TV

The 12 Most Important Bits Of Vanity Fair’s ‘Game Of Thrones’ Cover Story

Includes a pretty strange Monty Python connection.

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Tony Abbott’s absurd bid to reinstate feudal titles in Australia can mean only one thing: he’s jonesing for Game of Thrones to return for its fourth season on April 17.

So am I! And my appetite has only been whetted by Vanity Fair’s profile of novelist George RR Martin and showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss (Dan, to his mates), with an accompanying photo shoot by Annie Leibovitz.

Here are some things about Jim Windolf’s story that are worth sending a raven home about…

Jaime Lannister Has A Haircut And A Fancy Golden Hand

While I kind of liked his grunge look, he’s cleaned up now he’s back in King’s Landing. And with that new hand forged from Lannister gold, hopefully he can take over Joffrey-bitch-slapping duties from his father and brother.

Good to see Brienne’s sticking around, too… I’m shipping those two so hard.

© Annie Leibovitz, 2014

© Annie Leibovitz, 2014

The Show’s Co-Creators Look A Bit Irish, Apparently

Benioff and Weiss met in 1995 as postgraduate Irish literature students at Trinity College in Dublin. Benioff’s thesis was on Samuel Beckett while Weiss was analysing James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. They were both American, both Jewish, and both frustrated by the lack of “a functional gym in Dublin”. (Come on guys – how hard were you looking?)

Yet even though Weiss says they have “no Irish roots of any kind”, Vanity Fair’s Jim Windolf can’t help observing that “42-year-old Weiss … has close-cropped hair and small eyeglasses similar to those worn by Joyce”, while “Benioff, 43 … has longish hair and teeth like Liam Neeson’s.” Fiddle-dee-dee potato, fellas!

Daenerys Is Now The Mother Of Teenage Dragons

game-of-thrones-cast-photos.sw.5.game-of-thrones-season4-vanity-fair-ss01

© Annie Leibovitz, 2014

Those dragons are looking awfully big now. Can their mother still control them, or will she find charred socks under their dragon-beds?

I look forward to lots of accidental-on-purpose roastings this season.

DB Weiss Used To Be Glenn Frey’s Assistant

Before that formative year in Dublin, Weiss spent a few weeks in 1993 as personal assistant to Glenn Frey, where his glamorous duties included buying toilet paper. No, Glenn is not a member of the treacherous House Frey who presided over the Red Wedding. He co-founded the Eagles, and performed the hit 1985 single ‘The Heat Is On’… which maybe is where Weiss got the idea for this:

Benioff and Weiss Co-Wrote A Horror Screenplay

“I decided I wanted to write a screenplay,” Benioff says. “I didn’t know how to do it, so I asked Dan if he would write one with me, because he had written a bunch already. So we wrote an incredible movie called The Headmaster, in which the headmaster is Satan at a boarding school.”

George RR Martin Tested Their Nerd Cred Before He Opted In

During a long lunch at the Palm on Santa Monica Boulevard, Martin asked the pair: “Who is Jon Snow’s real mother?” This is one of the most nerded-out-over topics among diehard Song of Ice and Fire fans.

“After a nerve-racking silence, Benioff and Weiss, who had discussed the issue of Jon Snow’s parentage in detail, offered their guess. (They would not reveal what it was.) The answer was satisfactory to Martin, and he gave them his blessing.”

Here’s George RR Martin Without His Trademark Hat On

(He’s still holding the hat in the photo.)

(He’s still holding the hat in the photo.) © Annie Leibovitz, 2014

Look at the Way Sansa Is Framed By Varys And Littlefinger

I don’t want to give away too much, but if you’ve read the books, you’ll know that both Varys and Littlefinger are playing very, very long games, and Sansa Lannister (née Stark) is key to at least one of their plans.

gameofthronesframes

© Annie Leibovitz, 2014

Benioff Is Married To Amanda Peet… Who Has Thoughts On The Show’s Representation of Women

“She says: ‘What matters is whether there are great roles for women of all ages and types and whether the women in the story actually propel the plot. If they take their clothes off while they do that, so be it.’” Benioff says. “I don’t know if she’s the right person to ask: she’s showing her tits tomorrow in her own HBO show.”

The First Pilot Was A Disaster

Shot in 2009 for $10 million at Doune Castle (set of Monty Python and the Holy Grail), it contained “very basic, fundamental mistakes in the script”, Benioff admits.

“I had a yellow legal pad,” Weiss recalls, “and I remember writing MASSIVE PROBLEM in all capital letters and underlining it three times.” When they showed the pilot to HBO’s head programmer Michael Lombardo, “It was like a horror movie. Not Mike’s face, which looked great, but his expressions.”

Yet somehow, the show was greenlit… and the rest is speculative medieval history.

Lord Barack Obama Gets Special Privileges

“Asked over e-mail if the White House receives screeners of Game of Thrones episodes before the rest of us, Benioff and Weiss jointly reply: ‘One perk of being the most powerful man in the world: yes, you get to see episodes early.’”

Benioff And Weiss Know Pretty Much How Everything Will End

“I can give them the broad strokes of what I intend to write, but the details aren’t there yet,” Martin says. “I’m hopeful that I can not let them catch up with me. And it’s my hope that long before they catch up with me I’ll have published The Winds of Winter, which’ll give me another couple years. It might be tight on the last book, A Dream of Spring, as they juggernaut forward.”

Read the full story in Vanity Fair.

Mel Campbell is a freelance journalist and cultural critic. She blogs on style, history and culture at Footpath Zeitgeist and tweets at @incrediblemelk.