It’s been well over a year since Kit Harington ended his eight-season run on HBO’s Game of Thrones. And the actor admits, it wasn’t easy saying goodbye to his character, Jon Snow. In fact, Harington says that he was left “hyperventilating” over the thought of leaving that world behind.
The ‘Game of Thrones’ pilot marked Kit Harington’s first time in front of a professional camera
Harington is from a British family with a posh lineage, and he graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. It didn’t take him long to land his big break, as he filmed the Game of Thrones pilot in 2009 at the age of 23. According to Esquire, it was Harington’s first time acting in front of a professional camera.
Game of Thrones was life-changing for Harington. He grew into adulthood in front of millions of viewers, became the star of the biggest TV show in the world, and he met his wife — Rose Leslie — during season 2.
Looking back at a photo taken after the very first GOT table read that featured him with Richard Madden (Robb Stark) and Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), Harington noted that they had just met, and they had no idea what was in store.
“I remember it was very, very exciting. We left the table read, where we’d just read with Sean Bean (Ned Stark). We’d met Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), and Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark) that day, and they were just these tiny, tiny little kids,” Harrington recalled. “I remember Isaac looked like a puppy—he was just so small—and they came running up and they were very excited. I remember feeling like an adult then, but looking back, I was just a kid.”
The Jon Snow look was Kit Harington’s identity in his twenties
Harington spent the entire decade of his 20s playing Jon Snow, and that role came with some serious restrictions about his appearance. Harington’s long, curly locks were Jon Snow’s signature look. And, he immediately cut them off when Game of Thrones ended.
The now 33-year-old actor explained that during the HBO series’ run, he was contractually obligated to keep his hair at a certain length.
“I can’t tell you the amount of conversations I’ve had with agents about whether my hair’s going to grow back in time,” Harington confessed. “A huge part of my 20s are me with that look.”
He noted that the pictures from his 2018 wedding to Leslie are him “in that look.” Harington admitted that for a long time toward the end of GOT, he felt like wanted to be a new person. But, he was “stuck in this shape.”
On the last day of shooting, Harington says he took off the costume and it felt like he was peeling his skin away. He says it was an emotional experience, like he was shedding himself of something.
The ‘Game of Thrones’ star broke down on the last day of filming
The shoot for the final season of Game of Thrones lasted nine months. Harington says it was an arduous shoot in “extreme weather and just in heavy f*cking costumes.” By the end, he says that the inside jokes on set were getting old. But now he thinks that’s because they saw the end coming and it was a way to emotionally detach.
“My final day of shooting, I felt fine . . . I felt fine . . . I felt fine. . . Then I went to do my last shots and started hyperventilating a bit,” Harington explained. “Then they called, ‘Wrap!’ And I just f*cking broke down. It was this onslaught of relief and grief about not being able to do this again.”
Harington said his breakdown wasn’t about leaving behind his character. Instead, it was about never being in the Game of Thrones world again. It was about never getting to smell those smells again, fight those fights, or be with the cast and crew.
Game of Thrones seasons 1 through 8 are available on HBO Max.