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The Secret to HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Budget Can Be Found at Ikea

Kit Harrington as Jon Snow.Kit Harrington as Jon Snow.
Kit Harrington as Jon Snow.Helen Sloan—courtesy of HBO

With a massive cast, a vast setting of environmentally diverse landscapes, and awe-spiring special effects, its no surprise that Game of Thrones is one of televisions most expensive shows of all time. But every budget has its breaking point, and helping to keep the HBO show’s costs at a reported $10 million per episode is a clever hack hidden in plain sight: Those big, shaggy capes worn by the men and women of Westeros are nothing more than Ikea rugs.

In the greatest Ikea hack of all time, People reports that the show’s costume designers took Ikea rugs and worked them over until they resembled something that looks more at home in the badlands of Westeros than in a budget West Elm. If you’re looking to catch the faux fur floor coverings on screen, keep an eye out for the RENS, a sheepskin replica that Ikea bills as “soil-repellent and durable.” Also getting airtime is the TEJN, which is described as “super soft, warm and cozy.” Only don’t tell that to members of the Night’s Watch, who wear it in some pretty unpleasant conditions.

But the best part of this is not just that it’s been in plain sight every episode, but in true Game of Thrones information overload style, the secret has been out in the open for a year. The costume hack was first revealed in 2016, when costume designer Michele Clapton spoke at an event about Medieval dress at Los Angeles’ Getty Museum.

Of course, these are the kinds of hacks that HBO would prefer Game of Thrones fans focus on, as the company’s networks were recently breached by cybercrooks who stole 1.5 terabytes of data, which reportedly included emails, scripts, and unaired episodes of the channel’s top shows. The cyber intrusion is being described as a ransomware event, with the hackers asking for at least $6 million in return for not releasing the materials.