Screengrab of the coffee cup. Image: HBO
Forget the Iron Throne. The object that attracted the most intense scrutiny in the latest episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones was a disposable coffee cup casually placed in front of Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen on the show.
HBO copped to the sloppy mistake with the above statement, which is more troll than explanation. But despite the light humor, an HBO spokeswoman confirmed on Tuesday that the cup has been digitally edited out of the scene.
While nobody can blame Daenerys for wanting a hot drink after a Long Night, fans still enjoyed roasting the show for the screw-up. As Motherboard’s Matthew Gault pointed out, the cup could have been easily edited out by a VFX artist before the episode aired to millions of eagle-eyed viewers. But it took a tidal wave of memes and jokes to prompt HBO to erase the cup from the scene.
This is not the first time that Game of Thrones had to remove a controversial prop from an episode. During its first season in 2011, the show used a model resembling George W. Bush for one of its severed heads-on-pikes. Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and DB Weiss said it was not a political statement, but that it just happened to be a fake head that was readily available.HBO apologized for the “unacceptable, disrespectful” prop and erased it from DVD versions of the show. However, the Bush head is still visible for a brief moment in the streaming version of the season one finale, “Fire and Blood.”The brouhaha over the coffee cup is also reminiscent of the reception of the recent Sonic the Hedgehog movie trailer, in which the title CGI character was widely criticized for odd design choices.Animators will now redesign Sonic before the release of the movie in November, suggesting that on-the-fly editing is becoming a commonplace part of film and television production.Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.