Kit Harington on ‘terrifying’ strain of turning into Game of Thrones’ focus

Game of Thrones is a present with large scope and attain, which implies that for each character story enjoying out on the display screen, there’s an actor’s story enjoying out behind it. In the case of Kit Harington, it is the story of an actor who began as a part of the present’s ensemble, and got here to face super strain as he shifted into place as one in every of its clear stars. 

Harington, who performs Jon Snow within the HBO megahit, started work on Game of Thrones years in the past, similar to most of the different younger actors within the ensemble: As a relative newcomer about to get worldwide publicity due to an acclaimed new TV collection. Then Game of Thrones turned the most important issues on tv, and whereas different actors received to proceed being a part of the ensemble, Harington’s position — together with that of fellow younger star Emilia Clarke, who performs Daenerys Targaryen — started to morph into one thing greater. 

Game of Thrones followers had theorized since nicely earlier than the present started airing, due to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, that there was one thing particular about Jon Snow, and on the finish of the present’s fifth season, parts moved into place to make that clear. 

At the top of Season 5, Jon Snow died after he was ambushed by rebellious members of the Night’s Watch who have been executed together with his management. Then, not lengthy into Season 6, he was resurrected by Melisandre (Carice van Houten), a rarity on a present the place loss of life is usually swift and ultimate, as a result of she believed he nonetheless had a job to play within the saga.

Now, two seasons later, Jon is the “Ice” in Ice and Fire, paired with Daenerys because the characters round him be taught of his secret Targaryen heritage and different characters whisper a couple of prophecy that could possibly be about one or each of them. For many Thrones followers he has turn into the most important character within the collection, and for a lot of others he is not less than prime two. He was already a star due to the present, however the previous two seasons have made Jon — and by extension Harington, together with his black curls and earnest eyes — an icon.

At first, it was lots for Harington to take, significantly within the 12 months between Jon’s loss of life and resurrection, when everybody from Stephen Colbert to random folks on the road to President Obama wished to know his character’s destiny.

“When you become the cliffhanger of a TV show, and a TV show probably at the height of its power, the focus on you is f***ing terrifying,” Harington mentioned in a prolonged new interview with Variety. “You get people shouting at you on the street, ‘Are you dead?’ At the same time you have to have this appearance. All of your neuroses — and I’m as neurotic as any actor — get heightened with that level of focus.”

Earlier in the identical interview, Harington mentioned studying evaluations of the collection (which he not does) within the first three seasons that ceaselessly singled him out as “the boring Jon Snow.” Then the main target shifted, and as Jon’s arc gained extra weight, Harington received increasingly of the highlight. Even because the previous criticisms appeared to soften away, although, the strain was sufficient to guide him to hunt assist.

“It wasn’t a very good time in my life,” he mentioned. “I felt I had to feel that I was the most fortunate person in the world, when actually, I felt very vulnerable. I had a shaky time in my life around there — like I think a lot of people do in their 20s. That was a time when I started therapy, and started talking to people. I had felt very unsafe, and I wasn’t talking to anyone. I had to feel very grateful for what I have, but I felt incredibly concerned about whether I could even f***ing act.”

Now Harington is finished with Game of Thrones, and looking out ahead to new tasks (ones wherein he can performs “characters who are deeply flawed”), however the present’s large success remains to be not with out its difficulties. Harington is aware of he’ll at all times be Jon Snow to some followers, it doesn’t matter what he does within the lengthy profession he appears to have forward of him. Even although he was keen to maneuver on, although, taking off that lengthy fur cloak (and trimming these well-known curls) for the final time nonetheless felt like shedding one thing.

“For a very long time towards the top of Thrones, I felt like I wished to be a brand new individual however I used to be caught on this form,” he mentioned. “I took off the costume, and it felt like my skin was being peeled away. I was very emotional. It felt like someone was shedding me of something.”

Game of Thrones returns Apr. 14 on HBO.


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