This week, a story went viral when it comes to “Game of Thrones” — but it was not exactly of the pleasant variety. During the commentary on the season 1 DVD, it was revealed by executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss that one of the heads that they put on a spike in a scene featuring Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) was a mold of former President George W. Bush. While they put a wig on the head to make it more unrecognizable, you can still see part of Bush’s facial features in the video below at the 1:10 mark.
As a result of this, HBO is coming down hard for what many people are calling a disrespectful move against the office of President, and both the network and the co-showrunners issued a statement on the matter.
Benioff and Weiss: “We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc. We can’t afford to have these all made from scratch, especially in scenes where we need a lot of them, so we rent them in bulk. After the scene was already shot, someone pointed out that one of the heads looked like George W. Bush … In the DVD commentary, we mentioned this, though we should not have. We meant no disrespect to the former President and apologize if anything we said or did suggested otherwise.”
HBO: “We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste. We made this clear to the executive producers of the series who apologized immediately for this inadvertent careless mistake. We are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production.”
While the controversy surrounding the head mold being used is a worthy debate in itself, we also have to ask the following question — didn’t HBO watch and clear all the features for its DVD before releasing it? The fact that this is only coming out now is rather shocking, and feels rather reactionary versus if it was cut out before the disc ever hit stores.
Politics and the debate about disrespect aside, the biggest issue this controversy brings to the show is that it takes you out of what is otherwise a brilliant and well-crafted world by Benioff, Weiss, and George R.R. Martin, and instead puts attention on a modern political figure.
What do you make of the controversy, and who do you think is more to blame here — Benioff and Weiss for allowing the head to be used, or HBO for not cutting this commentary out of the DVD?