Game of Thrones is a television phenomenon. There’s nothing quite like it on TV today, and everybody is currently gearing up for the eighth and final season to begin. The fantasy drama was adapted by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss from the hugely successful A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin.
The series has a huge ensemble cast who have managed to rack up a record-breaking number of Emmy/Golden Globe nominations thanks to their outstanding performances. From Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister to Kit Harington as Jon Snow, everybody has a favourite character that they want to see sitting on the Iron throne.
With all of these Game of Thrones cast members knocking about, we decided to put together an article about some of their most fascinating secrets – die-hard fans of the show won’t want to miss these.
With all this time to kill before finding out how the Long Night will end, why don’t you join us in learning 33 fun facts you didn’t know about the entire Game of Thrones cast?
Scroll down the article below to find out which actress had a twin who died in the womb, plus we reveal which actor is secretly a British nobleman…
33. Iwan Rheon was very nearly cast as Jon Snow
Ramsay Bolton was arguably the most awful human being in Westeros, even managing to beat Cersei and Joffrey to the title of GoT’s most-hated villain! He was memorably brought to life by Welsh actor Iwan Rheon, but in a parallel universe, things could have been very different indeed. In fact, Rheon was nearly cast as the King in the North, Jon Snow.
Rheon made it down to the last two auditions before he was eventually beaten to the role by Kit Harington. However, producers loved Rheon so much that they asked him to portray the Bastard of the Dreadfort – and general sadistic freak – Ramsay Bolton instead.
Rather than uniting wildlings and Northerners, Rheon found himself hunting human beings and lopping off penises instead.
In fact, the Welsh actor has confessed that he really struggled to film a lot of his scenes in Game of Thrones thanks to the horrific cruelty of his on-screen counterpart.
If only he could have played Jon Snow instead!
32. Charles Dance only found out his character was going to die from a GoT fan
Charles Dance played the scheming patriarch Tywin Lannister to perfection.
Showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff reportedly wanted Dance to play the role from the start and set about persuading the actor to play Tywin whilst he was working on another project.
However, Dance hadn’t had time to familiarise himself with the books before arriving on set and ended up getting a nasty surprise…
He was told midway through filming that his character was going to die by an anonymous GoT fan! Yep, for a long time Dance had no idea that one day he would be sat on a toilet with his own son Tyrion pointing a crossbow at him.
We’ve got some other juicy facts about the actor as well, including one particularly embarrassing film cameo we bet you didn’t know about!
Charles actually made an appearance in 2002’s stoner-comedy film Ali G Indahouse. In one memorable scene, his character David Carlton can be found dancing in a red PVC skirt and leopard print top.
What would Tywin think??
31. Emilia Clarke and Michelle Fairley weren’t in the original pilot at all
Most people don’t realise that there was actually an ill-fated GoT pilot created years before the first episode aired on HBO.
And some of the characters looked very different indeed – neither Emilia Clarke (who plays Daenerys Targaryen) or Michelle Fairley (aka Catelyn Stark) – make an appearance in the pilot. So who ended up in their place?
Instead, their parts were originally played by Tamzin Merchant and Jennifer Ehle.
Things just didn’t work out and the two actors had to be replaced. In fact, Ehle (pictured below) had just had a baby at the time and begged producers to let her out of the seven-year contract she had signed in order to raise her daughter Talulah.
They agreed and instead Michelle Fairley came on board to play the ferocious and protective Stark matriarch.
Meanwhile, Clarke replaced Merchant as the Mother of Dragons and she made the role her own from day one. In fact, Clarke has received a grand total of three Emmy nominations for Best Actress in a Drama Series.
We can safely say it all worked out in the end!
30. Sophie Turner had a twin who died before birth
Sophie Turner aka Sansa Stark is still going strong in the GoT universe, despite all the odds.
She was engaged to Joffrey ‘Baratheon’, watched her own father Ned Stark lose his head, lost half of her family and eventually had to marry Ramsay Bolton. And in reality, it sounds as though Turner has had to suffer her own personal tragedies as well.
In fact, the actress had a twin who died before birth. As a result, Turner has always jumped at the chance to act in movies about twins or doubles, such as The Thirteenth Tale (2013) and Another Me (2013).
She once revealed that she draws on the loss of her twin sister to try and help her act better during emotional scenes:
“My mum had a miscarriage – my twin died and I lived.
“I have two older brothers who are close in age and I always felt as though I needed someone or should have had someone there.”
“I guess there’s a sense of loss there that I have used to conjure emotions onscreen, such as when it came to Sean (Bean, her on-screen father) dying.”
29. Rory McCann broke several bones in a serious rock-climbing accident
The Hound is known as one of the greatest fighters in Westeros. He’s definitely a tough guy, and it turns out Rory McCann is a survivor too.
Apparently, the Scottish actor was rock-climbing in Yorkshire in 1990 when he somehow managed to cheat death by falling 70ft from a cliff face…and surviving. McCann suffered broken arms, wrists and ankles whilst also fracturing his skull in the incident. “I was on my own and I didn’t have any ropes. I had 15 feet to go, but I didn’t have any strength left and couldn’t do the last move.
“For 10 minutes I held on, then went ‘f*** it’ and aimed for a patch of green. I just saw green, green, green and then ‘bang’. I thought I was going to die.”
Luckily a friend managed to get him to hospital in time and the actor recovered from the accident. Nowadays he spends his time on the GoT messing about with his fellow co-stars.
And there’s one unlikely actor he really gets on with.
Punk legend Wilko Johnson (who played the mute executioner Ilyn Payne) is actually a great guitarist.
He used to give McCann guitar-playing advice in-between takes. Nice!
28. Sean Bean once played football with Ned Stark’s severed head
Sean Bean is a massive football fan, so it’s no surprise he tried to get in some of his favourite hobbies whilst hard at work on the set of Game of Thrones.
Bean only starred in season one but the legacy of his character, Eddard Stark, has cast a long shadow over the rest of the series. In a heart-wrenching scene towards the end of the first season, fans will remember that the sadistic boy king Joffrey sentenced Eddard to death for ‘treason’.
Luckily Bean managed to make light of the situation between takes…
Apparently, he and some of the cast and crew played football with Ned Stark’s head!
No doubt Bean was representing his beloved Sheffield United whilst on location – he’s such a massive fan that the actor actually has a ‘100% BLADE’ tattoo on his left shoulder in honour of United aka ‘The Blades’.
You might not have spotted it before because it’s often covered in make up. On top of that, Bean also has two scars, one of which was given to him by Harrison Ford!
The actors were shooting a death scene in Patriot Games (1992) when Ford hit Bean with a boat hook. Oops!
27. Emilia Clarke was once covered in so much fake blood she got stuck to a toilet seat
Emilia Clarke is definitely not afraid to suffer for her art.
The actress was once covered in so much fake blood during filming that she accidentally got stuck to a toilet seat and had to get someone to help her off! She told Jimmy Kimmel: “The fake blood is really really sticky. So I was covered head to toe in the fake blood and I’m continually sticking myself to myself, or to other things. Then there was a moment when we were filming it that I disappeared, and I was stuck to the toilet.”
Apparently, the incident occurred whilst she was filming the scene in which Daenerys is forced to eat a raw horse heart in front of her fellow Dothraki.
In between getting stuck to the toilet, poor Emilia was trying not to throw up from eating the fake ‘stallion heart’.
Apparently, it was made out of a giant gummy bear injected with sugary syrup, whilst dried pasta for the arteries and a small amount of bleach(!) were added to make the fake heart taste absolutely disgusting.
And it worked – Clarke later stated: “It was very helpful to be given something so truly disgusting to eat, so there wasn’t much acting required.
I ate roughly 28 hearts throughout the days we filmed that scene.”
26. Kit Harington and his GoT bride Rose Leslie both have noble ancestors
That’s right – Kit Harington doesn’t just play the King in the North, he’s got royal lineage himself.
And it turns out his wildling wife Rose Leslie does too! Harington’s full name is Christopher Catesby Harington, and he’s the son of the 15th Baronet, Sir David Harington. One day Kit will become the 16th Baronet – in the meantime, he’s had to settle for being the 998th Commander of the Night’s Watch. The Jon Snow actor is also directly related to Robert Catesby, one of the men responsible for the Gunpowder Plot.
Rose Leslie played Ygritte in the early seasons of GoT – her character struck up a romance with Jon Snow and at the same time, the two actors quickly fell in love away from the cameras!
Apparently, Leslie is a direct descendant of King Charles II and grew up in Lickleyhead Castle, Aberdeen (north of the Wall).
The GoT couple married earlier this year in a lavish ceremony at the castle, surrounded by several castmates including Emilia Clarke, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams.
For an actor with noble lineage, Kit didn’t know that his real name was actually Christopher until he was 11 years old. You know nothing, Jon Snow!
25. Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey are really close friends in real life
To say that Cersei Lannister hates her younger brother Tyrion is probably the world’s biggest understatement.
Actors Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey have done a fine job of bringing that relationship to life on the small screen – you wouldn’t know for one second that in reality, they’re extremely close friends. In fact, it was Dinklage who recommended Headey for the role of Cersei in the first place. Producers ended up taking his advice and we can’t thank them enough.
Apparently, Dinklage and Headey are so close that during filming, they share an apartment and go to work together. They can often be seen on behind-the-scenes footage mucking about and the two actors are always being interviewed as a pair too.
Their fellow castmate Aimee Richardson, who played Myrcella in the first two seasons, remembers the two actors were constantly joking around in between takes.
It really helped to create a laid-back atmosphere and allowed Richardson to relax in her first major role.
Aww! We’d love to go for a pint with these two.
24. Natalie Dormer is an excellent fencer
Natalie Dormer is a woman of many talents.
As well as acting, Dormer is also an excellent fencer and was once a member of the prestigious London Fencing Academy. Wow! Sadly her character Margaery Tyrell didn’t get to put her fighting prowess to the test in GoT, but the actress has been spotted with a sword in hand plenty of other times. Apparently, she’s also a keen squash player but sadly there aren’t any squash courts in Westeros.
Dormer isn’t just a sports fan, she’s also got brains to match. The actress nearly shunned the world of TV for life as a student.
She almost got into Cambridge University to study History before making a single error on an A-Level question and messing up her final grade. Aw!
Dormer did attend the Webb Douglas drama school and was a classmate of Rupert Friend (who starred in Homeland and used to date Keira Knightley).
Apparently, she was always getting told off by professors for ‘overthinking’ her performances.
Still, fans of the show will always remember her portrayal of the amiable yet quietly scheming Tyrell princess.
23. Carice Van Houten nearly played Cersei, not Melisandre
Things could have ended up very differently for Lena Headey if Carice Van Houten had taken the role of Cersei!
Fans of the show will know that Van Houten plays the enchanting ‘Red Woman’ Melisandre, a high priestess of the Lord of Light. However, she was originally asked to audition for the role of Cersei but didn’t manage to make the audition because she was busy with another project at the time. Wow!
Luckily Van Houten was able to appear in the fantasy series as Melisandre, the seductive priestess who mistakenly believes that Stannis Baratheon is the one true King.
(She also burns his daughter to death in the process).
Apart from acting, Van Houten is a popular singer and has had a number one hit in her home country of the Netherlands with Dutch rock band Kane. She has continued to record music and released her second album in 2012 to critical acclaim.
On top of all that, did you know that she’s in a relationship with Aussie actor Guy Pearce?!
22. The actor who plays Grand Maester Pycelle is the unofficial king of movie franchises!
Grand Maester Pycelle was definitely one of the most irritating characters on GoT.
It seemed to take him about five minutes to string a sentence together, and on top of that, he was a hypocrite who slept with prostitutes whilst trying to pretend he had the moral high ground. However, did you know that in reality, actor Julian Glover is arguably the king of movie franchises?! Glover has starred in all of the biggest series’ in film history…
He has had memorable appearances in the following movie franchises: Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Star Wars. Glover has also acted in multiple episodes of Doctor Who.
Not a bad acting resume for a Maester of the Citadel.
And it turns out that Glover has had a major impact on some of the franchises he’s starred in.
Apparently, Glover was the first person to suggest that Pierce Brosnan take over the role of Bond after Timothy Dalton.
He has also starred in films with two actors who played Doctor Who – William Hartnell and William Russell.
21. The actress who played Olenna Tyrell was a huge sex symbol in the 1960s
Olenna Tyrell was a grandmother by the time she appeared in GoT.
She was an older (and wiser) lady with a tart tongue who stopped at nothing to protect her family.
Olenna was memorably portrayed by veteran actress Diana Rigg in the series – and did you know that back in the 1960s, Rigg used to be an international sex symbol?
Although she played more of a matriarchal role in the fantasy series, Rigg became a pin-up after starring in The Avengers as Emma Peel, a spy and expert in martial arts.
Rigg was also a Bond girl – she starred in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service opposite George Lazenby, the only actor to star in one single 007 movies.
But in GoT she played an extremely different kind of character, one who was happy to poison mad kings and fight against the Faith Militant.
One of Rigg’s most memorable moments in GoT was her final scene opposite Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jamie Lannister. Rigg called the scene ‘beautiful’ and added:
“Nikolaj is wonderful. When it’s well written, it’s a joy to do. And you don’t get an awful lot of always-brilliant writing on television, do you?”
20. Richard Madden used to be really overweight
Richard Madden has recently acquired a whole new female fanbase with his role in Bodyguard.
And before that, he was stripping down to his bare chest in the BBC’s adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It’s also been rumoured that he’ll be replacing Daniel Craig as the next James Bond, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet. However, the heartthrob (who played the doomed king Robb Stark) didn’t always look as…athletic as he does now!
Madden has admitted that he was overweight for most of his teenage years, and it only took a role in drama school to persuade him that he needed to shed some pounds.
The role in question required Madden to be naked on stage, at which point the actor decided that he ‘didn’t want to be fat and naked on stage’.
He’s definitely shaped up nicely if this photo is anything to go by…
Madden is a Scottish actor who was actually born in the village of Elderslie in the West of Scotland.
Believe it or not, this is the very same birthplace attributed to William Wallace, the legendary Scottish patriot (aka Mel Gibson in Braveheart).
19. Jerome Flynn and Lena Headey despise each other in real life
A word of warning: never, ever put Jerome Flynn (who plays Bronn) and Lena Headey in the same room together!
The two actors absolutely despise one another, which is a shame considering that they were once an item. Headey and Flynn first appeared together in an episode of Soldier, Soldier over twenty years ago, before reuniting for GoT.
They soon struck up a romantic relationship but things must have ended very badly because now the two are no longer on speaking terms.
In fact, producers have been warned not to write any scenes in which the two characters might appear together – which is pretty crazy considering that Bronn is one of the Lannister’s most trusted allies.
There is even a stipulation written into Headey and Flynn’s contracts that they can’t appear in the same scene together.
Fans got wind of the contractual terms during a bizarre scene in season seven when Bronn awkwardly left the dragon pit to go and have a drink with Podrick. The moment had no relevance to the rest of the episode and was only included so that Flynn could leave the set before Headey appeared. Maybe it’s time to bury the hatchet guys?
18. Jack Gleeson is no longer an actor
Jack Gleeson will always be remembered for his portrayal of Joffrey Baratheon.
And that might be the only thing he’s remembered for in the world of acting because Gleeson has stated several times that he won’t be making a career out of the profession. Gleeson hasn’t acted since 2014 and it doesn’t look as though he’ll be returning to the small screen any time soon – he wants to pursue his studies instead.
That’s right, Gleeson prefers the world of academia to act and once stated: “I’d like to be an academic, a philosophy lecturer if possible. I’d do a Masters in Ancient Hebrew maybe, and a PhD hopefully, if I get in.”
He currently attends the prestigious Trinity College in the Irish capital of Dublin.
Funnily enough, Gleeson’s dream had always been to become a film actor:
“My whole life, I wanted to be a big famous successful actor. I suppose something just changed.
I still love acting, and I see myself acting in the future, but that kind of spark is not there anymore, and I don’t know why.”
17. Hafthór Júlíus Björnsson aka The Mountain is currently the World’s Strongest Man!
Hafthór Júlíus Björnsson plays The Mountain That Rides and he definitely needs a lot of muscle to portray the notorious fighter.
So it’s a good job that Björnsson is currently the World’s Strongest Man! After several attempts, the Icelandic beefcake finally won the competition in 2018 and there’s no doubt that the title will be helping him to wield a longsword and defeat Cersei’s enemies. In the series, he’s now a zombie version of himself and has sworn not to speak until all of his ruler’s enemies are defeated.
Björnsson is actually the third actor to play the role, but the first one to do so in more than one season.
He appeared on the series in season 4 as Cersei’s champion and ended up giving poor Oberyn Martell a good eye-gouging during a fight to the death.
Now he’s managed to balance his acting career with his strongman activities and there’s no doubt that he’ll be appearing in the last season in some sort of capacity.
Maybe his superhuman strength will be able to take down the Night King singlehandedly?
We wouldn’t bet against it!
16. Lena Headey and Emilia Clarke have both played the same character
Lena Headey and Emilia Clarke portray two strong, powerful women in the GoT universe.
And both of them have played another sassy female character in the form of Sarah Connor! Lena played Terminator‘s female protagonist in the television programme Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles from 2008 to 2009, whilst Emilia took on the iconic role much more recently in 2015’s Terminator Genisys.
Unfortunately for any Sarah Connor fans out there, Clarke won’t be returning to the Terminator franchise because she has some extremely bad memories of her time working on the film.
Apparently, the actress is ‘relieved’ she won’t have to reprise her role because production on the movie was so bad.
Despite the fact that Clarke took over the role of Connor from Headey, there’s clearly no bad blood between the pair.
They have been posting plenty of cute Instagram messages in the wake of season eight’s filming.
Clarke recently posted an emotional message to her fans about the end of GoT and Headey replied: ‘Sweet words. Love you and HOLY balls.’ Aww! Nice to know she’s nothing like Cersei in real life…
15. Sophie Turner is allergic to horses
Sophie Turner isn’t scared of white walkers or evil Lannister queens.
Instead, she’s terrified of being near any horses on set! Of course, horses are part and parcel of life in Westeros and Essos. We’ve seen the Dothraki riding them into battle and no Northern lord (or lady) would look the part without galloping around on a stallion across the hills. But for poor old Sophie, that means her allergies instantly start acting up.
Apparently, the actress suffers extreme allergic reactions and has to take precautions as a result:
“I’m asthmatic anyway, and just swell up when I am near horses, so I have to have an inhaler in my pocket all the time. Most of the time I am just desperately trying to breathe!”
Yikes! Poor Sophie. Luckily it seems as though Turner is used to being around horses because she grew up in a tiny village in the heart of Warwickshire. “It was really nice, a country upbringing.
We had a paddock out the back where horses used to graze and we had three little barns, one for each of us.
They were tiny, but they were ours. Obviously, my older brothers used the barns to hotbox weed or whatever, but for me, it was just collecting sticks and childish things.”
14. Carice Van Houten has appeared in films alongside three of her fellow GoT actors
Carice Van Houten gets about a bit…in terms of film appearances, of course.
The Red Priestess has appeared in a grand total of three movies alongside her fellow GoT cast members. And if that’s not bizarre enough, all three of the films in question contain the world ‘black’ somewhere in the title. She first appeared in the 1999 Dutch film Black Book with everyone’s second-favourite sellsword, Michiel Huisman.
Now we all know that Davos and Melisandre don’t exactly get along in the GoT franchise. She did burn little Shireen Baratheon alive, after all, and Davos still hasn’t forgotten about it.
Despite their on-screen differences, Carice starred in Black Butterflies opposite Irish actor Liam Cunningham in 2011.
And finally, Carice transferred to another medieval-style setting in the movie Black Death in 2010 where she played a woman named Langiva.
Who was in the lead role of Ulric?
None other than Sean Bean aka the ‘traitor’ Eddard Stark!
13. Charles Dance has something very important in common with his character Tywin Lannister
Sometimes art imitates life in the most bizarre ways possible!
In the GoT books and in the series, Tywin Lannister was married to a woman named Joanna with whom he had three children. And in real life, Charles Dance was once married to a woman named Joanna…and he has three children! Weird! Unfortunately, Dance’s love life has become a little bit controversial in recent years after he left his wife of thirty-odd years, Joanna Haythorn, for a much younger woman.
What would Tywin say about that?! Apparently, the actor had a few sneaky relationships with young actresses before settling on painter and sculptress Elena Boorman.
The couple got engaged in 2010 and gave birth to a baby named Rose in 2012, but since then they’ve gone their separate ways.
Speaking of romance, Dance really wasn’t that impressed with some of the sex scenes in GoT! “You saw all this violence and all this rumpy-pumpy, and it’s all doggie-style. I said to [the executive producers] ”
Obviously, the missionary position didn’t come into vogue for a few years yet in the Seven Kingdoms”.
And they said “We wanted it to be kind of animalistic, Charles” and I said, “Well, it’s certainly that”.” Rude!
12. All of the GoT actors find it difficult to act out scenes with Peter Dinklage
Apparently, all of the GoT cast members have a really difficult time filming with Peter Dinklage…
But it’s not for the reason you think! Dinklage isn’t a diva at all – in fact, he’s too nice. The actor is so amiable to everyone on set that most of his co-stars struggle to get into the right frame of mind when filming scenes in which they have to mistreat Tyrion (Charles Dance and Lena Headey we’re looking at you!). Dance has admitted that he despises the way his character treats Tyrion and hates having to act it out on screen.
Dinklage doesn’t just have evil fathers and scheming sisters to put up with on the set of GoT.
He’s also a strict vegetarian, which causes some problems when he’s supposed to be a Lannister who loves wining and dining. Any time you see him eating ‘meat’ on screen, it’s actually a tofu replacement.
Dinklage is probably glad of tofu considering how much he struggled as a young actor in New York.
He once revealed that he turned down a lot of parts early in his career because he didn’t want to be typecast in the usual ‘magic dwarf’ type roles.
Instead, he was forced to eat packets of crisps for dinner every night.
11. Arya Stark was Maisie Williams’ first-ever acting role
We can’t really imagine anyone else except Maisie in the role of Arya Stark.
But did you know that Williams had never acted professionally before appearing in GoT? The actress’ first love is dancing and she currently practices musical theatre, ballet, pointe, tap, street and freestyle as well as gymnastics and trampolining. Wow! Looks like we might be seeing her on Broadway rather than the big screen…
A total of 300 young actresses auditioned for the part of Arya, but it was Maisie’s performance which really stood out to producers and casting directors.
Only 12 years old at the time, the young actress just wanted to make enough money to buy herself a new laptop!
“The thing I was really obsessed about,” Williams told The Guardian,” was whether I would earn enough money to buy myself a laptop.
My stepdad, Gary, just looked at me and said: ‘I think there’ll be enough for a couple of laptops, Maisie.’”
Aww! We’re sure she’s gone out and bought herself an Apple Mac by now.
10. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau struggled to adapt to Jamie’s life as a cripple
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was thrown an absolute curveball when he realised that his character would be armless for the rest of the series!
The Danish actor has revealed that he really struggled to get around the disability at first, especially when it came to hiding Jamie’s missing arm. Coster-Waldau confessed that “physically, it was a nightmare at the beginning because I had to have my arm down my left leg and my stump up here, but now it’s fine.” Sounds uncomfortable!
However, despite having to stand around for hours on end with his arm tied to his leg, the actor has really enjoyed watching Jamie’s transformation:
“It’s great. As an actor, you have a character who’s defined by his skills as a swordsman, and then you take away that one thing.
“It’s great because it creates this huge obstacle. It’s difficult for him to deal with as a person, but as an actor, you live for those moments.”
Jamie has a complicated relationship with Tyrion on-screen, and in real life, Coster-Waldau lost out on an Emmy Award in 2018 after he was beaten to the post by none other than…
Peter Dinklage! Doh…
9. Stephen Dillane hated his time on Game of Thrones
You might think that starring in the biggest TV series of all time would be any actor’s dream come true.
Not for Stephen Dillane though, who played Stannis Baratheon in the GoT universe. Stannis was a cold and severe man who seemed to hate just about everyone. And it sounds as though Dillane didn’t have to do much prep for the role, seeing as he’s previously admitted that he hated appearing in the series and only did it for the money. Charming!
The actor also told The Times that he relied heavily on Liam Cunningham (aka Davos Seaworth) to tell him what was going on in each scene: “Cunningham is so passionate about the show.
He invests in it in a way I think is quite moving, but it wasn’t my experience.
I was entirely dependent on Liam to tell me what the scenes were about.
“I didn’t know what I was doing until we’d finished filming and it was too late.”
“The damage had been done. I thought no one would believe in me and I was rather disheartened by the end. I felt I’d built the castle on my non-existent foundations.”
Just for good measure, he’s one final photo of Stephen/Stannis looking miserable:
8. Ciarán Hinds aka Mance Rayder has a very impressive CV
Ciarán Hinds might be best remembered as the King-Beyond-The-Wall but he’s also starred in some other blockbusters too!
The Northern Irish actor voices the character of Pabbie in Frozen. remember the little green trolls you saw in the film? Yep, that’s Mance Rayder’s voice.
And that’s not the only high-profile role he’s taken on. Hinds has previously starred in the Harry Potter series, but would you have recognised him underneath all of the make-up he had on?
Hinds actually starred as Aberforth Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II. There’s no doubt that long grey beard would have come in handy beyond the Wall!
But how exactly did Hinds first get started in the world of acting? Turns out it’s quite an interesting story…
Hinds’ first ever role was as one half of a pantomime horse! He claims he can’t remember which end he was, but still, it’s a humble start for the future king of the wildlings.
Hinds has made a lot of celebrity friends during his career and even acted as a pallbearer at Natasha Richardson’s funeral after becoming close mates with Liam Neeson.
7. Podrick and Rodrick(!) are related in real life
Have you ever noticed that Podrick Payne and Rodrick Cassel actually look really similar in real life?
No, we hadn’t either! But it might be something to do with the fact that they’re actually father and son! That’s right, Ron Donachie, who plays a loyal servant to the Starks and Daniel Portman, who plays the devoted squire Podrick, are actually father and son. Portman prefers not to take his father’s name in order to try and make his own way in the world of acting.
In fact, Portman has been keen to make it clear that he didn’t get the role of Podrick thanks to his actor father.
“My dad played a good part in the show and he was in it for a fair whack, but, no, I didn’t get the job because of him I got the job because of me.”
Portman explained to The Sunday Post: “When I met the writers and producers they liked what I did. These people don’t do favours.
The only way they’re going to pull family favours is if somebody like Al Pacino is on the show and he asks them to give his daughter a go!”
6. Isaac Hempstead-Wright is going to university after he finishes filming for Game of Thrones
Nobody could have predicted how powerful little Bran Stark would become at the start of season one.
Unless you read the books, that is! And it looks as though actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who portrays Bran in GoT, is preparing for a return to the world of books and studying himself. The young actor has revealed that he wants to go to university once filming for the eighth and final season has wrapped, hopefully, to study physics.
It sounds as though Isaac might be tempted to go down the same route as Jack Gleeson (aka Joffrey Baratheon) and give up a career in acting altogether. “It’s been a mad trip,” he said.
“But acting is only one of my many interests. I love school and science, I also love piano and music.
“I’ll just have to see how it goes.” We’re sure that Isaac will be a success at whatever he tries his hand at. Plus now he’s gained the knowledge of everything that has happened, is happening and will happen so surely he can put that greenlight to good use?
5. Nathalie Emmanuel aka Missandei used to be a soap star
Nathalie Emmanuel has become one of the break-out stars of GoT.
She plays Daenerys’ adviser Missandei in the series, who currently seems to be in a relationship with Greyworm. Emmanuel has won praise for her performance in Game of Thrones, but the actress already looked very familiar to UK audiences, who had seen her acting in a range of different soaps including Northern drama Hollyoaks.
Emmanuel famously starred in the series as Sasha Valentine, a teen heroin addict. She also played young Nala in the original London version of The Lion King.
Despite her background, the actress is proud of her roots and has previously defended the work being done by soap actors.
‘I won’t have anyone slag off soap actors, not on my watch.
Everyone talked down about Hollyoaks, especially within casting – there’s a stigma that actors aren’t very good or they’re just hired for their appearance, and that gives you a fire to prove something.”
Emmanuel also praised the fact that soaps can end up giving actors their big break, just like her!
4. Peter Vaughan was actually blind in real life
GoT fans couldn’t help but love the Maester on the Wall, Aemon Targaryan.
A devoted member of the Night’s Watch, he managed to convince John that there was good to be found in duty and honour whilst also detailing the sacrifices he had been forced to make in the face of his own family’s tragedy. One of the most striking features of Aemon’s character is the fact that the old man is completely blind.
Actor Peter Vaughan played the part to perfection, but that might have something to do with the fact that Vaughan himself was partially blind in real life.
His loss of sight began to occur as he got older and was evident during his time on Game of Thrones.
Sadly Vaughan – who had a career spanning over fifty years – passed away in 2016, at the age of 93 years old. He finished filming his character on GoT only a year before that.
A true actor right til the end – and now his watch has ended.
3. Thomas Brodie-Sangster was far older than his on-screen counterpart Jojen Reed
Thomas Brodie-Sangster has made the successful leap from child actor to fully-fledged star.
But when he joined the series back in 2013, fans were concerned about just how old the actor was compared to his on-screen counterpart. Jojen Reed is supposed to be a boy of 13 years old, but Brodie-Sangster was already 22 when he was cast in the part of the greenseer! In fairness to the casting directors, he really doesn’t look a day over sixteen..
In any case, the actor made a huge impression during his ten episodes and quickly became a fan favourite.
In fact, one guy recognised Brodie-Sangster the day after his first episode aired: “I ride a motorbike and I have a full-face helmet on, which covers pretty much everything other than your eyes.
“I was sat at the traffic lights and a cyclist came up to me, looked at me and somehow — I don’t know how — it was the day after my first episode aired and he just [said], ‘I loved you last night in ‘Game of Thrones.’ Well done, mate.”
Brodie-Sangster also has the dubious honour, alongside Ian McElhinney (Ser Barristan Selmy) of not realising their characters were going to die until they read the script!
2. Michiel Huisman (Daario Naharis) is actually a singer and guitarist
Michiel Huisman is a Dutch actor and heartthrob who plays the over-confident sellsword Daario Naharis.
When he isn’t swinging swords and trying to get the Mother of Dragons into bed, Huisman is actually a singer and guitarist (just like his fellow Dutch actor Carice Van Houten). Huisman was in the popular Dutch band, Fontane. Sadly the band split up but Huisman continued to release solo material before getting caught up in the world of acting.
Huisman might be the Daario that we all know and love, but super fans might well remember that a different actor portrayed the sellsword before the role was re-cast.
British actor Ed Skrein actually appeared in three episodes of GoT before leaving the show due to ‘politics’. Yikes!
Skrein has spoken to the press several times about his exit from the show: “It was a wonderful experience, but politics led to us parting ways,” Skrein told EW.com. “And from there I just said, ‘Okay, look forward, be positive.
Keep calm and carry on.'” Hmmm…sounds nice and vague!
1. The Night King killed Batman’s parents
We knew the Night King was an evil guy, but to kill Batman’s parents?
OK, so it wasn’t really him. But did you know that Richard Brake, who portrays the blue-eyed villain in GoT, is actually the same actor who plays Joe Chill in Batman Begins? Chill famously ends up slaying Batman’s parents, which is really not cool (although the Night King would probably approve…and help bring them back to life!).
You can check out Brake in his role as Chill in the image below. Funnily enough, the actor has admitted he has no idea why he keeps being cast as a bad guy and is really a big softie deep down inside:
“I am, it’s true – but I just love playing baddies and for some reason I do it so well”, he told Wales Online.
Although the Night King has an army of (wight) fans, most people wouldn’t be able to recognise Brake if he was standing right in front of them. That’s because has to wear so much make-up – none of his appearances is down to CGI and instead, he has to spend 6 hours in make-up before filming can even begin.
Wow! Still, it does have its advantages: “One of the advantages of a six-hour make up sessions is no one recognises you.”