Game of Thrones Showrunners Thought They Were Being Pranked When They Heard About the Coffee Cup Scene

We're over a year removed from the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, and though it seems like the series has mostly evaporated from the larger cultural conversations in online fandoms, it will never truly go away (thanks to HBO doubling down on a spinoff series). That final season was pretty poorly received in some corners, with countless eye rolling moments and observations that just felt off. One of the most talked about moments in those final six episodes however was something that's since been removed, the infamous appearance of a coffee cup in the background of one shot. Yes it was real, and yes it made it past the creators of the series who thought it was a prank.

This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter who have an excerpt from the upcoming book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon by James Hibberd. The book breaks down the entire development and creation of HBO's hit series from its first failed pilot to its finale, and features interviews with David Benioff and Dan Weiss. Included in the book is their reaction to learning of the dreaded coffee cup.

"I couldn’t believe it," Benioff says. "When we got the email about it the next day, I honestly thought someone was pranking us, because there had been things before where people were like, 'Oh, look at that plane in the background!' and somebody had Photoshopped it in. I thought, 'There’s no way there’s a coffee cup in there.' Then when I saw it on the TV I was like, 'How did I not see that?'”

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(Photo: HBO)

"I’d seen that shot one thousand times and we’re always looking at their faces or how the shot sat with the shots on either side of it," Weiss added. "I felt like we were the participants in a psychology experiment, like where you don’t see the gorillas running around in the background because you’re counting the basketballs. Every production that’s ever existed had things like this. You can see a crew member in Braveheart; there’s an actor wearing a wristwatch in Spartacus. But now people can rewind things and everybody is talking to each other in real time. So one person saw the coffee cup, rewound it, and then everybody did."

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The coffee cup spawned a million memes in its wake, and was quickly blamed on Daenerys Targaryen actress Emilia Clarke since it appeared closest to her in the shot. It was later revealed by Clarke that co-star Conleth Hill, who played Lord Varys, that he confessed to her the cup was his. Though it was assumed by many the cup came from Starbucks, it was actually from a local Belfast coffee shop by the name of Established Coffee.

The cup was quickly removed by HBO with versions of the episode streamed online via HBO GO and HBO MAX no longer featuring it, the blu-ray release of the final season seemingly does not feature it either.