If you thought Game of Thrones could make it through its series finale, “The Iron Throne,” without another coffee cup debacle, then you’ve clearly missed how many missteps this show has made in its final season. As it turns out, the controversial ending included two similar production gaffes, in which modern-day beverages were left on the medieval set while the cameras rolled. As the episode aired Sunday night, sharp-eyed fans pointed out the appearance of two highly anachronistic plastic water bottles visible during a key scene.
The flubs occurred on the set of the King’s Landing Dragonpit, a massive outdoor amphitheater. The production filmed all the Dragonpit scenes outdoors and on location at a real Roman structure — the Itálica, located in sunny Andalucía, Spain. And it must have been hot that day because both John Bradley, who played Samwell Tarly, and Liam Cunningham, who played Davos, were spotted with telltale water bottles at their feet while their characters debated who should rule Westeros.
Like Emilia Clarke’s wayward coffee cup, spotted in the background of a scene two episodes before, in “The Last of the Starks,” the out-of-place water bottles immediately went viral, with some fans trying to fit the mistakes into Samwell’s narrative in the show itself.
He brought plastic bottles AND tried to introduce democracy. Definitely from the future— Isaiah Estrada (@NotoriousIME) May 20, 2019
Others used the production errors as yet another sign that the show’s final season has suffered from not just lazy storytelling but phoned-in production work too.
THE WATER BOTTLE.— C. | that is NOT my canon (@carohuntz) May 20, 2019
THIS IS NOT EVEN FUNNY ANYMORE.
We’ve had a coffe cup, a cameraman, sneakers, Jamie two handed, Drogon flying alone over KL and now a water bottle.
Being the worst GoT departments pic.twitter.com/d6dDpXYsPB
Some of the complaints mentioned in the tweet above seem unwarranted; for instance, “two-handed Jaime” refers to an offscreen error, in which a promotional photo for the show accidentally featured Jaime without his golden arm — something that was corrected for the show. The “cameraman” in question was a gaffe that happened on Westworld, not Game of Thrones, in which a camera operator was briefly shown onscreen. Like the coffee cup, the crew member was quickly edited out of the scene in question, albeit not until several hours after the episode’s original airing. In a review of the episode at press time, it appeared the water bottles had not been edited out of the episode; Vox has reached out to HBO for confirmation.
Naturally, some fans argued that it was mean-spirited to be this pedantic about a show with so many moving parts. But other fans made more salient, and hilarious, points about the episode itself:
They put the plastic water bottle in the episode to get you to talk about that and not the shitty episode pic.twitter.com/AXERf5oWZo— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) May 20, 2019
Are you trying to tell me the 3 eyed raven didn’t see this shit coming? All hail Bran the Broken, first of his name, ruler of 6 of the 7 realms, 3 eyes, 2 wheels and 1 water bottle. May his reign be long and recyclable. #GameOfThrones #BranStark pic.twitter.com/dv5sRhvBsl— ️ (@bnifoc) May 20, 2019
For all that this season of Game of Thrones has been a near-constant source of internet outrage, the water bottle errors provide proof of the show’s hefty contribution to social media and internet culture. We may never again see a television show or a geek cultural event as huge as this one, but we’ll always have the memes.