GoT: n tosiasiat, joita et tiennyt
If the ever-expanding storylines of HBO’s Game of Thrones — and the George RR Martin book series that inspired it — isn’t enough to keep you titillated, you might just benefit from this heavily-researched list of Game of Thrones facts most people don’t know (even nothing-knower Jon Snow.)
To be honest, this is the kind of information your Game of Thrones pub quiz team has long been waiting for.
From how to get your own Direwolf, to the intriguing inspiration behind the dragons, here are 61 surprising facts about the world of Westeros … and beyond, ahead of season 8.
1. IT’S BEEN BANNED BY THE TURKISH MILITARY
In November 2014, it was reported that a number of television programs, including Game of Thrones, had been banned in military schools belonging to the Turkish army, in order to protect young people from: “sexual exploitation, pornography, exhibitionism, abuse, harassment and all negative behaviours” (dragons weren’t mentioned). According to a report in the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, this isn’t the first time that Game of Thrones has caused trouble within the country’s army. In 2012, officers were kicked out of a military academy in Istanbul for allowing cadets to watch the show.
2. SOMEONE MADE A GAME OF THRONES TUBE MAP
Still struggle with the confusing bits of the Piccadilly line? Try planning a journey through Westeros, Essos and The North with the help of graphic designer Michael Tyznik, who has made his own TFL-style train maps to accurately reflect the geography of George RR Martin’s world.
According to his beautifully detailed plans, you can catch the Ocean line from Lannisport to High Garden, hop on the aptly named Gold line to travel from Casterly Rock to King’s Landing, or take a trip on the Essos-based Demon line all the way to Vaes Dothrak. Eagle-eyed viewers will also be able to spot plenty of clever nods to events from the books and show.
For example, the map warns travellers that dust can be expected at Harrentown station, thanks to the ongoing “restoration of Harrenhal” — a castle that, in the Game of Thrones world, was famously destroyed by dragon fire 300 years before the books and series begin. On the Wall line, meanwhile, which is naturally situated in the far North, the names of abandoned stations correspond to the names of the ruined castles of the Night’s Watch. You can see the full map in all its glory here.
3. THERE’S A REAL-LIFE EQUIVALENT TO VALYRIAN STEEL
There’s a real-life equivalent to Valyrian steel
There’s a real-life equivalent to Valyrian steel CREDIT: HBO
On Game of Thrones, the very best blades are forged from a super-strong yet incredibly light substance known as Valyrian steel. But creating the metal itself, which can be identified by its distinctive rippled surface, is a lost art: Valyrian blades can be passed down through families, but no new items can be made without melting down the originals (most memorably, in the case of Eddard Stark’s great sword Ice, which was turned into Widow’s Wail and Oathkeeper). Intriguingly, it seems that Game of Thrones author George RR Martin based Valyrian steel on a real life alloy known as Damascus steel.
Developed in India and the Middle East, Damascus steel was known for its super-strong, super-sharp qualities, and for its distinctive rippled surface (although we’re not sure how effective it was against White Walkers). But the specific temperature and techniques needed to make it were lost at some point in the 18th century. Various attempts have since been made to replicate it, but the exact formula remains an enduring mystery.
4. THE NIGHT KING OF THE SHOW AND THE NIGHT’S KING OF THE BOOKS ARE NOT THE SAME
In George RR Martin’s books, the Night King is a legendary figure from long, long ago. Once the commander of the Night’s Watch, he ended up falling in love with a mysterious woman “with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars”. Under her influence, he then declared himself king and instigated a 13-year long rule of terror, before finally being defeated and, presumably, killed. Intriguingly, it’s implied that the Night’s King may have been a member of the Stark family: Old Nan, who tells the legend to Bran, certainly thinks so. But who is the Game of Thrones Night King … and does this mean that the show’s ultimate “Big Bad” could be a Stark?
Sadly, this probably isn’t the case. In the comments section of his blog, in response to a fan query back in 2015, Martin made it clear that the book and show versions of the character are two very different entities, writing: “As for the Night’s King, in the books he is a legendary figure, akin to Lann the Clever and Brandon the Builder, and no more likely to have survived to the present day than they have”. Furthermore, season six of the show showed us how the Night King and the Walkers were originally created by the Children of the Forest — confirming that the character has little to do with the book’s Night King.
5. IN 2013, HBO AND FIREBOX TEAMED UP TO SELL LIFE-SIZE REPLICAS OF THE IRON THRONE
Made of fibreglass and resin, the 159kg replicas were 7 feet, 2 inches tall, 5 feet 11 inches deep, and 5 feet 5 inches wide — and were priced at £20,000 in the UK. They are, alas, no longer available.
“We don’t sell the Game of Thrones Replica Iron Throne anymore, sorry!” reads a message on the Firebox website. “We did once and we had fun. But we’ve moved on. These things happen. We’ve suggested some alternatives below you might like”.
The alternatives on offer, at the time of writing, include a BBQ branding iron that can write “Meat is Murder” on your steak, a Pac-Man lamp, and some cuddly, larger than life “pet Microbes”. Has anyone told Daenerys?
6. THE IRON THRONE IS SUPPOSED TO BE (MUCH, MUCH) BIGGER THAN IT IS IN THE SHOW
For his book The World of Ice & Fire, which chronicles the history of Westeros and its warring elite, Game of Thrones creator George RR Martin worked closely with artist Marc Simonetti to capture the towering Iron Throne as he originally envisioned it — and it’s apparently a lot, lot bigger than it is in the show. “This Iron Throne is massive”, said Martin on his blog. “Ugly. Asymmetric. It’s a throne made by blacksmiths hammering together half-melted, broken, twisted swords, wrenched from the hands of dead men or yielded up by defeated foes. And there are thousands of swords in it, not just a few”.
That said, the show itself cleverly addresses the discrepancy, by having Littlefinger declare at one point that the widely-held idea that there are 1000 swords in the Throne is a myth (”There’s not even two hundred, I’ve counted” he says). Littlefinger is making the point that power is a slippery thing, that often relies on shared illusion over tangible fact.
7. THE SHOW HELPED SAVE A FARMER’S RARE PIGS
Smallholders might be struggling to stay afloat in this day and age — but Kenny Gracey, who runs Forthill Farm in County Armagh, says that Game of Thrones’s demand for traditional farm breeds, needed to fit in with the Medieval-style setting, has helped his business survive. His farm is located near where filming for the show takes place in Northern Ireland, and breeds Iron Age pigs.
“Farming has taken a downturn. Costs are too high and we’re not getting enough for our produce. It’s a difficult time. Where I would be today if it hadn’t been for the filming I just don’t know”, Gracey told the Belfast Telegraph.
“This has been a godsend to me. Rare breeds don’t fund themselves, they’re not profitable and there is an expense with keeping these animals. But this has helped saved them”.
8. THE HOUSES HAVE BEEN TURNED INTO “BRANDS”
Ever imagined what it’d be like if Game of Thrones was set in modern day world, and all the warring Westerosi families were big, family-run corporations? If you haven’t, then no worries — the folks over at stock photography company Shutterstock have done it for you. In fact, they’ve taken the idea and run with it, creating “A Game of Brands” (as showcased in this video). Rather fittingly, the dragon-riding Targaryens have now become an airline; the Lannisters, who always pay their debts, are envisaged as an investment company, and the worthy, resilient (but ever so slightly dull) Starks run an outdoor clothing line. You can check out more “brands” on the Shutterstock website: perhaps best of all is events company “Frey Celebrations” (a tongue-in-cheek nod to season three’s gory Red Wedding).