed out that they might want to adapt other prequels such as the great Targaryen civil war known as "The Dance of the Dragons" (featuring large amounts of dragon versus dragon combat), or they might even want to make a flashback prequel project about [[Robert's Rebellion]], showing Eddard Stark and Catelyn Tully as young teenagers, and setting up the events of the main series.
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**HBO and the production team have pointed out that they cannot possibly make prequel projects at the ''same time'' as the main series, there simply isn't enough time to focus on it and ensure high quality, particularly when they physically cannot produce more than ten episodes of the main series a season. This is similar to the reason why, after book three was split into twenty episodes instead of ten, the two halves aired as two separate seasons, instead of a single massive season of twenty episodes produced in a single year - that would have been physically impossible.
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**No one is exactly sure what format such a prequel project would take: a short TV series, a miniseries, a made-for-TV-movie, or even a theatrical movie. The ''Tales of Dunk and Egg'' prequel novellas are episodic, so each one could either be a short miniseries or TV movie, released as an ongoing series across several years.
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Outpacing the books:
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*Because the third novel was so long, it was split in half and adapted as two seasons: Season 3 and Season 4. With seven projected books in total, with two left unpublished, this means that the TV series may continue up to Season 8.
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*It is a very bold prediction to ''guarantee'' even seven seasons, and around the Season 4 premiere, Benioff and Weiss began leaning more towards saying they think it will run seven seasons, though when pressed they said "seven or eight".
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*George R.R. Martin does not want to rush the final books out, lowering their quality, just to match the release of the TV series's final seasons.
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*Martin is in extensive discussions with HBO, as well as Benioff and Weiss, that a possible solution might be to simply adapt the fourth and fifth novels as ''three'' seasons, instead of two, similar to how they adapted the third novel as two seasons. Given the extreme length of the novels this doesn't mean they would have to invent filler, but actually that they wouldn't have to condense as much material.
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*Thus the series could run for anywhere between seven to nine seasons, depending on what the production team feels they are capable of, and ''far more importantly'', if the TV series continues to be the highest rated series airing on HBO and winning the network major awards. If Season 6 has a sudden and massive drop in ratings, HBO may force the production team to make Season 7 the final one.
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**Martin has suggested - as pure speculation - that apart from expanding books four and five into three seasons worth of material, HBO might want to simply take a year off from the main series and instead produce one of the prequel projects before, instead of after, the main series ends.
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**HBO is indeed interested in making prequel projects, even after the main series ends.
   
 
==Casting==
 
==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.
 
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]], [[Alfie Allen]] as [[Theon Greyjoy]], [[Rory McCann]] as [[Sandor Clegane]], [[Iain Glen]] as [[Jorah Mormont]] 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]].
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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]].
 
[[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]].
   
For the second season, a number of new characters were introduced, including [[Stephen Dillane]] as Lord [[Stannis Baratheon]], [[Carice van Houten]] as [[Melisandre]], [[Liam Cunningham]] as [[Davos Seaworth]] and [[Michael McElhatton]] as [[Roose Bolton]].
+
For the second season, a number of new cast members were introduced, 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]], [[Michael McElhatton]] as [[Roose Bolton]], [[Rose Leslie]] as [[Ygritte]] and [[Hannah Murray]] as [[Gilly]].
  +
  +
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]] and [[Nathalie Emmanuel]] as [[Missandei]].
   
For the third season, the cast was further swelled with additions, including [[Diana Rigg]] as [[Olenna Redwyne|Olenna Tyrell]], [[Tobias Menzies]] as [[Edmure Tully]], [[Clive Russell]] as [[Brynden Tully]], [[Ciaran Hinds]] as [[Mance Rayder]] and [[Mackenzie Crook]] as [[Orell]].
+
For the fourth season, the new cast members included [[Pedro Pascal]] as [[Oberyn Martell]], [[Indira Varma]] as [[Ellaria Sand]], [[Michiel Huisman]] as [[Daario Naharis]] and [[Roger Ashton-Griffiths]] as [[Mace Tyrell]].
   
 
==Premise==
 
==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 [[House Targaryen|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.
 
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 [[House Targaryen|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 [[White Walkers|a supernatural threat]] believed to be mythical seems to be stirring after millennia of sleep. The only defence 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.
+
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 [[White Walkers|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==
 
==The Great Houses==
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* [[House Tully]] of [[Riverrun]]: rulers of the [[Riverlands]], the well-traveled central region of the continent. Led by Lord [[Hoster Tully]].
 
* [[House Tully]] of [[Riverrun]]: rulers of the [[Riverlands]], the well-traveled central region of the continent. Led by Lord [[Hoster 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. Led by the ancient Lord [[Walder Frey]].
 
** [[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. Led by the ancient Lord [[Walder Frey]].
** [[House Bracken]] of [[Stone Hedge]]: loyal vassals of the Tullys, noted for their prickly relationship with their neighbours, the [[House Blackwood|Blackwoods]]. Led by Lord [[Jonos Bracken]].
+
** [[House Bracken]] of [[Stone Hedge]]: loyal vassals of the Tullys, noted for their prickly relationship with their neighbors, the [[House Blackwood|Blackwoods]]. Led by Lord [[Jonos Bracken]].
 
* [[House Greyjoy]] of [[Pyke (castle)|Pyke]]: rulers of the [[Iron Islands]] off the west coast of the continent. The [[ironborn]] are fierce and independently-minded, but a [[Greyjoy Rebellion|recent attempt]] to rebel against the Iron Throne was defeated. Led by Lord [[Balon Greyjoy]].
 
* [[House Greyjoy]] of [[Pyke (castle)|Pyke]]: rulers of the [[Iron Islands]] off the west coast of the continent. The [[ironborn]] are fierce and independently-minded, but a [[Greyjoy Rebellion|recent attempt]] to rebel against the Iron Throne was defeated. Led by Lord [[Balon Greyjoy]].
 
* [[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, the Dornish mostly keep to themselves. Led by Prince Doran Martell.
 
* [[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, the Dornish mostly keep to themselves. Led by Prince Doran Martell.
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* [[Ron Donachie]] as Ser [[Rodrik Cassel]], master of arms.
 
* [[Ron Donachie]] as Ser [[Rodrik Cassel]], master of arms.
 
* [[Jamie Sives]] as [[Jory Cassel]], Rodrik's nephew, captain of the guards.
 
* [[Jamie Sives]] as [[Jory Cassel]], Rodrik's nephew, captain of the guards.
** [[Phil Dixon]] as [[Tomard]], a guardsman.
 
** [[Graham Charles]] as [[Varly]], a guardsman.
 
 
* [[Donald Sumpter]] as Maester [[Luwin]], a [[maesters|maester]] of the Citadel.
 
* [[Donald Sumpter]] as Maester [[Luwin]], a [[maesters|maester]] of the Citadel.
 
* [[Kristian Nairn]] as [[Hodor]], a simple stableboy.
 
* [[Kristian Nairn]] as [[Hodor]], a simple stableboy.
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====Vassals and allies of House Stark====
 
====Vassals and allies of House Stark====
 
* [[Clive Mantle]] as Lord [[Greatjon Umber]], Lord of Last Hearth, a loyal vassal of House Stark.
 
* [[Clive Mantle]] as Lord [[Greatjon Umber]], Lord of Last Hearth, a loyal vassal of House Stark.
* [[Michael McElhatton]] as Lord [[Roose Bolton]], Lord of the Dreadfort, a vassal of Eddard Stark.
+
* [[John Stahl]] as Lord [[Rickard Karstark]], Lord of Karhold, a vassal and distant kinsman of House Stark.
* [[Mark Coney]] as Lord [[Galbart Glover]], Lord of Deepwood Motte, a vassal of House Stark.
 
* [[Steven Blount]] (Season 1)/[[John Stahl]] (Season 2) as Lord [[Rickard Karstark]], Lord of Karhold, a vassal and distant kinsman 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.
 
* [[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.
 
* [[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]], a prostitute at the Dreadfort.
   
 
===House Lannister===
 
===House Lannister===
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* [[Fintan McKeown]] as Ser [[Amory Lorch]], a loyal vassal and retainer of House Lannister.
 
* [[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.
 
* [[Rory McCann]] as [[Sandor Clegane]], Prince Joffrey's bodyguard and sworn sword, long in the service of House Lannister.
* [[Conan Stevens]] (Season 1)/[[Ian Whyte]] (Season 2) as Ser [[Gregor Clegane]], Sandor Clegane's brother and the most feared knight in Westeros, known as 'Lord Tywin's Mad Dog'.
+
* [[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, known as 'Lord Tywin's Mad Dog'.
 
* [[Anthony Morris]] as the [[Tickler]], a noted interrogator and torturer in the service of Ser Gregor Clegane.
 
* [[Anthony Morris]] as the [[Tickler]], a noted interrogator and torturer in the service of Ser Gregor Clegane.
* [[Vinnie McCabe]] as Lord [[Leo Lefford]], a Lannister bannerman.
+
* [[Andy Kellegher]] as [[Polliver]], a master-at-arms in the service of Ser Gregor Clegane.
   
 
===House Baratheon===
 
===House Baratheon===
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* [[Jack Gleeson]] as Prince [[Joffrey Baratheon]], King Robert's eldest son and heir.
 
* [[Jack Gleeson]] as Prince [[Joffrey Baratheon]], King Robert's eldest son and heir.
 
* [[Aimee Richardson]] as [[Myrcella Baratheon]], King Robert's eldest daughter.
 
* [[Aimee Richardson]] as [[Myrcella Baratheon]], King Robert's eldest daughter.
* [[Callum Wharry]] as [[Tommen Baratheon]], King Robert's youngest son.
+
* [[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]].
 
* [[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]].
 
* [[Stephen Dillane]] as Lord [[Stannis Baratheon]], King Robert's middle brother, Lord of [[Dragonstone]].
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* [[Oliver Ford Davies]] as Maester [[Cressen]], Lord Stannis's maester.
 
* [[Oliver Ford Davies]] as Maester [[Cressen]], Lord Stannis's maester.
 
* [[Lucian Msamati]] as [[Salladhor Saan]], a freesail in Stannis's employ.
 
* [[Lucian Msamati]] as [[Salladhor Saan]], a freesail in Stannis's employ.
* [[Gordon Mahn]] as Ser [[Imry Florent]], a knight sworn to Stannis's service.
 
 
* [[Gwendoline Christie]] as [[Brienne]] of [[Tarth]], a fierce warrior from the Stormlands.
 
* [[Gwendoline Christie]] as [[Brienne]] of [[Tarth]], a fierce warrior from the Stormlands.
* [[Robert Sterne]] as the [[Royal Steward]], a courtier in the service of Robert Baratheon in King's Landing.
 
* [[Rhodri Hosking]] as [[Mycah]], son of a butcher in King Robert's retinue.
 
   
 
===House Arryn and retainers===
 
===House Arryn and retainers===
 
{{main|House Arryn}}
 
{{main|House Arryn}}
* Sir [[John Standing]] as Lord [[Jon Arryn]], Lord of [[the Eyrie]] and the [[King's Hand]].
 
 
* [[Kate Dickie]] as Lady [[Lysa Arryn]], originally of [[House Tully]], Catelyn Stark's sister.
 
* [[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.
 
* [[Lino Facioli]] as [[Robin Arryn]], Lord Jon's only surviving son and heir.
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* [[Ciaran Birmingham]] as [[Mord]], the Eyrie's chief gaoler.
 
* [[Ciaran Birmingham]] as [[Mord]], the Eyrie's chief gaoler.
 
* [[Jefferson Hall]] as Ser [[Hugh]] of the Vale, Lord Jon's former squire.
 
* [[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.
  +
* [[Alisdair Simpson]] as Ser [[Donnel Waynwood]], the [[Knight of the Gate]].
   
 
===House Tyrell and retainers===
 
===House Tyrell and retainers===
 
{{main|House Tyrell}}
 
{{main|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.
 
* [[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.
 
* [[Natalie Dormer]] as [[Margaery Tyrell]], Loras's sister.
* Dame [[Diana Rigg]] as [[Olenna Redwyne]], nicknamed the Queen of Thorns, the great-aunt of Loras and Margaery and matriarch of the family.
+
* Dame [[Diana Rigg]] as [[Olenna Redwyne]], nicknamed the Queen of Thorns, the matriarch of the Tyrell family. 
   
 
===House Greyjoy and retainers===
 
===House Greyjoy and retainers===
Line 156: Line 160:
 
{{main|House Tully}}
 
{{main|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]].
 
* [[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".
+
* [[Clive Russell]] as Ser [[Brynden Tully]], Lord Hoster's younger brother, a famous knight known as "The Blackfish"
* [[David Bradley]] as Lord [[Walder Frey]], Lord of [[the Twins]], an old and prickly vassal of House Tully, which is allied to House Stark by marriage.
+
* [[Tim Plester]] as [[Black Walder Frey]], the great-grandson of Walder Frey and a noted warrior with a hot temper.
+
===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 [[Walder Frey (Black Walder)|"Black Walder" Frey]], the great-grandson of Walder Frey and a noted warrior with a hot temper.
  +
* [[Tom Brooke]] as [[Lothar Frey|"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.
 
* [[Alexandra Dowling]] as [[Roslin Frey]], one of Lord Frey's youngest daughters.
* [[Gerry O'Brien]] as Lord [[Jonos Bracken]], Lord of Stone Hedge, a vassal of House Tully.
+
* [[Elizabeth Webster]] as [[Fat Walda Frey]], one of Lord Frey's granddaughters.
* [[Kevin Keenan]] as [[Kurleket]], a man-at-arms to [[House Bracken]], a vassal of House Tully.
+
* [[Ryan McKenna]] as Ser [[Willis Wode]], a sworn sword of [[House Whent]], a vassal of House Tully.
+
===House Martell and retainers===
  +
{{main|House Martell}}
  +
* [[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.
   
 
===In the Riverlands===
 
===In the Riverlands===
 
{{main|Riverlands}}
 
{{main|Riverlands}}
* [[Susie Kelly]] as [[Masha Heddle]], the innkeeper of the [[Crossroads Inn]].
 
 
* [[Jerome Flynn]] as [[Bronn]], a sellsword met at the Crossroads Inn.
 
* [[Jerome Flynn]] as [[Bronn]], a sellsword met at the Crossroads Inn.
 
* [[Emun Elliott]] as [[Marillion]], a singer and troubadour met at the Crossroads Inn.
 
* [[Emun Elliott]] as [[Marillion]], a singer and troubadour met at the Crossroads Inn.
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* [[Mark Lewis Jones]] as [[Shagga]], a warrior clan chief from the [[Mountains of the Moon]].
 
* [[Mark Lewis Jones]] as [[Shagga]], a warrior clan chief from the [[Mountains of the Moon]].
 
* [[Oona Chaplin]] as [[Talisa Maegyr]], a battlefield doctor.
 
* [[Oona Chaplin]] as [[Talisa Maegyr]], a battlefield doctor.
* [[Paul Kealyn]] as [[Weasel]], a worker at [[Harrenhal]].
 
 
* [[Paul Kaye]] as [[Thoros|Thoros of Myr]], a red priest, warrior, famed drinker and friend of King Robert.
 
* [[Paul Kaye]] as [[Thoros|Thoros of Myr]], a red priest, warrior, famed drinker and friend of King Robert.
 
* [[Philip McGinley]] as [[Anguy]], an exceptionally-skilled archer.
 
* [[Philip McGinley]] as [[Anguy]], an exceptionally-skilled archer.
 
* [[Anton Lesser]] as [[Qyburn]], a disgraced maester.
 
* [[Anton Lesser]] as [[Qyburn]], a disgraced maester.
  +
  +
===In King's Landing===
  +
* [[Aidan Gillen]] as Lord [[Petyr Baelish|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.
  +
* [[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.
  +
* [[Josephine Gillan]] as [[Marei]], a prostitute.
  +
* [[Will Tudor]] as [[Olyvar]], a male prostitute and spy.
  +
* [[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 (Before the riot of King's Landing)|High Septon]], the head of the [[Faith of the Seven]].
  +
* [[Tony Way]] as Ser [[Dontos Hollard]], a knight in service to the crown.
   
 
===In the Night's Watch===
 
===In the Night's Watch===
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* [[Brian Fortune]] as [[Bowen Marsh]], the First Steward of the Watch.
 
* [[Brian Fortune]] as [[Bowen Marsh]], the First Steward of the Watch.
 
* [[Dennis McKeever]] as [[Othell Yarwyck]], the First Builder of the Watch.
 
* [[Dennis McKeever]] as [[Othell Yarwyck]], the First Builder of the Watch.
* [[Jeffrey O'Brien]] as Ser [[Jaremy Rykker]], an officer in the rangers.
 
 
* [[Francis Magee]] as [[Yoren]], a recruiter for 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]].
 
* [[John Bradley-West]] as [[Samwell Tarly]], a nobleman's son, a fresh recruit to [[the Wall]].
Line 190: Line 214:
 
* [[Mark Stanley]] as [[Grenn]], a fresh recruit to the Watch.
 
* [[Mark Stanley]] as [[Grenn]], a fresh recruit to the Watch.
 
* [[Luke McEwan]] as [[Rast]], a fresh recruit to the Watch, arrested for rape.
 
* [[Luke McEwan]] as [[Rast]], a fresh recruit to the Watch, arrested for rape.
* [[Rob Ostlere]] as Ser [[Waymar Royce]], a newcomer to the Watch, a skilled knight.
 
* [[Dermot Keaney]] as [[Gared]], an experienced ranger.
 
* [[Bronson Webb]] as [[Will]], an experienced ranger and scout.
 
 
* [[Ben Crompton]] as [[Eddison Tollett]], a squire, noted for his pessimistic sense of humor.
 
* [[Ben Crompton]] as [[Eddison Tollett]], a squire, noted for his pessimistic sense of humor.
 
* [[Simon Armstrong]] as [[Qhorin Halfhand]], an elite scout from the Shadow Tower and one of the Watch's most respected rangers.
 
* [[Simon Armstrong]] as [[Qhorin Halfhand]], an elite scout from the Shadow Tower and one of the Watch's most respected rangers.
  +
* [[Burn Gorman]] as [[Karl]], a ranger.
   
 
===Wildlings===
 
===Wildlings===
 
* [[Natalia Tena]] as [[Osha]], a wildling warrior-woman.
 
* [[Natalia Tena]] as [[Osha]], a wildling warrior-woman.
* [[Stephen Don]] as [[Stiv]], a former member of the Watch who has turned his cloak.
 
 
* [[Robert Pugh]] as [[Craster]], a wildling whose keep provides a safehaven for rangers of the Watch.
 
* [[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.
 
* [[Hannah Murray]] as [[Gilly]], one of Craster's daughters.
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* [[Kristofer Hivju]] as [[Tormund Giantsbane]], a charismatic wildling leader.
 
* [[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.
 
* [[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]].
   
===In King's Landing===
+
===In the Free Cities and Vaes Dothrak===
* [[Aidan Gillen]] as Lord [[Petyr Baelish|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.
 
* [[Ian McElhinney]] as Lord Commander [[Barristan Selmy]], the head of the Kingsguard.
 
* [[Ian Beattie]] as Ser [[Meryn Trant]], a knight of the Kingsguard.
 
* [[James Doran]] as Ser [[Mandon Moore]], a knight of the Kingsguard.
 
* [[Wilko Johnson]] as Ser [[Ilyn Payne]], the king's headsman and executioner.
 
* [[David Michael Scott]] (Season 1)/[[Richard Dormer]] (Season 3) 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.
 
* [[Antonia Christophers]] as [[Mhaegen]], a prostitute.
 
* [[Sahara Knite]] as [[Armeca]], a prostitute.
 
* [[Emily Diamond]] as a prostitute.
 
* [[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.
 
* [[Hugo Culverhouse]] as a stableboy 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]].
 
* [[Simon Fisher-Becker]] as the [[High Septon (Character)|High Septon]], the head of the [[Faith of the Seven]].
 
* [[Tony Way]] as Ser [[Dontos Hollard]], a knight in service to the crown.
 
 
===In Essos===
 
 
* [[Harry Lloyd]] as [[Viserys Targaryen]], an exiled [[Targaryen]] claimant to the [[Iron Throne]].
 
* [[Harry Lloyd]] as [[Viserys Targaryen]], an exiled [[Targaryen]] claimant to the [[Iron Throne]].
 
* [[Emilia Clarke]] as [[Daenerys Targaryen]], Viserys's younger sister.
 
* [[Emilia Clarke]] as [[Daenerys Targaryen]], Viserys's younger sister.
Line 214: Line 236:
 
* [[Roger Allam]] as [[Illyrio Mopatis]], a magister of the [[Free City]] of [[Pentos]].
 
* [[Roger Allam]] as [[Illyrio Mopatis]], a magister of the [[Free City]] of [[Pentos]].
 
* [[Dar Salim]] as [[Qotho]], one of Drogo's bloodriders.
 
* [[Dar Salim]] as [[Qotho]], one of Drogo's bloodriders.
* [[Ivailo Dimitrov]] as [[Mago]], a Dothraki warrior.
 
 
* [[Elyes Gabel]] as [[Rakharo]], a Dothraki warrior in Daenerys's service as a bodyguard.
 
* [[Elyes Gabel]] as [[Rakharo]], a Dothraki warrior in Daenerys's service as a bodyguard.
 
* [[Steven Cole]] as [[Kovarro]], a Dothraki warrior.
 
* [[Steven Cole]] as [[Kovarro]], a Dothraki warrior.
 
* [[Amrita Acharia]] as [[Irri]], a handmaiden gifted to Daenerys.
 
* [[Amrita Acharia]] as [[Irri]], a handmaiden gifted to Daenerys.
 
* [[Roxanne McKee]] as [[Doreah]], a servant and adviser gifted to Daenerys.
 
* [[Roxanne McKee]] as [[Doreah]], a servant and adviser gifted to Daenerys.
* [[Sarita Piotrowski]] as [[Jhiqui]], a handmaiden gifted to Daenerys.
+
* [[Mark Gatiss]] as [[Tycho Nestoris]], a representative of the [[Iron Bank of Braavos]].
* [[Rania Zouari]] as a Pentoshi servant in Illyrio's manse.
 
 
* [[Mia Soteriou]] as [[Mirri Maz Duur]], a healer of the [[Lhazareen]] people.
 
* [[Mia Soteriou]] as [[Mirri Maz Duur]], a healer of the [[Lhazareen]] people.
* [[Simon Lowe]] as a wineseller in [[Vaes Dothrak]].
 
   
====In Qarth====
+
===In Qarth===
 
* [[Nonso Anozie]] as [[Xaro Xhoan Daxos]], a merchant lord of [[Qarth]].
 
* [[Nonso Anozie]] as [[Xaro Xhoan Daxos]], a merchant lord of [[Qarth]].
 
* [[Ian Hanmore]] as [[Pyat Pree]], a warlock of Qarth.
 
* [[Ian Hanmore]] as [[Pyat Pree]], a warlock of Qarth.
Line 229: Line 249:
 
* [[Nicholas Blane]] as the [[Spice King]], the leader of the spice merchants of Qarth.
 
* [[Nicholas Blane]] as the [[Spice King]], the leader of the spice merchants of Qarth.
   
====In Slaver's Bay====
+
===In Slaver's Bay===
 
* [[Nathalie Emmanuel]] as [[Missandei]], a slave and translator working in the city of [[Astapor]].
 
* [[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.
 
* [[Dan Hildebrand]] as [[Kraznys mo Nakloz]], a slave-trader and immensely rich merchant in Astapor.
  +
* [[Ed Skrein]] (Season 3)/[[Michiel Huisman]] (Season 4) as [[Daario Naharis]], a charismatic mercenary.
  +
* [[Mark Killeen]] as [[Mero]], a mercenary commander nicknamed "The Titan's Bastard".
 
* [[Ramon Tikaram]] as [[Prendahl na Ghezn]], a mercenary commander.
 
* [[Ramon Tikaram]] as [[Prendahl na Ghezn]], a mercenary commander.
* [[Ed Skrein]] as [[Daario Naharis]], a charismatic mercenary.
+
* [[Joel Fry]] as [[Hizdahr zo Loraq]], a master of Meereen.
* [[Jacob Anderson]] as [[Grey Worm]], a warrior-eunuch of the [[Unsullied]].
 
   
 
==Credits==
 
==Credits==
Line 264: Line 287:
   
 
==Writers==
 
==Writers==
* [[David Benioff]] & [[D.B. Weiss]]: episodes 1-3, 5, 7, 9-12, 15, 17-18, 20 and more TBC.
+
* [[David Benioff]] & [[D.B. Weiss]]: episodes 1-3, 5, 7, 9-12, 15, 17-18, 20-21, 23-24, 26, 28-31, 33, 35, 37-40.
* [[Bryan Cogman]]: episodes 4, 13 and more TBC.
+
* [[Bryan Cogman]]: episodes 4, 13, 25, 34 and 36.
 
* [[Jane Espenson]]: episode 6.
 
* [[Jane Espenson]]: episode 6.
* [[George R.R. Martin]]: episodes 8, 19 and 27.
+
* [[George R.R. Martin]]: episodes 8, 19, 27 and 32.
* [[Vanessa Taylor]]: episode 14-16 and more TBC.
+
* [[Vanessa Taylor]]: episode 14, 16 and 22.
   
 
==Directors==
 
==Directors==
Line 276: Line 299:
 
* [[Daniel Minahan]]: episodes 6-8, 21-22.
 
* [[Daniel Minahan]]: episodes 6-8, 21-22.
 
* [[Alan Taylor]]: episodes 9-12, 18 & 20.
 
* [[Alan Taylor]]: episodes 9-12, 18 & 20.
* [[Alik Sakharov]]: episode 13, more TBC.
+
* [[Alik Sakharov]]: episodes 13, 26, 36-37.
 
* [[David Petrarca]]: episodes 14-15.
 
* [[David Petrarca]]: episodes 14-15.
* [[David Nutter]]: episodes 16-17, 29-30.
+
* [[David Nutter]]: episodes 16-17, 29-30, 49-50.
* [[Neil Marshall]]: episode 19.
+
* [[Neil Marshall]]: episodes 19 & 39.
* [[Michelle MacLaren]]: episodes 27-28.
+
* David Benioff: episode 23.
* [[Alex Graves]]: TBC
+
* [[Alex Graves]]: episodes 24-25, 32-33, 38 & 40.
  +
* [[Michelle MacLaren]]: episodes 27-28, 34-35.
  +
* ​D. B. Weiss: episode 31.
  +
* [[Michael Slovis]]: episodes 41-42.
   
 
==Filming locations==
 
==Filming locations==
Line 308: Line 331:
 
* 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 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 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.
+
* 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.
   
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
 
* [http://winter-is-coming.blogspot.com/ Winter is Coming] - a blog dedicated to covering all developments on the production as they happen.
 
* [http://winter-is-coming.blogspot.com/ Winter is Coming] - a blog dedicated to covering all developments on the production as they happen.
 
* [http://www.westeros.org/GoT/ Westeros.org] - a subset of the Westeros.org website which covers developments on the series.
 
* [http://www.westeros.org/GoT/ Westeros.org] - a subset of the Westeros.org website which covers developments on the series.
  +
* <span style="font-size:13px;font-family:arial,sans,sans-serif;color:#000000;text-align:left;">[http://britmovietours.com/bookings/game-of-thrones-tour-of-locations-belfast Game of Thrones Tour Belfast]</span> - A tour of filming locations in Belfast Northern Ireland.
  +
*{{WP|Game of Thrones}}
  +
*{{AWOIAF|Game of Thrones}}
  +
  +
==References==
  +
{{Reflist|2}}
   
 
[[de:Game of Thrones]] [[es:Game of Thrones]] [[zh:权力的游戏(电视剧)]] [[ru:Игра престолов]]
 
[[de:Game of Thrones]] [[es:Game of Thrones]] [[zh:权力的游戏(电视剧)]] [[ru:Игра престолов]]

Latest revision as of 15:58, July 8, 2014

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.

Game of Thrones is an American fantasy 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 four transmitted seasons comprising fourty episodes in total. Two further seasons have been commissioned,[1] taking the show up to a sixth year/season.

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 and the USA.

Production historyEdit

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, whilst 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.

Two further seasons have been commissioned,[2] taking the show up to a sixth year.

Future seasons, and catching up with the booksEdit

The initial planEdit

It is generally projected that the TV series will last seven or eight seasons, but no one is entirely sure.

As of 2014, 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).

As a result, while there are projected to be seven novels, splitting the third novel into two seasons should mean that the TV series will end with Season 8.

Even so the producers have never been sure about this, and often simply gave the figure of "seven or eight" seasons.

Seasons 5 and 6: Intercutting the fourth and fifth novelsEdit

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 the TV series's plan is that Seasons 5 and 6 will be intercut to chronological present 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" will consist of the first half of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, and then "Season 6" will adapt the second half of A Feast for Crows intercut with the second half of A Dance with Dragons. The combined result will be the same: "two books worth of material" will be adapted by "Seasons 5 and 6", but simply, Season 5 will cover the first half of both books, Season 6 the second halves of both. David Benioff has also commented that while it was relatively easy to end Season 3 with the Red Wedding, and Season 4 with the actual ending of the third novel...Season 5 doesn't really have a clear "climax", because it will end in the middle of the storylines from the fourth and fifth novels.

How many seasons?Edit

Given that there are currently five novels, and the third was split into two seasons, there is currently enough print material to adapt through the end of Season 6. 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).

After Season 3 ended, there was considerable discussion about the future of the TV series, particularly the question what would happen if the TV series began to outpace the novels.

Soon before Season 4 began, 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]

Even so, Benioff and Weiss had earlier used the figure of eight seasons, because the third novel was split into two seasons. Making seven seasons would short one of the later novels.

Moreover, George R.R. Martin originally planned the entire story of the A Song of Ice and Fire series to be a trilogy of books, but during the writing process the story massively expanded. He knew by the time that the first book, A Game of Thrones, was released that it would have to be far longer.

Martin's originally planned trilogy would consist of three novels: A Game of Thrones, A Dance with Dragons, and The Winds of Winter. He had to split to subsequently split these into different novels. The storylines originally planned for "Book 1: A Game of Thrones" were split across three novels: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords. Thus the ending of the third novel is actually the climax which was supposed to conclude "Book 1" of the original trilogy.

Originally, George R.R. Martin even planned to emphasize how much of a break this was by making a five year time-jump between the end of A Storm of Swords (the finale of Season 4) and the beginning of the next novel (Season 5), though he later abandoned the time jump because he felt it was irresistible so show what actually happened immediately afterwards.

However, because the third novel was split across two seasons, the finale of "Season 4" is what actually adapts the ending of the third novel, the climactic ending of the originally planned "Book 1".

Put another way, if the entire story can be divided into three classical "Act" breaks, they would be:

Act I:

  • A Game of Thrones - adapted as "Season 1" of the TV series
  • A Clash of Kings - adapted as "Season 2"
  • A Storm of Swords, Part 1 of 2 (ending with the Red Wedding) - adapted as "Season 3"
  • A Storm of Swords, Part 2 of 2 - adapted as "Season 4"

Act II:

  • A Feast for Crows - first half adapted in Season 5, second half in Season 6
  • A Dance with Dragons - second half adapted in Season 5, second half in Season 6

Act III:

  • The Winds of Winter - adapted as Season 7?
  • A Dream of Spring - adapted as Season 8?

"The second half of the third novel" (adapted as "Season 4" of the TV series), is therefore not the "midway" point of the story, but the end of "Act 1 of 3".

Catching up with the booksEdit

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 TVseries 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]

George R.R. Martin himself, in the same 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 7 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 the four years between Season 4 and Season 8.

Martin also made two major points:

First: If the producers of the TV series are worried that they will outpace his books...why would they decrease the length of the TV series from eight to seven seasons? This would mean that material from the fifth (and current) book would have to be condensed, and ultimately, they'd use up all printed material even sooner. So if they don't want to outpace the books (for fear that they would lack direction), why would they rush to finish the TV series in only seven seasons? It makes more sense to try for eight seasons.

Second: For that matter, the fourth and fifth novels were nearly as long as the third novel. They form "Act 2 of 3" for the overall story, when it took the TV series four seasons to tell the story of "Act 1 of 3". Martin's suggestion is therefore that instead of making two TV seasons out of books four and five, why not simply spread out the material more to make three seasons out of it? In this case, they would have enough print material to sustain through Season 7, before having to worry about adapting his final two, unpublished books. This would not mean they would have to pad out the material: on the contrary, a large amount of material from the books is cut for time from the TV series adaptation. Similar to splitting the third novel across Season 3 and Season 4, if they split the fourth and fifth novels across Seasons 5, 6, and 7, it would not only forestall outpacing the printed books, but also make for a more cohesive story that doesn't require drastic condensations. In this case, expanding to make yet another season, the TV series could potentially run for nine seasons.

In Martin's own words:

"The season that's about to debut covers the second half of the third book. The third book [A Storm of Swords] was so long that it had to be split into two. But there are two more books beyond that, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. A Dance with Dragons is itself a book that’s as big as A Storm of Swords. So there’s potentially three more seasons there, between Feast and Dance, if they split into two the way they did [with Storm]. Now, Feast and Dance take place simultaneously. So you can't do Feast and then Dance the way I did. You can combine them and do it chronologically. And it's my hope that they'll do it that way and then, long before they catch up with me, I'll have published The Winds of Winter, which’ll give me another couple years. It might be tight on the last book, A Dream of Spring, as they juggernaut forward.[5]

Martin went on to suggest that anything is possible and if worse comes to worst, if the TV series doesn't want to outpace the books, they might simply take a year off the way Breaking Bad or Mad Men have done. Nor would this need to be a year with no actual new content: HBO could make a prequel miniseries or TV movie adapting other time periods in the history of Westeros, then return to the main "Game of Thrones" TV series after he has released the final two books.

It is entirely possible that HBO might make prequel projects based on the events of Robert's Rebellion (featuring young Eddard Stark and setting up the events of the main series), or going even further back to adapt Martin's Tales of Dunk and Egg prequel series set ninety years before the main series, which detail the adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall ("Dunk") and Prince Aegon V Targaryen ("Egg") - Aegon V being the younger brother of Maester Aemon. Martin even pointed out that his recent novella The Princess and the Queen, detailing the devastating civil war known as "The Dance of the Dragons" fought between Rhaenyra Targaryen and her half-brother Aegon II, would be an interesting project to adapt.[6]

Subsequently, Martin half-jokingly told The Hollywood Reporter on March 19th, 2014, that the TV series might even need a major theatrical movie to serve as an ending, because the CGI budget would be massive. Or that HBO might consider making, Tales of Dunk and Egg theatrical movies, because they are relatively episodic and stand-alone novellas (or maybe just as TV-movies):

It all depends on how long the main series runs...Do we run for seven years? Do we run for eight? Do we run for 10? The books get bigger and bigger (in scope). It might need a feature to tie things up, something with a feature budget, like $100 million for two hours. Those dragons get real big, you know."[7]

Martin was then, however, interviewed by The Wall Street Journal a few days later on March 21st, 2014. He responded to the speculation his comments in The Hollywood Reporter had caused, which seemed to contradict Benioff and Weiss leaning more towards seven than eight seasons. The interview asked about his comments that the TV series could simply make up to nine seasons, by expanding the current remaining books instead of outpacing the ones he hasn't finished yet, or that it might even need a movie to finish:

Question: "There’s been recent talk about a Game of Thrones movie to finish the series."
George R.R. Martin: "Yes, I got in trouble for that." [laughs]
Question: "What happened?"
Martin: "This is all pie-in-the-sky stuff. People are asking me how the series is going to end. Is it going to be seven seasons? Is it going to be 10 seasons? Are there going to be movies? We talked about all these possibilities. But right now we have four seasons. That's all that's been ordered. HBO has not ordered Season 5, so we certainly don’t know about Season 7, Season 10, or any movies. But there's a lot of possibilities that are being kicked around, and it all depends on so many things. Will our ratings continue to go up? Will the show continue to be popular? Sometimes shows fall off. Sometimes people change. Executives change or something, and the new guy doesn't love the show. You don't know anything. I worked in Hollywood from 1985 to 1995, and the one thing I learned is nobody knows anything and it's a day-to-day process. So right now we’re enjoying Season 4 and we’re hoping we'll get an order for Season 5 within a month or so, and then we'll do that one. And then we'll see where that leads.[8]

SummaryEdit

Generally:

  • As George R.R. Martin himself has pointed out, no one is entirely sure how long the series will run, because even shows that are very popular in their fourth season might get very low ratings in their sixth season and get abruptly cancelled. The future is unknown. HBO only actually orders the series one season at a time, so while the production team is beginning to work on Season 5 (as of early 2014) it hasn't been officially ordered yet. Nothing is guaranteed for years in advance, and HBO might cancel it later.
  • No matter how many seasons Game of Thrones has, HBO as well as Benioff and Weiss have tentatively said that they are willing to subsequently make prequel projects focusing on other events from centuries' worth of Westeros's history. Specifically, they might want to adapt the Tales of Dunk and Egg prequel novellas set ninety years before the main series. Martin has pointed out that they might want to adapt other prequels such as the great Targaryen civil war known as "The Dance of the Dragons" (featuring large amounts of dragon versus dragon combat), or they might even want to make a flashback prequel project about Robert's Rebellion, showing Eddard Stark and Catelyn Tully as young teenagers, and setting up the events of the main series.
    • HBO and the production team have pointed out that they cannot possibly make prequel projects at the same time as the main series, there simply isn't enough time to focus on it and ensure high quality, particularly when they physically cannot produce more than ten episodes of the main series a season. This is similar to the reason why, after book three was split into twenty episodes instead of ten, the two halves aired as two separate seasons, instead of a single massive season of twenty episodes produced in a single year - that would have been physically impossible.
    • No one is exactly sure what format such a prequel project would take: a short TV series, a miniseries, a made-for-TV-movie, or even a theatrical movie. The Tales of Dunk and Egg prequel novellas are episodic, so each one could either be a short miniseries or TV movie, released as an ongoing series across several years.

Outpacing the books:

  • Because the third novel was so long, it was split in half and adapted as two seasons: Season 3 and Season 4. With seven projected books in total, with two left unpublished, this means that the TV series may continue up to Season 8.
  • It is a very bold prediction to guarantee even seven seasons, and around the Season 4 premiere, Benioff and Weiss began leaning more towards saying they think it will run seven seasons, though when pressed they said "seven or eight".
  • George R.R. Martin does not want to rush the final books out, lowering their quality, just to match the release of the TV series's final seasons.
  • Martin is in extensive discussions with HBO, as well as Benioff and Weiss, that a possible solution might be to simply adapt the fourth and fifth novels as three seasons, instead of two, similar to how they adapted the third novel as two seasons. Given the extreme length of the novels this doesn't mean they would have to invent filler, but actually that they wouldn't have to condense as much material.
  • Thus the series could run for anywhere between seven to nine seasons, depending on what the production team feels they are capable of, and far more importantly, if the TV series continues to be the highest rated series airing on HBO and winning the network major awards. If Season 6 has a sudden and massive drop in ratings, HBO may force the production team to make Season 7 the final one.
    • Martin has suggested - as pure speculation - that apart from expanding books four and five into three seasons worth of material, HBO might want to simply take a year off from the main series and instead produce one of the prequel projects before, instead of after, the main series ends.
    • HBO is indeed interested in making prequel projects, even after the main series ends.

CastingEdit

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.

For the second season, a number of new cast members were introduced, 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, Michael McElhatton as Roose Bolton, Rose Leslie as Ygritte and Hannah Murray as Gilly.

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 and Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei.

For the fourth season, the new cast members included Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell, Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand, Michiel Huisman as Daario Naharis and Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Mace Tyrell.

PremiseEdit

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 HousesEdit

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:

CastEdit

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

House StarkEdit

Main article: House Stark

Retainers at WinterfellEdit

Vassals and allies of House StarkEdit

House Bolton and retainersEdit

House LannisterEdit

Main article: House Lannister

Vassals and allies of House LannisterEdit

House BaratheonEdit

Main article: House Baratheon

Vassals and allies of House BaratheonEdit

House Arryn and retainersEdit

Main article: House Arryn

House Tyrell and retainersEdit

Main article: House Tyrell

House Greyjoy and retainersEdit

Main article: House Greyjoy

House Tully and retainersEdit

Main article: House Tully

House Frey and retainersEdit

House Martell and retainersEdit

Main article: House Martell

In the RiverlandsEdit

Main article: Riverlands

In King's LandingEdit

In the Night's WatchEdit

Main article: Night's Watch

WildlingsEdit

In the Free Cities and Vaes DothrakEdit

In QarthEdit

In Slaver's BayEdit

CreditsEdit

  • David Benioff - writer/executive producer.
  • D.B. Weiss - writer/executive producer.
  • George R.R. Martin - writer/executive producer.
  • Guymon Cassidy - executive producer.
  • Carolyn Strauss - executive producer.
  • Ralph Vincinaza - executive producer.
  • Vincent Gerardis - executive producer.
  • Frank Doelger - producer.
  • Mark Huffam - producer
  • Thomas McCarthy - director (pilot).
  • Sean Bobbitt - director of photography.
  • Sean Guest - 1st assistant director.
  • Tatiana S. Riegel - editor.
  • Gemma Jackson - production designer.
  • Michele Clapton - costume designer.
  • Marisa Clayton - digital post-production.
  • Julia Frey - production supervisor/location scout (pilot).
  • Robert Stromberg - VFX supervisor (pilot).
  • Ramin Djawadi - music (series).
  • Buster Reeves - stunt work (pilot).
  • Corvus Corax - music (Winterfell feast scene).
  • Nina Gold - London casting director.
  • Amy Berman & Carrie Frazier - Los Angeles casting directors.
  • Michelle Taylor Spellman - Los Angeles casting associate.
  • Kerry Barden & Paul Schnee - New York casting directors.
  • Allison Estrin - New York casting associate.

WritersEdit

DirectorsEdit

Filming locationsEdit

Northern IrelandEdit

  • The Paint Hall Studios in Belfast is being used for all primary interior sets.
  • Location filming for the prologue and the discovery of the direwolf cubs took place at Tollymore Forest Park near Newcastle in County Down.
  • Location filming for some exteriors near Winterfell, including the execution in Season 1 Episode 1 of Will, who fled the Night's Watch, took place at Cairncastle in County Antrim.
  • Location filming for some courtyard scenes at Winterfell, including Tommen and Bran's practice bout, took place at Castle Ward in County Down.

ScotlandEdit

  • The Clanranald Trust's 'Combat International' team have confirmed they will be taking part in the production for some scenes that will be filmed at a castle in Scotland. Doune Castle, used for some scenes in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, is being used for some scenes involving guardsmen displaying the livery of House Lannister, suggesting that it will be used to depict the courtyard of Winterfell. Filming of the pilot began at Doune Castle on 24 October.

Morocco (pilot only)Edit

  • Morocco was used for the filming of the scenes involving Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen in Pentos. Some of the castle sets constructed for the movie Kingdom of Heaven were also reused for the project.
  • Atlas Studios and some other locations at Ouarzazate are the primary locations where filming took place in Morocco.

Filming datesEdit

  • 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.

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. The Hollywood Reporter
  2. The Hollywood Reporter
  3. Entertainment Weekly, March 11th, 2014]
  4. Vanity Fair, April 2014
  5. Vanity Fair, April 2014.
  6. Vanity Fair, "George R.R. Martin Has a Detailed Plan For Keeping the Game of Thrones TV Show From Catching Up To Him.
  7. Multiple 'Game of Thrones' Movies Eyed by George R.R. Martin
  8. The Wall Street Journal, George R.R. Martin interview, March 21st, 2014.

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