Author George R.R. Martin was asked if he had a resolution or ending to the seemingly endless conflict. He replied that the end would be a cloud of dust or snow being driven by the wind across a vast graveyard full of tombstones.
The series takes its name from the first novel in the book series - "A Game of Thrones" - which is actually known as "A Song of Ice and Fire." George R.R. Martin's story credit acknowledges the entire series under this title, rather than the title of individual volumes.
Features actors from two different adaptations of The Lord of the Rings: Peter Vaughan, who played Denethor in the BBC Radio adaptation; and Sean Bean, who played the character's son Boromir in the Peter Jackson films.
Carice van Houten was previously asked to audition for a different role when season 1 was shot, but schedule conflicts prevented her from auditioning. She was asked to come back to audition during shooting of season 2, and was cast as Melisandre.
Yara Greyjoy, introduced in the second book and season, is named Asha in the books. The name was changed for the television series to avoid confusion with Osha.
The first season premiered on Sean Bean's birthday (April 17th).
While most of the show is largely faithful to the books, composite characters do appear. The most prominent is the prostitute Ros, who is a composite of several named (Alayaya, Chataya, Kyra) and unnamed characters from the book series. Another composite character is the Spice King, who appears in Season Two.
SPOILER: Series author George R.R. Martin reported on his blog that after the filming of the episode in which Sansa's direwolf Lady is executed, the dog that played Lady, a Northern Inuit named Zunni, was adopted by Sophie Turner (IV), the actress who plays Sansa.
In Westeros, bastards (also 'natural child' or 'baseborn') born to nobles are given surnames different than their father's, according to the region they were born in. These surnames are mostly associated with the geographic or climatic features of the respective regions: in the Reach - the bastards' surname is Flowers; in the Westerlands - Hill; in the Iron Islands - Pyke; in the Riverlands - Rivers; in Dorne - Sand; in the North - Snow; in the Vale - Stone; in the Stormlands - Storm; in the Crownlands - Waters. The special surnames apply only to noble-born bastards, who are openly acknowledged by their noble parent. Therefore, bastards both of whose parents are commoners, or noble-born bastards that are unacknowledged by their noble parent (like Gendry) cannot use the special surname. A noble-born bastard can be legitimized by royal decree, thus is considered as trueborn child and changes the surname to the father's. However, the social stigma of the bastardy may not always be lifted even after legitimization.
SPOILER: For the most part, Season 2 is based on the second novel in the series "A Clash of Kings". However, some of the plot points from later in the season, such as Catelyn releasing Jaime Lannister, and Robb breaking his betrothal to House Frey; are actually taken from the early chapters of the third novel "A Storm of Swords". The writers have also said that, given the length of the third book, they are not likely to finish it in the ten episodes given to each season, so it will likely spill over into the fourth season. It is also likely that the fourth and fifth novels ("A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance with Dragons") may both be used as source material for a fourth and fifth season, as none of the same characters appear in both novels, which are meant to take place simultaneously.
Maester Aemon Targaryen of the Night's Watch is revealed to be blind in the novels. He is played by Peter Vaughan, who is legally blind himself.
Liam Burke (III) was cast as Aerys II Targaryen, the "Mad King" in flashback scenes, but the scenes were cut.
The official words of House Lannister "Hear Me Roar!" are seldom mentioned. Their unofficial motto "A Lannister always pays his debts" is often used, mostly in negative context, meaning that Lannisters always repay unkindness with unkindness.
According to the novels, the sigil of House Baratheon is a black stag with a crown above its head on a field of gold. In the TV series, the Baratheons' banner depicts a stag with a crown around its neck.
During an interview for the second season, Sophie Turner (IV) (Sansa Stark) said she was most looking forward to filming Sansa's relationship with Sandor Clegane AKA the Hound (played by Rory McCann).
The first season used Northern Inuit dogs, a type specifically bred for wolf-like appearance, to stand in for the direwolves (the Stark's house sigil). However, since direwolves are known to be much larger than normal wolves, real wolves were digitally composited into scenes for season 2. This strained the budget and the schedule, hence why there are only a handful of scenes with Grey Wind (Robb Stark's wolf), Summer (Bran Stark's wolf) and Shaggydog (Rickon Stark's wolf); Ghost, who belongs to Jon Snow, is shown in brief glimpses.
The naturally brunette Emilia Clarke captured the eyes of audiences around the world when she first appeared as the blonde Daenerys Targaryen in the show, nabbing the role after fellow British actress Tamzin Merchant dropped out of the pilot for undisclosed reasons.
According to the novel, the ranger Will was beheaded by the Other, while Gared fled south till he was caught and executed by Eddard Stark. In this episode, their roles are swapped.
The makers of the show (on which the animal training duties are headed by James P. Warren) initially considered using actual wolves. But this idea was nixed because wolves present certain dangers plus they're illegal in the U.K., where the show is filmed - especially since they would be working with child actors. The Northern Inuit breed was chosen because of its resemblance to wolves, yet they possess the requisite, adorable factor.
Sansa Stark named her wolf Lady. Lady was played by Zunni from Mahlek Northern Inuit Dogs. (Sophie Turner (IV), who plays Sansa in the series, adopted Lady as her own pet when the series wrapped).
Features four actors from the Harry Potter film series: Natalia Tena (Osha) played Tonks; David Bradley (Lord Walder Frey) played Argus Filch; Bronson Webb (Will) played a Slytherin student; and Julian Glover (Grand Maester Pycelle) voiced the giant spider Aragog.
SPOILER: The Starks find a Direwolf (The Stark's Sigil) that has been killed by a Stag (The Baratheon's Sigil). This is a foreshadowing of future events where a Baratheon (Joffrey) will be responsible for the death of a Stark (Ned).
In the novels, the left side of Sandor Clegane's face is burnt. In the series, it is the right side of his face.
The episode title "Winter Is Coming" is the motto of House Stark.
In the book, Catelyn receives the letter from her sister hidden in the false bottom of a box, rather than as a normal message.
According to the novels, Cersei never gave birth to child of Robert. As she revealed to Eddard, she was once pregnant with a child of Robert, but had the child aborted out of hatred for him. Robert was unaware to both the pregnancy and the abortion.
The novel does not indicate any connection between Lady's death and Bran's awakening from coma.
According to the original novel, it was not Tyrion but Donal Noye who chided Jon Snow for humiliating the other recruits, and suggested that he should befriend them.