What the Stars of ‘Game of Thrones’ Look Like in Real Life

When you sign up for a show like Game of Thronesyou’re also signing up for an aesthetic that’s decidedly medieval by nature. That means dirty makeup, ragged clothes, and a look that barely resembles the one you sport out in the real world.

That of course has us wondering: What do the stars of the popular HBO series look like when they’re not running around Westeros? Let’s find out!

1. Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen

Emilia Clarke side-by-side, one from her role on Game of Thrones, and the other of her dressed up on the red carpet

Left: Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen | HBO, Right: Emilia Clarke on the carpet at the Golden Globes. | Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

We all may know Emilia Clarke as a golden-haired queen on Game of Thrones, but in real life, she sports dark brown hair. The blond hair is in fact a massive wig she sports solely for the show, giving her that trademark Targaryen look.

2. Maisie Williams as Arya Stark

Maisie Williams side-by-side comparison, one with her on Game of Thrones, and the other with her dressed up on the red carpet

Left: Arya Stark | HBO, Right: Maisie Williams on the red carpet. | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Arya Stark’s character is known for her waif-like appearance, her penchant for vengeful murder, and for generally bucking all preconceptions concerning how a medieval “lady” should act. She’s equally as badass in real life, albeit without any of the violence, and is far more willing to wear a dress.

3. Kit Harington as Jon Snow

A side-by-side of Kit Harrington, first as Jon Snow, and second in a tuxedo on the red carpet

Left: Kit Harington as Jon Snow | HBO, Right: Kit Harrington on the red carpet at the Royal Opera House in London. | Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

You may notice that Kit Harington doesn’t look all that different from his Game of Thrones character. The reason: The producers of the show require him to keep his flowing locks. That means no haircuts until the day he’s finally done with the series, making for a handy indicator should his character’s death ever become imminent.

4. Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

A side-by-side comparison of Lena Headey, first as Cersei Lannister, and second dressed up on the red carpet for the premiere of 300

Left: Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister | HBO, Right: Lena Headey on the red carpet for 300. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Cersei Lannister is one of the most interesting and complex characters Game of Thrones has. On one hand, she’s been responsible for a whole mess of dead innocents, including her own children. On the other, she acts primarily out of love for her family.

5. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister

Nikolaj Coster Waldau in a side-by-side comparison, first as Jaime Lannister, and second in a tuxedo on the red carpet for the Golden Globes

Left: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister | HBO, Right: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on the red carpet for the Golden Globes. | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Jaime Lannister started as something of a villain in Season 1, but has since evolved into a far more sympathetic character. After losing his hand, watching his family crumble around him, and spending a good deal of time questioning his own twisted morality, he’s evolved into someone you can truly root for (at least sometimes).

6. Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark

Sophie Turner in a side-by-side comparison, first as Sansa Stark, and second in a red dress at an awards show red carpet

Left: Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark | HBO, Right: Sophie Turner dressed up on the red carpet. | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Sansa Stark is yet another character who’s undergone a huge transformation since Season 1. In the time since we first met her, she’s gone from a spoiled noble’s daughter, to a ruthless, emotionally-scarred force of nature.

7. Aidan Gillen as Littlefinger

A side-by-side comparison of Aidan Gillen, first as Littlefinger on Game of Thrones, and second on the red carpet in a suit

Left: Aidan Gillen as Littlefinger | HBO, Right: Aidan Gillen on the red carpet for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. | Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Petyr Baelish, known also as Littlefinger, is Westeros’ resident master schemer, operating from the shadows from the very onset of Game of Thrones. Opting to use his brain rather than brawn, he’s managed to manipulate the major houses into full-scale war, depose a king, and even took over a castle of his own without shedding a single drop of blood (his now former wife Lyanna Arryn excepted).

8. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister

A side-by-side comparison of Peter Dinklage on Game of Thrones, and on the red carpet at Sundance Film Festival

Left: Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister | HBO, Right: Peter Dinklage in a red carpet interview with reporters. | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival

Ask any Game of Thrones fan who their favorite character is, and odds are they’ll tell you it’s Tyrion Lannister. From his wisecracking to his good heart, he’s as close to your typical “good guy” as a grim show like this gets.

He was named Hand to the Queen by Daenerys, making it only a matter of time before he gets his own dragon too.

9. Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont

A side-by-side comparison of Iain Glen, as Jorah Mormont, and wearing a flowy black button-up shirt in a promotional image

Left: Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont | HBO, Right: Ian Glen posing for a promotional photo. | Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

Things have never really gone great for poor Jorah Mormont. Originally banished from Westeros for dealing in slaves, he was then subsequently banished again by Daenerys Targaryen, after she discovered he was tasked with spying on her early on. He then contracted a fatal case of greyscale in his quest to return to her side, meaning it’s only a matter of time before the disease takes his life.

10. Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth

A side-by-side comparison of Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, and in a black dress on the red carpet for the SAG Awards

Left: Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth | HBO, Right: Gwendoline Christie on the red carpet for the SAG Awards. | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

There are few fighters who can equal the level of skill wielded by Lady Brienne of Tarth. Born a noblewoman, she chose to hone her sword skills. She sports an unbreakable sense of honor and duty, and throughout her tenure on Game of Thrones, has sworn her sword to help protect the innocent.

11. Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy

A side-by-side comparison of Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, and dressed in a suit with a red tie on the red carpet

Left: Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy | HBO, Right: Alfie Allen on the red carpet for the Season 6 premiere of Game of Thrones. | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

If there’s one character that’s suffered more than Jorah Mormont, it’s Theon Greyjoy. While never the most lovable, no one deserves the fate enacted him by Ramsay Bolton. After having his manhood cut off, he was tortured into a level of insanity so deep, that he became a completely different person afterward. He’s since managed to recover what was left of his dignity, to stand at the side of his sister and Daenerys Targaryen.

12. John Bradley as Samwell Tarly

A side-by-side comparison of John Bradley as Samwell Tarly, and speaking at a Comic-Con panel

Left: John Bradley as Samwell Tarly | HBO, Right: John Bradley speaking at a panel at San Diego Comic-Con. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

You could argue that Samwell Tarly is too soft for the hard world of Westeros. At the same time, he has a kind heart and an intelligent mind, and that’s helped keep him aliveHe finds himself at the center of all knowledge for Westeros, as he searches for clues into the origins of the White Walkers, and what it will take to defeat them.

13. Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark

A side-by-side comparison of Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark, and wearing glasses and a suit on the red carpet

Left: Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark | HBO, Right: Isaac Hempstead-Wright on the red carpet for the National Television Awards. | Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Bran Stark has had it rough since the beginning of Game of Thrones, getting pushed out a window by Jaime Lannister, and losing the use of his legs. With his accident apparently unlocking magical abilities, Bran has the ability to time travel and transfer his consciousness into other beings.

14. Conleth Hill as Varys

A side-by-side comparison of Conleth Hill as Varys, and with a full head of a hair and a suit on the red carpet

Left: Conleth Hill as Varys | HBO, Right: Conleth Hill on the red carpet for the Season 6 Game of Thrones premiere. | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Varys has made a habit of aligning himself with those in power, from the Lannisters to Daenerys Targaryen. Ever the opportunist, you can bet he’ll maneuver his way into the household of anyone who manages to take the Iron Throne.

15. Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane

A side-by-side comparison of Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane, and giving a thumbs up on the red carpet while smiling

Left: Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane | HBO, Right: Rory McCann on the red carpet for the SAG Awards. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Known casually as “the Hound,” the large-set Sandor Clegane isn’t even the biggest child in his own family, as the sibling of Gregor “the Mountain” Clegane. That doesn’t make him any less imposing though, as he’s managed to survive everything Westeros has thrown at him since he fled from King’s Landing at the Battle of Blackwater.

16. Carice van Houten as Melisandre

A side-by-side comparison of Carice Van Houten, as Melisandre on Game of Thrones, and wearing a white outfit and smiling on the red carpet

Left: Carice van Houten as Melisandre | HBO, Right: Carice van Houten on the red carpet for the SAG Awards. | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

It’s been hard to get a read on Melisandre’s morality. Her sins are many, including a particularly heartbreaking incident where she burned Stannis Baratheon’s young daughter at the stake. She also brought Jon Snow back from the dead though, showing that in some ways, she has the best interests of Westeros at heart. It’ll be tough for her to completely find redemption nonetheless.

17. Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson as Gregor Clegane

A side-by-side comparison of Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, as the Mountain on Game of Thrones, and screaming while pulling a large rope in the World's Strongest Man Competition

Left: Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson as Gregor Clegane | HBO, Right: Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson competing in the World’s Strongest Man competition. | Victor Fraile/Getty Images

Here we have an interesting example of reality matching fiction. Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson is a competitive weightlifter, and perennial “World’s Strongest Man,” making him uniquely qualified to play Gregor Clegane.

18. Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei

A side-by-side comparison of Nathalie Emmanuel, as Missandei on Game of Thrones, and wearing a black dress and smiling on the red carpet

Left: Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei | HBO, Right: Nathalie Emmanuel on the red carpet for a Vanity Fair event. | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

True loyalty is tough to come by in the Game of Thrones universe, and that’s exactly what makes Missandei such a rarity. As Daenerys Targaryen’s most trusted friend and advisor, she’s risen from slavery to heights she never could have imagined. No matter what, you can bet Missandei will be standing at her queen’s side.

19. Jerome Flynn as Bronn

A side-by-side comparison of Jerome Flynn as Bronn in Game of Thrones, and wearing a suit on the red carpet for a screening of Black Mirror

Left: Jerome Flynn as Bronn | HBO, Right: Jerome Flynn on the red carpet for a screening of Black Mirror. | Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for BFI

The ultimate soldier of fortune, Bronn always seems to find himself working for whoever’s in charge, and getting rich as a result. For a long time, it seemed as though he was Tyrion Lannister’s loyal soldier, but that all ended when he found a new, better paying job as a sworn sword. That said, hopefully we haven’t seen the last of his friendship with the diminutive Lannister.

20. Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy

A side-by-side comparison of Gemma Whalen, as Yara Greyjoy on Game of Thrones, and wearing a black sweater over a flower pattern dress, smiling for the camera

Left: Gemma Whelen as Yara Greyjoy | HBO, Right: Gemma Whelen attending the Three Empire Awards. | Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Theon Greyjoy may be the male heir to the throne of Pyke, but it’s his sister Yara who’s the most deserving. Her throne was stolen from her by her insidious uncle, leading her to align her forces with Daenerys Targaryen in Season 6.

21. Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne

A side-by-side comparison of Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne, and wearing a suit, sporting a beard on the red carpet

Left: Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne | HBO, Right: Daniel Portman on the red carpet for the Three Empire Awards. | Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Podrick Payne numbers himself among some of the easier-to-love characters on Game of Thrones, having first squired for Tyrion Lannister, and most recently for Brienne of Tarth. Whomever he’s serving, he does so with an unwavering sense of loyalty, making him eminently likable in a world of pretty awful people.

22. Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth

A side-by-side comparison of Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth, and wearing a black t-shirt while applauding at a fashion show

Left: Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth | HBO, Right: Liam Cunningham at a fashion show in Monaco. | Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Davos Seaworth may very well be the wisest man in all of Westeros, as the one person who always seems to understand the big picture, beyond the various petty political squabbles among warring families. Advising Jon Snow, he’s set up to keep the new King in the North on task, and focused on the White Walker’s as they march on the Wall.

23. Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane

A side-by-side comparison of Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane, and wearing a suit and smiling on the red carpet

Left: Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane | HBO, Right: Kristofer Hivju on the red carpet for a movie premiere. | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Tormund Giantsbane has always proven himself to be a capable warrior, and now that his peoples’ safety is threatened by the White Walkers’ zombie horde, he’ll have to muster every bit of those abilities. His love/hate relationship with Jon Snow notwithstanding, he’s counted on to assist the North in the coming war.

24. Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm

A side-by-side comparison of Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm in Game of Thrones, and wearing a suit, smiling on the red carpet

Left: Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm | HBO, Right: Jacob Anderson on the red carpet for the SAG Awards. | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Daenerys Targaryen surrounds herself with loyal cohorts, and Grey Worm is certainly no exception. Raised as an Unsullied soldier, he knows little else beyond war and fighting. That doesn’t make him any less compelling at the same time, as we’ve seen him grow from a slave, into a trusted military advisor.

25. Joe Dempsie as Gendry

A side-by-side comparison of Joe Dempsie, as Gendry on Game of Thrones, and wearing a suit, sporting a goatee on the red carpet

Left: Joe Dempsie as Gendry | HBO, Right: Joe Dempsie on the red carpet for the Three Empire Awards. | Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

After Gendry escaped from Dragonstone with the help of Davos Seaworth in Season 3, the bastard son of Robert Baratheon disappeared from Game of Thrones for several seasons.

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