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Oops: A Coffee Cup Appeared on ‘Game of Thrones’ & Everyone Thinks Dany Went to Starbucks

Sunday night’s new -- and significantly better lit -- episode of Game of Thrones included a raucous medieval house (castle?) party of epic proportions. After defeating the army of the dead, the heroes of the show and remaining survivors deserved...

Edited - HBO
This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8 through the first four episodes. Visit Beyond the Wall, our official Game of Thrones hub page for recaps, theories, spoilers, explainers, and the best episodes of all time.

UPDATE - Tuesday, May 7: The coffee cup is officially gone now. Several hours after the episode aired with the anachronistic to-go cup visible in the scene, HBO edited it out in a new version that's currently available to watch on its streaming platform. No more "Starkbucks," no more "Lord of Light Roast," and no more "Flat Wights." Winterfell has gone caffeine-free. However, the hilarious goof will live on in the memes forever. Original story below.

Sunday night’s new -- and significantly better lit -- episode of Game of Thrones included a raucous medieval house (castle?) party. After defeating the army of the dead, the heroes of the show and remaining survivors deserved to drink Winterfell dry and, well, let loose a little. Apparently, the revelry also included hitting up Starbucks for a cup of coffee.

Either Winterfell was the site of the very first coffee shop in the Seven Kingdoms, or someone working on the show forgot the cup between takes. You probably missed it at first, but the cup appears around the 17:50 mark in the fourth episode of Game of Thrones, titled “The Last of the Starks.” It can be seen situated just in front of Daenerys as she seethes with jealousy watching Tormund gush about his best pal, Jon Snow.

Of course, it didn’t take long for the oops to become a full-blown meme, with fans wondering how the Mother of Dragons takes her coffee. Maybe she was sipping on a Flat Wight.

Starbucks regulars couldn’t help but wonder how baristas, known for butchering more names than the Mountain has people, could manage Daenerys’ name. Would she let them off easy with “Dany,” or go full Mad Queen give her full title? The world demands answers, Khaleesi.

Other fans seemed to think the coffee cup was Game of Thrones cinematographers’ way of getting back at fans for complaining about poor lighting for essentially eight seasons straight. Perhaps it was better -- or at least more to the period -- when a single slender candle was illuminating each scene. Who are we to say.

Starbucks finally responded to the seemingly accidental product placement on Monday afternoon, several hours after all the free publicity started rolling in overnight. The coffee giant seemed surprised that Dany, the literal Mother of Dragons, would order what appears to be a hot coffee drink when she could have had its all-new Dragon Drink, which may or may not have been inspired by all of the dragon hype surrounding Game of Thrones. Real clever!

Of course, Starbucks got in on some of the jokes, too. 

Game of Thrones officially responded to the goof, too. In a statement, HBO tried to make light of the screw-up, saying, "The latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea." Welp. We'd hate to be the servant responsible for that mixup!

Interestingly, the company didn't confirm the cup was from Starbucks and vaguely described it as a "craft services coffee cup." 

Prior to the statement from HBO, Bernie Caulfield, an executive producer on the show, acknowledged the cup's appearance in the scene was a mistake during an interview on WNYC's All of It with Alison Stewart. 

"I can’t believe [it]” Caulfield said, per a recording of the interview (below). "Our on-set prop people and decorators are so, you know, so on it one thousand percent. I just honestly can’t, I’m like, is that really? Because nowadays you can’t believe what you see because people can put things into a photo that really doesn’t exist. But I guess maybe it was there. I’m not sure. But, yeah. We’re sorry! “

According to a report by Gothamist, she went on to joke about it. “Westeros was the first place to actually to have Starbucks," she said. "It’s a little known fact."

This isn’t the first time someone on the Game of Thrones cast and crew has made the mistake of leaving something modern in the frame. In a behind the scenes look at a season 7 episode titled “Beyond The Wall,” fans spotted a white pickup truck in the background while Jon and his crew battled hoards of the Night King’s followers.

Unlike the coffee cup, however, the truck didn’t make it into the final episode. It was only visible in a featurette called “The Frozen Lake,” uploaded to YouTube days after the episode aired, INSIDER reported. The truck is first visible at about 9:20 in the clip.

But maybe the coffee cup cameo wasn't actually a mistake, but rather a clue intentionally inserted by the showrunners, as at least one fan pointed out:

Anyway, we wouldn’t have guessed the secret to surviving “The Long Night” was coffee, but we can totally relate.


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Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it -- find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.