Let it never be said that the Game of Thrones creative team don't do their research. Further evidence of the level of detail that those behind the HBO fantasy show deliver has this week been found in a podcast with sound designer Paula Fairfield, who has shed light on the influence behind the noises made by Daenerys's pet dragons.

Ever since their emergence in season one, Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion have made reptilian noises, but it has now been revealed that these are more specific than fans may have initially expected. Indeed, the gentle purring emitted by Drogon when near Daenerys is based on the sounds giant tortoises make during sex.

Fairfield made the bold revelation on Radiolab's Big Little Questions podcast, saying that her team found inspiration in the noise made by male giant tortoises while mating:

"The groan of the male actually became, with some work and adjustments, the source for Drogon's purr with [Daenerys]. The funny thing about the purr with Drogon was watching people watching [the show] and giggling when they heard it, but not really knowing why. To me, it's because it had that essence, that kind of sensual, sexual essence."

Emilia Clarke stars as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. Photo / HBO
Emilia Clarke stars as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. Photo / HBO

Things get even more intriguing – or unsettling – when Fairfield explained her reasoning to Radiolab, who had posed the question: "Why do cultures all over the world believe in dragons?"

When the discussion narrowed down to the Game of Thrones dragons, Fairfield said: "I have sounds I might choose based on the certain personality types I might want to push forward. So, in the case of Drogon, she named that dragon after Khal Drago, her hot, late husband. So Drogon is like her lover." Hence, Drogon's softer tones. Or, as Fairfield puts it: "He's whistling at her all the time, he's looking at her butt and going, 'Oh baby'."

Fairfield also shed light on how she made the composite noises made by the dragons on the show. They have elements of screeching birds, insect noises such as dragonfly wings, as well as the sexy giant tortoises.