Only 10 more episodes until the Season 6 premiere. Finish #GOT50 strong by streaming Season 5 on HBO NOW, and joining @NiceQueenCersei, @Daenerys, @LordSnow and @GoT_Tyrion as they live-tweet together at 11 am ET daily. Enjoy the items below to complement your viewing experience.
26. "Hardhome" was meant to be terrifying. “We very much wanted it to have a horror movie feel,” said David Benioff. “You’ve got that classic horror movie trope of the dogs sensing something’s wrong before everyone else does. That’s the first thing that tips anyone off that something bad might be coming down the pike. It’s one of the things that we talked about with [director] Miguel Sapochnik: This isn’t a battle really, it’s a massacre.”
27. Another trick to filming "Hardhome" was to restrict the perspective. Director Sapochnik broke down the idea: “We only told it from the main characters’ point of view, and mainly from Jon’s point of view because it’s Jon’s story in the end.”
28. Tommy Dunne explains the White Walker’s weapons: "For the White Walkers, we have a long pale sword which is supposed to be a shard of ice. The handle is a bit more samurai-ish. We’re very lucky, this year we found a brand new translucent rubber. It’s much more durable, much stronger, and we’re able to fight with it, which is the main thing."
29. The Hardhome site required more than 1,000 logs to create the stockade fence and parts of the buildings. The stockade fence was, in fact, dug into a real foundation.
30. The Meereen fighting pit is actually a bull ring in Osuna, Spain: “The thing that was really interesting about the Osuna bull ring was that it was very plain,” production designer Deb Riley pointed out. “Being able to work with what was essentially a blank palette meant that it had a very close relationship to the architectural language we’d already established.”
31. For the scene at Daznak's Pit, the team built a flame thrower on a motion control crane to create the base of what would eventually (via visual effects) become Drogon.
32. See a storyboard of Dany’s defense in the Great Pit of Daznak.
33. Tyrion had a strong reaction to Dany’s great escape from the Sons of Harpy attack. David Benioff recalled the script note: “The last line in the script, as he’s watching her fly off, was: He’s never met a girl like her before.”
34. Iain Glenn, who plays Jorah Mormont, loved filming the stunt scenes in the Great Pit. “Combat unarmed and armed, is something I've always loved since I was at drama school,” Glenn told HBO.com. “The trick of it is to know it inside and out. It's exactly the same with stage fighting or film fighting, you need to know the moves, and if you know them, they can go fast without worrying, ‘Oh god, what's coming next.’ “
35. Shooting in Dubrovnik, the streets are too small for vehicles, so the equipment and set gets carried up by crew and porters.
36. Maisie Williams had an intense experience when it came to filming as blind Arya: “We had these massive contacts, which were like 16-millimeters wide. They lifted up my eyelid and slid in this thing. It honestly felt like I had bottle caps in my eyelids. I couldn't see anything out of them, so it was quite real. It was really hard to open my eyes, and it was just perfect for what I had to do.”
37. Like father, like daughter: Keisha Castle-Hughes was very influenced Pedro Pascal’s performance as her on-screen dad, Oberyn Martell. “So much of my performance, especially, was based on him,” Castle-Hughes told HBO.com. “It was really important that the movement was similar, because Obara is the most like Oberyn. She's trained her entire life with him to use the spear like he does.”
38. Director David Nutter has a surprising conversation with a very special Game of Thrones fan... President Barack Obama. "He came up to me, shook my hand, then put a hand to my shoulder and said, 'You didn’t kill Jon Snow, did you?'" recalled Nutter. "'Mr. President, Jon Snow is deader than dead,' was my response. The Red Wedding was his favorite episode and he kept telling me, 'You keep killing off all my favorite characters.' "
39. If she had to trade roles with anyone, Maisie Williams stated that she’d like a crack at Cersei: "I think being Cersei in her cell scenes -- not because I could do it better because she was f**king amazing, but just because I love those scenes where you character is downtrodden and when you're at the lowest of the low," she said. "So where she's licking the water off the floor, that sort of thing, you can get there emotionally and it can be quite a real thing to act. I think that would be a fun scene to do."
40. For the aforementioned “licking the bowl scene” in the High Sparrow’s prison, the crew put a special fiberglass stone into the floor, which could be sterilized, so that actor Lena Headey wasn’t licking something everybody had walked on.
41. Maester Aemon’s death has special significance: It’s the series’ first natural death.
42. Conleth Hill, who plays Varys, mentioned that he could see Sansa on the Iron Throne. “I think she's going to be amazing politician and diplomat by the end of her journey. She's learning from a master at the moment but she knows a lot anyway.”
43. The design of the cells where Cersei is held by the High Sparrow were based on some real cells the production visited in Shane’s Castle in Northern Ireland.
44. Armourer Tommy Dunne creates multiples of each weapon. For example, in the case of Areo Hotah’s axe: “I’ve got two real ones, and a visual effects handle ‒ the blade’s not on it, the shaft of the handle is there and then obviously visual effects will then put on the head if need be.”
45. The axe is approximately 7’ long, and features diamonds, according to Dunne.
46. Check out Trystane Martell’s sword:
47. The wildlings use short swords, explains Dunne, “because the snow is quite high in climate that they live in, so any long sword would just gather snow, as will the sheathes."
48. David Benioff revealed that Stannis’ death was initially written as a longer scene: “We finally decided it didn’t feel like Stannis. On the most trite level, he’s a man of few words, but I think on a deeper level, he’s a man who’s always been consumed with doing his duty. He doesn’t have any resentment towards Brienne for what she’s about to do.”
49. Benioff and Weiss have a tradition with actors playing characters who are killed off. “Before actors get their scripts where they’re gonna die, they get the phone call,” Benioff shared. “Sometimes we call people about something else and they’re very scared that we’re calling as the grim reaper.”
50. Benioff found peace with Jon Snow’s story, as did actor Kit Harington. “He had some instinct that this was coming,” Benioff told HBO last year. “He loves the character and I think he’s had a great time on the show. But he’s also a young actor – he’ll get more work. I’m not too worried about him. He’s got great hair.”