Game of Thrones might be one of the most popular TV shows ever but its creators have admitted that it started life as “complete s**t”.
Showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff were among a small group of people to watch the pilot episode of the HBO series and, much to their disappointment, it “sucked”.
John August and Craig Mazin, both highly reputed Hollywood screenwriters, invited Weiss and Benioff to discuss the shocker on their Scriptnotes podcast. Mazin, a personal friend of the pair, had seen the pilot, surprisingly directed by Spotlight’s Oscar-nominated Tom McCarthy who has already said that it put him off TV directing for life.
“Watching them watch that original pilot was one of the most painful experiences of my life,” Weiss said. “As soon as it finished, Craig said, ‘You guys have a massive problem’.”
Shocking Game of Thrones scenes
Shocking Game of Thrones scenes
1/9 Sansa/Ramsey rape scene
Season 5, episode 6: Fans were outraged as the episode ended with Sansa Stark being brutally raped by her new husband, Ramsey. The camera soon panned to Theon as he watched on, terrified.
2/9 Shireen burns at the stake
Season 5, episode 9:Stannis burns his daughter Shireen at the stake after Red Priestess Melisandre advises him to make a sacrifice to gain more power
3/9 Theon gets his penis chopped off
Season 3, episode 10: While being tortured by Ramsey, Theon Greyjoy goes through all sorts of pain. The most horrible though is when his penis is cut off and then sent to his family.
4/9 George Bush’s head on spike
Season 1, episode 10: According to the directors, they couldn’t get enough prosthetic heads made up for the show and ended up using the spare one’s lying around. One of those just happened to be the fake head of George Bush, which eventually ended up on a spike.
5/9 Joffrey murders two prostitutes
Season 2, episode 4: In one of his most violent moments, Joffrey finds himself with two prostitutes in his room and the most disgusting thing he can think to do with them, uses them as living targets.
6/9 The Red Wedding
Season 3, episode 9: It was the turning point for the entire show. Just as everyone thought it was going the Starks way, they nearly all end up murdered in one of the bloodiest episodes of any TV series ever.
7/9 Rat torture
Season 2, episode 4: Torture is a pretty common occurrence on Game of Thrones, but none were quite a bad as this. In the scene a bucket of rats is put to a man’s chest and then heated up with a flame so they must eat through the man to escape. Terrifying.
8/9 Mountain head explosion
Season 4, episode 8: Just as everything was going Oberyn Martell’s way, it all literally blew up in his face. The warrior ended up looking like a squashed watermelon in one of the most awful scenes in the entire series.
9/9 Theon botched beheading
Season 2, episode 6: Beheadings: In one of the more gruesome beheadings, Theon strikes Ser Rodrick Cassel not just once but four times in the neck, finally taking it all the way off with a kick.
Benioff admitted that the main issue was that none of those watching the episode realised that Jaime and Cersei Lannister were siblings, meaning they had “somehow failed to establish the major, major plot point” of erm, incest.
“I was taking notes,” he said. “I had this yellow legal pad and I just remembered writing in all caps, ‘MASSIVE PROBLEM”, and it’s all I could think about the rest of the night. Craig didn’t really have any great ideas except that he said, ‘change everything’.”
Luckily, instead of binning Thrones, Weiss and Benioff got straight to work recasting major roles and reshooting 90 per cent of the pilot with a new director, Timothy Van Patten. Unfortunately, however, the video of the pilot has never been made public.
Mazin dared to take a look at the new version and branded it a “miracle” that left him “stunned”. “I very specifically remember walking out and I said, ‘That is the biggest rescue in Hollywood history’. It wasn’t just that they had saved something bad and turned it really good. You had saved a complete piece of s**t and turned it into something brilliant. That never happens!”
Emilia Clarke, who replaced Tamzin Merchant as Daenerys in Thrones, has already promised “epic” things from season six, which airs on 24 April.Reuse content