Ex-president's head was among the decapitated ones on the show — but it's not political, show's co-creators say
One of the many decapitated heads that appeared on "Game of Thrones" last season was a prop likeness of former President George W. Bush, its creators revealed in a DVD commentary.
In the tenth episode of the HBO hit's first season, the character Sansa Stark looks at several heads on spikes. One belongs to her father, Ned, and another to the former United States president.
The show's co-creators pointed out their use of a head with Bush's face — plus a heavy wig — but said they weren't making a political statement. (Someone using the name SidIncoginto on Reddit pointed out Bush's inclusion, and io9, which picked up on the oddity, has video.)
"The last head on the left is George Bush," says David Benioff, one of the co-creators, in the DVD commentary.
"George Bush's head appears in a couple beheading scenes," adds co-creator D.B. Weiss.
"It's not a choice, it's not a political statement," explains Benioff. "It's just, we had to use what heads we had around."
But Benioff and Weiss said in a statement to TheWrap that the similarity to the former president was unintentional.
"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," they said. "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 added: "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."
In an interview with TheWrap earlier this year, Weiss and Benioff said they tried not to deliberately inject politics into their show, based on the novels of George R.R. Martin.
"We're definitely not tempted to do anything consciously," Weiss said. "Of course we're voracious news readers and we live in the world and are very influenced by the world that we live in, so I think enough finds it's way in that way – probably more than enough finds it's way in that way. To try to do it on purpose seems like it would be a mistake."
Added Benioff: "I'm always kind of irritated when I'm watching some period story where it's very obviously trying to make some kind of allegorical statement. It feels like a falsehood. I know that sounds kind of funny when you're talking about the world of fiction. But it doesn't feel like it's coming from the world itself, but like it's trying to be commentary. Like the writer's trying to be clever and teach a lesson.
Weiss concluded, "It means the story isn't about what the story's really about anymore. Which means what it's really about starts to get flat and two-dimensional. I love it when "South Park" does it though."