Emilia Clarke insists that she’s not to blame for the ‘Starbucks cup’ in GoT

On Monday, people were freaking out about pretty much everything involving Game of Thrones’ “The Last of the Starks” episode. I still haven’t re-watched it. Beyond the conversations about Brienne punching her V-card and Sansa’s conversation with the Hound, we were sidetracked with a conversation about… a Starbucks coffee cup? The cup mysteriously turned up in an early scene, close to Daenerys.

For what it’s worth, the Starbucks cup wasn’t even really from Starbucks, a producer later said it was from a local Belfast coffee shop. But yes, it was left there by mistake and no one caught it before it aired. Weirdly, Emilia Clarke has been getting a lot of the blame, like it was her cup and she left it there in the middle of filming. Do you guys get coffee and then leave your cup in front of your coworker? Come on, it was totally Kit Harington’s cup. Stop blaming the Mad Queen for everything! Anyway, Liam Cunningham also claimed it was probably Emilia, and she got so mad that she spoke to the LA Times about it:

What Clarke hadn’t heard was that Liam Cunningham, a.k.a. the Onion Knight, had gone on “Conan” last night, bearing a gift for the show’s host — a Starbucks coffee cup — and blaming Clarke for the snafu, saying, “Emilia probably drinks too much coffee.”

“What a bastard!” Clarke told The Times, laughing. “I don’t even drink Starbucks. I have no idea whose it was. Liam’s a cheeky one. The funny thing is in Belfast, there is no craft coffee selling Starbucks. Unless we’ve got the Americans in, some hotshot producer, and then we’ll have Starbucks lying around.”

Less than 48 hours after the episode, “The Last of the Starks,” aired, HBO digitally removed the cup from the scene on the network’s streaming platform. But not before Starbucks received an estimated $2.3 billion in free advertising from the mistake — all for a cup that apparently did not come from the ubiquitous coffee chain in the first place.

But then Clarke could have told you that.

“You’ve never seen a ‘Game of Thrones’ cast member with a Starbucks in their hand because we don’t get them,” she said. “We don’t get to be like, ‘Yo, somebody go out and get me a mocha choco latte.’ I’ve never had Starbucks.”

Besides, like any good Brit, Clarke’s beverage of choice is a cuppa, and she never takes the teabag out, letting it stew.

“My house is just littered with teas everywhere,” she said, pausing, still thinking about Cunningham’s accusation. “I’ll bet it was Liam. He’s deflecting it — 100%. Like I said, he’s a cheeky one.”

[From The LA Times]

Again, a producer said it was from a local coffee shop, not a Starbucks and clearly the cast does have access to some kind of craft-services coffee and tea, where they probably get those kinds of cups. While I don’t see the string from a tea bag, it could be there, and it’s not like we can tell that the cup is full of coffee or tea. And again, IT WAS TOTALLY KIT’S CUP. Why do people keep claiming it was Emilia’s?? The cup was right in front of where Kit was sitting.

dany stark

Photos courtesy of HBO/Game of Thrones and social media.

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43 Responses to “Emilia Clarke insists that she’s not to blame for the ‘Starbucks cup’ in GoT”

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  1. Erinn says:

    “While I don’t see the string from a tea bag, it could be there, and it’s not like we can tell that the cup is full of coffee or tea”

    Or it could be loose leaf with a lid that has a built in filter. That’s how my teas come when I go to my favorite coffee place.

    I mean, maybe it wasn’t her cup. But how do you sit down in front of it – in a set that’s so strongly designed to create a medieval type feel and not notice a coffee cup sitting in front of you? Do you not even glance at your surroundings? But even if it was hers – the blame isn’t fully on her. MANY people didn’t catch it – and there would have been a lot of people on set, I’m sure. And beyond that, someone had to edit it and watch it before it ever went to TV. So even if it was hers – the blame isn’t squarely on her.

    • Meghan says:

      I was also thinking “how did she not notice it?” And I say “she” because I have just read the recaps and the stories and not seen the actual episode so I do not know who else was around who would have said “um this supposed to be here?”

      But I am also not an actor so maybe Emilia doesn’t notice smaller set details like that? She does a ton of CGI to interact with the dragons, right? I can see where someone might not even notice it if you’re in your acting zone and trying to get the scene done.

      Definitely someone in the editing process should have noticed it!

    • Tiffany :) says:

      The blame shouldn’t be on her at all. Actors are trained to just do the job of acting. It keeps a set moving efficiently. She needs to be ready to go and in place when filming starts. Assistants and production crew would be in charge of monitoring set and even tending to her needs. If she’s cold between takes, they’d bring a coat to her and then take it back. If she’s thirsty, she’d sit in her place and someone would bring her a drink and then take it back. Especially if there were lighting adjustments, etc., she would be asked not to move at all.

      • Juju says:

        Tiffany, you are absolutely right. 1000% agree.

      • tealily says:

        Yes, it never even occurred to me to blame her.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        This is ABSOLUTELY on the crew. I have a cousin who works in the European film industry and she started as continuity – where they literally measure candles before and after a shot from one direction so that the candle can have the proper height when they shoot the same scene from another direction.

        This is a huge blunder on the part of the crew.

      • Dazed and confused says:

        It’s 100% Continuity. There is a Script Supervisor, the Prop Assistant AND the On Set Dresser. All three of those people are supposed to help make sure the set is always the same for the variety of shots/angles that you film for every scene. They even take pictures of the set before shooting starts to match everything back.

        That said, continuity blunders happen all the time. On of the ones that I find really jarring is in Oceans Eleven, when Julia Roberts is seen for the first time. In one angle, Brad Pitt is eating a fancy shrimp cocktail from a goblet and from the other, it’s on a plate. I imagine the plate shots were reshoots – but even then, you have the pictures of the set to match.

    • Myrtle says:

      I rewatched the episode – it wasn’t there! I call gaslighting via photoshop hoax.

      • Arpeggi says:

        HBO edited it out after the mistake was identified, so it’s gone from the streams now. I gotta say, I didn’t notice it when it 1st aired. I guess the DOP will now complain that we’re all complaining from seeing too much in the scenes?!

  2. Sayrah says:

    The best meme I saw come out of this was the long list of titles written on the cup as Daneryius’s full name.

  3. ByTheSea says:

    I’m over the coffee cup thing, but can anyone else see that Indya Moore link after the post but before the comments? She looks amazing and apparently made history (being the first trans model in Elle).

    • Erinn says:

      She’s stunning. She reminds me of someone, but I can’t quite place it. Those are some absolutely beautiful photos, though.

  4. Maddy says:

    What’s the bet it was either B or W’s cup while they were playing actor in the scene.

  5. Becks1 says:

    I don’t even care whose cup it was, but how did no one notice in all the editing and previous screenings etc?? Pay attention people!!

    • Veronica says:

      Too many of the same eyes looking at the picture over and over again without a fresh perspective. Same reason why I, as a writer, can find typos in a draft after a 5th revision. When your brain develops an expected pattern, it’ll fill in or smooth over things that don’t match the expectation.

      This being said, a show with their kind of budget should be aware of issues like that and have multiple people going over the footage.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      There are crew members who are responsible for set and prep for “going back to 1”. If the actors were holding for set/lighting/sound/etc. adjustments, then a crew member probably brought over the tea for a cast member to drink. They should have taken it back when it was time to film again.

      There were so many eyes during production and post, it’s amazing no one saw it before it aired.

  6. Monicack says:

    Starbucks is going to rule the world soon anyway so meh.

  7. Veronica says:

    Well, even if it had been her cup, she acted through an entire season recovering from a brain aneurysm, so I think we can let it slide.

  8. Kiki says:

    I don’t care what cup it is. It’s the responsibility of production that should’ve dealt with this fiasco before or during the filming. You mean to tell me that after 2 years and billions of dollars into the final season and nobody notice a coffee cup.? It will s cheap and poor to their standards man. I hope they don’t f*** up the last 2 episodes of the final season and I will go mad. #gotfab

    • teehee says:

      Right! Everything about this show has become lazy- the writing, the editing, the cinematography, the episodes themselves have just gotten so off track now in the end…. this is not the actors’ faults either.

    • AryasMum says:

      Another example that D&D didn’t care about this final season.

  9. Lucy says:

    Lol at all of this. I swear to the gods, some people are acting as if this had never happened before in any tv show or movie, ever. Calling it “lazy” is a bit of a stretch, at least imo.

    • smcollins says:

      This^^^^ All day long. I get making fun of the error, but to get all up in arms about it seems silly. Mistakes happen, even when you’re working with a huge budget.

    • Erinn says:

      I’d say it is lazy though. Someone was clearly too lazy to dispose of their coffee. Then you have SO many people working on it, and not catching it while it’s happening, or afterwards. Of course it happens in television, but usually it’s not such a stark difference between the scene that was set / timeframe / genre and the kind of item that got missed. It’s also almost in the center of the frame – not something way off to the side or in the distance.

      I feel like there’s a lot of people who have put a crazy amount of hours into something, and knowing that it’s ALMOST done, there might be some burnout related laziness happening.

    • megs283 says:

      omg, I know. Tons of perfect people in this world, apparently!! I think it’s hilarious and fun. A lot better than all the other news that came out Monday. For example, that the United Nations released a report declaring that upwards of 1 million plant and animals forms of life are on track to become extinct within the next several decades, as a result of human activity.

      But please, let’s feel arrogant about someone missing a cup on a table.

    • Maria says:

      it’s more that we had to wait two years for a season that’s already full of holes and crappy and they couldn’t even be bothered to do proper set dressing

      this just adds to the multitudes of problems

  10. Stacy Dresden says:

    I am so sad about the direction the show seems to be taking with Emilia’s character. I wanted the story to be a love story between Jon and Daenerys.

  11. Meganbot2000 says:

    Okay I work in film. This is an editing issue.

    When you film, there’s all kinds of junk that’s directly outside of the camera’s frame of vision. That’s just how it is in filming, there’s too much stuff everywhere to have a ‘clean’ set. It’s not like the set was just a perfect recreation of a Medieval banquet hall just with a camera, where a modern coffee cup would stick out. The entire set is just a massive amount of stuff, and they clear away whatever is needed for each shot. And yes often you will have coffee cups (and piles of equipment, mounds of duct tape) right next to you just out of shot.

    Whenever you see a closeup of someone’s face during a lovey dovey scene where they’re supposed to be staring into their lover’s eyes, in all probability they’ve got some sound guy’s hairy stomach two inches in front of their face. That’s what filming is like.

    I’m willing to bet they thought they were shooting a closeup or a two-person shot or something where the coffee cup wouldn’t be in shot. So it’s not the fault of anyone in the cast for not flagging that there was a coffee cup there. It’s entirely on the dop and the editors for not catching it.

  12. Case says:

    I’d say every person in that scene, on screen and off, and ESPECIALLY in the editing room, is partially to blame, no? How could NO ONE have noticed?

  13. minx says:

    I still think it’s hilarious.

    • I'm With The Band says:

      Me too! I stared at it for a few seconds thinking it was a beer with a head on it. Wasn’t expecting to see a coffee cup. Took me a while to register what I was looking at

  14. Skeptical says:

    Possibly the most interesting thing that happened in that particular episode.

  15. Other Renee says:

    Thank you, Megan, for your really interesting post. I’m sure there are editing errors all the time. On one episode of “New Girl” I noticed Jess had on red nail polish. Then suddenly in the middle of the same conversation with Nick, she didn’t have on any nail polish! Then she did again! I thought it was hysterical.

  16. Emilia says:

    I just feel bad for whatever local Belfast coffee shop supplied that coffee. All this free press and it’s all going to freaking Starbucks who obviously don’t need it.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      I know, Starbucks SM were all over it milking it. TBH it DOES look like a Starbucks cup from a distance so maybe there are reasons the local Belfast coffee shop isn’t going to kick up a fuss about people thinking its Starbucks.

  17. AryasMum says:

    I would like to think that look on Dany’s face is Emelia’s disgust for what this show has done to her character.

  18. Jay says:

    Remember when that GOT dude yelled at everyone for saying the show was too dark and that it was just our TVs but even they literally cannot see the show in post production hence the dumb cup.

  19. Becks1 says:

    I’m just chiming in on this GOT post to say that I am rewatching the first episode right now, and OMG they are really hitting us over the head with all the foreshadowing.

    Sansa – “all I want is to be queen! Its all I’ve ever wanted!” (Becks’ thoughts – so does Sansa end up as Queen?)
    Dany – going into the too hot bath and not being bothered (the unburnt! Becks’ thoughts – this whole episode made me feel really bad for Dany and remember how much she has gone through, too bad they destroyed her character.)
    Jon Snow – how many times are we going to hear that he is Ned Stark’s bastard in one episode? And looking at Ned’s face when Robert is talking about how much he hates Rhaegar. (does Ned know that they were married, does Ned know it wasn’t rape?)
    Cersei and Jamie – man the first time around I completely missed that they killed Jon Arryn, prob bc his death didn’t mean anything to me.
    Robb Stark – calling out Joffrey for the twit he is (at least privately. Becks’ thoughts – is that a bad dye job on his hair?)
    And then obviously Cat telling Bran to stop climbing.
    BenJen telling Jon Snow – you would never father children. HAS HE FATHERED A CHILD WITH DANY.

    Deep thoughts yall. Deep thoughts.

  20. My3cents says:

    I’m keeping my eyes open for the Dunkin Donuts in the last episode, bringer of joy last of his flavor.