We Asked The Cast Of ‘Game Of Thrones’ About The Weirdest Stuff They Had To Do On Set
"Um, bite off a man's ear and spit it back into his face."
Game Of Thrones is over, like a long, epic dream that we collectively had as a society. Or like a TV show, whatever.
Seems crazy that it’s finally done — it was the show that everyone talked about for years. There are children hastily named Khaleesi who are being sat down and told that when they were born, mummy and daddy had no idea about the concept of narrative arc.
Anyway — you can’t deny that the show bent over backwards to provide us with a big spectacle. We suffered and marvelled, the characters mostly just suffered, and a grand story was told.
But I often think about what weird shit the actors in the show had to do to make it all happen. The accidents from riding CGI dragons, the bloopers that come about from having your hand cut off, the awkwardness of having dramatic, plot-advancing sex in some kind of ye olde brothel.
So, when I got the chance, at the press junket in London, held before the launch of season 8, I asked as many of the cast members as I could find, what was the weirdest thing they ever had to do while filming Game Of Thrones.
“What Is The Weirdest Thing You Ever Had To Do On The Set Of Game Of Thrones?”
Gwendoline Christie (Brienne Of Tarth): Um, bite off a man’s ear and spit it back into his face.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister): I actually, I remember one that was quite funny.
Gwendolyn: Oh no, what is it?
I had a big, big muscly stuntman jump on my back, back in the first week of rehearsals. We were rehearsing for a fight and I wasn’t in the right position. Yeah, that was my biggest casualty.
Nikolaj: No, no. It was just … we had to be sitting on a horse, back-to-back, tied together. That was weird.
Gwendolyn: I remember you couldn’t get settled and you were talking about how… uncomfortable you were. I don’t know, I just sort of accept these things.
Nikolaj: She never complains.
Gwendolyn: (laughs) Shut up. Never complains.
Maisie Williams (Arya Stark): Well, it was just a really strange time in my life. So in maybe season two, three, Arya had stopped pretending to be a boy at the end of one and then through two, three, and parts of four, yeah.
So, at the beginning, I used to have to wear this little strap top to reverse puberty, you know. And that was fine for two seasons, or the second season they wound in a little bit tighter, and I was like, OK, and then one season it just started getting a bit too chesty, and I looked a little bit too grown up, so they gave me this little chubby belly to go on as well, to even it out and that was kinda strange and uncomfortable.
It was definitely an epic shoot, because it was just so absurd. I was half naked with a prosthetic belly that was connected to tubes, that someone else was blowing into from three meters away.
But other than that, I think being the character has just been great fun.
Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark): For me, it was the first or second season and I had to have my period on camera. It was just the most embarrassing thing.
And I just remember that I hadn’t even had my period yet at that point, and they were just sticking blood to my legs and they were like, “OK, then, raise it up”, and then there was just a camera on my crotch the whole time. I was like, “this is so weird and gross and now all my school friends are seeing this. All the boys I fancy at school.” It was just, that was weird.
Carice van Houten (Melisandre): Oh, the birth! I don’t know if it was my favourite scene. It was definitely an epic shoot, because it was just so absurd. I was half naked with a prosthetic belly that was connected to tubes, that someone else was blowing into from three meters away. And it inflated, deflated or inflated.
Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth): Inflated and deflated, went up and down. Inflated… deflated.
Carice van Houten: So it deflated whenever I opened my robes someone had to blow very hard. And he (Liam) was standing next to me we’re in this drafty cave in Northern Ireland at night, and I just had my legs open wide, and I had to give birth to something which I had NO idea what it was going to look like.
Liam Cunningham: Funny thing was, I was back in that cave last week.
Carice van Houten: Really?
Liam Cunningham: For a charity do that somebody won. A professor of bio-chemistry won a fucking prize, and I had to bring him around Game of Thrones locations. On a fucking tour bus. A Winterfell tour. And I had to tell him things like “this is a cave, this is where Carice had her ass out.” It was really weird being back in that cave on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. It was very strange.
Hannah Murray (Gilly): I mean, I guess it’s not a weird thing because it’s a completely natural thing… but for me it felt very weird, was giving birth.
Because I think I was 23, and had not given birth, and still have not given birth. I was trying to wrap my head around how to portray this really, really intense and very vital, essential human experience.
I love that our show covers the full spectrum of humanity, it’s birth, its death, its everything. But I watched a lot of One Born Every Minute, I watched three whole seasons and John (Samwell Tarly) watched with me and cried. It was an amazing thing, it’s the kind of acting moment that you just sort of give yourself over to, but it was definitely a surreal thing to try and portray.
“Is There Anything That You Won’t Miss From Game Of Thrones?”
Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane): Well, it’s not very luxurious. I remember on my first day, I was talking to Kit (Harrington), we are sitting in this black tent, and there is a heater that had never worked, and it’s cold, and it’s blowing outsid,e and it’s always been horrible weather conditions. And I said “so when are we going to have lunch?” And I’m told there is no lunch, it’s a running lunch.
So, you eat between takes and when do we get back to the trailer to heat up? You never see your trailer in the show. So when you leave your trailer in the morning, you’re in the black tent or you’re in front of the camera.
Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm): I’m happy to leave my costume behind. You just can’t move in it. The joints don’t match my joints. I’ve got to run and fight and move in it quite a lot. The leather tunic… it chaffs a lot. I won’t miss that.
Joe Dempsie (Gendry): You won’t take it home? For the weekend?
Jerome Flynn (Bronn): I had a big, big muscly stuntman jump on my back, back in the first week of rehearsals. We were rehearsing for a fight and I wasn’t in the right position. Yeah, that was my biggest casualty.
“Did You Get To Keep Any Swords?”
Richard Dormer (Beric Dondarrion): Some of us did, I didn’t. Cunningham got a Dothraki sword.
Jerome Flynn (Bronn): There must be some, I think, just hanging around everywhere.
Richard Dormer: Yeah, I got a practice one. A rubber one.
“Is there anything you regret, not having done on the Game of Thrones?”
Isaac Hempstead (Bran Stark): Walking? Walking, yeah.
I wish I could have had a sword. I wish I could have been a part of a big battle scene.
Game of Thrones season 8 and the complete collection will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray pre-Christmas, on 4th December 2019.
Patrick Lenton is the Editor of Junkee. He tweets @patricklenton.