For nearly as long as fans have been obsessed with HBO’s Game of Thrones, they've heard stories about the series' original—and unaired—pilot. From George R.R. Martin’s cameo to Daenerys and Catelyn being played by different actors, the details of the show's original incarnation are intriguing. Especially because it's widely rumored that the episode is just plain bad. (Kit Harington once shared that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weis have jokingly threatened to use his pilot footage as blackmail if need be.)
Finally, we now have some insight into just how different the unaired pilot was. The Huffington Post recently paid a visit to Texas A&M’s Cushing Memorial Library and got a hold of a box containing a production draft of the original Game of Thrones pilot. Thankfully for us, they’ve detailed some of the strange events that took place within it. Here are some of the most surprising.
1. Catelyn stark wanted Sansa to marry Joffrey baratheon.
Right from the start of the aired Game of Thrones pilot, Catelyn Stark became an immediately beloved character for her fierce devotion to her family and standing up for what was right—even if it meant saying no to King Robert Baratheon so that her husband, Ned, could remain in the north. However, in the unaired episode, Catelyn actually urged Ned to allow their daughter Sansa to be married to Joffrey Baratheon. The script reads as follows:
Ned: “I’ll refuse him. I’m a northman. I belong here, not down south in that rats’ nest they call a capital.” Catelyn: “He would make our daughter Queen.”
2. The White Walkers spoke.
Probably the most peculiar difference from the aired pilot to the unaired one is that the White Walkers were supposed to speak in a type of “ice language.” The unaired pilot script opened similarly to what aired, with men of the Night’s Watch encountering the humanoid creatures. The script then reads:
"The crackling is coming from multiple sources now. There are not the noises of mindless predators. This is a language, and whatever is speaking it is getting closer ... Will closes his eyes against the icy voices beneath him, muttering silent prayers."
While many fans know that the White Walkers do indeed speak in the books, fans of the TV series might wonder what exactly these creatures would sound like. In a 2017 interview with The Huffington Post, Game of Thrones language creator David J. Peterson explained that he wanted it to be similar to what’s in the books, which sounds like “the cracking of ice on a winter lake.”
3. Daenerys and Khal Drogo's original introduction was much more innocent.
Although fans eventually warmed up to Khal Drogo as Game of Thrones went on, he was initially introduced as brute who forced himself on Daenerys Targaryen. But in the unaired pilot, their romance was actually far more innocent. The script reads
He pulls her down into his lap. Dany is flushed and breathless. He cups her face in his huge hands and she looks into his eyes. Khal Drogo: “No?” She takes his hand and moves it between her thighs. Daenerys: “Yes.”
Though the pilot we did see featured an understandably controversial scene in which Khal Drogo rapes Daenerys, Emilia Clarke sees it as an important part to understanding her character's growth throughout the series. "At the heart of it, we’re telling a story; you need that part of the story to feel empathy for Daenerys," Clarke told Glamour in 2016. "You see her attacked by her brother, raped by her husband, and then going, ‘F*** all of you, I’m gonna rule the world.’ That’s where we are now.”
4. It was unclear that Cersei and Jaime were siblings.
Arguably the most shocking scene that we did see in the first episode of Game of Thrones is when Bran Stark, while climbing up the tower at Winterfell, accidentally sees siblings Cersei and Jaime Lannister engaging in sexual activity. To calm Cersei's nerves, Jaime—with no hesitation—pushes Bran out the window, causing him to be paralyzed for the rest of the series. However, in the unaired pilot, the brutal nature of this scene was compounded by the fact that Cersei was not a consenting party to it.
In the original episode, viewers did not know Jaime and Cersei were related yet and saw Jaime having his way with her by force. When Bran peeked into the room, the script reads as follows:
The naked man grabs her by the hair and forces her to rise to all fours. She gasps with pain. Woman: “Stop…” He does not stop. Keeping one hand on her hair, he pushes himself himself to his knees. He seizes her hip with his free hand and pulls toward him, thrusting deep into her. Woman (Cont’d): (Moaning) “Stop it… stop it… please…” Her voice is low and she does not push him away; the harder he pulls her hair, the more she moans.
The original pilot may have a reputation for being unaired due to its poor quality and confusing storylines, but we'd be willing to watch it.