Earlier this month, we reported that a disembodied head modelled on former US president George W Bush had appeared impaled on a spike in an episode of fantasy drama series Game of Thrones.
HBO, the US network which makes the show, reacted swiftly and decisively to demonstrate just how seriously they were taking the incident (even if no-one else was).
Showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss – who had cheerfully made reference to the likeness of the 43rd president in their DVD commentary on the episode – were forced to apologise, while HBO declared itself “deeply dismayed,” calling the incident “unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste.” DVD shipments were halted and the episode was pulled from HBO’s digital platforms.
A digital nip-and-tuck later and it’s back, the offending head having been treated to a nose job, as well as chin and brow reductions, to ensure that it no longer resembles Bush (see the Before and After shots above).
What remains unclear is whether the model was actually supposed to be Bush – or was just another dummy that happened to look a bit like him.
In their original commentary, Benioff and Weiss said “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,” but after their telling off they were a little more ambiguous.
“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,” they said in a statement.
“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 apologise if anything we said or did suggested otherwise.”
Bush, meanwhile, is yet to make a public statement on the matter, and we can only speculate as to whether he is pleased with the results of the surgery.