Game of Thrones‘ third-to-last episode, The Last of the Starks, aired on Sunday, May 5, bringing with it plot twists, hookups, and a couple of unexpected (and controversial) deaths. As the dust cleared, however, viewers weren’t sharing fan theories or speculating about the preview for next week’s climactic showdown. Instead, they were fixated a rogue coffee cup that appeared during the episode’s post-Battle of Winterfell celebration.
The cardboard coffee cup, complete with a modern plastic lid, can be seen on a table in front of Daenerys about 17 minutes into the episode, while the Mother of Dragons carefully watches Jon Snow and Tormund Giantsbane celebrate the victory over the White Walkers.
GoT cinematographer: i know there are exactly the right amount of starbucks cups in the shot bc i shot it https://t.co/MKW5ifKKtb
— ☕netw3rk (@netw3rk) May 6, 2019
Now, HBO has responded, offering its own hot take. “The latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake,” HBO said in a press release, which was later reposted on the official Game of Thrones Twitter account. “Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea.”
News from Winterfell.
— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) May 6, 2019
Game of Thrones art director Hauke Richter had a more serious take on the quickly brewing controversy. In an email to Variety, Richter pointed out that odd items accidentally end up in shots in movies and television all of the time. “[The coffee cup error has been] so blown out of proportion [because] it has not happened with Thrones so far,” Richter said.
The Last of the Starks was one of the worst-reviewed episodes of Game of Thrones‘ eighth and final season. Many critics, including our own, claimed that the show sacrificed logic and character consistency in an attempt to bring HBO’s hit series to a quick, spectacle-driven conclusion. On social media, Daenerys’ coffee cup is being used as a symbol of Game of Thrones‘ allegedly careless, slap-dash attitude heading toward the finale. It’s also the source of some pretty great memes.
At the same time, with only two episodes left, it’s hard to imagine anyone who’s stuck with Game of Thrones this long checking out because of caffeinated production errors or haphazard storytelling, and if HBO can stick the landing, it’s likely that fans will forgive many of Thrones‘ sins. For HBO’s sake, they had better; the premium network has not one but three Game of Thrones spinoffs in active pre-production, including one that’s already nabbed Naomi Watts for a lead role.
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