Over the course of its eight seasons, Game of Thrones featured cameos by everyone from pop star Ed Sheeran to football player Aaron Rodgers. But despite the fact that author George R.R. Martin created Westeros and worked with HBO to bring his A Song of Ice and Fire novels to life, we never got to see his face peering out beneath a piece of period headgear. An initial pilot cameo was scrapped thanks to reshoots, and the show never managed to get it together and let Martin make an appearance. But thanks to CGI magic, one of Martin’s most famous creations made a cameo of their own—on an entirely different show.
Game of Thrones fans who tuned into the second episode of Westworld Season Three were treated to a pretty huge crossover Easter Egg. When Bernard heads back to Delos’s labs to hunt for Maeve, Stubbs guides him through a repairs shop for a park we’ve never seen before. And in it, two technicians are working on a familiar, scaly face: that of Drogon, Daenerys’ dragon. And the employees hard at work on the fire-breathing lizard were none other than David Benioff and Dan Weiss, GoT’s showrunners.
The Hollywood Reporter talked to Westworld’s Jonathan Nolan about how the scene came about, and it turns out that Nolan and co-creator Lisa Joy are friends with their GoT counterparts. “They have been incredibly supportive and friendly with us as we were getting our show up and running,” said Nolan, “George R.R. Martin as well. George has frequently pitched a crossover episode. When the time came for Luke and Jeffrey’s characters to be wandering around in the bowels of the Mesa, we could not resist.”
As for Drogon, “He ate a couple of PAs,” Nolan joked, “but that’s it.”
Martin himself laid the seeds for the cameos by suggesting to Nolan and Joy that Westeros might be just another Delos theme park. He shared his vision for a more extensive crossover on his blog:
I never wanted a full crossover, never thought that Westworld’s hosts should adventure in Westeros World as they have in Samurai World and War World… but a brief scene or two could have been fun, and would have been in keeping with the Delos concept. And, hey, I even suggested that they could bring back actors from GOT, characters we had killed. The hosts die almost weekly, after all. The fans might have gotten a kick out of catching a brief glimpse of Richard Madden, Sibel Kekilli, Esme Bianco, Ron Donachie, or Mark Addy again… and I suspect the actors would have been game as well.
It could definitely work—some GoT characters certainly seemed like they could be hosts stuck in a loop. There’s Jon Snow, who brooded for five-episode stretches before engaging in pointless acts of self-sacrifice over and over again for eight whole seasons. And Tyrion, who was hired as hand to a monarch every time he turned around, despite being demonstrably terrible at the job. The show taking place in Park Four would also explain why Season Eight was such a mess. Head of Narrative Lee Sizemore was pretty busy helping Maeve find her daughter and dying heroically—he probably didn’t have a lot of time to invest in the Westeros storylines.
But the sequence didn’t only reference Game of Thrones. In Michael Chrichton’s original 1973 Westworld film, Delos’ three parks are Western World, Roman World, and Medieval World, so the glimpse we saw of Park Four also nods to the show’s source material. The dialogue given to Benioff and Weiss also tips its hat to Westworld’s original creator, as the two technicians discuss selling the dragon to a “startup in Costa Rica.” Isla Nublar, the fictional setting for the Jurassic Park movies, also created by Michael Chrichton, is off the coast of Costa Rica. And Jurassic Park would definitely be in the market for a giant reptile.
At the very least, you can appreciate the meta-joke of Benioff and Weiss literally dismembering our beloved GoT characters with a hacksaw.