Game of Thrones' Severed George W. Bush Head Brings Dishonor to House HBO: What Say You?

HBO is falling on its sword after a severed head prop used in Game of Thrones was noticed as looking a lot like President George W. Bush.

In a DVD commentary accompanying the Season 1 finale of the fantasy hit, creator David Benioff and executive producer D.B. Weiss mention that a spiked noggin — shown briefly when King Joffrey forces Sansa to look at her decapitated father’s face — does indeed resemble the 43rd president. But the pair maintains that the appearance had no ill will behind it.

“George Bush’s head appears in a couple of beheading scenes,” they say in the commentary. “It’s not a choice, it’s not a political statement. We just had to use whatever heads we had around.”

HBO then issued its own statement, which threw the showrunners under the horse-drawn cart: “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.”

Much like Sansa after one of King Joff’s arbitrary beat-downs, the apologies continue. Benioff and Weiss added their own mea culpa late Wednesday, citing budgetary reasons for use of the familiar face and saying that they didn’t even notice while filming.

“After the scene was already shot, someone pointed out that one of the heads looked like George W. Bush,” they said in the statement. “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.”

According to HBO’s statement, the premium cable channel will remove the Bush-alike head – which sports a decidedly unpresidential mop of ratty brown hair – from future editions of the DVDs.

Thrones fans, did you notice W’s face right up there with Ned Stark’s? And what do you think of all of the apologies galloping around the Interwebs like Stark bannermen? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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115 Comments
  1. Fan says:

    I say I like Game of Thrones even more now!

    • jen says:

      Agreed!!

    • GoT Snow says:

      Definitely!

    • I second, third, and fourth that.

    • TOm says:

      I love how when it comes to Bush everything is allowed, and when it comes to Obama we must all hold our “fascist and racists” tongues….No doubt in my mind that if this situation was reversed and our presidents head was up there the ACLU and NAACP would be so far up HBO’s ass they’d be coming out of their chest like a scene from a Ridley Scott movie…What A Joke Of A Country We Have Turned Out To Be……

      • William says:

        Totally agree with this statement. Different story if it were Obama.

      • bri says:

        I totally agree! I mean I don’t care whose head they use but if it were Obama and not Bush there would be hell to pay.

        • KevyB says:

          Some people need to get over themselves. FACT: Bush’s head would have NEVER been used while he was still president. After Obama’s second term is over, if the country is still in the Bush-created shambles it was in 2008, then Obama would deserve to have a replica of his head on a pike outside Joffrey’s castle. Yes, I know things like respect are foreign ideas to those who have to go to Fox to learn what their opinions should be, but let’s just all pretend to respect the job until the person in that job exits it.

          • TOm says:

            FACT: If You Don’t Agree With Barry Obam and Kevy B You Must Watch Fox News……Laughable Dude, You Need To Stop Blaming People For Things That Happened 4 Years Ago And Move On. Obummer Has Done NONE Of The Things He “Promised” He Would When He Took Office. All He Has Done Is Weaken Our Military, Add More National Debt In 4 Years Than Bush Did in 8 and Refused To Compromise On Immigration. His Administration Is Just As Much Of A Joke As Bush’s Was. In Closing Kevy B, Let Me School You To Some Wisdom That You Clearly Lack. ALL POLITICIANS ARE SELF SERVING SCUMBAGS. If You Fail To Realize This By Blindly Defending A Bad President (Be It Barry Or George) You Are Doing Yourself And Your Country A Disservice. THINK INDEPENDENTLY IT’S THE ONLY WAY WE WILL EVER FIX THIS NATION.

          • sick of idiots says:

            Tom: First, Not Every Word Needs To Be Capitalized. You can’t even refer to Obama by his name, why should anyone take you seriously?

          • JenK says:

            Well Said, KevyB.

      • Eric says:

        It couldn’t look like Obama Because there aren’t any black people on the show! Accept one portrayed as a rapist and another as a liar and theif who gets killed! NAACP didn’t complain about that….. So what if one of Ned Starks personal guard looked like a former president by accident… How can you accuse others (naacp) of theoretically making a big deal about it if it happened one way when you’re making a big deal out of the way it actually happened! and then you condemn them for what you think they theoretically could have said!?!? That is racism.

    • WeeklyWeek says:

      +1

    • Cutie Dog says:

      You are a pig.

    • Temperence says:

      Considering that he’s one of the five worst US presidents of all time, it’s too bad it didn;t happen before he was elected…

      • Tad says:

        I sincerly hope you a history major, and that this country stands long enough to make you eat your words. I believe you are sorely mistaken, Obama is the worst. He does not have the intestinal fortitude to run this country any where except into the ground.

  2. Bob says:

    Who would have noticed if they hadn’t called attention to it? Clearly no one did when it aired on HBO. Just an attempt to drum up publicity.

  3. kustjt says:

    Overreaction after overreaction. Thank goodness we live in a country where the show runners are only taking heat from the media/critics, and not from the government itself.

    • Renee says:

      I agree.

    • Agreed. I think the biggest issue is that we’re all freaking out over a stupid prop and not concentrating our anger on real problems. It’s a TV show for gods sake. Get a freaking life.

      • Mary says:

        I totally agree…if you like the show just watch it. Personally I like the show and will watch it. TV people…watch it and stop your moaning. Can’t even watch a TV show in peace these days.

  4. Dryden says:

    *clutches pearls* Well, I never!

  5. Declan says:

    I say this: in the context of the show, a person whose head is on a pike on Joffrey’s wall was one of the good guys, so…this seems like a tempest in a teapot.

  6. Kristin says:

    I mean I guess I see the resemblance but it feels like a stretch to me…plus the head isn’t even facing the camera. Come on.

  7. Mark says:

    Oh come on. It was an existing prop, they threw a wig on it and turned it around. HBO is overreacting so as to not piss of the right-wing media, which they wouldn’t have done if it were a particularly tasteless soft-porn scene that Game of Thrones has every few episodes for no good reason.

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but grow some balls HBO.

    • K says:

      Here Here! This is RIDICULOUS that people are upset over this. So Sean Bean’s head looks like George Bush from one stupid angle. And if Xaro or Sallador Saan got their heads on a spike and somehow looked like Obama from and angle I would say the same exact thing. People are overreacting WAY too much. If anything I am now offended that HBO is folding like a deck of cards over this. The media needs to stop caving to everything little thing that may be offensive to one butthurt person, liberal or conservative. Everyone needs to just STOP. IT.

      • Rick242 says:

        K, you are an idiot. They confirmed it was George Bush’s head. Stop being a moron. Im not offended by it, but I guarantee it wasn’t as innocent as they are playing it up to be. It’s not a stretch to think the network that brought us a Sarah Palin bashing movie and airs Bill Maher isn’t a fan of Republicans.

        • Eric says:

          They confirmed it looked like him as a joke. It one next to it looks like Sean bean… Does HBO need to issue an apology to him to? So if One of the other ones looked like my friend, he deserves an apology? It just happened to look like him (if you read the article) and really doesn’t even that much. Why are people freaking out over a prop!?

  8. Rachel says:

    Didn’t notice…don’t care. I don’t like that HBO threw its own guys under the bus however.

  9. I say its not a big deal, and it doesn’t diminish how awesome Game of Thrones is, or HBO.

    • Martin says:

      Had no idea it was his head til they said something. HBO needs to relax its not a big deal and like a comment up above said those heads on the wall were of good people so……

  10. Even if they’d deliberately found out a George Bush head, specifically to make it look ratty and serve as a decapitated head-on-a-pike, so what? It’s barely noticeable and at worst, just suggests some people behind the show didn’t like the man.
    It’s an entirely different universe, hardly a call for the real life event.
    Silliness.

  11. Terry says:

    Never noticed it. Glad I have the bluray before HBO does it’s cgi erasing.

  12. me says:

    hahaha, this post made my day

  13. godzilla's_foil says:

    This whole affair is just ridiculous beyond comprehension. It could and SHOULD have been avoided by doing one simple thing: never mentioning it. Nobody would have taken offense by it, a nerd or two would notice an “abnormal similarity to something” here and there and that would have been it. But no, they had to bring that up…

  14. Newo says:

    this is just another non-troversy, if it wasn’t mentioned in the commentary nobody would’ve noticed, its only seen in profile, hell, you could say it looks like Robert Carlyle as well, gonna go apologize to him also ?

  15. Larissa says:

    I noticed it when it aired and laughed. Ok, so props could have maybe tried a little harder….maybe.

  16. W. has a good sense of humor, would love to hear what he thinks about it.

  17. MA says:

    I say…hahahahaha! Who cares?! Though it does sound like HBO is terrified of getting Dixie Chicked. Pansies. It’s sad how much sway the crazies have in this country.

  18. Patrick says:

    I’m with everyone who has said this is nonsense. I take politics seriously and I voted for Bush twice; however, I really don’t care what they use for a prop and I can’t see anyone who would. I think the only people who are making a big deal of this is the media. Slow news day, huh?

  19. farsia2010 says:

    go team!! i am in love with this show now!!

  20. Mo says:

    and if it were Obama? I call BS

    • R.O.B. says:

      Double standard. And never mind Obama. If they dared to even put put Jimmy Carter’s head on a pike this show would have been cancelled and removed from air in the middle of the first season. If it were Obama, it would be front page news, top of the fold, and the CEO of HBO would be sitting in front of a Congressional hearing. But of course that won’t happen here. “Doesn’t matter. Democrat.”

    • Reg says:

      I hate discussing politics on a TV website, but I think what the showrunners did was disrespectful. It was disrespectful to the OFFICE of the Presidency. It doesn’t matter if that person is a Republican or a Democrat. It was a disgusting DECISION, not an accident. If this happened to an Obama mask, you can bet that all of the Liberals would be calling for the HBO people to be fired, not just apologize. :(

      • Angela says:

        I’m fairly liberal and voted for Obama and I would’ve have called for such a thing. I probably just wouldn’t watch the show, then. Rush Limbaugh says the stupidest, most insensitively vile things about Obama and left-wing situations on a daily basis, but I’m not calling for him to be fired. I just note his idiocy and move on.
        If they did do it as a subtle jab at Bush, then it’s a cheap, silly jab. But it’s a prop head used for a quick moment in a scene. It was barely seen, it sounds like (I haven’t even seen this show, but that’s what I hear). You can say it’s immature, you can say it’s offensive, and I won’t even necessarily disagree with you on those sentiments (and I was never, ever a Bush supporter by any stretch of the imagination). But in the grand scheme of things, it’s not something to make a big fuss over.

  21. Bob says:

    Probably a bunch of nothing in the long run, but you can bet your bottom dollar that if comments during a DVD stated the prop looked like President Obama the reaction by the readers and this site would be vastly different.

    • Bella says:

      Exactly. I didn’t notice it, but the showrunners called attention to it in their DVD commentary, which to me means it was done deliberately.

    • MA says:

      Maybe, but it’s naive to think there’s not more to it than that. I suspect there would probably be a little more debate over whether or not there was a racially motivated element. If we thought HBO or the Game of Thrones show runners were bigots, a la Mel Gibson, sure, people would take offense. But if they just didn’t like Obama’s politics or used a prop they had lying around or whatever, I think most people who don’t care still wouldn’t care. Most people don’t actually get worked up about this kind of thing because it’s inconsequential. The haters on the internet are loud and pushy, so they’re just more likely to be heard.
      ***
      It would be nice to live in a world where you never had to worry about racial motivations when someone puts a black man’s head on a post, but we don’t live in that world, so yes, there would be a slightly different reaction if it were Bush vs. Obama. If it were Bush vs. Clinton, though, I think most reactions would be about the same. And I’m someone who loves Bill Clinton and considers George W. Bush to be one of the most corrupt and shameful presidents we’ve ever had.

  22. Nonsense.
    Just lost a lot of respect for HBO.

  23. Renee says:

    Right off the bat, I’m in no way a Bush supporter but I’m surprised that everyone is acting so blasé about this. I’m not a fan of Bush but if this was the decapitated head of Obama instead would you all be acting like it’s no big deal? There is just a huge double standard here since so many people hate Bush and think things like this are funny because it goes against him. HBO did the right thing by immediately apologizing and trying to distance themselves from this because people should treat a former president of the US, no matter the fact that it’s Bush, with a minimal amount of respect and decency. They should have never mentioned anything on the commentary to begin but the fact that you all think this is no big deal because it’s Bush is really sickening.

  24. Jeffrey says:

    That’s funny! I will be sure to buy the bluray before they remove it.

  25. Laurel says:

    You shouldn’t disrespect the Office of the President.
    There is far to much of it on both sides.
    Doesn’t matter if it’s a Democrat or a Republican.
    I tend to think putting a decapitated head of an ex president of a spike falls into this catagory.

  26. People who get upset about this, including the HBO executives, really need to pull the sticks out of their hindquarters and expand their world view. And no I wouldn’t give a crap if it were Obama either. It is a far cry from intentionally hanging someone in effigy.

  27. Mikael says:

    They should do a Romney one next season.

  28. michelle says:

    Good for HBO for speaking out.

    Look, if this was Obama, Or any other president, you bet your ass there’d be a problem. I refuse to believe they just had to use it for budget reasons. What, you couldn’t run down to iparty and get a cheap head? Of course this was done purposely. A small “oh this will be a funny thing if anyone catches it”.

    I love my GoT. And I wont stop watching but it was in extremely poor taste. And if you people can’t see that then people are dumber than I thought.

  29. CJ says:

    I think it was foolish and distasteful, but I don’t necessarily think it was any kind of political statement. I believe what they’ve said in that it was just a leftover prop that they (maybe not so wisely) decided to use, but they probably could/should have done a little more to make it look less like President Bush. It was an inappropriate thing to do, no matter what anyone’s opinion of him is.

    • Ana says:

      How does a show have a left over prop of the head of a president? What were they using it for prior to this? I think its naive to think that this was anything but intentional. Showrunners do this all the time. They sneak in their politics in unsuspecting ways. It’s product placement. Like showing a character driving a Prius or drinking a Coke.

      • kate says:

        If they happened to have a dummy of Bush around from something else and just took the head, that’s how it happens. It was probably just part of some other project and got used.

  30. Ana says:

    I have to side with HBO on this. Regardless of which president such a prop would resemble, it is disrespectful to the office. I don’t know what troubles me more, the fact that the showrunners used the show to ‘product place’ their political views or the fact that so many people dismiss this act as inconsequential. I can’t help but wonder what would have happen if the head resembled Obama. This was a deliberate act from GOT and it should be repudiated.

  31. Mr Loiter says:

    I think it was just a random prop they had on hand and used and was not a political statement. The media (not tvline, but the broader media) is making this into something it’s not.

  32. Kevin says:

    OK… TIT for TAT…Im just waiting for a PROP head of NOBAMA to show up.

    Im sure everyone would just be overracting ..right?…..no …because hollywood is gutless, thats why.

  33. madworld says:

    This is the first I am hearing of this. Seriously I didn’t even notice that there were other heads, when I saw the episode. I was paying attention to the important part of the scene, which was Joffrey being sadistic with Sansa.

  34. raelee says:

    Over reaction. HBO overreacted to what they said on the DVD commentary; maybe they should have kept their mouths shut as to what the heads looked like, since likely they had no clue until after post production. But still whatever…all the apologizing is ridiculous.

    It’s not like anyone beheaded Bush, or there is any political statement being made by the show by the heads resembling him.

  35. madworld says:

    Also, is George W. Bush himself offended by it? Because if he is not, what is the big deal? I have a feeling he doesn’t watch Game of Thrones.

  36. laylagalise says:

    Not I big deal. It’s clearly not intended to look like Bush; if it were, then I could understand a reaction. But they put long hair on it, so it’s just another head. It’s weird HBO freaked out.

  37. Troy says:

    I think the biggest issue here is all the questions this raises. Does George Bush have a time machine? Why was he killed? Did Joffrey order it? It just makes the show unrealistic now. Please get back to the credible dragons plot. /s

  38. J says:

    Can’t wait for the rush of unedited “Bush Head” exclusive copies of Game of Thrones Season 1 to hit Ebay!

  39. Les says:

    I see a great opportunity to raise big $$ for charity – auction off the chance for a fan to have their head cast and put on a stake in Season 3!

  40. Ray says:

    Boo! HBO should have never issued an apology. The producers have every right to express themselves creatively

    • AJ says:

      If you put an Obama head on a spike in a TV show you could expect a visit from the Secret Service. Not even kidding either. They don’t take threats disguised as a “political statement” lightly. It’s an embarrassment to HBO and Democrats in general that they feel this is an acceptable kind of politics. And of course they did it on purpose, they even mentioned it in the commentary because the knew it was there. And for a show that needs to generate subscribers it is pretty stupid to do something that could offend half of your audience just for a laugh. It is disrespectful and anyone with a brain knows what they were trying to say.

    • Kelli says:

      Sure HBO has the right to Freedom of Speech, but do you think they would ever dare to put a severed head that looked like Obama on one of their shows? I subscribe to HBO, but I can’t stand how all of their TV movies seem like they were made by Michael Moore. How about some movies that make the Democrats look bad? There should be equal time on HBO, since I think there are bad politicans from both side of the aisle! It’s very one-sided, you would think that the ENTIRE country was colored Democrat Blue. Lately, Americans hate both the Dems and the Republicans!

  41. TJ says:

    The posts on here applauding show just how far our country has shrunk in sensibility and respect. I would also bet that these same posts were made by imbecilic moronic liberals who if this were an Obama bust would be screaming like the loons they are. Hollyweird and its destructive culture strikes again.

    • MA says:

      In the same post you talk about sinking in sensibility and respect and yet also call people “imbecilic moronic liberals”? Seriously? Now that’s funny.

  42. Jonn rico says:

    Was it his REAL head? No? So what’s the problem?

  43. Debbie M. says:

    Didn’t notice. Think it’s hilarious. Also think it’s nothing to apologize for.

  44. Joe Smith says:

    I’m not a huge fan of President Bush – but, does HBO expect us to believe that with a multi multi million dollar budget they could not afford another $1,000.00???? Come on HBO, we are not idiots

  45. Scott says:

    Some people need to have their sense of humor adjusted. And I don’t mean Benioff and Weiss. The non-US parts of the world laughed at Bush all the time.

  46. Alex Agostini says:

    It happened over a year ago. Big deal!!!! Maybe the people who’re complaining wanted it to be more visible?

  47. Ryan says:

    Mainly I say that people really need to get over it, since it’s not a big deal at all. Certainly doesn’t warrant the issued apology.

  48. The Blu-ray came out over 3 months ago, and the episode in question first aired almost a year ago. And people are complaining now? Really? It was a prop, people! This is why I hate people in general. Well, dumb people, anyway.

  49. Faheem says:

    My love for Game of Thrones is now breathing fire like Denaerys’s Dragons! I adore the show!

  50. cj says:

    its respectful to the former president to apologize, but i really dont see what the big deal is. prosthetic heads are bound to resemble someone from different angles.

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