‘Game of Thrones’ Star Kit Harington Explains Why He Took a Break From Acting After the Show Ended

It’s not easy being Jon Snow. Kit Harington rose to fame with his role on HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones. But dealing with the show’s dark subject matter and the fame that came with portraying one of the central figures in the epic fantasy saga took its toll. The Eternals actor says his time on Game of Thrones contributed to mental health challenges. That led him to take a step back from acting after the show ended. 

RELATED: Kit Harington Admits He Was Left ‘Hyperventilating’ on His Last Day of Filming ‘Game of Thrones

Recently, Harington was a guest on Sirius XM’s The Jess Cagle Show. He opened up about how appearing on Game of Thrones affected his life. 

“I went through some mental health difficulties after Thrones, and during the end of Thrones, to be honest,” Harington said. “I think it was directly due to the nature of the show and what I had been doing for years.”

In May 2019 — the same month the show’s much-anticipated series finale aired — Harington reportedly checked into a rehab facility to deal with “personal issues” (via Page Six).  

Harington decided to take a step back from acting after playing Jon Snow on ‘Game of Thrones’ 

Kit Harington of 'Game of Thrones' attends the 2019 Emmy Awards
Kit Harington | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

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Harington appeared on all eight seasons of Game of Thrones. After the show’s dramatic (and controversial) finale, where Jon Snow killed “mad queen” Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), he realized he needed to take some time to focus on himself, he told Cagle. 

“I took a sort of break after Thrones,” he said, adding that he told himself he didn’t want to work for a year so that he could “really concentrate on myself.”

“I’m really happy I did that,” he added. 

However, once Harington — who recently welcomed his first child with wife (and Game of Thrones co-star) Rose Leslie — was ready to get back to acting, he faced another challenge.   

“You couldn’t predict the pandemic. So just when I was wanting to come back to work the pandemic hit. I was like, ‘Oh, for God’s sake,’” he said. 

His role in ‘Modern Love’ is less ‘intense’  

Harington’s latest role couldn’t be more different from the brooding warrior he played on the HBO series. In an episode of Amazon’s anthology series Modern Love, he plays a man who falls for a woman he meets on a train, only to have the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic interfere with their budding romance. 

The actor told Cagle that the story was a refreshing change of pace. 

“Doing this Modern Love episode was like, you don’t have to live in this intense place all the time,” he said. “Why don’t you do something that takes the weight off? Why don’t you do something fun? And I think that was part of my thinking on this one.” 

Modern Love Season 2 premieres August 13 on Amazon Prime Video. 

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