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New Game Of Thrones book explains the Starbucks cup seen ’round the world

A scene from Game of Thrones in which a coffee cup is visible in the background
Screenshot: ET Canada (Fair Use)

Remember in the final season of Game Of Thrones when a Starbucks coffee cup was extremely visible on a table beside Daenerys? It was May 2019 and no one yet knew how bad the finale was going to be. Salad days!

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Now, a new book by journalist and screenwriter James Hibberd offers the complete behind-the-scenes story of Game Of Thrones and all that it took to bring the iconic HBO series together. Fire Cannot Kill A Dragon: Game Of Thrones And The Official Untold Story Of The Epic Series goes into the weeds and speaks with pretty much everyone connected to the show. So, naturally, Hibberd asked showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss about the Starbucks cup’s cameo role, and their response is utterly human.

Benioff and Weiss were simply so engrossed in composing the foreground of the shot, they explain, that the details within the background simply slipped by. It’s a classic case of not being able to see the forest for the trees (nearly literally, given the series’ “massive rooms built of huge wooden beams” aesthetic).

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“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 explains in the book. “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.”

There you have it. Nothing more dramatic at play than simple tunnel vision. Still, I’m sure we can all agree that spotting this coffee cup was the most fun any of us had while watching the entire final season of Game Of Thrones.

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

“like we were in a psychology experiment where we can’t see the gorillas running around because we’re too busy counting basketballs.”

Oh. Yeah. Totally! No, no I get it.