"Winter is Coming" is the first episode and premiere of Season 1 of Game of Thrones, and the first episode of the entire series.
SummaryEditThree rangers from the Night's Watch of Castle Black: Ser Waymar Royce, Will and Gared, venture beyond the Wall to investigate reports of wildlings nearby. Moving through the Haunted Forest, Will, the best scout of the group, splits off from the other two to find the wildling group, all of them dead and arranged in a ritualistic fashion on the ground. Terrified, he flees to tell Royce and Gared. Royce insists Will takes them to the site despite Gared and Will objecting, stating they should return to the Wall and report it to Lord Commander Mormont. They arrive to find the corpses missing however, with only the logs of the fire remaining. Royce jests that Will's corpses seemed to have "moved camp". Royce and Gared investigate the site, while Will does some further scouting. As he does, a White Walker appears behind Royce, killing him as he turns around. Will, hearing Royce's scream and the spooked horses, turns and flees. Gared flees as well, eventually running into him. One White Walker catches up and decapitates Gared, tossing his head to Will's feet, who has conceded to his fate.
Later, in the province of the North, Will has somehow escaped the White Walker attack, but has deserted. A patrol of Stark cavalrymen on horseback catch up with him however, capturing him. One of these riders returns to Winterfell to inform the Lord of Winterfell, Eddard Stark. In the courtyard, Bran Stark, observed by his father and mother and helped by his two brothers, tries to hit a target with his bow, but is failing miserably. Nearby, inside, Sansa and Arya are performing needlework, with the castle's septa taking particular attention with Sansa. Arya hates needlework, quickly growing bored: hearing Bran training in the yard outside, she rushes to investigate. She then strikes a perfect shot with her own bow, before giving a mock bow. Bran, embarassed, chases after her, much to the mirth of his brothers and parents. Ser Rodrik arrives to inform Lord Eddard of the captured deserter, who orders him to have Robb, Jon, their ward Theon Greyjoy, and Bran to come with him. Catelyn objects, saying Bran is too young to see an execution, but Eddard is firm in his belief that Bran needs to learn the ways of the North. Afterwards, Catelyn shoots a disgusted glance to Jon below. Jon notices, but ignores her, returning to cleaning up after Bran.Later, outside Winterfell, Will is escorted by two Northern soldiers to a log, while Will mumbles under his breath. Lord Eddard awaits him, with Theon next to him holding his greatsword, Ice. Bran, Robb and Jon are not far away, with Ser Rodrik and his nephew nearest Theon. Will does not plead for his life, but insists he saw the White Walkers, pleading for Eddard to inform his kin that he was sorry. No one believes him, and Will is laid down before being swiftly decapitated by Eddard with Ice. Bran flinches, but does not look away, impressing Jon. Afterwards, Eddard tells Bran why he did it, saying that a "man who passes the sentence should swing the sword." Bran asks if what he said about the White Walkers was true, but Eddard deflects the question, although making it clear he does not believe him.
On the way back to Winterfell, the detachment come across a dead stag in the middle of the road, disemboweled and long dead. While looking for what killed it, they come across a large, fully grown female direwolf, also dead, with one of the stag's antlers buried in its neck. Accompanying it are five pups, who were born just before their mother's death. Theon advocates killing the pups, but Jon points out that there are one pup for each of the Stark children and, given that the Stark sigil is a direwolf, it must be an omen. Eddard reluctantly agrees, and they move to leave, only for Jon to find a final sixth pup, this one an albino, that Theon jokes is the runt of the litter, and should belong to Jon. The group then return to their horses to continue their journey back to Winterfell.
At King's Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, the bells toll to signal the death of Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King. His funeral is held in the Red Keep by the Silent Sisters, while the queen, Cersei Lannister, watches from nearby. She is joined by her twin brother, Ser Jaime Lannister of the Kingsguard, who muse over the Hand's death. It is revealed that they have a secret they were hiding that Jon Arryn was investigating before his demise, where Cersei frets he may have told someone before he died, which Jaime dismisses, stating that their "heads would be on the city gates by now" if he had. Cersei states that Jaime should be the Hand, but her brother flippantly disregards this as well, stating that their "lives are too short", while nodding towards Jon Arryn's body.
Later on in the godswood of Winterfell, Eddard is under a weirwood tree polishing Ice, when Catelyn turns up. She comments that all the years she has spent as his wife still makes her feel as an outsider, but Eddard remarks she bore five northern children, and therefore no outsider. Catelyn informs him that a raven came from King's Landing, stating that Jon Arryn, Eddard's mentor and second father, has passed away from an illness. Eddard asks if her sister, who was the late Jon Arryn's wife, and his son are alright, to which Catelyn says that they are fine. She also mentions that the king, an old friend of Eddard's, is riding north with most of his royal court and dozens of retainers to visit Winterfell. Eddard surmizes that he is only coming north for one thing, but Catelyn insists that he can refuse. Eddard ponders refusing, believing his place is at Winterfell.
Over the next month, preparations are made at Winterfell for the king's arrival. Catelyn and Maester Luwin walk through the Great Hall while discussing preparations for the upcoming feast, stating they must have plenty of candles and barrels of wine to satiate the needs of Tyrion Lannister, the younger brother of Cersei and Jaime, and a dwarf. Meanwhile, Robb, Jon and Theon are groomed, while gossiping about the queen, a reportedly great beauty. The Stark children also name their direwolves: Bran has Summer, Rickon has Shaggydog, Sansa has Lady, Arya has Nymeria, Robb has Grey Wind and Jon has Ghost.
Finally, after a month, King Robert and his retainers appear on the horizon, seen by Bran, who has crested the wall. Climbing back down to where Summer is waiting for him, he is confronted by his mother, who demands he stob climbing, even as he excitedly informs her that the king's men have almost arrived. Bran promises, but Catelyn jokes that he always looks at his feet before he lies, before telling him to run off and tell his father about the news. The Stark family, and the rest of Winterfell, arrange themselves around the courtyard as the king arrives through the main gate. The Starks arrange themselves in a line, but Arya wonders off on her own, wearing a Northern half-helm, to get a closer look. Following them is Jaime and a few more Kingsguard, as well as several Lannister soldiers. Behind them is Prince Joffrey on horseback, as well as his little brother Prince Tommen, little sister Princess Myrcella and his mother Queen Cersei in a carriage: protecting them is Sandor Clegane, otherwise known as the Hound. Arya returns to the Starks, but is spotted by Eddard, who removes the helmet she is wearing, and sends her to stand next to Sansa and Bran. Joffrey and Sansa lock eyes, and Robb notes this. Finally, King Robert rides in last, prompting everyone to kneel. Dismounting, he motions for them to stand, and for a moment, there seems to be tension between Eddard and Robert, before they break out laughing, Robert cheerfully greeting the many Starks. He then requests to pay his respects in the crypts. Cersei objects, but Robert goes anyway, and Eddard soon follows. Overhearing Arya ask where Tyrion is, Cersei asks Jaime to find Tyrion.
In the crypts, Eddard and Robert talk about Jon Arryn, both of them surprised by his death: the man was old but robust, and he died quickly and without warning. Their conversation leads to Robert asking Eddard to become Hand of the King, believing that his friend helped him win the throne, so now he should help him hold it. although Eddard is still unsure whether to accept, and asks for time to think about it. Robert laments that had Eddard's sister lived, their houses would be bound to another - he then suggests marrying Sansa and Joffrey instead, giving the two families greater unity. They continue further into the crypts.
Jaime founds Tyrion in a whorehouse, where he is having sex with Ros. He tells Tyrion that Cersei "craves his attention", and that he'd rather not be left alone with the Starks at the feast. Tyrion jokes that he has started the feast early, to which Jaime opens the door to let in several more whores, before walking out to the sound of Tyrion shouting "Close the door!"Back in the crypts, Robert visits Lyanna's tomb to pay his repects, leaving a single feather. He asks why Lyanna had to be buried underground in the dark, when she deserved an open hill, with the "sky above her", although Eddard replies she was a Stark, and belonged in the crypts with her family. Robert muses that he loved Lyanna, revealing that she was going to be his wife prior to the Rebellion, where she was abducted, raped and murdered by Prince Rhaegar, the eldest son of the Mad King. He states that he relives killing him over and over, to which Eddard reassures him that the Targaryens are gone. Robert, with some disdain, replies that not all of them are dead.
Across the Narrow Sea, in the Free City of Pentos on the continent of Essos, Daenerys Stormborn looks out over the coastline from the manse she is residing in. She hears her older brother calling out to her, and turns to address him as he enters the room, showing her the silk dress she will wear for her wedding, courtesy of their host, Magister Illyrio Mopatis. Viserys reveals that he is marrying Daenerys to Khal Drogo of the Dothraki to secure an alliance, and warns her that if she ruins the ceremony, she will "wake the dragon." Afraid, Daenerys agrees, and Viserys leaves, having stripped her naked to correct her posture. Turning and walking into the scalding hot bath, despite the protests of her slave assistants, Daenerys barely flinches.Later that day, Viserys, Daenerys and Illyrio wait outside the manse for Drogo and his bloodriders to arrive to inspect his future bride. Although late, Drogo inspects Daenerys and then promptly leaves as soon as he came, all without a word, leaving Viserys confused, worried and annoyed. Illyrio reassured him that had Drogo not liked Daenerys, they would know. Later, on a balcony over looking the coast, Illyrio and Viserys, with Daenerys looming behind them, discuss his future return to Westeros, with Illyrio saying they "drink secret toasts to (his) health". Viserys is impatient, wanting Daenerys and Drogo to marry as soon as possible so he'll have his army. Daenerys finally speaks up, saying she doesn't want to marry Drogo, and wants to go home. Viserys insists that they can't go home without an army, and that he'd let Drogo's entire horde rape her if it meant he got that army. Daenerys looks at him blandly, but concedes.
Back at Winterfell, Catelyn is braiding Sansa's hair in preparation for the feast. Sansa asks when she'll be able to marry Joffrey, insisting that it is the only thing she has ever wanted, therefore showing her infatuation with him: to this extent, she also hopes her father accepts Robert's offer, just so Sansa can be with Joffrey. Catelyn doesn't share her enthusiasm, wanting Eddard to stay at Winterfell.
At night, during the feast, Catelyn and Cersei sit at the great table, while Eddard and the other guests mingle. Robert sexually gropes and kisses a servant girl in full view of Cersei, although the queen shows no sign of being bothered it, and showing cold indifference. Switching to outside, Jon is swinging and hacking his sword at a practice dummy when Benjen Stark, Eddard's last surviving brother and a member of the Night's Watch, arrives on horseback. He shares a brief hug with Jon, when the latter asks if he can come with Benjen to the Wall to join the Watch. Benjen refuses, saying he doesn't know what he'd be giving up. Jon says he doesn't care, but Benjen flatly says no, and leaves to join the feast in the Great Hall. Jon isn't left alone for a long, and is joined by Tyrion, who tells Jon not to let others use his bastard status as an effective insult, as he understands what it's like to be a family disappointment. Tyrion leaves to rejoin the feast, while Jon returns to hacking the dummy, this time with more viciousness, and anger.
Back in the Hall, Benjen greets Eddard warmly. Eddard asks if Benjen knew Will, and he says he did, although he emphasizes Will was a good ranger and a veteran, and that his desertion was a surprise. Eddard insists what he said was madness, although Benjen says Royce and Gared still haven't returned. They are interrupted when Robb hugs Benjen. At the great table, Cersei and Catelyn witness Robert's antics on repeat, until Catelyn tries to strike up conversation with the queen: she is largely ignored though when Sansa comes up to the table, greeting Cersei. When the queen asks if she's bled yet, she says no, although the queen seems satisfied. As Sansa leaves, Cersei muses that such a beauty shouldn't remain hidden in the North forever. Sitting back down, Sansa gossips with her friend, while Joffrey watches on, trying his best to be charming.
Eddard runs into Jaime, who refuses to budge as he taunts the Northern lord, even wondering what he'd be like to fight in a tournament. Eddard replies that he doesn't fight in tournaments because in a real fight, he doesn't want the enemy to know what he can do. Jaime, whether sarcastically or genuinely, is impressed by this. Meanwhile, Arya flicks some of her food from her spoon at Sansa, impacting her cheek, much to the mirth of the many men around her, including Robb, and her own humiliation. Catelyn is not amused however, and prompts Robb. The brother takes Arya away and out of the Hall to her chambers as punishment.
Later, after the feast and lying in their bedchambers holding each other, Eddard and Catelyn discuss the king's offer, to which Catelyn remains insistent he refuse. Just as they finish, Maester Luwin interrupts them with a letter for Catelyn. Reading it, she then throws it in the hearth and burns it, saying it was from Lysa, now at the Eyrie with her son, who says Jon Arryn was murdered by the Lannisters. Eddard is doubtful, but Catelyn doesn't believe Lysa would risk her son's life on an unsubstantiated rumour. Luwin sees this as all the more reason to accept the king's offer, as the Hand would be able to protect the king, especially if the Lannisters conspire against the crown. Catelyn disagrees, believing it would put Ned in unnecessary danger. Eddard wonders if he should refuse, or accept to try and save his king and long-time friend from possible assassination.
Back in Pentos, on the beachfront, Drogo and Daenerys' wedding is well underway. Many gifts are presented to them, while Viserys, Illyrio present beside him, is there to ensure everything goes according to plan. He asks when he'll be able to speak with Drogo and begin planning the invasion, but Illyrio says the Dothraki will only go to war if their omens favour it: this leaves Viserys insulted. At this point, two Dothraki warriors fight each other over a woman, and the winner mounts her soon after: Illyrio says a Dothraki wedding without at least three deaths is considered a dull affair: this amuses Viserys. A Westerosi knight under Viserys' employ, Ser Jorah Mormont of Bear Island, presents a series of books on Westerosi history and songs to Daenerys, to which she is thankful. Their final gift is a batch of three dragon eggs, although Illyrio explains the ages have turned them to inert stone, despite their inherent beauty. Seeing Drogo stand, Daenerys follows, and finds herself given her own horse, as Drogo's wedding gift. Lifted into the saddle, Drogo and Daenerys prepare to leave when Viserys tells her to make him happy. Once away and alone, Drogo strips a weeping Daenerys naked, before forcefully consummating their marriage.Back in Winterfell, the king calls for a hunt, taking most of the fighting men, including Eddard, Robb and a few others, with him. Tyrion muses that he is a great spear thrower, although the Hound dismisses this, saying that paying for it to be done for him doesn't count as hunting. Robert approaches Eddard, thanking for accepting his offer and becoming the Hand. They then move to leave, with Eddard turning to see Bran watching them depart, smiling. Once they've left, Bran, with Summer, runs up to the broken tower, where he leaves his direwolf behind to climb up to it. Almost to the top, he hears voices and moaning from inside, and climbs to the window for a better look. There, he finds Jaime and Cersei in the middle of sex, the latter spotting Bran. Before the boy can escape, Jaime grabs him, wondering what to do with him. Unwilling to take chances, he shoves Bran from the tower, where he plummets to his death.
- Ser Waymar Royce
- Wildling girl
- White Walker
- Lord Eddard Stark
- Lady Catelyn Stark
- Bran Stark
- Rickon Stark
- Robb Stark
- Jon Snow
- Sansa Stark
- Arya Stark
- First Ranger Benjen Stark
- Ser Rodrik Cassel
- Jory Cassel
- Ward Theon Greyjoy
- Grey Wind
- King Robert Baratheon
- Queen Cersei Lannister
- Prince Joffrey Baratheon
- Prince Tommen Baratheon
- Princess Myrcella Baratheon
- Ser Jaime Lannister
- Tyrion Lannister
- Ser Preston Greenfield
- Lord Jon Arryn
- Septa Mordane
- Jeyne Poole
- Maester Luwin
- Sandor Clegane
- Princess Daenerys Targaryen
- Prince Viserys Targaryen
- Pentoshi servant
- Magister Illyrio Mopatis
- Khal Drogo
- Ser Jorah Mormont
- Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark
- Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Ser Jaime Lannister
- Michelle Fairley as Lady Catelyn Stark
- Lena Headey as Queen Cersei Lannister
- Emilia Clarke as Princess Daenerys Targaryen
- Iain Glen as Ser Jorah Mormont
- Harry Lloyd as Prince Viserys Targaryen
- Kit Harrington as Jon Snow
- Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark
- Maisie Williams as Arya Stark
- Richard Madden as Robb Stark
- Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy
- Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark
- Jack Gleeson as Prince Joffrey Baratheon
- Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane
- Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
- Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo
- Donald Sumpter as Maester Luwin
- Jamie Sives as Jory Cassel
- Ron Donachie as Ser Rodrik Cassel
- Joseph Mawle as Benjen Stark
- Roger Allam as Magister Illyrio Mopatis
- Dar Salim as Qotho
- Esmé Bianco as Ros
- Susan Brown as Septa Mordane
- Bronson Webb as Will
- John Standing as Lord Jon Arryn
- Rob Ostlere as Ser Waymar Royce
- Dermot Keaney as Gared
- Art Parkinson as Rickon Stark
- Callum Wharry as Prince Tommen Baratheon
- Aimee Richardson as Princess Myrcella Baratheon
- Kristian Nairn as Hodor
- Rania Zouari as a Pentoshi servant
- Ian Whyte and Spencer Wilding as a White Walker
- Claire Wright as a Wildling girl
- Ivailo Dmitrov as Mago (uncredited)
- Owen Dickey as Winterfell Beekeeper (uncredited)
- Tommy Dunne as Tommy (uncredited)
- Body Rankin as Mikken (uncredited)
- Robert Yates as King's Guard (uncredited)
- Unknown as Jeyne Poole (uncredited)
- Unknown as Cohollo (uncredited)
- Unknown as Haggo (uncredited)
- Unknown as Ser Preston Greenfield (uncredited)
- 18 of 19 cast members for the first season appear in this episode.
- Starring cast member Aiden Gillen (Petyr Baelish) is not credited and does not appear in this episode.
- Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo) is credited as 'also starring' during the closing credits of this episode.
- Behind-the-scenes weaponsmith Tommy Dunne plays Winterfell's resident barber, also called Tommy, in an uncredited cameo.
- The episode title is the house motto of House Stark and has widely been used in the marketing of the TV series, the books, and other spin-offs.
- Like many episodes of Game of Thrones, the episode same refers to multiple plots of the episode in a metaphorical manner. It refers to two plots: principally, it refers to Robert Baratheon coming north to name Eddard Stark Hand of the King, so that "winter is coming" to King's Landing. It also refers to the White Walkers, who are an enemy made of ice, heading down towards the Wall, and therefore "bringing winter with them."
- A 15-minute preview of the first episode was shown on 3 April 2011.
- First mention of Lord Tywin Lannister, Lady Lysa Arryn and Robin Arryn
- A real dead stag - not a prop - was used for the scene where the direwolf pups are found. The actors found the smell during the filming of the scene revolting, as it had been dead for two days at that point and was decomposing.
- The scene in which the Starks find the direwolf pups was the very first scene written by George R. R. Martin in the first book of the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series. It is the second chapter that appears in the book, because the "Prologue" scene with the three Night's Watch scouts being attacked by White Walkers was inserted before it, but the Prologue was written later.
- Martin said he didn't even know what kind of book it would be until he wrote that scene. After about three days, he knew it would be fantasy.
- This scene foretells the whole first book. The Direwolf (sigil of House Stark) has come too far south and gotten in a fight with the Stag (sigil of House Baratheon). Just as Eddard Stark goes south with King Robert to be his right hand in the war coming, Robert is disemboweled and dies alone, while Eddard is killed by a blow to the neck and leaves all his young heirs to fend for themselves.
- The Winterfell courtyard is normally a car park and gift shop. The setting had to be extensively redressed to make it look like an actual courtyard.
- Mark Addy's costume was so heavy that he could not get off his horse without steps and the help of three people. So in editing they had to cut away when he starts to dismount and then cut back to see him drop to the ground. In the book, King Robert is a taller man, but Mark Addy's performance made his character seem imposing.
- The crypts under Winterfell are normally a wine cellar and were used in later episodes for a cell under the Red Keep in King's Landing.
- The Winterfell gate was damaged by a collision with Cersei's wheelhouse, upon the royal party's arrival, and had to be repaired.
- The pool in the Winterfell godswood was filled with black paint, to make it more reflective.
- Scenes at Illyrio's manse were shot at the President of Malta's summer residence (later also used for scenes in the Red Keep's garden). The production was not permitted inside the building. In the book Drogo sees Daenerys for the first time at a party inside the manse. The TV series version has Drogo remain on his horse and then leave, but this does not occur in the books.
- Daenerys' interior scenes at her bath were done at a different location, in a different city. The scene with her on the balcony looking outside at beautiful scenery was just a painting. Her Pentoshi bath slave was formerly Miss Malta 2006.
- Some early scenes in Malta were filmed with Emilia Clarke and Harry Lloyd using violet contact lenses, as in the novels the Targaryens have violet-colored eyes. However, the lenses did not look right and were distracting the actors from their performances, so were dropped.
- Filming of the wedding scene on the beach was disrupted by a gale from the sea that partially demolished the set. Maltese authorities were also dubious about the nudity in the scene, but ultimately allowed shooting to continue.
- Actors Kit Harington, Alfie Allen and Richard Madden prepared for the haircutting scene - in which all three were shirtless - by engaging in vigorous exercises and holding their breath to enhance their abs, to the hilarity of producer David Benioff.
- The broken tower, used for the scene where Bran is pushed out of the window, was later redressed, to serve as Bran's bedroom for the rest of the season.
- In the tower sex scene, Lena Headey is replaced by a body double for the nude parts. Lena Headey was pregnant when this episode was shot, so there are a lot of scenes where Cersei is filmed standing or sitting behind a table or wearing a coat with a thick fur trim or dresses with long sleeves that she holds in front of herself.
- An earlier version of the episode was shot as the series pilot episode. While similar, it had several key differences, mostly in casting:
- Jennifer Ehle played Catelyn Stark.
- Tamzin Merchant played Daenerys Targaryen.
- Jamie Campbell Bower played Waymar Royce.
- Richard Ridings played Gared.
- Another difference is that the pilot featured scenes shot in Scotland (where Doune Castle stood in for Winterfell) and Morocco (where sets left over from Kingdom of Heaven stood in for Pentos), while the final version of the episode was mostly shot in the studio and on location in Northern Ireland and Malta.
- The photography of Tyrion's scene with Ros and the prostitutes is also slightly different from the rest of the episode. It becomes apparent when comparing the hair color of Tyrion in different scenes.
- The scene with Eddard and Robert in the crypts and later in the courtyard where Robert thanks Eddard are the only complete scenes to survive intact from the pilot shoot. Alfie Allen (Theon) can very briefly be glimpsed with blonde hair in the latter scene. These scenes are shot on film rather than the digital recordings made for the rest of the series, something most notable in the crypt scene.
- Some additional shots from the pilot are used and dropped into otherwise re-shot scenes. Sansa's coverage during her discussion with Cersei and Catelyn at the feast is from the pilot (while Cersei and Catelyn's reactions are from the re-shoot), while a single shot of Jamie Campbell Bower as Waymar Royce is left in the prologue sequence.
- During Daenerys' wedding feast, when one Dothraki disembowels another, Khal Drogo looks on in approval and utters an unsubtitled line. It was not subtitled because it wasn't part of the developed Dothraki language, but an ad-lib by actor Jason Mamoa. The line he said was "i te waka", which is the refrain from a well-known Maori haka (war dance). Mamoa himself performed a Maori haka in his audition tape for the role of Khal Drogo. To make the line fit within the universe, language consultant David J. Peterson later retroactively established that what Drogo said in Dothraki was "itte oakah", meaning "test your might" - an in-joke reference to the line from the infamously violent Mortal Kombat video game.
- To date, this is the only episode to use on-screen titles to establish what a location is, for "Winterfell", "King's Landing: Capital of the Seven Kingdoms", and "Pentos: Across the Narrow Sea."
- There is a mistake in the scene where the direwolf pups are first seen, all of the pups are either light gray and white or solid white. Shaggydog, however, should be black.
Executive producers and writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss provide a commentary for the episode for the DVD and Blu-ray release.
- Tim Van Patten had a detailed storyboard for the pre-credits sequence (made by artist Will Simpson) which he walked the producers through prior to filming.
- The tunnel under the Wall is made of cement.
- In the original pilot, the action opened immediately in the Haunted Forest (as in the novel). For the reshoot this was changed to include a shot of the Wall to provide context for the many references to it in the first two episodes.
- In original edits of the scene where the Night's Watchmen leave the Wall, shots were used in which it appeared that one of the horses kept changing colors. This was noticed by Mark Hoffman after thirty viewings of the sequence, and alternate takes were substituted to fix the problem.
- When the three watchmen ride into the forest, an extra takes Bronson Webb's place as Will, and is just visible as he enters the trees.
- For the pilot, the wildlings in the pre-credits sequence were simply piled up. For the reshoot, Benioff and Weiss requested a far more visceral and horrific image.
- Some fans have suggested that the dead wildling girl was a dummy or prop of some kind, when in fact she was a 19-year-old actress.
- For the Night's Watch, costume designer Michele Clapton went to some length to make the costumes and then destroy them or dirty them down to make them look well-used. Long meetings were held in which each region's different costume requirements were discussed.
- Rob Ostlere auditioned for several roles on the show and almost got the role of Viserys Targaryen before finally being cast as Ser Waymar Royce.
- David Benioff was in Malta when the pre-credits sequence was shot and was sent the dailies remotely to look over.
- The White Walker suits were created by prosthetics specialised Conor O'Sullivan. Though effective, they offered little visibility.
- According to the producers, the name 'White Walkers' was substituted for 'Others' out of concern that the viewers would be confused between use of the general term and the specific name for the nonhuman creatures.
- The producer's view of the title sequence was a raven flying over a map of Westeros, stopping at locations of interest. The CG team came up with something far more detailed and original. HBO apparently had doubts over the sequence, but Benioff and Weiss fought for it.
- Ramin Djawadi came in to do the score quite late in the day. After originally being hired he had to quit due to time commitments, but was able to do the series after all.
- The Starks are given a 'lighter' introduction than in the novels (and the original pilot) to establish that they are a relatively normal and happy family, before grim times arrive.
- Gemma Jackson built the Winterfell courtyard in a car park. Despite this, the courtyard is a 360-degree set which can be filmed in all directions.
- David Benioff cites his meetings with armorer and weaponsmith Tommy Dunne as amongst his favorites, due to a childhood spent playing Dungeons and Dragons and geeking out over swords and daggers.
- Benioff and Weiss considered the series only doable if they could find great child actors for the key roles of Sansa, Arya and Bran. Casting director Nina Gold went to impressive lengths to find actors of the right caliber.
- The producers used a real dead stag for the scene where the direwolf cubs are found. The stag had been dead for two days and smelt so bad that one of the props organizers threw up on the spot.
- David Benioff was hooked on the first novel by the 'things I do for love' scene. He contacted D.B. Weiss, a friend of fifteen years, and suggested he read the books as well.
- Jon Arryn's face was shown on the basis that if you have a murder mystery you should show the murder victim on-screen.
- The godswood was designed as a more colorful place to stand out amongst the usually grey locations in the North. The godswood pool was filmed with black paint to make it more reflective.
- The producers added more scenes and lines for Maester Luwin as they were impressed by Donald Sumpter's performance.
- The scene where Arya watches the King's arrival outside the main castle was added at director Tim Van Patten's suggestion to make Robert's arrival more impressive.
- Kristian Nairn appears as Hodor in the king's arrival scene with a beard, which the producers chose to remove later on in the season on the basis it made him look like a classics professor.
- Mark Addy was the easiest casting in the series after Bean and Dinklage. He ad-libbed the lines where he greets the Stark children, which Benioff and Weiss then wrote into the script.
- Benioff and Weiss are unhappy with Arya and Sansa's expositionary voice-overs talking about Cersei and Jaime being siblings, but felt it essential after early viewers were confused about their relationship.
- Tyrion was given a new introduction for the TV series, to establish who he is right off the bat. Originally he didn't appear until the scene with Jon and Benjen in the courtyard at night.
- The producers were impressed by Esme Bianco's 'warm' performances, despite normally being nude and freezing cold. Originally Ros was only supposed to be in the first episode, but her role grew throughout the series.
- During filming of the scenes in Illyrio's manse, Harry Lloyd pointed out to the producers that a big painting in the rear of the shot showed ships firing cannons, which was anachronistic for the setting. The producers suggest the ships could be using wildfire instead.
- Emilia Clarke had to fly to Los Angeles to audition for the producers and the heads of HBO before immediately flying back to London.
- Despite the beautiful vistas visible from the Maltese president's summer palace (standing in for Illyrio's manse), the scene with Daenerys, Viserys and Illyrio looking out to sea involved a greenscreen. This was to show the stone archway at the beach for the wedding scene in the distance.
- The scene with Catelyn doing Sansa's hair was inserted to give Sansa a more noticeable introduction.
- Originally Benjen was introduced at the feast as in the novel, but the new scene between him and Jon was written as a better introduction to the character.
- The scene between Eddard and Benjen at the feast was filmed for the pilot and one of the few scenes to survive to the finished episode.
- The girl sitting next to Sansa at the feast is suggested to be Jeyne Poole.
- During the confrontation between Eddard and Jaime at the feast, some of the crew were visible over Jaime's shoulder. They were spotted and painted out with CGI.
- The scene where Catelyn receives Lysa's letter was originally filmed as in the novels, with the letter sent in a box with a false bottom. However, explaining the box and its false compartment took too much time of the episode and was substituted for just the letter by itself.
- The producers claim to have felt lucky in having have gotten Iain Glen as Ser Jorah Mormont, thereby creating more material for him especially. His nickname on-set is 'Jorah the Explorer' due to his expositionary role.
- Benioff and Weiss gave one of the dragon egg props to George R.R. Martin and his wife Parris as a wedding gift.
- The producers couldn't find a silver horse for use in the series, and have also had difficulty in finding white ravens for use in Season 2.
- The producers unequivocally describe the sex scenes between Daenerys and Drogo in the first two episodes as rape. The scene in the first episode was rehearsed between Emilia Clarke, Jason Momoa and Tim Van Patten at length.
- A pack of hounds was supposed to ride out with Robert and Eddard, but they spooked the horses, so were removed.
- Several versions of the scene where Bran is thrown out the window were shot. An alternate version had a further reaction from Cersei after the push, while another had the camera swooping through the window to follow Bran down, which was pulled for being 'too fancy'. In the final shot, the falling Bran is actually a stuntwoman.
- The first season premiered on Sean Bean's (the actor who plays Eddard Stark) birthday (April 17).
In the booksEdit
- Prologue: Three rangers from Castle Black, Will, Gared and Waymar Royce depart from the Wall to find a wildling patrol, but are killed by White Walkers, leaving one alive.
- Bran I: Lord Eddard Stark executes a Night's Watch deserter, with Ser Rodrik, Theon, Jory Cassel, Robb, Jon and Bran present. On their way back to Winterfell, Jon and Robb find a dead direwolf, and six pups.
- Catelyn I: Catelyn visits Eddard in the godswood to inform him that Jon Arryn is dead, and that King Robert rides north to Winterfell.
- Daenerys I: Viserys plans to marry Daenerys to Khal Drogo, and he takes her for his inspection. Daenerys meets Ser Jorah.
- Eddard I: King Robert arrives at Winterfell, and Eddard accompanies him into the crypts. After visiting Lyanna's tomb, Robert asks him to become the Hand of the King, and suggests marrying Sansa to Joffrey.
- Jon I: Jon deals with his bastard birth during the feast, where he talks to Benjen Stark and Tyrion Lannister.
- Catelyn II: Catelyn receives a secret letter from Lysa informing her Jon Arryn was murdered by the Lannisters. Eddard battles with whether or not to accept the king's request in light of this turn of events.
- Arya I: Arya abandons her needlework to watch her brothers practice in the yard.
- Bran II: Bran is climing the broken tower when he overhears Jaime and Cersei having sex. He is thrown from the tower as a result to keep him quiet.
- Daenerys II: Daenerys and Drogo hold their wedding, receiving numerous gifts. A few Dothraki fight over a woman. Daenerys is presented with dragon eggs. Drogo and Daenerys consummate their marriage.
Ser Waymar Royce: [to Gared] "Do the dead frighten you?"
Lady Catelyn Stark: [about Bran] "Ten is too young to see such things."
Lord Eddard Stark: "He won't be a boy forever, and winter is coming."
Eddard: [to Bran] "The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword."
Jon Snow: "Lord Stark? There are five pups, one for each of the Stark children. The direwolf is the sigil of your House. They were meant to have them.
Eddard: "You will train them yourselves, you will feed them yourselves, and if they die, you will bury them yourselves."
Bran Stark: "What about you?"
Jon: "I'm not a Stark. Get on."
[As Jon is heading towards the road, he notices something at the base of a tree and heads towards it.]
Robb Stark: "What is it?"
[Jon straightens up, holding a sixth direwolf pup, an albino.]
Theon Greyjoy: "Ah, the runt of the litter! That one's yours, Snow."
King Robert Baratheon: "Lord Eddard Stark, I would name you the Hand of the King."
Tyrion Lannister: "Should I explain the meaning of a closed door in a whorehouse to you, brother?"
Ser Jaime Lannister: "You've much to teach me, no doubt, but our sister craves your attention."
Tyrion: "She has odd cravings, our sister."
Jaime: "A family trait."
Viserys Targaryen: [to Daenerys] "I would let his whole tribe fuck you, all forty thousand men and their horses too, if that's what it took."
Jon: "You're Tyrion Lannister? The Queen's brother?"
Tyrion: "My greatest accomplishment. And you, you're Ned Stark's bastard, aren't you? Did I offend you? Sorry. You are the bastard, though."
Jon: "Lord Eddard Stark is my father."
Tyrion: "And Lady Stark is not your mother, making you the bastard. Let me give you some advice, bastard: never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you."
Jon: "What the hell do you know about being a bastard?"
Tyrion: "All dwarves are bastards in their father's eyes."
Jaime: "The things I do for love."