It took HBO and Game of Thrones‘ show creators two years to produce, shoot and edit the final season of the hit series, and each episode reportedly cost an incredible $15 million to make. However, it appears not much of that insanely huge budget went toward a continuity editor. During episode 4 of Season 8 at minute 17:39 – eagle-eyed viewers spotted a modern Starbucks cup in Winterfell, just casually sitting on the dinner table right next to Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).
While this episode brought a surprising amount of drama following the North’s epic defeat of the Night King and his army, such as Brienne and Jaime‘s love scene, Tormund crying, Arya saying no to Gendry’s proposal, and (Spoiler alert!) the beheading of Missandei, and Rhaegel‘s death, all anyone could talk about was this Starbucks cup, and how the hell it got into the Seven Kingdoms. The biggest question on viewers’ mind, however, who left their Starbucks in the shot in the first place?
Before going through each suspect, it should be noted that personal objects getting left in a shot is not uncommon in the filming industry. But with the technologically advanced, almost magical tricks that can be done in post-production nowadays, even human characters can be cut and pasted in and out scenes. So, the fact that a Starbucks to-go cup made it all the way into the final version of such a highly regarded series with an endless budget — it is quite astounding. It almost make you wonder if Starbucks owner Howard Schultz paid for the publicity, and nor should that theory be ruled out.
While the coffee cup could’ve been left by one of the hundreds of crew on set for the celebratory post-war dinner scene, as each actor has an entire team for wardrobe, a separate group for hair and make-up, and then add the whole camera crew, props, craft services, stand-ins, assistants, etc., the list of possible suspects is long.
What’s surprising though, this list includes producers and show creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff. They didn’t just appear in this episode as unknown soldiers, they were in the exact scene for which the Pike Place coffee was left!
So, not just one person dropped the ball here, a series of careless mistakes needed to happen so fans on Twitter could wonder if Dany takes her latte with extra whip? Or how long it took the barista to write her extremely long name on the cup.
Of course, the Seattle cup of joe might’ve belonged to another character. And there’s a particular behind-the-scene photo of Sansa (Sophie Turner) holding an identical cup seen on camera, while posing with Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey). Based on the outfits, hairstyles and age, it’s definitely a picture from Season 8.
But before we go blaming Sansa for sabotage and treason in Winterfell, it’s typical on large sets for coffee to be made in large batches with packages of to-got cups at the ready, so everyone’s walks around set with identical recyclable cups that are placed next to the vat. Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) was spotted walking around the Season 8 set with a coffee and cigarette, however it appears that he takes his to-go coffee without a lid. So, he can be ruled out as the culprit.
Emilia Clark outed herself as the possible coffee drinker, posting a photo on Instagram alongside co-star Peter Dinklage and former on-screen lover, Jason Momoa. On May 8, she captioned the behind-the-scene photo, “Did I just stumble upon the truth here?! The cup bearer does not drinketh the Starbucks tea… oh and this ain’t a spoiler just a lost wanderer coming home for a mid filming cuppa… @prideofgypsies you so fire you make my hair turn blue. ”
On-screen foe, Cersei Lannister, née Lena Heady also chimed in via Instagram, jealous that there’s apparently a Starbucks in Winterfell, and not King’s Landing. She wrote, “Ep 5 ..Do they open one in Kings Landing.. Will they use winter cups ..? Does Cersei get her oat pumpkin spice ….”
In the end, then question of who left their Starbucks cup in the shot in the first place, may forever remain a Thrones mystery.
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