Being a deeply devoted Game of Thrones fan, much like anything else, can almost seem like a lifestyle at times. When initially casual conversations about it begin to stray from the events of the series and into behind the scenes trivia, the fandom's diehard devotees are usually the culprits.
That said, it's not like you even need to wait that long to pick them out - they usually wear their dedication, quite literally, on their sleeve. There's nothing a fanatical fan of any stripe loves more than collectibles, merchandise, and other odds and ends to show off their adoration for Arya, their deference to Daenerys, or their titillation over Tormund's tall tales. Whew, I'll have you know that I was really reaching for that last one.
Anyway, this one's sure to be a delight for the hardcore fans that we're talking about (myself included) because we're going to be looking at, well, all of the above! Since we're done mucking about with the introduction, let's have a look at ten behind the scenes pictures those fans are sure to love - as well as ten choice bits of merchandise that you're more than likely to find in their hoard.
20 BEHIND THE SCENES: The Night King's A Perfect Gentleman
A picture's worth a thousand words, or so the worn out husk of a cliche would have us believe. If there's any weight to that assertion, then this one's absolutely priceless.
At some point between takes during the production of the eighth season's third episode, the Night King must have decided that Bran was looking a bit chilly, and opted to be a good lad and hold his umbrella for him. Isaac Hempstead uploaded the image to his Instagram after someone decided to capture the moment, sarcastically commenting that it was from episode three's alternate ending, in which Bran and the Night King live happily ever after. D'aww.
19 GOTTA HAVE IT: House Stark Messenger Bag
If you know no king but the King in the North, then this suave fur-lined messenger bag is a great and less than subtle way to show fellow fans who you would bend the knee to. It probably bears mentioning that no dire wolves were harmed in the making of this incredibly fashionable satchel.
I mean, it might break the immersion a little bit when you fish your laptop out of it, but at least you still get the considerable benefit of putting your Stark pride on full display.
18 BEHIND THE SCENES: Maisie Williams Starstruck By Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran's Game of Thrones cameo drew a lot of attention, with some fans even lashing out over how out of place his inclusion seemed to be. But seriously, look me in the eye and tell me it isn't one of the most wholesome things you've ever heard when you know the story behind it.
Apparently, Maisie Williams is an incredible fan of the soft-spoken pop performer, and his appearance on the set that day was meant to be a surprise for her. Imagine how hard her jaw must have hit the ground when she arrived on set and realized that she'd be filming with her favorite artist!
17 GOTTA HAVE IT: The Hand Of The King Pin
Now, this is cool, and subtle enough for everyday wear on your jacket, purse, backpack, or anywhere else that you could manage to pin it unobtrusively. Or maybe as obtrusively as possible! After all, what good is such a commanding symbol of authority if it doesn't get noticed?
Granted, the Hand of the King seems to be an office that hasn't worked out too well for most of those that have held it. But don't let that deter you from trying your luck! I mean, sure, "heavy is the crown," and all that. But sometimes the pin can be a bit heavier. Just ask Eddard Stark.
16 BEHIND THE SCENES: Cersei & Tyrion Sharing A Moment
There's not a great deal of additional context to be had here, but the expressions painted onto the faces of the normally at-odds Lannister siblings should probably say quite enough about what's going on here.
While Cersei and Tyrion aren't exactly on friendly terms in the show's context, this humble slice of life from between takes is a nice reminder that a lot of the core cast have forged friendships that span, at the very least, eight years. No doubt they're practically family to one another, even if they're at one another's throats while in-character.
15 GOTTA HAVE IT: Longclaw Umbrella
There's no better companion to have at your hip when winter's coming. Or spring. Or... well, anytime it rains or snows, really. Inclement weather is an enemy that knows no season, so you'd best be prepared.
While it's made of a high-quality steel material, it definitely isn't Valyrian steel - so I wouldn't suggest attempting to take on any white walkers with your trusty umbrella. Primarily because it wouldn't work and you'd find yourself handily bested, but also because white walkers aren't real and you really don't want to get thrown out of Taco Bell for the third time this week. I mean, hypothetically. It's not like I'm speaking from experience or anything.
14 BEHIND THE SCENES: Dragons In Real Life
For some, getting a peek at the special effects solutions that bring some of the series' spectacles to life might ruin the magic for them. For the rest of us, it's equal parts interesting and utterly hilarious.
Not to mention impressive - having a strong enough imagination to play off of neon green foam dragon mock-ups in a way that's remotely believable is a talent that deserves some serious appreciation for the actors and actresses that actually manage to pull it off. Here's to you, Emilia.
13 GOTTA HAVE IT: Dragon Egg Replica
This is definitely the conversation piece of choice for those that are so taken by Daenerys' beautiful children that they fancy the idea of mothering, or fathering, dragons themselves.
Just mind the fact that they aren't going to hatch, no matter how long you sit on them or leave them in the incubator. And though it should go without saying, you probably shouldn't attempt Daenerys' method of hatching them at home. Or anywhere, really. Don't try it anywhere, period.
12 BEHIND THE SCENES: Gemma Whelan Shaking The Water From Her Boots
While the events portrayed on screen are absolutely fantasy (I know, that must be terribly disappointing for some of you), it's easy to forget that filming still provides some very realistic nuisances - not least among which is getting water into your boots while you're filming in damper climes.
Gemma Whelan, or Yara, if you fancy, obviously had a fairly creative solution to this issue. But hey, as a bonus, she didn't need to worry the wardrobe department by constantly tugging her boots off and back on to drain them.
11 GOTTA HAVE IT: Weirwood Tree Goblet
Chances are the "I drink, and I know things" jokes are wearing a little thin by now, so I'll spare you that much.
But I, for one, won't stop you from swearing your oaths to the Watch before this awesomely detailed Weirwood goblet. Well, either that or start alienating your immediate family by claiming that you're a three eyed bird and you can see the future. That's totally your call. Either way, people are bound to look at you funny, so hopefully you'll also adopt Bran's complete immunity to brutally awkward social situations.
10 BEHIND THE SCENES: Septa Unella Seems A Lot Nicer Out Of Character
I mean, there's no shame in taking a selfie when the opportunity presents itself, yeah? I have to confess, Septa Unella's typically austere and intimidating facial features really light up when she's wearing a goofy grin.
Seriously though, there's nothing like a candid between-the-takes photo to really show you another side of an actor or actress. It certainly takes her from "I'll shame you and whack you with a wooden spoon," to "Let's have a cup of tea and look at pictures of cats," in fine fashion.
9 GOTTA HAVE IT: Iron Throne Tankard
Gazing upon the Iron Throne can lead one to deeply contemplate the nature of power. Can a tyrant rule benevolently? What exactly is a responsible expenditure of limitless influence, and by what right does a man deem it responsible? Also, if this pointy sword-chair were a mug, what would I fill it with?
I'd suggest hot cocoa, personally. Marshmallows are optional, but preferred. Something about sipping frothy hot chocolate from a symbol of absolute conquest seems perfectly reasonable to me.
8 BEHIND THE SCENES: High Fiving The Night King
Theon has fallen after his heroic and redemptive last stand, and the Night King steps toward Bran, staring down at him with an icy, emotionless glare. As he readies himself to strike down his ancient enemy, Arya leaps at him from behind in a desperate, last-ditch effort to... give him a high five?
Right, so that's not at all how things went. But you have to admit, this photo of Maisie Williams and Vladimír Furdík sharing a congratulatory high five during the shooting of the eighth season's third episode is absolutely priceless.
7 GOTTA HAVE IT: The Starks' House Sigil Baking Tray
If you've ever wanted to channel your inner Hot Pie and whip up some Stark-themed baked goods, these baking trays make the whole process and absolute cinch. You could also pull off ice cubes, or miniature popsicles! Seriously, you could have a lot of fun here.
Regardless of your chosen confection or pastry, they're sure to be an absolute hit at your next watch party. Just make absolute certain that you're not bringing them to a wedding - I've heard that Starks don't tend to fare too well at weddings. Just a word of advice.
6 BEHIND THE SCENES: The Stark Kids Playing Cards
Well, mostly Starks, anyway. Looks as if we've got a certain Greyjoy in the mix here. Seeing how the actors pass the time between shoots is always fascinating and somewhat humble, providing a solid reminder that these larger than life characters are just people at the end of the day.
Besides, it's more than a little entertaining to consider the idea that Theon wasn't held at Winterfell as a ward over the Greyjoy rebellion. Maybe he just wagered a little too heavily on a bad hand.
5 GOTTA HAVE IT: House Targaryen Purse
Because who better to guard your hoard of gold than a dragon? Though we do use paper money here in the real world, and the prospect of putting a fire breathing beast anywhere near your hard-earned benjamins probably seems a little less than intuitive. Alright, forget the fluff, then.
But the purse is still absolutely gorgeous, sporting the striking three-headed dragon sigil of House Targaryen for all to see. If you wind up with a few strangers bending the knee next time you're out at the mall, do yourself a favor and roll with it.
4 BEHIND THE SCENES: The Brotherhood Without Banjos
While filming for season seven was winding down, Rory McCann (The Hound), Richard Dormer (Beric), Kristofer Hivju (Tormund) and Iain Glen (Jorah) got into the habit of busying themselves with singing and acoustic instruments, performing impromptu covers of Tom Waits and the like. They tentatively titled themselves the Brotherhood Without Banjos.
The resultant clips got quite a bit of traction on social media, so much so that it spurred Dormer to comment that the quartet might be "popping down to the recording studio in Belfast" while filming the next season. Needless to say, I'm all ears on that front.
3 GOTTA HAVE IT: Chugger Of Dragons
I know the saying goes "I drink, and I know things," but if you're breaking out these glasses you're a lot more likely to forget a few things.
Regardless, there's no finer vessel for your chosen nectar than this set of glasses made to resemble Daenerys' dragon eggs. They're pretty awesome, even if the idea of slurping down the contents of a dragon egg has some relatively creepy implications. As a cool bonus, they come in a box that's strikingly similar to the one Illyrio used to present said dragon eggs to Daenerys.
2 BEHIND THE SCENES: Happy Birthday To The Kingslayer
The prospect of celebrating your birthday behind bars hardly sounds like a good time to anyone in their right mind. But Nikolaj Coster-Waldau looks about as pleased as Hot Pie in a... well, in a pie shop, especially given the circumstances.
That is a suspiciously low number of candles, I feel the need to point out. But if we're being totally fair, a cupcake doesn't really offer you a whole lot of surface area to work with. Either, way, it's probably best not to pick apart such a sweet gesture, and it looks like it went well appreciated.
1 GOTTA HAVE IT: Longclaw Letter Opener
If you're in need of a trusty blade to help you do battle against your monthly utility bills, then look no further. This miniaturized version of House Mormont's ancestral blade will carve through them like a cake.
Well, it'll carve through the envelope, anyway. You're likely better off not carving through the bills themselves. Do that and you might wind up without electricity and internet service, then you won't be able to tune into the show next week. And, y'know, be without light, heat, and air conditioning. But as people with our priorities well sorted out, we're mostly worried about missing the next episode.
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