Eight seasons of Game of Thrones, by the numbers

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /

We’re all beyond excited to watch the final season of Game of Thrones this Sunday, but we’re a little sad as well, because on May 19, the show will be gone from our lives forever.


Boston Red Sox Game Of Thrones Ice Dragon Bobblehead
Boston Red Sox Game Of Thrones Ice Dragon Bobblehead /

Boston Red Sox Game Of Thrones Ice Dragon Bobblehead

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I know, it’s sad. Let’s all have a hug and a cry. Better now? Good. Let’s talk about numbers. HBO just published an eye-catching article cataloging some very interesting facts about the show’s footprint from from 2009 to now. Prepare to be amazed.

Game of Thrones first aired on April 17, 2011, and “is broadcast in 207 countries and territories and simulcast in 194 countries and territories.” That’s a lot of eyeballs watching the throne. How many eyeballs, you ask? U.S. viewership for each season was:

  • Season 1: 9.3 million
  • Season 2: 11.6 million
  • Season 3: 14.4 million
  • Season 4: 19.1 million
  • Season 5: 20.2 million
  • Season 6: 25.7 million
  • Season 7: 32.8 million

As you can see, growth was steady. And the show gave back, filming in 10 countries over all eighth seasons. The rundown:

  • Northern Ireland
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Morocco
  • Malta
  • Spain
  • Croatia
  • Iceland
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Scotland.

There were 49 locations in Northern Ireland alone, compared to just one in the Republic of Ireland.

Extras have been a huge part of the show. “The series has used 12,986 extras in Northern Ireland alone and 2,000 Northern Ireland crew members across the series’ eight seasons.” And how many days of acting and work have those extras put in? “105,846 days for extras across all seasons and countries.” That’s a jaw-dropping number.

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Of course, on a show with dragons and ice zombies, the visual effects have to be on point. Over the years, the show has used a total of 40 VFX houses in 13 countries, including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Northern Ireland, Spain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, China, France, Sweden and India. There were 13,250 VFX shots in the first seven seasons.

As we’ve all seen, the special effects have gotten more elaborate as the show has gone on. So have the weeks of post-production needed:

  • Season 1: 17 weeks
  • Season 2: 21 weeks
  • Season 3: 20 weeks
  • Season 4: 21 weeks
  • Season 5: 22 weeks
  • Season 6: 24 weeks
  • Season 7: 30 weeks
  • Season 8: 42 weeks

Holy crap, that is quite a jump from season 7 to 8. Everything people have said about the Battle of Winterfell being spectacular must be true.

And now, what we’ve all come here for: raw materials. “During all eight seasons, and specific to production in Northern Ireland, 3,748 pounds of rubber and 1.5 tons of metal were used for armory, with 1,300 shields created.” The show has also used:

  • 52,000 bags of paper snow were used
  • 163 tons of propane
  • 3,000 pyrotechnic effects
  • 4,000 gallons of artificial blood
  • 20,907 candles
  • 25 miles of rope
  • 22,966 feet of waxed cotton fabric to make more than 330 tents
  • 50 miles of fabric for costumes

The construction department used “745 miles of repurposed timber; 60,000 sheets of plywood; 20,000,000 screws and bolts; 65,000 bags of plaster; 1,320 gallons of wood glue; 1,200 blocks of polystyrene; 1,000 sheets of fire board; more than 1,000 miles of cable; and 120 semi-truck loads of reclaimed beams from warehouses and barns from all over Europe.” Reclaimed wood making its way onto the show is very cool.

Since season 4, the special effects teams used “24,421 pounds of silicone (for prosthetics) and 1,102 pounds of Coffee Mate (for pyrotechnics)” Wait, Coffee Mate? Really? Anyway, the longest prosthetics applications were for the Children of the Forest and the Mountain, which took seven hours.

Through eight seasons, Game of Thrones has used 12,137 wigs and hairpieces. “Daenerys’ wig color and style are the result of more than two months of testing and seven prototypes.” It’s all about getting that specific shade of peroxide blonde.

Then there are the mundane expenses, including 19,722 travel documents issued, 68,143 hotel rooms booked, 1,749 call sheets given out and 243 shooting schedules produced. “Primary unit photographer Helen Sloan has taken 1.4 million stills.” And you can bet a lot of them will be in the upcoming Game of Thrones photobook.

There’s even more fun number facts here. The only one that matters is that there’s three days left until the premiere.

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