Money

'Game of Thrones' took home the Emmy for best drama—here's how much each episode costs to produce

(L-R) Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Conleth Hill, Emilia Clarke, Gwendoline Christie, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Jacob Anderson, Nathalie Emmanuel, Liam Cunningham and Kit Harington of 'Game of Thrones' attend the 70th Emmy Awards.
David Crotty | Patrick McMullan | Getty Images

On Monday, HBO's "Game of Thrones" took home the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series, letting the network tie Netflix for the most wins this year. The series also earned eight more awards, out of a total of 22 nominations, including Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Visual Effects.

The show has proven to be a worthwhile investment for HBO, but all of those CGI dragons and epic battle scenes don't come cheap.

Starting with the show's sixth season, a single "Game of Thrones" episode cost around $10 million to produce, according to an exclusive feature in the April 2016 print edition of Entertainment Weekly. That marks a budget increase of around $4 million per episode, up from the approximate $6 million earlier episodes cost, according to E! News.

Season eight will be even more expensive: Episodes will cost a whopping $15 million each, Variety reports.

Prior to season six, the most expensive "Game of Thrones" episode ever produced was season two's penultimate installment, "Blackwater," which featured an extensive battle scene and larger-than-life props, including a full-sized replica of a 14th century battleship. The episode cost HBO $8 million — and showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff had to push for the last $2 million.

"We had one really intense conference call with the HBO brass," Benioff told GQ. "It was awkward."

"I think we asked for $2.5 million. We got $2 million-something," Weiss added. "That's a lot of money in TV."

However, HBO understood that increasing the budget was crucial to getting the episode right.

"We'd known for about a year that the ninth episode was going to be 'Blackwater,' and a disproportionate amount of our resources were saved for this episode in terms of time and schedule," Benioff said.

It paid off. "Blackwater" became one of the show's most admired and popular episodes, and it drew even more viewers to the series.

This isn't the first time the show has dominated at the Emmys. It has won 47 total awards, including the best drama 2015, 2016 and now, 2018.

This is an updated version of a previously published article.

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(L-R) Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Conleth Hill, Emilia Clarke, Gwendoline Christie, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Jacob Anderson, Nathalie Emmanuel, Liam Cunningham and Kit Harington of 'Game of Thrones' attend the 70th Emmy Awards.
David Crotty | Patrick McMullan | Getty Images
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