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In Game of Thrones‘ final season, the only thing hotter than Daenerys Targaryen’s fiery onslaught was this: the coffee cup.
It’s one of the most famous fourth-wall breaking moments in television history, let alone the history of HBO’s flagship fantasy series: “The Last of the Starks,” the comedown hour following the war-fueled “The Long Night,” features a scene in which the House Stark allies are celebrating their unexpected victory — and an even more unexpected beverage appears in the background, in the form of a coffee cup.
Although it was promptly scrubbed from the episode, the coffee’s appearance in the first place became the stuff of legendary memes, with even the Thrones castmembers casting aspersions on each other over who brought the cup onto the set. But the biggest question is this: How did the cup fly under the radar of showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss?
In James Hibberd’s upcoming book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, which chronicles the creation of Game of Thrones from start to finish, Benioff and Weiss open up about the infamous caffeinated beverage scandal that shook Westeros and the lands beyond.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Benioff says in the book, in an excerpt exclusively obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. “When we got the email about it the next day, I honestly thought someone was pranking us, because there had been things before where people were like, ‘Oh, look at that plane in the background!’ and somebody had Photoshopped it in. I thought, ‘There’s no way there’s a coffee cup in there.’ Then when I saw it on the TV I was like, ‘How did I not see that?’”
Adds Weiss, “I’d seen that shot one thousand times, and we’re always looking at their faces or how the shot sat with the shots on either side of it. I felt like we were the participants in a psychology experiment, like where you don’t see the gorillas running around in the background because you’re counting the basketballs. Every production that’s ever existed had things like this. You can see a crew member in Braveheart; there’s an actor wearing a wristwatch in Spartacus. But now people can rewind things and everybody is talking to each other in real time. So one person saw the coffee cup, rewound it, and then everybody did.”
More stories like this one can be found in the pages of Hibberd’s Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, available Oct. 6.
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