50 Surprising Things About Season 5 - Pt 1

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#GOT50 heads into the home stretch – only 10 more episodes until the Season 6 premiere. Start streaming Season 5 on HBO NOW, and join @NiceQueenCersei, @Daenerys, @LordSnow and @GoT_Tyrion as they live-tweet together at 11 am ET daily. As you watch, flip through the items below.

1. Season 5 was shot in five countries on 151 sets for 240 days with 166 cast members, over 1000 crew members, and more than 5000 extras.

2. For the flashback sequence in the opening of “The Wars to Come,” two huts were built. One in a forest for the exterior shots, and the other in a studio for the interiors so the crew would have better control over the elements.

3. Actor Iwan Rheon is a fan of awkward Bolton dinners. “I think it is more fun when [Ramsay’s] stuffing his face,” Rheon told HBO.com. “It juxtaposes wonderfully with what he's saying ‒ he's talking about flaying while he's eating chicken and it doesn't make any difference.”

4. Keisha Castle-Hughes, who plays Obara Sand, learned she was cast in the role the same week her on-screen father was killed. “Over a month of auditioning, I had invested so much of my energy and time exploring who Obara was and what Oberyn meant to her, so I had a very emotional reaction to his death,” Castle-Hughes explained. “At that point in my head, I was his daughter. I was crying. I screamed like Ellaria screamed. I was like, 'It's so not fair!' I was staying with a friend in Los Angeles and she was like, ‘Are you OK? I know that you like Game of Thrones, but this is ridiculous.’ She thought I had lost my mind. But as soon as I signed on to the show, I was sworn to secrecy. I couldn't tell her anything.”

5. When Arya Stark discards her personal things before entering the House of Black and White, there was a silver lining for Maisie Williams: losing her costume. “I am sure Maisie was so happy to chuck into that water,” D.B. Weiss explained. “She has seen everybody else on this show with all of their great, beautiful [costume designer] Michele Clapton specials, prancing around on camera, and she has been wearing the same damn clothes since the end of Season 1.”

6. The Hall of Faces is full of familiar faces: “You need enough faces that you don’t sense the repeats, but you obviously can’t face cast thousands and thousands of people because that’s prohibitively expensive,” recalled Weiss. “We used all the face molds we have ever used before. Both [series co-creator] David [Benioff] and myself appeared many, many times in the Hall of Faces… there is at least 20 or 30 of me in there, which is, I suppose, my cameo for the show.”

7. See how the House of Black and White was created in the video below:

8. Why wouldn't Jaqen H’ghar let Arya into the House of Black and White? “He maybe wants to test her,” suggested actor Tom Wlaschiha, “to see if she's really serious about it. I love the scene where she sits outside in the rain all night repeating the names over and over again. She's so determined.”

9. Dorne, a kingdom that was new to the show in Season 5, posed an exciting opportunity for set director Deb Riley: “Is it’s the warmest of the climates that we visit,” Riley noted. “It’s also incredibly exotic. It was a real opportunity for us to introduce color into the world. These people are much more into sort of oranges and blues ‒ there’s real vibrancy and energy about the city.”

10. The Water Gardens of Dorne are filmed at the ancient Alcazar in Seville, Spain. Filming for Game of Thrones was the first time the palace had been closed off for a project.

11. “Although Jon might not know it,” actor Kit Harington revealed, “beheading Janos Slynt is actually avenging his father’s death. I think there’s some justice for the viewer in that.” In Season 1, Janos Slynt gave the order for his men to slaughter Ned Stark’s men which eventually led to his execution.

12. The Stone Men scene was one of Season 5’s most challenging sequences because they only had a few days to shoot it and needed to find a location in Northern Ireland that would feel otherworldly enough.

13. Prosthetics designer Barrie Gower created the aesthetic of the Stone Men’s skin. “We had a sample of what grayscale looks like in Shireen,” explained showrunner Weiss. “And then it was about extrapolating that little piece of grayscale onto a whole body in a way that was both kind of horrifying and slightly piteous.”

14. It takes about four hours apply the silicon prosthetics that go on the head and shoulders of the Valyrian Stone Men. Gower detailed: “We looked at different textures; elephant skin, cracked riverbeds, so we had a stony, rock look to it.”

Check out some costumes of the women characters of GoT below.