House of the Dragon Crew Was on High Alert for Starbucks Cups

 The showrunners of House of the Dragon admit that they were on high alert for Starbucks cups on set to avoid a major Game of Thrones mistake. House of the Dragon is a prequel to the hit HBO fantasy series, which aired for eight seasons from 2011 through 2019. The new series, which premieres on HBO on August 21, 2022 with a 10-episode season 1, is based on George R.R. Martin’s 2018 book Fire & Blood and takes place two centuries before Game of Thrones, following an impactful Targaryen civil war. The cast of the show includes Paddy Considine, Emma D’Arcy, Olivia Cooke, Steve Toussaint, and former Doctor Who star Matt Smith.

Although Game of Thrones was a blockbuster show with a huge budget and crew for every episode, they still couldn’t avoid their share of bloopers. One of the most notorious mistakes the show ever made was in season 8 episode 4, “The Last of the Starks.” During one scene, a Starbucks cup can be seen resting on the table in front of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), a fact that surfaced online more or less immediately after the premiere of the episode. This led to a cavalcade of memes and jokes about how the modern beverage made its way into the fantasy realm of Westeros.

THR had the opportunity to speak with co-showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik at the premiere of House of the Dragon, which took place last week. They joke about the Starbucks blooper, acknowledging that all shows have their own mistakes and that it only blew up because of the popularity of Game of Thrones. However, Condal admits they had a “a very heavily policed set” with “lots of Starbucks-hunting,” prompting Sapochnik to joke that viewers can win a cup of coffee if they spot Starbucks cups that have been digitally painted out. Read their full quotes below:

Condal: [We had] a very heavily policed set — there was lots of Starbucks-hunting going on. We always joked around about it, that we were going to make Starbucks goblets so at least they fit in the scene.

Sapochnik: [We left coffee cups] everywhere we could so that later on we could paint them out digitally. See if you can see where the Starbucks cups were that we removed digitally after the fact, and if you can find one, there is a prize. A cup of coffee.

Although the Starbucks cup in Game of Thrones was later revealed to belong to Lord Varys actor Conleth Hill, it is still closely linked to Daenerys in the public perception, due to her being seated right in front of it. For this reason, it was probably extra wise for the crew to be vigilant about the intrusion of modern articles. She was long believed to be the last of the Targaryen bloodline, and should another Starbucks cup appear in the new series, the avalanche of memes comparing Daenerys to her ancestors would be truly overwhelming.
While it is important for House of the Dragon to avoid major blunders like the Starbucks cup, it would be interesting to see how the public would react to a similar blooper in the new series. With public opinion having soured on the final season of Game of Thrones, the prequel has some ground to cover to capture such an obsessive fandom. It would certainly be a viable litmus test as to how well the new series is being received compared to the original series.

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