Game Of Thrones is, by and large, a very different show now than it once was, the showrunners having sloughed off characters, travel time, and extraneous storylines the moment they bypassed George R.R. Martin’s source material. But there have been other, more subtle changes, such as David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ unwillingness to kill off major characters, or the decidedly modern sensibility they’ve wormed into the dialogue once divorced from Martin’s own byzantine speeches. Last night, however, in an episode that also found characters Never-Have-I-Evering, Game Of Thrones proved just how far it’s veered from the fussy, deeply researched Westeros of yore by revealing that Winterfell has a Starbucks.
Sure, it’s easy to act as if this were just a mistake, an oversight born from one of the show’s many exhausting overnight shoots. But, as BuzzFeed’s Ellie Hall noticed, Weiss himself was on set, gussied up, we’re guessing, as a hyper-caffeinated Wildling.
Also, as others have pointed out, this isn’t the first time a lidded cup of joe was featured on the series. Just a few seasons ago, Jaime Lannister greeted the Red Viper while sipping on some of Westeros’ finest.
Basically, all pretense of this being a far-gone fantasy world completely divorced from the innovations and terrors of modern society was shattered when ubiquitous pop star Ed Sheeran swung by a few seasons ago to croon some bullshit and got his eyelids burned off.
All this is to say that, no, that was not a mistake. This ain’t your old man’s Westeros. If you’re still confused, allow The Simpsons to explain.
Regardless, last night’s episode had a lot more problems than a loose Starbucks cup. With only two episodes left, the show’s storytelling is increasingly muddled, the characters are inconsistent, and, for some goddamned reason, nobody seems to care about Ghost.
UPDATE: Though the show’s art director claims that the cup’s presence has been “blown out of proportion” because this sort of thing has, by his telling, never happened before (see above), HBO has nevertheless released its own response: “The latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea.” Ha ha.