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Game of Thrones cast and crew spill the beans on the absolutely bonkers original pilot

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The first attempt at making something new doesn’t always succeed. When it comes to crafting a world as mystical as Game of Thrones, you can expect a few mistakes. The truth about the scrapped pilot episode of the famed series was revealed in a book by Entertainment Weekly editor, and the legend behind some of the best Game of Thrones coverage, James Hibberd.

An excerpt from Hibberd’s upcoming book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, which delves into the making of the show, contains some interesting bits and pieces from the cast and crew. The way they describe the pilot episode is almost unbelievable. The crew filmed the original pilot in 2009. However, the show finally took after 4 years of hard work by the production team perfecting the rocky vision of showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss.

It was a frightening time because it was our first time running a production of any scale,” Weiss recalls. “And there are many, many moving parts, human and otherwise, that go into any production, especially one of this size.”

The shooting took place in Northern Ireland and Morocco. There was a feeling of uneasiness among the cast and the crew. According to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), no one had any idea what they were doing. He said, “During King Robert’s arrival I remember finding the whole thing ridiculous.”

He added, “It’s a very fine balance between being serious and believing it and just being cosplayers. There was certainly not a sense that this was going to be some game-changer for anyone. But we had a lot of fun

Mark Addy, who played King Robert Baratheon, describes, “We were trying to establish the rules and order of this new world. In the Winterfell courtyard scene, nobody kneeled when the king arrived in the first pilot. You can’t play being the king. You can’t display “look at how powerful I am.” People have to give you that by showing subservience. It has to be afforded to you by others. In the reshoot, everybody kneeled. It made a huge difference in terms of establishing who’s in charge.”

Game of Thrones pilot Robert Baratheon

Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) shared, “I looked like a Vegas showgirl in the [original] pilot — furs and massive hair, like a medieval Dolly Parton. Not that I’m complaining, I loved it. My hair devolved.

Bryan Cogman (then Benioff’s assistant; later a co-executive producer) recalled, “When we first shot the scene where the Starks find the direwolves — this was the version you never saw — the wonder of what a direwolf was wasn’t coming across. It didn’t seem important enough to the characters. And I’m little assistant Bryan running around the set yelling to anyone who would listen: “These are direwolves! No one has seen these in a million years! This is like seeing dinosaurs! It’s not like finding puppies!” And everyone’s sort of chuckling.”

Christopher Newman (producer): “Joffrey had a different haircut. In the original pilot, it was more pageboy cut, slightly pudding bowl-ish, like Henry V. It wasn’t that it didn’t suit him being a little shit, but it softened the edge. The modern cut in the version that aired gave him more spitefulness.”

David Benioff (showrunner): “At first it seemed to us like it was going well, but that was because we didn’t know any better.”

Dan Weiss (showrunner): “As we went on, the cracks turned into bigger cracks, which turned into fissures. You started to feel the wheels coming off by the time we got to Morocco.”

It seems like the pair was clueless about what they were doing from the first day, the previous reveal of which has angered the fans.

George R.R. Martin definitely had fun on the set. He said, “I went to Morocco for Dany’s wedding in the first pilot. I played a Pentoshi nobleman with beard extensions and an enormous hat. I looked like an idiot, but it was fun.” You might remember this picture of GRRM’s Game of Thrones cameo:

George R. R. Martin Game of Thrones cameo

Harry Llyod (Viserys Targaryen): “I had a different wig. It was titanium and silver, and it was shorter and a bob. Looking back, it was a mistake. There were consultations: “I’m not like Draco Malfoy, I’m not like Legolas … how do we do this?”

Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont): “It was a bit ragged and, in some ways, ill conceived, and no one had great conviction. Since the wedding was shot at night, quite a lot of money had been spent on seeing absolutely f—k-all.”

Bryan Cogman: “Is it fantasy with dramatic trappings? Is it a drama with fantasy trappings? There was a nervousness about the pilot leaning into the fantasy too much — ultimately to a fault. Key exposition was cut to make the dialogue sound more “real,” and as a result, the pilot didn’t make much sense. The impulse to not be over-the-top Shakespearian and Tolkien-esque was right — you’re trying to make it as grounded as possible — but this is still an epic fantasy, and if you ignore that, it’s to the detriment of your story.”

Originally, Tamzin Merchant played the role of Daenerys. Jason Momoa, who played the fierce Khal Drogo, recalls, “[Merchant] was great. I’m not sure why everything was done. But when Emilia got there that’s when everything clicked for me. I wasn’t really “there” until she arrived. ”

Emilia Clarke Game of Thrones pilot

Bryan Cogman: “Everybody involved in making the original pilot scored such a bull’s‑eye with so many of our actors. I thought Tamzin did a really good job. It’s hard to say why things didn’t work out. Ultimately, it’s obvious Emilia Clarke was born to play that part.”

Cogman also noted that HBO somehow gave Game of Thrones a second chance, something which is rare in the industry. The pilot episode was a $10 million disaster for HBO. It is a relief for the fans that they didn’t cancel the show altogether. James Hibberd’s Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, which is bound to have a lot more behind-the-scenes bits from Game of Thrones, comes out Oct. 6 and is now available to pre-order.

What do you feel about these revelations? Let us know in the comments below.


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Game of Thrones’ Conleth Hill (Varys) was upset about how his character died

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Varys

Game of Thrones was a revolutionary show that changed the way we look at TV series. It was also famous for many of its controversial scenes, for example, Daenerys and Drogo’s wedding night scene. The final season itself divided the fandom into two bases, one that liked the final season, others didn’t. Conleth Hill, who played the wise Lord Varys, falls into the second category.

In the book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon written by Entertainment Weekly editor James Hibberd, Conleth discussed how deeply he was affected when his character died.

Varys death

“I think they tried to make that work and couldn’t. It just felt like after season 6, I kind of dropped off the edge,” Hill said. “I can’t complain because it’s six great seasons and I had some great scenes these last two seasons. But that’s when It changed for me a little.”

The actor described his overall experience to be brilliant, but he couldn’t get on board with some of the character’s choices in the final season. Hill explained that he couldn’t help but feel that he failed in some way.

At the time, nothing could console me. I kept thinking: “What did I do wrong?” There wasn’t any pre-warning,” Hill explained. “All these famous stories about actors being taken out for a meal. Or being phoned at the very least [to notify them that their character was being killed off]. This was just reading cold hard copy.”

As for the way Varys died, he said the character’s decision to betray Daenerys was brilliant and noble. What do you think about Varys’ death on the show? Tell us in the comments below!


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Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau calls Daenerys’ rape scene ‘degrading’

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Jaime

Game of Thrones has often been the subject of controversy due to many of its revolting scenes. Even after a year of the show’s wrapping up, the series is still making headlines. Thanks to James Hibberd’s book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, fans of the acclaimed TV series can now get a glimpse of what really happened on the set.

After George R. R. Martin’s reveal in the same book about the controversial rape scene of Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau added to the heat with his views. The actor who played Jaime Lannister on the show spoke about the first episode with the London Times. He described the sexual assault scene of Emilia Clarke as degrading.

Dany wedding

For Emilia to play that in series one was really tough and degrading, because what that character goes through is horrific,” he said. “She’s sold to a guy who rapes her, but her way of getting through that is a massive journey, right?”

Emilia Clarke was visibly distressed while filming the controversial scene. She had even told the showrunner, Dan Weiss, about it, and that it was uncomfortable for her. The showrunners defended the wedding night scene as it did not sit right with the story, according to James’ book.

Earlier, Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin claimed the scene made the episode worse. It wasn’t there in his books. What do you think of the criticized scene? Let us know in the comments below!


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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau slams diva behaviour of stars on the set of Game of Thrones

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Jaime

Humility is a virtue that a person often forgets on their road to success. It helps to maintain a positive environment at the workplace and creates a mutual sense of respect amongst the co-workers. Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who played Jaime Lannister on the show, mocked the behavior of stars who seemed to have forgotten the value of humility.

In an interview with The Times, Nikolaj couldn’t resist mocking those who acted like a diva on set. The actor refused to name any specific members of the huge cast. He put on a voice and said, “Oh, it’s too f***ing hot! I’m going to complain about this piece of s**t! Where do I sit?”

Coster-Waldau went on to praise the late actress Diana Rigg. Just like her character Olenna Tyrell, she had no time for nonsense. He recalled, “You just didn’t mess with her. She had so much bite in a very funny way, and you can’t win when somebody is funnier and cleverer than you.”

Olenna Tyrell

He continued, “If you work with someone like that, you raise your game. You have to — she’s so good. But that last scene of hers was a great day. That was the only two-hander we had, which was a real privilege.”

The writers really served her character well,” Nikolaj remarked, “She goes out on top and with dignity.”

Diana’s legacy serves as a beacon of excellence and inspiration for the younger generation of stars to come by. Feel free to join Coster-Waldau in remembering the great artist in the comments below!


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