Game of Thrones has always had lavish production costs. Early seasons were made at a budget of around $6 million per episode, and the six episodes of the final season each cost around $15 million. But one of the most expensive television shows of all time fell victim to a two-dollar disruptor Sunday night: A Starbucks cup.
Fans noticed a disposable white and green coffee cup was sitting on a table during one of the celebratory post-battle Winterfell celebration scenes in Episode Four. And it wasn’t during just any part of the celebration—the set slip-up happened to take place at one of the story’s most crucial moments. As Daenerys Targaryen watched Tormund toast Jon Snow and realized that her nephew’s popularity combined with his legitimate claim to the Iron Throne posed a true threat to her power… a freaking Starbucks cup with its little cardboard holster was sitting right in front of her.
The first Starbucks opened in 1971 in Pike Place Market in Seattle, and Thrones is, of course, set in the fictional Westeros during approximately Medieval times. So, it’s unlikely Dany stopped by a Starbucks drive-through on one of her dragons en route to the celebration.
Any production will have its share of human error, and this isn’t the first avoidable-but-understandable mistake for Game of Thrones. (Remember, for example, the moment Jon attepted to save Rickon at the beginning of Season Six’s Battle of the Bastards and his Valeryan steel sword wobbled in a suspiciously rubbery way.) But this one felt particularly egregious in the context of a generally flawed and weirdly paced episode. All the criticisms of Season Eight—its tendency to indulge in lazy writing, fan service, and plot armor—were embodied in this one cup.
And of course, fans on social media went absolutely off on the gaffe.