Warning: potential spoilers
The creators of Game of Thrones have told the ABC’s The Writers’ Room that they won George R.R. Martin’s support for the HBO series after successfully guessing a key riddle set out in his books – who is Jon Snow’s mother?
Speculation over the popular character’s true parentage began at the start of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga, with many fans unsatisfied with the explanation that Snow was the illegitimate son of Lord Eddard Stark and an unnamed, long-dead, “low-born” woman.
Martin has yet to reveal the truth on the page, but on Tuesday night’s episode of The Writers’ Room screenwriters David Benioff and D.B. Weiss admitted he had confessed it to them.
The pair described having a five-hour meeting with Martin to pitch their idea to adapt the books as a TV series, rather than feature films.
“At the very end of it he said ‘So who is Jon Snow’s real mother?’ – it was a test question,” Benioff told host, US screenwriter and actor Jim Rash.
“We had talked about it amongst ourselves before, and we had an educated guess, which turned out to be right, which is why we’re sitting here,” Weiss said.
“I’m sure he had met other people who had wanted to work on it, studios at least, who hadn’t really read the books, they’d read the cover,” Benioff said.
“I’d be floored if they’d cracked it,” Nash replied.
Martin, who is writing the sixth of the planned seven-book series, has yet to reveal the truth of Jon Snow’s origins on the page, although many fans believe certain facts in earlier novels point to one likely candidate.
Meanwhile, the internet has been delighted by the revelation of a Monty Python reference planted in the show by Weiss and linguist David Peterson.
Peterson created the languages used on Game of Thrones, and told the show’s production blog that the insults hurled at Daenerys by the Champion of Meereen in Episode 4 this season were not what was written on screen as a so-called translation.
“He's actually saying a Low Valyrian translation of the French guy's insults in Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” Peterson said.
“That was Dan Weiss's idea and it was so hilarious that I had to do it.”
In the film, John Cleese’s French knight insults King Arthur with expressions such as, “Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries”.
Peterson said fans, many of whom learn the languages from online guides, quickly caught on.
“Right after that episode aired, I was getting tweets like, ‘Is he saying a ‘Your Momma’ joke?,” he said.
“Close… but no, he's actually starting out with, ‘Your mother is a hamster’.”