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21 Lesser-Known Facts about Game of Thrones

8. When Daenerys arrives at Meereen, a champion sent to insult her is actually saying a French taunt from Monty Python and the Holy Grail in Valyrian.

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Game of Thrones is quite close to Monty Python. The pilot was shot in the same castle as Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And that’s not all… In the third episode of Season 4, Daenerys and her army reach the gates of the city of Meereen. There, she is received by the Champion of Meereen. The guy was just yelling taunts at her in Valyrian.

Apparently, whatever the guy was saying was actually insults from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This would have been difficult for any viewer to discover unless they know proper Valyrian. Only the creators of the show and the linguist, David J Peterson who created the Dothraki language, were in on this sneaky secret. (1, 2)

9. There was a small hint on the truth about Jon Snow’s parents. It was written on a wall in the dining room of the Night’s Watch. The letters R (Rhaegar Targaryen) and L (Lyanna Stark) were etched on the wall, and Jon Snow was sitting to the right of it.

Jon Snow
R and L etched on the walls of Castle Black. Image Credit: HBO

Jon Snow is the love child of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Rhaegar was the son of Aerys Targaryen, better known as the “Mad King,” who is also Daenerys Targaryen’s father. Lyanna Stark was Ned Stark’s sister. This makes Jon Snow nephew to Daenerys, and obviously a legitimate heir of the Stark family.

Before this theory turned into a fact in Season 7 of the series, fans were just speculating. Also, fans discovered a hidden message at the beginning of the series that gave birth to this speculation. When Jon Snow becomes a member of the Night’s Watch, there’s a scene where Jon and Sam are talking. In a pillar, there were two letters carved – R and L. Jon Snow was sitting just to the right of those initials. This gave rise to the theory “R (Rhaegar) + L (Lyanna) = J (Jon Snow).” (source)

10. The Red Wedding in Game of Thrones happened in real life in which the ten-year-old King James II of Scotland invited Earl William Douglas and his younger brother to a feast during which he had them seized, taken from the hall, and took their lives. The event is known in history as “The Black Dinner.”

Red Wedding
Robb and Talisa Stark at the Red Wedding. Image Credit: HBO

The famous Red Wedding of Game of Thrones that sent chills down viewer’s spines is actually based on real-life events. It’s hard to believe because such brutality should be confined to only fantasy. George R. R. Martin once said, “No matter how much I makeup, there’s stuff in history that’s just as bad, or worse.” Seems like he is right.

The Red Wedding is based on a real-life incident called the “Black Dinner.” This happened in 1440 when the powerful Douglas Clan was seen as a threat by their rivals, especially by the boy-king, King James II. The young Earl, William Douglas, was invited by King James to a dinner. In the middle of the dinner, the young earl and his brother were seized and taken away from the dining hall. The king then asked his soldiers to end their lives.

Although historians are still in debate on the authenticity of the facts related to the Black Dinner, we can see why people would link it to the Red Wedding. (source)

11. The scene where Tywin Lannister is seen skinning a stag, he was actually skinning a deer, for real. A butcher gave him a quick tutorial on how to do it the day before they started shooting.

This must have been one of the craziest things ever done by an actor! Charles Dance, who plays Tywin Lannister in the series, considers skinning a deer to be the highlight of his experience with Game of Thrones. Dance says, “They came to me one day and said, ‘Charles, are you a vegetarian?’ I said, ‘No, of course not.’ ” After this, the team brought in a real butcher who gave lessons to Dance. Dance thinks he did pretty good for a first-timer. He wanted to keep a hoof or some meat as a souvenir, but he was not allowed! (source)

12. The show has many sneaky cameos from musicians other than Ed Sheeran. The trio from Sigur Rós played the Red Wedding anthem “The Rains of Castemere” during Joffrey’s feast and a drummer from Coldplay, Will Champion, also appeared in one of the scenes.

Ed Sheeran’s cameo was a delight. But he was not alone.

Sigur Rós, an Icelandic band, made an appearance on the show as well. They perform the “The Rains of Castamere” song during Joffrey’s wedding. The song itself has appeared in numerous episodes in various forms. The Sigur Rós trio – singer Jónsi Birgisson, drummer Orri Páll Dýrason, and bass player Georg Hólm – added their own style to the song while performing it at the wedding.

There is another cameo by a drummer from Coldplay. Will Champion appeared in the 9th episode of Season 3. He plays a drummer in the band that is performing for the wedding of Edmure Tully and Rosalin Frey. Surprisingly, the name of the episode is “The Rains of Castemere!” (1, 2)

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13. Maester Aemon Targaryen of the Night’s Watch is revealed to be blind in the novels. He was played by Peter Vaughan, who was partially blind himself.

Peter Vaughan
Peter Vaughan (left) as Maester Aemon Targaryen. Image Credit: Wikipedia, HBO

Peter Vaughan plays the role of Maester Aemon Targaryen in the night’s watch. He was 89 years old in the series. Due to his old age, he was partially blind. This was consistent with the role he was portraying as his character, Maester Aemon Targaryen, was blind. Vaughan breathed his last in 2016 aged 93 years. (source)

14. In the scene where Sansa stares at the severed head of Ned Stark while the other heads are just anonymous people who pissed off the Lannisters, there is a severed head that resembles former President George W. Bush!

This happened in Episode 10 of Season 1. This fact was revealed by the show creators in the DVD commentary. Basically, George R. R. Martin wanted his and the show’s producers severed heads to be placed next to Ned Stark’s, but the budget did not allow them to do so. So, they just picked up a box of severed heads from a prop shop and ended with George W. Bush’s severed head! (source)

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