Game of Speculation: We’ll Use This Rumor as an Example

I seem to be developing a mini-habit of using Game of Thrones filming rumors as examples in how to evaluate evidence with a skeptical attitude. Or at least a not-entirely-gullible attitude. And I see another example today! This one is telling me something that I really, really want to hear, so I’ll use this as the latest lesson in skepticism.

At Watchers on the Wall, they have several pieces of interesting news, including a big NOPE to the latest rumor of Lady Stoneheart, but what I’m really interested in is this:

Transcript from Watchers on the Wall:

Transcript from Watchers on the Wall: Yesterday, a friend of WotW reader Michael spotted Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in the bookshop at Belfast International Airport, where he was kind enough to take a photo with her. They wound up chatting for a while, and he mentioned he was off to film additional scenes for GoT somewhere but wasn’t allowed to say where. She ended up sitting next to him on her flight to Reykjavik, Iceland. Since no Iceland filming was reported for this year, the story might be classed an unconfirmed rumor but the Iceland sightings have begun, with this Tweet from a local: “I just met Nikolaj Coster aka Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones.” —Maria Gustavsdottir, August 30, 2015

And in the comments, editor Sue the Fury urges us to be cautious with this one, because:

For what it’s worth, I agree with everyone being cautious about the Nikolaj in Iceland thing. It’s why in the rumors/spec pile. That guy is a troll. I mean I’d hope he wasn’t lying to the woman, but I’ll put it in the “Hmmmm this would be cool if it’s true” department but “Let’s keep looking for more confirmation” department also.

I can think of a few ways this report could turn out to be bullshit, but, actually? I think it’s least likely to be a case of NCW trolling his fans. Not because NCW isn’t a troll, but because there’s way too much going on in here that’s outside of his control.

One way that it could be bullshit is that the Tweet from Maria G is gone. Maybe she never posted any such thing? Except she may very well have Tweeted exactly that, and then deleted her Tweet after WotW responded to her, because she didn’t want to get a flood of attention:

Watchers on the Wall Tweets:

Watchers on the Wall Tweets: “@mariagustavs Can I ask where?”

I don’t think they’d Tweet that question to a real person unless they were responding to a real Tweet. (I have verified that the Twitter account is real, and she has not responded to WotW’s question.) Although it would’ve been more helpful to take a screenshot of Maria’s Tweet and post it with the rumor of NCW in Iceland.

The report of the chat in the bookstore is a lot more suspicious. It’s possible that Michael’s friend (can we even get a name for her?) spotted NCW on the flight to Iceland and made up the story of chatting with him in the bookstore. Which means he is in Iceland, but probably not for GoT filming.

It’s also possible that Michael’s friend never saw NCW at all, just made up the story from the ground up because getting GoT fans all riled up is so easy. In light of someone else spotting him in Iceland, however, it’s really unlikely that she’s lying about everything.

Then again, another possibility is that Maria G really did post that Tweet, and WotW made up the story about Michael’s friend from the ground up because they needed something juicy to go with spotting NCW in Iceland. A screenshot of the email, with sensitive information blurred out, would have been helpful. The picture she took with Nikolaj would also be helpful, but there’s no picture in sight. For that idea, though, I’d have to accuse Sue the Fury of being a lying liar who lies, and that’s a pretty bold claim. And truthfully, I don’t think she’s lying. A receipt of this fan report would be nice, is all I’m saying.

It’s possible for two people to lie at the same time, but two unrelated people to lie about something as specific as seeing Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Iceland at the same time? That would be the most fantastic coincidence. He hasn’t mentioned anything on Twitter about going to Iceland.

If this is a case of NCW trolling his fans, then he must have known Michael’s friend would be on his flight to Reykjavik. Otherwise, his saying, “I can’t tell you where I’m going to film additional GoT scenes” wouldn’t be a very impressive troll. The fan would simply report on social media that she met NCW at the airport in Belfast, and he was going “somewhere else” for additional filming, but she DIDN’T KNOW WHERE. Weak-sauce trolling. But if he knew they’d be on the same flight, and he told her he was going somewhere for filming, okay, that may very well have been a troll job. If she didn’t mention where she was headed, and he told her he was going somewhere for filming GoT, then he probably wasn’t doing it to rile her up. This is another case where a screenshot of the fan’s report would be helpful. I’d like to hear more about their chat in the bookstore.

You know what doesn’t pass the smell test? That the fan who chatted with him in the bookstore ended up sitting right next to him on the flight. That’s also an impressive coincidence. They may have been on the same flight, but sitting right next to each other? Seriously?

If this report isn’t entirely true, I think the most likely scenario is that the woman saw him in the bookstore, had a nice chat and took a picture with him, and saw him on the flight to Iceland, but he didn’t actually say anything about filming scenes for GoT. Then the other lady reported seeing him in Iceland, then deleted the Tweet because she doesn’t want hundreds of GoT fans demanding further deets.

But if he really DID chat with a fan in the airport bookstore, and if he really DID tell her he was going somewhere for GoT filming, and she HAPPENED to be on the flight to Iceland with him, and if he wasn’t lying his ass off about his reason for making the trip…HOLY FUCK, THIS MAKES MY DAY. Jaime is getting the fuck out of the Crownlands in S6, and not to go south. The scenes could be happening in the Riverlands, or the Vale, or possibly some part of the North. I don’t think Jaime will make it north of the Wall in S6. It’s too far. BUT HE IS CERTAINLY GOING NORTH. Oh yes. Oh fucking yes. Please let this fan report be 100% true. Yes yes yes.