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.”
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:
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. ”
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.
Emilia Clarke accepts fans were ‘really upset’ by Game of Thrones finale
Game of Thrones Season 8 wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The season finale divided the fan base into two. One was satisfied with the ending, the other demanded a season remake. Some blamed the absence of George R. R. Martin’s next instalment of books. While some blamed the showrunners’ piqued interest to launch a Star Wars feature film trilogy with Disney’s Lucasfilm. Even the show’s alum Emilia Clarke gets why fans were f**king p***ed about the final episode. After all, she cared deeply about her character, Daenerys, who wasn’t treated well by the showrunners. She once again accepted the fact that the finale disappointed a lot of fans who were expecting a lot more in a recent interview.
Emilia was asked about the fan reaction to the ending during a recent appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan. She replied, “Whatever ending we were ever gonna come up with — like, let’s say that made us all hairdressers — everyone still would’ve been really upset, because people joyfully didn’t want it to end at all. So I think any ending would have upset everybody. But our ending really, really did seem to really upset [people].”
The Mother of Dragons makes it pretty clear that she understands that people are deeply hurt, and so is she. But she seems to have come to terms with it. Have you? Tell us in the comments below!
Hannah Waddingham does not regret doing Game of Thrones’ Waterboarding scene
Gasping for breath, drowning in water is one of the most common nightmares people experience in their dreams. One Game of Thrones actress had to go through that in real, on set, for an excruciating 10 hours. Hannah Waddingham, who played Septa Unella on the show, was strapped to a table, to be tortured by Lena Headey’s Cersei Lannister. She described her harrowing experience in a recent episode of Collider’s Ladies Night.
She described filming the scene as her second most dreadful experience, right after childbirth. However, she’d gladly do it again, she validated her point speaking to The Talk in a recent interview.
“What I said at the end of it that wasn’t picked up on, as I would 100% do it again,” she shared on the program. “Because being given the chance to be on something like Game Of Thrones, you have to go there.”
Hannah added, “That’s why the show is so magnificent, because it brings everybody out, it takes everyone to the nth degree of their emotions. And that’s why it was so successful because you believe it, you believe the gore and you believe the tragedy and the drama.”
She also talked about how her character, Septa Unella’s fate on the show was different from the original script. What do you think of the waterboarding scene? Talk to us in the comments below!
Olivia Cooke praises the crew of Game of Thrones prequel House of The Dragon
Game of Thrones prequel House of The Dragon is HBO’s one of the top priority projects. It is moving fast on its way to release in 2022. The production was faced with a minor setback when a cast and a crew member were found COVID positive recently, but they have moved on and resumed the filming from Wednesday. The crew of House of The Dragon is working day and night to make the show visually appealing. They are working with twice the effort to cover up for the days they lost due to the pandemic hit. And the show’s star Olivia Cooke couldn’t help but admire their earnest diligence.
In an interview with Collider, Cooke talked about the complexity of her character in House of The Dragon. She also praised the crew members who are working really hard to get the show ready as soon as possible.
She said, “The crew is a hundred strong. The artistry involved is mind-blowing. The sets that have been created are fucking gorgeous, and the costumes. Down to the tiny prop that you hold in your hands, there’s just so much thought that goes into it and so much history as well. It’s amazing to work on a film, a TV show, or anything where everyone is just so passionate about it.”
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the crew members who are working hard to present another cinematic masterpiece for us. What are your expectations from House of The Dragon? Tell us in the comments below!
Also, if you live in any of the places where House of the Dragon is currently filming or will be filming in the future, and would like to share photos of the sets/cast or any tips, drop us a mail at connect [at] wikiofthrones [dot] com or use our Contact Us form.
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