To date, the series consists of four transmitted seasons comprising fourty episodes in total. Two further seasons have been commissioned, 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, Spain, and the USA.
See the production timeline for a more detailed history of the show's development and production.
David Benioff was sent a collection of the first four novels in the series (A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows) by George R.R. Martin's agent. Initially sceptical of the fantasy genre, Benioff became a big fan of the books and invited his friend D.B. Weiss to develop the project with him for a screen adaptation. They initially considered a movie adaption, but realized this would mean losing most of the plot and characters from the books. Instead, they began working on an adaptation for television. They met with George R.R. Martin and spent several hours discussing the project. Martin was impressed with their enthusiasm and that they had already worked out the resolutions to several key mysteries in the books. He agreed with them that the series was a good fit for the cable company HBO, which Martin was already a big fan of.
HBO agreed to option the project in 2007 and active development of a pilot script began. However, this was delayed by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. In October 2008 HBO exercised its option to buy the rights to the series and ordered a pilot episode a few weeks later. Casting announcements were made throughout 2009, with Peter Dinklage the first actor formally announced for the series. The pilot episode was filmed in Northern Ireland and Morocco in October and November 2009.
HBO officially greenlit the series on 2 March 2010. Filming of Season 1 began on 23 July, with Malta replacing Morocco for overseas filming. Several actors from the pilot were recast, requiring the re-filming of most of the first episode. The season wrapped filming on 15 December. HBO later confirmed that the first season had a budget of $60 million. The first season aired on HBO on 17 April-19 June 2011, garnering critical acclaim and steadily rising ratings. HBO confirmed after the transmission of the first episode that a second season had been commissioned.
Production of Season 2 began on 25 July 2011 and wrapped on 12 December. Malta was dropped as a filming location, replaced by Croatia, while additional filming took place in Iceland. The budget for Season 2 was 15% higher than Season 1, necessitated by the addition more ambitious effects sequences and the use of CGI creatures such as direwolves and dragons. The second season aired from 1 April to 3 June 2012, garnering additional critical acclaim and increased ratings. By the end of the second season, the show had become the third-most-successful series in HBO's history, behind only The Sopranos and True Blood. In addition, the DVD and Blu-ray set of Season 1 was released just prior to transmission of Season 2 and immediately became HBO's fastest-selling media release in its history.
Production of Season 3 began on 10 July 2012 and wrapped on 24 November. Morocco was added to the filming roster alongside Croatia, Iceland and Northern Ireland, with the complexities of filming requiring the addition of a third filming unit to the existing two. An additional scene was shot in Los Angeles for safety reasons, meaning that Season 3 was filmed in five separate countries on three continents. The season aired from 31 March to 2 June 2013. The penultimate episode The Rains of Castamere won widespread critical acclaim for its shock twist ending. By the end of the season the show had supplanted True Blood as the second-most successful HBO show in the United States and The Sopranos as its most successful series worldwide.
Production of Season 4 began on 8 July 2013 and concluded on 21 November. Production was more focused this season, with only two units used and filming restricted to Northern Ireland, Iceland and Croatia. This was to allow more of the budget to be concentrated on several major action and effects sequences late in the season.
Two further seasons have been commissioned, taking the show up to a sixth year.
Future seasons, and catching up with the books
The initial plan
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: Intercutting the fourth and fifth novels
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 will chronologically 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 majority of the material from A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons.
Future of the show: How many seasons?
Given that there are currently five novels (with the third split into two seasons), but given the fact that the majority of the last two novels will be adapted in season 5, there is currently only enough print material to adapt through the end of Season 5 (for most storylines). 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).
During Season 3, in an interview with Mother Jones magazine, Benioff & Weiss said that they thought the TV series might run as many as eight seasons, for a total of 80 episodes, though they were unsure:
- Mother Jones: "So I gather that Game of Thrones could last eight or nine seasons. Does that mean putting novel writing on hold for a decade?
- Benioff & Weiss: "Yes, if we live that long and HBO keeps wanting to make the show. We have the opportunity here to tell a coherent story that lasts for 80 hours. And while a canvas of that size presents all sorts of storytelling problems, it also allows us to spend more time with these characters we love than we'll ever get again.
Soon before Season 4 began, however, in early March 2014 executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss made several comments that they actually felt Season 4 was the "midway point" of the TV series, which would probably last seven seasons. On March 11, 2014, they said in Entertainment Weekly:
- "It feels like this is the midpoint for us...If we’re going to go seven seasons, which is the plan, Season 4 is right down the middle, the pivot point...I would say it's the goal we've had from the beginning...It was our unstated goal, because to start on a show and say your goal is seven seasons is the height of lunacy. Once we got to the point where we felt like we're going to be able to tell this tale to its conclusion, that became [an even clearer] goal. Seven gods, seven kingdoms, seven seasons. It feels right to us.”
The repeated statements Benioff and Weiss made throughout Season 4 that they "always" intended for there to be seven seasons simply contradict previous statements they made in formal print interviews, such as with Mother Jones in 2013 (though plans can and do change over many years).
Benioff & Weiss, as well as George R.R. Martin himself, then provided comments for the April 2014 issue of Vanity Fair (which was released about two weeks after Benioff and Weiss said in Entertainment Weekly that there might be only seven seasons). Contradicting his statements made at the same time in EW that "we're going for seven seasons, it's been our goal since the beginning", Benioff instead repeated that the production team wasn't sure if the TV series would last "seven or eight" seasons.
- "If we're a series and we're four seasons, five seasons in, and it's indefinite as to how long it's gonna go, then I don't think there’s as much pressure as far as, the end is coming, the end is nigh. So, for us, whether it ends up being seven or eight, it's right around there. I think we've always felt — we just completed the fourth season — this is the midpoint. And we're coming around the bend right now."
Elio and Linda of Westeros.org analyzed these conflicting statements before Season 5 began, and offered an explanation: most TV series do not make their starring cast members sign contracts which last longer than six years. If a TV show is successful enough that it lasts longer than six years, the starring cast members can renegotiate their contracts - and because the show is now a guaranteed hit, their pay can increase drastically. A starring cast member on a longrunning and popular TV series can easily leave the show after the sixth season and enter into a lucrative film career, being paid millions of dollars instead of the several hundred thousand that a TV series can easily afford to pay them in the same time period. A hit TV series might be popular enough and generate enough revenue to sustain this - but the Game of Thrones producers have no way of completely guaranteeing that the TV series's ratings will be as high three seasons in the future.
As a result, in Season 4 the executive producers started backtracking and saying that they had always intended for only seven seasons, because they were in heavy contract negotiations between the starring cast and HBO. Now unsure if they would have more than seven seasons (even though they had previously said they felt they needed at least eight to tell the story in full), they didn't want to promise more than they could confirm.
Westeros.org therefore theorized that going into Season 5, the writers were adapting to a "worst case scenario mode" for the event that they only had seven seasons. This included drastically cutting several major subplots from the novels, such as omitting House Greyjoy's subplots almost entirely, not making mention of Doran Martell's other children (including his daughter and heir, Arianne), and cutting out many major characters that appear in Tyrion's storyline in the Free Cities. They went on to speculate, however, that once Season 5 had finished production, the TV writers would probably know how the cast contract negotiations worked out, and if it was indeed confirmed that they would get more than seven seasons, they would then restructure accordingly - i.e. not omitting these storylines, but pushing them back to Season 6.
As events unfolded, it was announced in October 2014 that HBO was indeed able to reach a settlement with the starring cast members: based on the unprecedented and continued success of the TV series, HBO agreed to give them all major pay raises. Part of this involved instituting a pay-grade system: while it a large ensemble cast, a few cast members who can arguably be called the core cast. These "Tier A" cast members as they called them were Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), and Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen). Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) are not in the Tier A cast - it is possible they aren't paid as much due to being underaged. A later interview with Entertainment Weekly in March 2015 reported that for Season 5, the Tier A cast members were each paid $300,000 per episode.
As predicted, with these cast contract renegotiations settled, HBO and the writers began intimating that the TV series could run for more than seven seasons. In the same Entertainment Weekly interview, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said that the network would eagerly accept the TV series going on for eight to ten seasons, but only if writers Benioff and Weiss felt it served the story instead of dragging it out (though of course, the TV series has not been "padding" the massive novels series, but omitting many subplots for time). Lombardo said:
- "We'll have an honest conversation that explores all possible avenues. If they [Benioff and Weiss] weren't comfortable going beyond seven seasons, I trust them implicitly and trust that's the right decision—as horrifying as that is to me. What I'm not going to do is have a show continue past where the creators believe where they feel they've finished with the story.
Therefore, now that the crunch of the cast contract renegotiations in Season 5 is over, it seems that HBO is adopting more of a "wait and see" attitude, and while unlikely, they no longer dismiss out of hand the possibility of the show running for ten seasons. This also might mean that plotlines that were omitted in Season 5 will somehow be reintegrated back into Season 6.
Westeros.org, WatchersOnTheWall.com, and Entertainment Weekly all agreed, however, that what increasingly seems most probable is that like other major TV series such as Mad Men, Game of Thrones will probably end with a "double-sized" seventh season, which is then split into two halves and aired a year apart (i.e. 16 episodes instead of 10, broken into two 8 episode blocks). This would functionally result in the TV series getting "eight seasons", though for purposes of prohibitively expensive cast contract negotiations, it technically wouldn't count as another full season.
Benioff and Weiss also noted in the March 2015 Entertainmenet Weekly interview that the pay issue has largely been solved after successful negotiations, and the series continues to bring in revenue with high ratings, but the major issue they deal with now is the time issue: Game of Thrones is one of the largest TV productions in history, spanning multiple countries with different units filming simultaneously, and the shooting schedule for Season 5 officially lasted a massive 202 days. As they have said before, they physically cannot hope to produce more than 10 episodes at such high quality in a single year, and the scale keeps increasing, with an ever-expanding cast and new set locations. As Weiss said:
- "The money issue was largely supplanted by the time issue. There’s still the money issue; since television budgets are not movie budgets, you’re always making Sophie’s choices in terms of visual effects. We ran up against the absolute limit of how many days we can shoot in a year."
Catching up with the books
George R.R. Martin himself, in the same April 2014 issue of Vanity Fair, addressed the major and related question which is frequently asked: what will happen if the TV series outpaces the remaining books? What if Martin cannot finish the next novel (the sixth, The Winds of Winter) before Season 6 has to enter production?
Martin stated that while he is trying to focus on writing the remaining novels, he is opposed to rushing them to finish to match the TV series, given that he wants his novels to stand the test of time for decades, like J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Thus while Martin is hurrying, he has accepted that it a real possibility that he cannot finish the next two novels in time.
Martin declined writing an episode for Season 5 to focus on writing The Winds of Winter, and in March 2015 canceled all of his future convention appearances to focus on writing it. Even so, it now appears all but certain that at least the final season of the TV series will probably be released before the final novel, A Dream of Spring.
With 250 speaking roles, almost 90 of them named, the cast was the largest ever assembled for the debut season of a HBO project. The cast grew even larger in the second and third seasons.
The cast includes Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen, Richard Madden as Robb Stark, Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister, Aidan Gillen as Petyr Baelish, Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, Conleth Hill as Varys, Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane, Jerome Flynn as Bronn, John Bradley-West as Samwell Tarly, Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont, James Cosmo as Jeor Mormont, Joe Dempsie as Gendry, Sibel Kekilli as Shae and Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo. The cast is also notable for including a number of teenage and child actors in prominent roles: Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark, Art Parkinson as Rickon Stark and Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon.
Jennifer Ehle was initially cast as Catelyn Stark, but after filming the pilot HBO decided to recast the role with Michelle Fairley. No further details have been given for the reason behind this decision, except that it was amicable. In a similar manner, Tamzin Merchant was initially cast as Daenerys Targaryen, but after filming the pilot she was replaced by newcomer Emilia Clarke.
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 fourth season, only a few new cast members were added, including Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell, Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand, Michiel Huisman as Daario Naharis and Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Mace Tyrell.
The fifth season marked the introduction of many new cast members, including Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell, Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow and Keisha Castle-Hughes, Jessica Henwick and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers as the Sand Snakes: Obara, Nymeria and Tyene Sand.
The series is set on a world where the seasons can last for years at a time. The main setting is the continent of Westeros, which was home to seven feuding kingdoms until they were united by the Targaryen family using dragons some three centuries ago. The dragons died out and the Targaryen Mad King was unseated in a civil war led by Lords Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark, seventeen years before the series opens. Robert has ruled as King ever since, but when the series opens his rule is increasingly undermined by other factions. At the same time, two surviving Targaryen children, having grown to adulthood in exile on the eastern continent of Essos, are now planning to return and retake the Iron Throne, and to this end are seeking a military alliance with other factions.
As both civil war and an external invasion threaten Westeros, another danger arises in the lands to the far north, beyond the vast Wall that forms the realm's northern border, where a supernatural threat believed to be mythical seems to be stirring after millennia of sleep. The only defense lies with the Night's Watch, an under-manned, under-funded order of soldiers once held in honor but now used as a dumping ground for criminals and exiles.
The Great Houses
Westeros is ruled by nine noble houses, who in turn command hundreds of lesser vassal houses. Each of the Great Houses rules a large region and commands significant armies and power in their own right. A list of the Great Houses and some of their more significant vassals follows:
- House Baratheon of Storm's End: rulers of the Stormlands and, since the civil war, the whole of Westeros. Led by King Robert Baratheon and his brothers, Stannis and Renly.
- House Stark of Winterfell: rulers of the North, the largest region of the continent. Led by Lord Eddard Stark.
- House Bolton of the Dreadfort: vassals of the Starks who rule over the eastern lands of the North. Noted for their love of flaying people alive. Led by Lord Roose Bolton.
- House Umber of the Last Hearth: vassals of the Starks who rule over the lands between Winterfell and the Wall. Led by Lord Greatjon Umber.
- House Karstark of Karhold: vassals of the Starks who rule over the north-eastern lands of the North. Led by Lord Rickard Karstark.
- House Mormont of Bear Island: vassals of the Starks who rule over Bear Island, which is north west of Winterfell. Led by Maege Mormont.
- House Lannister of Casterly Rock: rulers of the Westerlands. Richest house in Westeros. Led by Lord Tywin Lannister.
- House Arryn of the Eyrie: rulers of the Vale of Arryn. A house noted for its chivalry. Led by the young Lord Robin Arryn.
- House Tyrell of Highgarden: rulers of the Reach, a vast, fertile region in the south of Westeros. The most populous region of the continent and able to field the largest armies. Led by Lord Mace Tyrell.
- House Tully of Riverrun: rulers of the Riverlands, the well-traveled central region of the continent. Led by Lord Hoster Tully.
- House Greyjoy of Pyke: rulers of the Iron Islands off the west coast of the continent. The ironborn are fierce and independently-minded, but a recent attempt to rebel against the Iron Throne was defeated. 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 Targaryen: the former rulers of Westeros before Robert's Rebellion. The family is now destroyed and its survivors are exiles in the far east, searching for support to retake their birthright. Led by Viserys Targaryen, the Beggar King.
This list of characters describes their location and status as of the first episode of the series.
- Main article: House Stark
- Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell.
- Michelle Fairley as Lady Catelyn Stark, originally of House Tully.
- Richard Madden as Robb Stark, Eddard's eldest son and heir.
- Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Eddard's eldest daughter.
- Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, Eddard's youngest daughter.
- Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark, Eddard's middle son.
- Art Parkinson as Rickon Stark, Eddard's youngest son.
- Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Eddard's bastard son by an unknown mother.
- Joseph Mawle as Benjen Stark, Eddard's younger brother, First Ranger of the Night's Watch.
Retainers at Winterfell
- Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, a ward and hostage for his rebellious father's good behavior.
- Ron Donachie as Ser Rodrik Cassel, master of arms.
- Jamie Sives as Jory Cassel, Rodrik's nephew, captain of the guards.
- Donald Sumpter as Maester Luwin, a maester of the Citadel.
- Kristian Nairn as Hodor, a simple stableboy.
- Margaret John as Old Nan, a retired servant and Hodor's great-grandmother.
- Susan Brown as Septa Mordane, a religious tutor and governess to Arya and Sansa.
- Esme Bianco as Ros, a prostitute working in Winterfell's outlying town.
Vassals and allies of House Stark
- Clive Mantle as Lord Greatjon Umber, Lord of Last Hearth, a loyal vassal of House Stark.
- John Stahl 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.
- 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.
- Main article: House Lannister
- Charles Dance as Lord Tywin Lannister, the widowed patriarch of House Lannister and father of Jaime, Cersei and Tyrion.
- Lena Headey as Queen Cersei Lannister, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, twin sister of Jaime, mother of Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen.
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Ser Jaime Lannister, a knight of the Kingsguard, twin brother of Cersei.
- Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Cersei and Jaime's younger brother, called the Imp for his size.
- Ian Gelder as Ser Kevan Lannister, Lord Tywin's younger brother and closest adviser.
- Eugene Simon as Lancel Lannister, Ser Kevan's son, a squire to King Robert.
- Karl Davies as Alton Lannister, a distant cousin of the main branch of the family.
Vassals and allies of House Lannister
- Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne, a squire, a member of one of the Lannisters' vassal families.
- Fintan McKeown as Ser Amory Lorch, a loyal vassal and retainer of House Lannister.
- Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane, Prince Joffrey's bodyguard and sworn sword, long in the service of House Lannister.
- 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.
- Andy Kellegher as Polliver, a master-at-arms in the service of Ser Gregor Clegane.
- Main article: House Baratheon
- Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon, King of the Seven Kingdoms.
- Jack Gleeson as Prince Joffrey Baratheon, King Robert's eldest son and heir.
- Aimee Richardson (Season 1-2)/Nell Tiger Free (Season 5-) as Myrcella Baratheon, King Robert's eldest daughter.
- Callum Wharry (Season 1-2)/Dean-Charles Chapman (Season 4-) as Tommen Baratheon, King Robert's youngest son.
- Gethin Anthony as Lord Renly Baratheon, King Robert's youngest brother, Lord of Storm's End.
- Stephen Dillane as Lord Stannis Baratheon, King Robert's middle brother, Lord of Dragonstone.
- Tara Fitzgerald as Lady Selyse Baratheon, Lord Stannis's wife, originally of House Florent.
- Kerry Ingram as Shireen Baratheon, Lord Stannis's daughter and only child.
Vassals and allies of House Baratheon
- Carice van Houten as Melisandre, Lord Stannis's adviser, a red priestess.
- Liam Cunningham as Ser Davos Seaworth, a former smuggler, now Lord Stannis' most loyal vassal.
- Kerr Logan as Matthos Seaworth, Ser Davos's son.
- Oliver Ford Davies as Maester Cressen, Lord Stannis's maester.
- Lucian Msamati as Salladhor Saan, a freesail in Stannis's employ.
- Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, a fierce warrior from the Stormlands.
House Arryn and retainers
- Main article: House Arryn
- Kate Dickie as Lady Lysa Arryn, originally of House Tully, Catelyn Stark's sister.
- Lino Facioli as Robin Arryn, Lord Jon's only surviving son and heir.
- Brendan McCormack as Ser Vardis Egen, the captain of the Eyrie's household guards.
- Ciaran Birmingham as Mord, the Eyrie's chief gaoler.
- Jefferson Hall as Ser Hugh of the Vale, Lord Jon's former squire.
- Rupert Vansittart as Lord Yohn Royce, one of the Arryns' most stalwart vassals and supporters.
- Paola Dionisotti as Lady Anya Waynwood, one of the Arryns' vassals.
- Alisdair Simpson as Ser Donnel Waynwood, the Knight of the Gate.
House Tyrell and retainers
- Main article: House Tyrell
- Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Lord Mace Tyrell, Lord of Highgarden and the Reach. Son of Olenna and the father of Loras and Margaery.
- Finn Jones as Ser Loras Tyrell, Lord Renly Baratheon's former squire and a famous tourney knight.
- Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell, Loras's sister.
- Dame Diana Rigg as Olenna Redwyne, nicknamed the Queen of Thorns, the matriarch of the Tyrell family.
House Greyjoy and retainers
- Main article: House Greyjoy
- Patrick Malahide as Lord Balon Greyjoy, Lord of Pyke, father of Theon Greyjoy.
- Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy, the only daughter of Lord Balon.
- Forbes KB as Lorren, a noted raider and reaver in the service of House Greyjoy.
- Ralph Ineson as Dagmer, a noted raider, reaver and ship captain in the service of House Greyjoy.
House Tully and retainers
- Main article: House Tully
- Tobias Menzies as Ser Edmure Tully, the son and heir of the ailing Lord Hoster Tully and the brother of Lady Catelyn Stark.
- Clive Russell as Ser Brynden Tully, Lord Hoster's younger brother, a famous knight known as "The Blackfish"
House Frey and retainers
- David Bradley as Lord Walder Frey, Lord of the Twins, an old and prickly vassal of House Tully, past ninety years of age.
- Kelly Long as Joyeuse Erenford, Walder Frey's newest wife.
- Tim Plester as "Black Walder" Frey, the great-grandson of Walder Frey and a noted warrior with a hot temper.
- Tom Brooke as "Lame Lothar" Frey, a son of Walder Frey, nicknamed after the limp he has in his left leg.
- Alexandra Dowling as Roslin Frey, one of Lord Frey's youngest daughters.
- Elizabeth Webster as Fat Walda Frey, one of Lord Frey's granddaughters.
House Martell and retainers
- Main article: House Martell
- Alexander Siddig as Prince Doran Martell, the ruling lord of Dorne, who is heavily suffering from gout and confined to a wheelchair.
- Toby Sebastian as Prince Trystane Martell, Prince Doran’s son and heir to Dorne.
- Pedro Pascal as Prince Oberyn Martell, popularly known as the Red Viper. Younger brother of the ruling Prince Doran Martell of Dorne.
- Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand, Oberyn's paramour and mother to several of his children.
- Keisha Castle-Hughes as Obara Sand, a fearsome warrior and the eldest bastard daughter of Prince Oberyn.
- Jessica Henwick as Nymeria Sand, the second eldest of Prince Oberyn’s bastard daughters.
- Rosabell Laurenti Sellers as Tyene Sand, the daughter of Prince Oberyn by Ellaria Sand, his paramour.
- DeObia Oparei as Areo Hotah, the long-serving captain of Doran Martell’s palace guard, renowned for his loyalty and his longaxe.
In the Riverlands
- Main article: Riverlands
- Jerome Flynn as Bronn, a sellsword met at the Crossroads Inn.
- Emun Elliott as Marillion, a singer and troubadour met at the Crossroads Inn.
- Sibel Kekilli as Shae, a camp-follower and prostitute attached to the Lannister army.
- Mark Lewis Jones as Shagga, a warrior clan chief from the Mountains of the Moon.
- Oona Chaplin as Talisa Maegyr, a battlefield doctor.
- Paul Kaye as Thoros of Myr, a red priest, warrior, famed drinker and friend of King Robert.
- Philip McGinley as Anguy, an exceptionally-skilled archer.
- Anton Lesser as Qyburn, a disgraced maester.
In King's Landing
- Aidan Gillen as Lord Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish, the Master of Coin on the king's small council.
- Julian Glover as Grand Maester Pycelle, the master of wisdom on the king's small council.
- Conleth Hill as Varys, the Master of Whisperers on the king's small council.
- Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow, who serves those forgotten by much of the world – the poor, the downtrodden and the infirm – and quickly amassed a large following.
- Ian McElhinney as Lord Commander Barristan Selmy, the head of the Kingsguard.
- Ian Beattie as Ser Meryn Trant, a knight of the Kingsguard.
- Wilko Johnson as Ser Ilyn Payne, the king's headsman and executioner.
- Richard Dormer as Lord Beric Dondarrion, a young lord and popular tourney knight.
- Dominic Carter as Commander Janos Slynt, the commander of the City Watch.
- Miltos Yerolemou as Syrio Forel, a master swordsman from Braavos.
- Andrew Wilde as Tobho Mott, a master armorer and smith.
- Joe Dempsie as Gendry, Mott's apprentice.
- 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, 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
- Main article: Night's Watch
- James Cosmo as Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, commander of the Night's Watch.
- Owen Teale as Ser Alliser Thorne, in charge of training new recruits.
- Peter Vaughan as Maester Aemon, Lord Mormont's closest adviser.
- Michael Condron as Bowen Marsh, the First Steward of the Watch.
- Brian Fortune as Othell Yarwyck, the First Builder of the Watch.
- Francis Magee as Yoren, a recruiter for the Watch.
- John Bradley-West as Samwell Tarly, a nobleman's son, a fresh recruit to the Wall.
- Josef Altin as Pypar, a fresh recruit to the Watch, a former actor.
- Mark Stanley as Grenn, a fresh recruit to the Watch.
- Luke McEwan as Rast, a fresh recruit to the Watch, arrested for rape.
- Ben Crompton as Eddison Tollett, a squire, noted for his pessimistic sense of humor.
- Simon Armstrong as Qhorin Halfhand, an elite scout from the Shadow Tower and one of the Watch's most respected rangers.
- Burn Gorman as Karl, a ranger.
Beyond the Wall
- Natalia Tena as Osha, a wildling warrior-woman.
- Robert Pugh as Craster, a wildling whose keep provides a safehaven for rangers of the Watch.
- Hannah Murray as Gilly, one of Craster's daughters.
- Rose Leslie as Ygritte, a wildling warrior-woman in the service of Mance Rayder.
- Edward Dogliani as Lord of Bones, a famed wildling warrior and leader of men, a fierce enemy of the Night's Watch.
- Mackenzie Crook as Orell, a sinister wildling with unnatural powers.
- Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane, a charismatic wildling leader.
- Ciarán Hinds as Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, the leader of all the wildlings by acclamation.
- Yuri Kolokolnikov as Styr, the Magnar of Thenn.
- Struan Rodger as the Three-eyed raven.
- Octavia Alexandru as Leaf, a child of the forest.
In the Free Cities and Vaes Dothrak
- Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen, an exiled Targaryen claimant to the Iron Throne.
- Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Viserys's younger sister.
- Iain Glen as Ser Jorah Mormont, a knight of Westeros, exiled by Lord Eddard Stark.
- Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo, a warlord of the Dothraki.
- Roger Allam as Illyrio Mopatis, a magister of the Free City of Pentos.
- Dar Salim as Qotho, one of Drogo's bloodriders.
- Elyes Gabel as Rakharo, a Dothraki warrior in Daenerys's service as a bodyguard.
- Steven Cole as Kovarro, a Dothraki warrior.
- Amrita Acharia as Irri, a handmaiden gifted to Daenerys.
- Roxanne McKee as Doreah, a servant and adviser gifted to Daenerys.
- Mark Gatiss as Tycho Nestoris, a representative of the Iron Bank of Braavos.
- Mia Soteriou as Mirri Maz Duur, a healer of the Lhazareen people.
- Nonso Anozie as Xaro Xhoan Daxos, a merchant lord of Qarth.
- Ian Hanmore as Pyat Pree, a warlock of Qarth.
- Laura Pradelska as Quaithe, a priestess of the Shadow Lands resident in Qarth.
- Nicholas Blane as the Spice King, the leader of the spice merchants of Qarth.
In Slaver's Bay
- Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei, a slave and translator working in the city of Astapor.
- Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm, a warrior-eunuch of the Unsullied.
- Dan Hildebrand as Kraznys mo Nakloz, a slave-trader and immensely rich merchant in Astapor.
- 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.
- Joel Fry as Hizdahr zo Loraq, a master of Meereen.
- Enzo Cilenti as Yezzan zo Qaggaz, an extremely wealthy slave trader in Meereen.
- David Benioff - writer/executive producer.
- D.B. Weiss - writer/executive producer.
- George R.R. Martin - writer/co-executive producer.
- Frank Doelger - executive producer.
- Carolyn Strauss - executive producer.
- Bernadette Caulfield - executive producer.
- Guymon Casady - co-executive producer.
- Vince Gerardis - co-executive producer.
- Chris Newman - producer (season 3-).
- Greg Spence - producer (season 3-).
- Bryan Cogman - producer (season 4-).
- Michele Clapton - costume designer.
- Deborah Riley - production designer (season 4-).
- Ramin Djawadi - composer.
- Nina Gold - casting director.
- Robert Sterne - casting director.
- Vanessa Taylor - co-executive producer (season 2-3).
- Alan Taylor - co-executive producer (season 2).
- Ralph Vincinaza co-executive producer (season 1).
- Mark Huffam - producer (season 1).
- Gemma Jackson - production designer (season 1-3).
- David Benioff & D.B. Weiss: episodes 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 47, 48, 49 and 50.
- Bryan Cogman: episodes 4, 13, 25, 34, 36, 45 and 46.
- Jane Espenson: episode 6.
- George R.R. Martin: episodes 8, 19, 27 and 32.
- Vanessa Taylor: episodes 14, 16 and 22.
- Dave Hill: episode 44.
- Thomas McCarthy: pilot episode (unscreened).
- Tim Van Patten: episodes 1 and 2.
- Brian Kirk: episodes 3, 4 and 5.
- Daniel Minahan: episodes 6, 7, 8, 21 and 22.
- Alan Taylor: episodes 9, 10, 11, 12, 18 and 20.
- Alik Sakharov: episodes 13, 26, 36 and 37.
- David Petrarca: episodes 14 and 15.
- David Nutter: episodes 16, 17, 29, 30, 49 and 50.
- Neil Marshall: episodes 19 and 39.
- David Benioff & D.B. Weiss: episodes 23 and 31.
- Alex Graves: episodes 24, 25, 32, 33, 38 and 40.
- Michelle MacLaren: episodes 27, 28, 34 and 35.
- Michael Slovis: episodes 41 and 42.
- Mark Mylod: episodes 43 and 44.
- Jeremy Podeswa: episodes 45 and 46.
- Miguel Sapochnik: episodes 47 and 48.
- Northern Ireland (The Paint Hall Studios in Belfast is being used for all primary interior sets.)
- Malta (season 1)
- Croatia (season 2-)
- Iceland (season 2-)
- Morocco (season 3)
- Spain (season 5-)
- The pilot was originally expected to be filmed between 12 October and 6 November 2009, but there was a two-week delay in pre-production. A read-through of the script was held on 12 October 2009. Production and on-location rehearsals began on 24 October. Filming commenced on 26 October and concluded on 19 November.
- Scenes at Doune Castle were filmed on 26–27 October 2009 and are believed to include the Winterfell feast to celebrate King Robert's visit. Some filming was also done in the courtyard.
- The prologue was filmed on 29 October 2009 at Tollymore Forest Park.
- Filming at Cairncastle took place on 2 November 2009, including the scene of Gared's execution and finding the dead direwolf in the snow.
- Filming of the scene between Ros, Tyrion and Jaime in King's Landing was filmed on or prior to 3 November 2009, possibly at the Paint Hall studios.
- Filming at Castle Ward took place on 5 November 2009, including the scenes of Tommen and Bran sparring and Sandor and Joffrey insulting Rodrik and Robb.
- The UK filming bloc was expected to last for 18 days, suggesting that it would finish around 12 November 2009. George R.R. Martin confirmed on his blog that after this date production would move to Morocco for the remainder of the shoot.
- Daenerys and Khal Drogo's wedding was filmed on 16 November 2009.
- Production of the rest of Season 1, including reshoots on the pilot, commenced on 23 July 2010 and ran through 18 December 2010. Filming took place in Northern Ireland and Malta.
- Production of Season 2 ran from 25 July 2011 to 12 December 2011. Filming took place in Northern Ireland, Iceland and Croatia (replacing Malta).
- Production of Season 3 ran from 10 July to 24 November 2012, with Morocco added to the filming roster. An additional scene was also shot in Los Angeles, meaning that filming for Season 3 took place in five countries and on three continents.
- Production of Season 4 ran from 8 July to 21 November 2013. Filming took place in Northern Ireland, Iceland and Croatia, with Morocco dropped. Filming in Iceland was expanded to encompass locations in the south of Westeros as well as beyond the Wall, and took place earlier in the schedule to allow for more filming time.
- WatchersOnTheWall.com - a fansite dedicated to covering all developments on the production as they happen.
- Westeros.org - a subset of the Westeros.org website which covers developments on the series.
- Game of Thrones Tour Belfast - A tour of filming locations in Belfast Northern Ireland.
- Game of Thrones on Wikipedia
- Game of Thrones on A Wiki of Ice and Fire