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Game of Thrones' biggest onscreen mistakes

HBO's juggernaut series Game of Thrones has become one of the biggest shows in television history, smashing records in everything from viewership to Emmy nominations to battle sequences, and it's not hard to understand why. By mixing political intrigue with huge battles, emotional drama, an army of ice zombies, and even dragons, there's something in Thrones for every viewer, and after eight seasons, the show has cemented itself as one of the most popular series of all time.

You might think that with a show this huge, the production would be pretty flawless, and while the effects, music, and set pieces on the show are typically pretty unimpeachable, the people behind it are only human, and are bound to have a few slip-ups here and there. From coffee breaks to migrating scars and rubber swords, here are a few of the biggest onscreen mistakes you can catch (and chuckle at) throughout Game of Thrones.

The coffee cup memed 'round the world

During the fourth episode of Game of Thrones' eighth and final season, the majority of the show's characters found themselves celebrating their victory against the Army of the Dead at Winterfell in a raucous party scene filled with drinking games, dirty jokes, and even a marriage proposal. As Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is venerated by his friends for his valiant efforts during the Battle of Winterfell and his aunt-girlfriend, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) watches, a coffee cup is clearly visible on the table in front of her, sticking out like a sore thumb among mugs of ale, goblets of wine, and other medieval-style props typical of Thrones' time and style.

Naturally, fans didn't let this pass quietly, and they stormed the internet to make a million Starbucks jokes (who can resist a jab about baristas inevitably spelling Daenerys' names and titles wrong?), and even the cast got in on the joke. HBO, for their part, released a jokey statement about the mistake but went on to digitally remove the cup from the episode. In the end, Starbucks got an astounding amount of free advertising out of the mistake (even though the cup wasn't theirs), so ultimately, the ubiquitous coffee chain got the last laugh.

Too many wigs

Throughout the series' run, Game of Thrones viewers have watched Daenerys Targaryen pick up titles, amass armies, free the downtrodden, and experience enormous overall character growth as she evolves from a meek, naïve child bride to one of the most powerful players in the Seven Kingdoms. As she fights her way to the Iron Throne, Daenerys learns new traditions from the different tribes and people she encounters along the way, and one of them has to do with her hair and its very specific styles. Thanks to Daenerys' first love, Khal Drogo (a king of the Dothraki warrior race), one of Daenerys' signature traditions is to keep her hair long and continue to add complicated braids to her updos, since braids indicate battle victories for the Dothraki, and long hair means you haven't yet been defeated by your enemies.

With that many braid wigs laying around, it's probably hard to keep track, and sharp-eyed viewers caught a rare wig error during the first episode of Thrones' eighth season. As Daenerys rides into Winterfell alongside Jon Snow, her wig visibly changes, displaying a totally different braid style between two quick shots. Daenerys' hair is a pretty important symbol, but sometimes, even the crew probably has trouble remembering which wig goes on when.

A bastard has no name

Thrones has always placed plenty of emphasis on its bastard characters, from Jon Snow (who turned out to not be a bastard at all, but the royal heir to the Iron Throne) to Ramsay Bolton (who was legitimized by his father, Roose Bolton, after winning several battles under the Bolton name), and their location-based last names carry huge importance as well. Jon, raised as the bastard of Northern lord Ned Stark, went by "Snow" thanks to his supposed place of birth in the North (as did Ramsay), but other bastards bear names like Sand, Rivers, or Waters, depending on where in the Seven Kingdoms they were born.

In the fourth episode of season eight, Gendry (Joe Dempsie), who is the only bastard born to the late King Robert Baratheon to survive a mass execution ordered by Robert's illegitimate son Joffrey, is granted a new title by Queen Daenerys, who officially names him Gendry Baratheon of Storm's End, giving him a royal name and a lordship in one fell swoop. However, Gendry self-identifies as bearing the bastard name of "Rivers," which is incorrect — if Gendry had ever been acknowledged by his father, he would have had the last name Waters.

A whole new world

Throughout eight seasons, fans have become quite familiar with Game of Thrones' sets and various locations, and since the beginning, the show has made use of incredible natural beauty across the world to bring the Seven Kingdoms to life. From quiet shores in Spain to the rolling green hills of Northern Ireland, snowy spots in Iceland, and ancient Croatian cities, Thrones has utilized some of the most gorgeous places on Earth to serve as stand-ins for these fantastical locations, giving the show a sense of enormous scale.

As the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, King's Landing is one of the grandest locations on the show, positioned as a compact yet large city that sits directly on the sea. Thrones set their King's Landing scenes in the real city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, known as the "jewel of the Adriatic," which now draws hordes of visitors every year thanks to its prominent screen time on the show. However, during the eighth season, the gates of King's Landing — once a verdant, pastoral space — took on a new and confusing look, with an expanse of flat, empty desert stretching out from the capital. If viewers had never seen the gates before, this might make some sense, but considering that audiences have spent plenty of time looking at King's Landing, this continuity error is especially jarring.

Another coffee break, anyone?

The coffee cup spotted during season eight's "The Last of the Starks" inspired plenty of jokes and japes, with countless comments about how Thrones, with its painstaking attention to detail, couldn't be bothered to spot such an obvious anachronism (though, for the show's part, they quickly admitted the cup was a "mistake" made by a hard-working yet tired crew). Thanks to long hours and grueling shooting schedules, there's bound to be plenty of coffee cups laying around Thrones' set, and most people don't know that this wasn't even the first errant cup to be spotted on the series.

During season four, episode two, "The Lion and the Rose," which focused almost entirely on an ill-fated royal wedding, a behind-the-scenes shot of the Lannister clan catches Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) clutching a coffee cup of his own — and to add insult to injury, Jaime's missing right hand appears to have grown back as well (clearly, Coster-Waldau had taken off his fake gold hand for a moment). Since the scene was part of a behind-the-scenes featurette and didn't make it to the episode, it didn't attract as much attention and was clearly edited out, but it still goes to show that there are plenty of caffeine habits waiting to slip up the stars on the set of Thrones.

Who's in which house again?

The opening credits of Game of Thrones have been lauded for their well-designed, imaginative take on the series, giving fans plenty of Easter eggs throughout the years as well as spotlighting each location prominently featured in each season. After years of moving across the Seven Kingdoms, with stylized, moving models of each major city or location popping up to show where fans might find their favorite characters this time, the season eight title sequence changed considerably, focusing on the North and King's Landing as the massive war between the two factions of Westeros draws to a bloody close.

During the opening credits, sigils appear next to actors' names identifying their characters' House in the Seven Kingdoms, from Starks to Targaryens to Lannisters, but every now and then, someone has ended up identified with the completely wrong house: during the first season, Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, was suddenly a Targaryen (especially glaring considering she's listed next to her Stark siblings); Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen herself, ended up marked as a Lannister; and Iain Glen, who plays Daenerys' faithful right hand man Jorah Mormont, was also apparently a secret Lannister. This show does have a lot of characters to keep track of, but these particularly obvious gaffes probably could have been avoided.

Be a little more careful with Khaleesi

One of the most serious afflictions in Thrones lore is known as greyscale, a super-contagious, virus-like disease that turns human skin into a stone-like substance and makes the victim both unrecognizable and insane. Spread by touch (or potentially by touching a contaminated item), greyscale is notorious and deeply feared — even when the spread of it can be stopped, as it was for Shireen Baratheon (Kerry Danielle Ingram), most of Westeros agrees that greyscale is incurable and must be quarantined, especially considering that ancient outbreaks of greyscale were halted thanks to mass quarantines in locales like Valyria.

During the show's fifth season, as Jorah Mormont and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) travel through ancient Valyria to track down Daenerys, they encounter a group of violent Stonemen, all afflicted with serious greyscale, and though Tyrion literally escapes their clutches, Jorah ends up with a greyscale lesion just a day later. A short while later, when Jorah and Tyrion have met up with Daenerys in the fighting pits of Mereen, Jorah grabs Daenerys to save her life, but since he still has greyscale at this point, he could have transmitted the disease and killed her simply by touching her. After taking great care to illustrate that Jorah can't touch anyone at all so as not to infect them, this seems like a pretty massive oversight, even in the middle of a tense battle scene.

That sword might not be the best choice

Game of Thrones is no stranger to huge battle setpieces, and season six's "The Battle of the Bastards," a long-awaited showdown between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton, was no exception, pitting the underdog Stark family against the vicious, sadistic Bolton clan. Considered one of the best episodes of the entire series, "The Battle of the Bastards" combined an incredibly choreographed and gorgeously shot battle sequence with real emotional heft and an incredibly satisfying ending (specifically, one in which the evil Ramsay is tied up and fed to his own starving dogs at Sansa's unforgiving hands), so it's no surprise that fans and critics alike venerated the popular episode, which scooped up a whopping seven Emmy Awards in categories that included writing and directing.

Fans were thrilled to see Jon charge into righteous battle with his sword Longclaw (given to him by Jeor Mormont, the late Commander of the Night's Watch), but in one particular shot, something seems to be a little wrong with the blade. As Jon jumps onto his horse to enter the fray, his sword literally bends, making it obvious that Kit Harington was outfitted with a rubber sword for this particular shot. Jon probably won't take down any enemies with this, but it at least gave viewers a good laugh after the episode aired.

Alone at the Wall

During the show's third season, Jon Snow infiltrates a group of Wildlings (the name given to those who live beyond the Wall and beyond the official rule of the Seven Kingdoms), only to fall in love with Ygritte (Rose Leslie), a fierce, fire-haired warrior who spends most of her time telling Jon that he "knows nothing." Eventually, Ygritte falls hard for Jon in return, and the two of them set out to scale the Wall and make their way into Westeros with a few other Wildlings. Though Jon eventually returns to the Night's Watch, betraying Ygritte, she still can't bring herself to kill him, and eventually dies in his arms when the Wildlings stage an attack on the Night's Watch, leaving Jon bereft at the loss of his first (and some might say only) love. (Clearly, the onscreen connection inspired some real-life sparks, considering that actors Kit Harington and Rose Leslie tied the knot in 2018).

Ygritte and Jon are still pretty hot and heavy by the time they reach the top of the Wall along with a few other wildlings, and as they look out at the green wilderness of Westeros, they kiss passionately, elated by their achievement. However, their kiss is so powerful it apparently knocks any other wildlings right off the Wall, since everybody else vanishes by the end of the shot. Wanting some privacy is understandable, but this seems to take it a bit too far.

One extra has sword trouble

On a huge show like Thrones, there's bound to be some prop accidents, especially when a lot of the props involved are enormous metal swords meant to look as menacing as possible. As with all fantasy series, swords carry a lot of weight (literally), with characters gifting, naming, and venerating specific weapons that travel throughout the show. A perfect example is Ned Stark's sword, Ice, which is melted down after his execution and made into two new swords, named Widow's Wail (by Joffrey, naturally) and Oathkeeper, which ended up in the possession of Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth, respectively. Since Ice was made of rare Valyrian steel (one of the only substances lethal to the Army of the Dead), the swords made from Ice — as well as Jon's Longclaw — played vital roles in the Battle of Winterfell, placing utmost importance on these storied weapons.

Needless to say, swords on the show are treated with the utmost respect, but sometimes, extras might have a little trouble managing these massive weapons. As Ser Barristan Selmy (Ian McIlhenney) is unwillingly discharged from the Kingsguard during the first season, one of the extras has some trouble getting his sword back into his sheath while everyone else performs the action smoothly and swiftly — which, embarrassingly for that stuntman or extra, ended up making it into the final cut.

The brotherhood of the traveling scar

Jon Snow has faced more than his fair share of adversity during Game of Thrones, but his lowest moment was definitely during the show's fifth season finale, when, as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, he's unceremoniously betrayed by his own men and stabbed to death in the courtyard of Castle Black. After Jon joins forces with the Wildling army to help protect the Realm of Men against the Army of the Dead, some of the men of the Night's Watch take issue with Jon's alliance, and they plot to bring him down. Jon is left to bleed out in the snow in a heart-wrenching sequence — but by the second episode of the sixth season, the red priestess Melisandre (Carice van Houten) arrives at Winterfell to raise our hero from the dead, letting Jon live to fight another day.

After the attack, Jon is left with a massive scar on his chest which seems as if it might never heal, especially considering that same scar sticks around long enough to be visible in one of season seven's final episodes, "Beyond the Wall," when Jon is seen shirtless as he recovers from a brutal fight against White Walkers. However, since viewers last saw the scar, it seems to have shifted further from his breastbone — unless it's a magic scar, it seems as if hair and makeup missed the mark (literally) on this one.

Stay thirsty, my friends

You might think that after the now-infamous coffee cup gaffe during Thrones' final season, the production crew might be a little more careful, but much to the Internet's delight, that wasn't the case. During the series finale, after Jon kills Daenerys, a council of high-born Westerosi lords and ladies must decide what to do next, and they end up picking Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) to rule the Realm.

However, choosing Bran as the next king wasn't the strangest development when the council gathers; not one, but two water bottles are visible in the scene. The first one can clearly be spotted beneath Samwell Tarly's (John Bradley) chair, and the second is tucked underneath Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), making it even more frustrating that neither was spotted. Naturally, Twitter went crazy with jokes once again, which didn't help matters considering that the finale was already under fire from a number of fans. It makes sense that both the actors and crew would need to stay hydrated while they're in heavy costumes in the heat, but maybe do a quick sweep during filming — or during the editing process — to make sure no water bottle is left behind?