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Six Game of Thrones facts you may not know

Post Author Take1 / April 1st 2016

Game of Thrones will be back on our screens on April 25th with the much-anticipated 6th season. This cult HBO series has been around since 2011, and there probably aren’t too many people around who haven’t seen it, or at least heard of it! The unique thing about Game of Thrones is that although it is based on George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series of books, HBO have creative license to adapt the screenplay however they see fit. Additionally, the series of books is still ongoing, so no one apart from George himself and the GoT producers, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, have any idea how the story will ultimately end. Maybe that’s what keeps us all watching? Or maybe it has something to do with the gratuitous nudity and violence? Either way, we’re hooked.

So to celebrate the impending return of this much-loved fantasy series, we bring you ten things that you may not know about Game of Thrones…

  1. Arya and Khaleesi are popular baby names: In the USA in 2014, 1544 babies were names Arya, which made it the 216th most popular name, sitting four places above the totally normal name Jennifer. In addition to this, 368 American babies were also named Khaleesi. Technically it is not a name, but a title bestowed upon people meaning ‘Queen’ but we’re sure all of those parents thought their daughters were worthy of such a royal name. During 2014 15 babies were also named Tyrion, and 11 were named Theon. Thankfully there doesn’t seem to be any record of anyone naming their baby Joffrey yet, phew!
  2. Maester Aemon is blind in real life: Aemon Targaryen, long-standing member of the Night’s Watch, is played by actor Peter Vaughn who is blind in real life. The 92 year old is the oldest Westerosi resident, and his character’s long life may be attributed to the fact that he distanced himself from the complicated and gruesome politics of his Targaryen relatives.
  3. Nine GoT actors also appeared in the Harry Potter films: If you enjoy the period fantasy world of GoT then the chances are you also indulge yourself with the wizarding world of Harry Potter; but did you know that there have been nine crossovers? Michelle Fairley, the actress who brought Catelyn Stark to life was also Hermione Granger’s muggle mother, while Natalia Tena who played Tonks in HP was almost unrecognisable as Osha the wildling in GoT. And, seemingly well-suited to playing much-despised characters, David Bradley was the actor responsible for both Argus Filch and Walder Frey.
  4. There’s a real life equivalent to Valyrian steel: In both the books and the TV series, the very best blades in the realm are forged from a strong yet incredibly light metal known as Valyrian steel. The metal is recognised by its distinctive rippled surface, and these blades are pretty rare and sought after since the art of creating the metal from scratch has long since been lost. Blades are passed down through families, but the only way a new blade can be forged is by melting down an original. Valyrian steel is actually based on Damascus steel, a real life alloy developed in India and the Middle East. Damascus steel possesses super-strong and super-sharp qualities, with a rippled surface, but the specific techniques used to make it were lost some time in the 18th century.
  5. Game of Thrones has helped to save a rare breed of pigs: Small farms have seen a downturn in profits in recent years, but the popularity of GoT and other medieval inspired shows is keeping them in business. Part of GoT is filmed in Northern Ireland, and Kenny Gracey who runs Forthill Farm in Tandragee, Co. Armagh, credits the show with helping to keep his business afloat. The farm has been in Gracey’s family for hundreds of years, and is one of a select few that are still able to breed Iron Age Pigs to fit in with the period setting of the show.
  6. GoT is the most pirated show in the world: According to the file sharing site, BitTorrent, the 2013 season finale of Game of Thrones was downloaded via their site 5.9 million times. In comparison, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead peaked at 4.2 and 3.6 million downloads respectively. HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler has been quoted as saying that all these downloads serve to provide a “terrific marketing vehicle for the next generation of viewers.” However, if everyone who watched the show legally pirated it instead, it probably wouldn’t have made it to its sixth season, so we’re by no means advocating the use of torrent sites!

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