By James Hibberd
Updated September 21, 2015 at 05:13 PM EDT
Credit: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Game of Thrones bosses still seemed a bit stunned at their reversal of fortune after Emmy Awards telecast Sunday night. After being denied Emmys’ top prize for years, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss celebrated winning Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Writing for a Drama at HBO’s post-show party.

“It’s such a surreal experience,” Benioff said. “Dan [Weiss] and I have been [working on the show] eight years now, back to that first meeting with George [R.R. Martin] at The Palm right by here on Santa Monica Blvd. To have George sitting right in front of us, to have it happen on his birthday, to break the record for most Emmys … the whole night’s been surreal and so much more than we expected or could have hoped for. It’s just really, really fun.”

We asked Benioff about how it felt specifically to win for season 5, whose bold storylines drew more controversy than previous seasons. “We never set out to offend anyone,” he said. “To try to offend anyone would be juvenile, but to be afraid to offend people would be cowardly. There were people saying they were never going to watch again. We’re just trying to tell the story the best we can. This means a lot, it’s a very nice feeling.”

Benioff and Weiss partied with fellow winner Peter Dinklage, who received his second prize for best supporting actor, and several other members of the cast — including Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Pedro Pascal, John Bradley, and Gwendoline Christie. Absent from the event: Nominee Emilia Clarke, who was in Spain working on season 6. One highpoint: Martin received a cake to celebrate his 67th birthday.

HBO’s annual post-Emmy party at the Pacific Design Center was decorated a giant Thrones-esque faux-fire sculpture as the party tent’s centerpiece, but for guests it seemed like the flames were all too real as the unseasonably high temperatures that earlier plagued the red carpet continued into the evening.

Thrones won 12 Emmys this year (including eight at the Creative Arts Emmys), a record for the most wins by any show in a single year.

Episode Recaps

Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series 'A Song of Ice and Fire.'

  • TV Show
  • 8
  • 73
  • TV-MA
  • David Benioff
  • D.B. Weiss
  • HBO
stream service