“Game of Thrones” is the type of show where even a hairstyle can lead to a theory about the storyline, and with Season 8 to start Sunday night, speculation about anything and everything has hit a fever pitch.
Actor John Bradley, who plays Sam Tarly, recently told HuffPost that some theories out there are “dangerously close” to being right. But there are tons more that just get it wrong. Here, we go over some of those stinkers.
“Game of Thrones” visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer spoke with HuffPost during the summer to help set the record straight, which he does below.
Rumor: There will be ice spiders in the show.
Answer: Probably not.
Ice spiders as “big as hounds” are a well-known commodity in “Game of Thrones” lore thanks to Old Nan’s stories, George R.R. Martin’s Westeros history book, “The World of Ice & Fire,” and more recently with Martin’s announcement of a “Song of Ice and Fire” calendar, which featured them on the cover.
We asked Bauer if there was any point when the show had thought about adding the ice spiders, but the visual effects supervisor said they were just a little too fantastical.
“They never wrote it in, and I think that [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] were very cognizant of not letting the show — even though it’s dealing with fantastical elements with mammoths, giants, dragons, reanimated corpses … everything about Melisandre — but I think they thought going to ice spiders and that sort of stuff was better for the lore in the show rather than making them characters in the show.”
He added, “It’s a bit of a fine line. For us, the show, I always describe as a mud and dirt show. It’s very earthy, and it also looks like our No. 1 goal is to make everything look like it’s photographed. The only time they went pretty far out was, I thought, when they finally insisted on a zombie polar bear, but we’d done zombie people, so it wasn’t a whole new fantastical creature. It was just a variation on a theme, but the ice spiders never showed up in the script.”
[Note: This interview was conducted in August, and Bauer was referring to previous seasons in his response.]
Rumor: The wights intentionally formed the Stark sigil.
Following the Wall’s destruction in Season 7, the fandom went slightly mad thinking the wights had formed the Stark sigil while marching across the threshold. Could this be a hint the White Walkers are connected to the Starks? Can we just confirm Bran is the Night King?!
“I’ve seen that, and I see [what people are talking about], but it wasn’t anyone’s intention. The fact of the matter is we had a top-down view. The hardest thing is, from a strange viewpoint, to look at something and understand what you’re seeing, so I did a huge photo research on that and found the aftermath of an avalanche, a mountain collapse, and we used that as the basis for that view, and it just turned out the army of the dead fit into the aftermath of that collapse in that way. In hindsight, it looks like the Stark sigil, but it wasn’t something we were trying to do.”
Rumor: Lady Stoneheart will appear.
Answer: Oh, sweet summer child.
Why even bother with this one? Winter is coming. The reanimated, zombified Catelyn Stark — who appears in the book series — is not.
“I saw it in the media, but it again never showed up in a script,” Bauer said.
Richard Dormer, who plays Beric Dondarrion, the character who gives his life to bring Stoneheart/Catelyn back in Martin’s books, recently told us, “I don’t know how things panned out the way they did, but I’m glad they did.”
Rumor: “Battle of the Bastards” featured a headless nod to Ned.
Answer: Theory decapitated.
This isn’t so much of a rumor as it is fans making jokes, but we asked Bauer anyway if that headless corpse riding into battle was a tribute to dead Ned Stark.
Bauer told us “Battle of the Bastards” involved a lot of disturbing photo research in terms of all the gore that’s featured.
“It was just how many ways could you show that people had been hacked to bits,” he said.
None of that research involved putting a photorealistic headless Ned on a horse, however.
“You see the guy on the horse minus the head because otherwise he looked alive … when you take the head off, you know he’s a dead guy. Of course, the camera swings around and he gets swatted by the giant. But as far as I know, it wasn’t meant to be Ned Stark, but [director Miguel Sapochnik] may answer that differently.”
Rumor: That was really Kit Harington’s butt in the Season 7 finale.
Answer: You bet your buns.
It was the bum shot heard around the world when Kit Harington went full moon for the Season 7 finale. And, according to Bauer, that hiney was all Kit, in all his golden ratioed glory.
“Yeah, Kit has a very chiseled body and, as far as I know, they’ve never used a body double for him. He’s perfectly photographable.”