A Starbucks style coffee cup made its way into the post-battle feast on this week's "Game of Thrones", leaving many of us wondering "Who Fucked That Up?"
To shoot the "perhaps too dark, but maybe just bad streaming" episode of Game of Thrones we discussed last week, The Battle of Winterfell, took a reported 55 night shoots. For most of us, that will involve a lot of coffee. While this week's episode took place after the battle, it can sometimes take a while to recover from an all-nighter, so it's not surprising that caffeine remained vital for the cast.
However, considering the high level of detail the show is known for, it's still somewhat surprising to see a cup of coffee sneak into a wine and mead-fueled sequence. (You can check it out yourself at 17:40 in the episode.)
But it left us wondering...how did that happen?
Most likely what happened is that the coffee was being consumed on set in between takes. While some have guessed that the coffee belonged to Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys on the show, we don't think that is likely.
Generally, when someone has such elaborate make-up as her character it would be normal to have a straw, even for a coffee, to avoid smudging the make-up. While the cup is between Dany and Jon, it's almost definitely coffee for Kit Harrington, who plays Jon Snow. That said, it's not the actor's fault since, generally, you won't want them leaving set between takes, drinks are usually brought in and out a member of the production crew so that actors can stay put and be ready to go immediately after a reset.
While there isn't likely one person we can or should blame, the way things on set work is that there are a large number of people who could have caught the cup, and it apparently slipped past them all, likely since it happens in the middle of a shot when a character moves, changing framing.
Shots get the most "picked over" attention at the start of the shot, and catching items in the middle is trickier. This particular shot has a head giving foreground blocking at the start of the edit, and likely that foreground blocking was there for a large part of the take, which is how it was missed on set. Art Departement is generally looking out for continuity errors, including misplaced items, and an outside item like this would usually fall on someone from Art, but since the scene has many moving pieces of art, with tusks and cups and plates and lit candles galore, one thing slipping through is forgivable.
A camera operator or anyone in video village might have caught it, and of course, whoever brought it in (a PA, often), should have taken it out again right before the take. The Script Supervisor might have caught it as well. But its also likely that on set they were all watching the performances, and this particular moment had a lot to watch with two people having an exchange while a third watches in the background, there is plenty to hold attention without searching the rest of the frame for errors.
However, like all things like this, while it can and should have been caught on set (or not happened in the first place), it should also have been caught in post. Another take could have been used, or perhaps the coffee cup painted out. If an assistant editor, the lead editor, the showrunners, network executives previewing cuts, and the online editor and colorist all missed it, well, it was a very sneaky coffee cup indeed. Considering how many people it slipped past, no one person should feel responsible for the error.
While we can spend hours wondering precisely how a barista would spell Daenerys, considering the level of details that goes into this show, there's also the possibility it was deliberate, and we're going to come down firmly on the side that this was an easter egg placed by the time-traveling Bran, and that everyone listed above was doing their job properly.