While watching a show as big as Game of Thrones, fans often look out for Easter Eggs which connect episodes to other parts of the series, or even sometimes to real life. As far as the HBO show, many clues have been found which actually foreshadow what’s to come, that we only realize until major events have happened. But there is one minor appearance in Thrones which seems like a jab to a real-life person. But apparently, it wasn’t with ill intent.
The acclaimed series caught major heat back in 2012, when it was discovered that former President George W. Bush’s severed head appears on a stake in Season 1. If you go to the 10th episode of the first season about 12 minutes in, you’ll get to the part where Joffrey brings Sansa to see her late father’s head. One of the few around belongs to Bush.
In the Season 1 DVD commentary, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss confirm the head does indeed belong to Bush, explaining, "The last head on the left is George Bush. George Bush's head appears in a couple of beheading scenes. It's not a choice, it's not a political statement. We just had to use whatever head we had around." That admission, of course, did not go unnoticed. The network ultimately faced a ton of backlash because of it.
HBO later released an apology, reading:
“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.”
Benioff and Weiss released a separate statement with more of an explanation, reading:
"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."
Clearly, it wasn’t the best idea to admit to basically decapitating a former president, especially for a show on HBO. It seems they’ve learned from their mistake, however, deciding to use members of the production crew’s faces in the future rather than political figures.