The Game of Thrones season 4 premiere is two days away and I am in a tizzy. We have to wait so long between seasons, it’s enough to make the most mellow itchy with anticipation. And, from what I’ve heard, this season will be chock full of action. Being Bark and Swagger is all about dogs, I was curious to see which of the “GoT” stars were dog lovers, had dogs or shared dog-related fun facts for us hungry fans. What I discovered was some cool, personal info on our beloved band of warriors. So, whether you’re fans Baratheon, Lannister or Stark, I hereby give you Game of Thrones’ Bones: Of Direwolves & Dogs on The Celebrity Spot.
For the uninitiated…
Game of Thrones roughly follows the three story lines of the books, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. The fantasy drama series is set in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and chronicles the violent struggles among the realm’s noble families for control of the Iron Throne. You can learn more about how the show’s settings, characters and plot elements reference much of European history on Wikipedia. Game of Thrones has a huge international fan base, and has received widespread critical acclaim, receiving numerous awards and nominations, including a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Drama Series in all three seasons, a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Television Series – Drama, a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in Long Form, and a Peabody Award. Among the ensemble cast. Peter Dinklage won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for his role as Tyrion Lannister.
On, now, to all matters Westeros and dog.
Lena Headey (Cersei Baratheon)
There’s many words that come to mind to describe Cersei, but a good one is scheming. For history buffs, Cersei brings to mind the very real Isabella, wife of Edward II of England (1295–1358), lovingly called the “she-wolf of France”. Haha…how delightful! When British actress, Lena Headey, steps out of costume and into real life, she is another sort, altogether. Funny, clever and very quirky (in a good way), Lena is a real big tweeter (her account, for those interested, is IAMLenaHeadey), and shares often very cryptic quips, like “Have a beautiful Tuesday. Always look inside tree knots .. Boo Radley may have been…” Uh, ok…
I have to say I love this girl and all her wackiness. And she’s a big animal lover, and I love her for that, too! She has five or six dogs (and a bunny and goldfish). I know Wizard is her beagle, who farts and apparently howls at the most inopportune times…”Was it REALLY necessary for my beagle to howl like the possessed at 3am.. Was it.. WAS IT ?!!! (another tweet). She also has a Brussels Griffon named Angela Landsbury. She wasn’t always called that. I think she started as Nugget, until a friend remarked that she looked an awful lot like Angela Landsbury. And that, was that. Then, there is Monket and Skippy (both Dachshunds) and Irish (who looks like a cutie pie mixed breed). Sadly, in 2010, Lena lost her beloved senior dog, Mr. Tanner. Headey is a longtime vegetarian, and has campaigned on behalf of animal rights and supports PETA. And, she practices boxing and yoga, which seems so Lena, to me. Kick-ass and zen. Yeah! Her 4 year old son, Wylie, appears to take after his left of center mom. What’s his name for his imaginary great ape? Funky knuckle. Creative.
Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister)
Called the “Brad Pitt of little people,” Peter Dinklage is the topic of much ooing and aahing on social media, because he’s a cool-looking and interesting character, and I don’t mean when he’s in character. He’s got the down-to-earth brooding thing down. Another vegetarian, who’s said, “I like animals, all animals. I wouldn’t hurt a cat or a dog – or a chicken or a cow. And I wouldn’t ask someone else to hurt them for me. That’s why I’m a vegetarian,” Peter is also a PETA supporter, and even made a testimonial video on their website. Whenever he seems to be eating a meat product on screen, it’s really tofu. Dinklage loves his rescue senior dog, Kevin (what a great name for a dog, huh?), and thanked his dog sitter, by name, during his 2011 Emmy acceptance speech, for watching Kevin so he could be at the awards show. Peter is married to theatre producer, Erica Schmidt, and they have a two-year-old daughter Zelig (another cool name). The two frequently join the star and Kevin on their walks.
For his role on Game of Thrones, New York magazine named him one of the “Eight Actors Who Turn Television into Art.” And for any X-Men fans out there, Peter plays Bolivar Trask, creator of the Mutant hunting Sentinels, along with fellow actors Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Ian McKellen in the next installment, X-Men: Days of Future Past, out May 23.
Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen)
I couldn’t find out much about Emilia Clarke’s dog, Roxy, but she’s just so freaking cool, I had to include her! As Daenerys, she’s shown such power, strength, humility and grace, that Clarke has said the role has, “…given me an opportunity to fly the flag for young girls and women, to be more than just somebody’s wife and somebody’s girlfriend.” Yes. If she weren’t an actress, she said she would be an architect, a singer, or a graphic designer. And yes…she is beautiful. She was voted #1 on Ask Men‘s Top 99 ‘most desirable’ women of 2014 list.
One of the coolest things to happen to her recently? Madonna asked to borrow her Game of Thrones’ costume for a Jewish Purim festival holiday photo. The shot went viral on Instagram. I know. You’re thinking, separated at birth. Madonna’s even rocking the blond Daenerys-like wig!
One of the most uncool things to happen to her recently? About a year ago, she suffered a brain aneurysm and was lucky enough to make it to and be treated at NYC’s own New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
She’s crazy talented, and can sing and play piano, flute and guitar. Emilia is also a highly skilled alto, ballads, blues, cabaret and jazz singer. Lest you think she’s all artsy fartsy, Clarke’s sporting skills include horseback riding, ice skating, rowing, running, sailing, skiing, swimming and tennis. Exhausting to even think about such talent!
Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark)
I love this story. Sansa Stark loves her big, hairy direwolf protector, Lady, brought to Winterfell after being found standing over her dead mother with her brother and sister pups. Sansa loses Lady after nasty Cersei orders the kill, carried out by Ned Stark, Sansa’s father. And, that’s the exact moment her brother, Bran, wakes up from his coma. Are you still with me? But there’s a happy afterlife for this pup. Lady might’ve been a goner, but this beautiful Northern Inuit breed dog named Zunni, is very much alive and needed a forever home, once her tv duties were through. “Growing up I always wanted a dog, but my parents never wanted one,” the 17 year old Sophie Turner confided in an interview with Britain’s Coventry Telegraph. “We kind of fell in love with my character’s dire wolf, Lady, on set. We knew Lady died and they wanted to re-home her. My mum persuaded them to let us adopt her.” How awesome! So Lady, aka Zunni, is living the good life in the small, beautiful English village of Warwickshire with Sophie and her family.
It’s that family that keeps Sophie’s feet planted firmly on the ground. Her mom gives her a daily list of household chores, and her two older brothers keep her ego in check, watching her acting work and usually ending up telling her, “That was awful!” But, the wise-beyond-her-years actress says she’s grateful for it. “They’re not afraid to put me down, as brothers should,” Turner declares.
Jack Gleeson (King Joffrey Baratheon)
Cruel, arrogant, sadistic, tyrannical…dog lover? The vicious King Joffrey Baratheon may be the most dislikable character on Game of Thrones, but when the crown comes off, Jack is a puppy lover at heart. He had a love fest on the street, not with a young, beautiful starlet, but a young, beautiful puglet named Debbie. The video and images went viral on Vine, and blew up Joffrey’s sinister spot in the shake of a doggy’s tail. But, don’t be sad! The evil King Joffrey returns Sunday to make you cringe, once again. Yes!
But, once Joffrey is no more on the series, Jack may be no more to acting. He’s been very vocal about his dislike of Hollywood and of celebrity culture in a 30-minute speech at Oxford in which he said of his experience, “I detested the superficial elevation and commodification of it all, juxtaposed with the grotesque self-involvement it would sometimes draw out in me.” OK,, then! Gleeson does admit that “the intensity of evil in Joffrey is slightly higher” than everyone else on the show, he’s not above a little tongue-in-cheek defense of him. “He’s a good guy, deep down. You don’t see the scenes in which he’s going to the orphanage and he’s feeding the puppies.” Jack has said he intends to pursue an academic career rather than professional acting after the show. He does seem the intellectual, doesn’t he?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister)
I couldn’t find much of anything on Nikolaj and dogs, except that he and his family have two small ones. But, did find out that he was once very, very afraid. “When I was a kid, I was always afraid of small dogs, because they always seemed like the ones that would attack,” he shared in an interview. “Either they wanted to bite you or they wanted to fuck you, and I didn’t like that. And the irony, of course, [is that] my family, we have two dogs and they’re two tiny, little, very sweet dogs.” Never heard someone describe the humping that dogs sometimes do in quite that way, but, well…I don’t know. On to cutie Kit Harrington!
Kit Harington (Jon Snow)
Check this out. His ancestors include Sir Richard Harington, the 12th Baronet Harington; Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville; and Sir William Molesworth, 6th Baronet. Hardly a bastard. But, Kit Harington is anything but fancy pants. He seems quite the down-to-earth guy, whose idea of a great first date is a nice meal with good wine, so you can get to know each other. And, like all good men, he loves animals! “I love my dog. I love Cooper, or Ghost, as he’s called,” the actor, referring to his direwolf, exclaimed during a panel at San Diego’s Comic-Con recently. “We got on very well. He just didn’t do what he was told,” he added, noting that the dog happily went after the meat in his hand rather than act the part of an intimidating animal. “He’s wagging his tail and he had his tongue out, not looking threatening or silent at all. But, I think he did a fabulous job, really.” Sweet. He also shared, “I would like to have a dog, but that wouldn’t be fair. He would have a bad life, always on the road.” Maybe one day, Kit.
You may not know that Harington played the role of Albert in the original stage version of War Horse, while he was still a young guy studying in school, and played the character until 2009. He also auditioned for Game of Thrones with a black eye! “I don’t remember what happened, but it made me look a bit tougher than not having a black eye I guess,” he quipped. And he spent all of season 3 with a broken ankle. Injured during a stunt scene on the show, you think? Nah! Harrington shattered his ankle by climbing through a window when he’d lost his house keys! Game Of Thrones’ costume designer, Michelle Clapton explained, “He had a medical boot that he could take off, but he still couldn’t walk. We cut the back out of his [costume] boot so that he could put it on without having to actually step into it and just bound it to his leg. He managed really well, considering the amount of pain he was in.”
He loves horror flicks and taking pictures. He doesn’t liked spiders, flying and injections. Nothing unusual there. “Before I dreamed being an actor, I thought of becoming a journalist, a cameraman or a photographer.” The sensitive guy also writes poetry. But, we won’t see it anytime soon. “[I write them] only for myself, I would never publish them. At the moment I’m trying to make a script, but not to make a movie. I think it’s good to have a personal project, besides your everyday job.” I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see what kind of poetry comes out of Jon Snow! What’s makes his very raw relationship with Ygritte (played wonderfully by Rose Leslie) even more delicious, is they dated in real life and may be back together again, according to reports of sitings recently. We’ll just have to live vicariously through Jon and Ygritte.
Hope you had fun taking this trip through the Game of Thrones‘ bones with me. Doggy bones, that is. The clock is ticking. What kind of Game of Thrones premiere party do you have planned?
And who is your favorite character? Share with me in the Comments section below.