The HBO fantasy drama series Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows in decades and has rightfully taken the world by storm. For almost eight full seasons, the storylines have captivated fans with the help of some seriously gifted actors and actresses.
For a beginner, the storylines and the many characters can be rather complex, but the reward for sticking with the show is not only great, but extremely powerful once fans find themselves emotionally invested in the characters’ lives (and, more importantly, their deaths).
But sometimes we have to ask ourselves “Are the actors ANYTHING like their characters in real life?”. When we watch a fantasy laced show such as GOT that’s filled with dragons, really cold looking ice zombies, half-dead people, and really mellow dudes that can see the future, the past, and everything in between, we have to believe it’s entirely too far fetched that any of the actors are even remotely like the characters they play on the little screen.
But we were surprised by which actors are actually a little bit like the characters they’ve portrayed for years. After all, when they stay in someone’s skin long enough, the actor can start to develop their mannerisms. Here are 15 actors who are nothing like their GOT and a few who actually are.
Not Even Remotely Close
If you’re a fan of GOT, you know exactly who Emilia Clarke is. Emilia plays the platinum-haired Daenerys Targaryen, also known as the Mother of Dragons (among her very many names). On the show, Dany is dangerously ambitious, takes no prisoners, and plays no games since she’s lived in a man’s world her entire life.
However, in real life, Emilia is about as fun-loving as they come. She let it known to the world just a short time ago that she had two near-death experiences from brain aneurysms and now lives life to its very fullest. While she’s ambitious, she’s far from the ruthless woman she tends to play.
On the show, Sophie Turner’s character Sansa Stark claims she’s a slow learner but has proven that she’s actually one of the cleverest characters on the show who doesn’t seem to let loose at all.
But Sophie? Well, if you follow Sophie on social media, you’ll know that she not only lives to goof off but lives to make others around her laugh. She’s close friends with Maisie Williams, who plays her sister Arya on the show, and is downright vulgar at times in the best way humanly possible. Clearly, she doesn't have much in common with her evasive on-screen persona.
At the beginning of the show, everyone loved Bran Stark, the second to the youngest of the Stark children who lived to go on adventures. But after being crippled in a fall, Bran’s whole world shifted and he was led down a path that turned him into “The Three-Eyed Raven,” an entity who can see both the past and the future at times. He sees all and knows all, but he’s not the same Bran.
In real life, Isaac Hempstead is bright and loving and warm, something that Bran is NO LONGER on the show. His personality really shines through on his social media and you can tell he has so many soft spots for his costars.
When Iwan Rheon first appeared on screen as the ruthless Ramsey Bolton, everyone just assumed he was a charmer. But that was never further from the truth. In reality, Ramsey was a heartless psychopath who lived to torment others, especially his enemies, and Sansa Stark, who was forced to marry him.
In real life, though, Iwan is actually a charmer who is more kind than anything–which is a far stretch from his onscreen persona, thankfully. Even his co-stars are quick to say what a wonderful person Iwan was on the set and how sweet he actually is in real life.
On the show, Arya Stark is a vicious and unexpected warrior who fights for her family at all costs. In the beginning, she was running for her life after her family was basically ambushed by the Lannisters, and she ended up becoming one of the deadliest assassins in the entire Seven Kingdoms thanks to some careful (and calculated) studying.
In real life, Maisie is living up her fame with jokes and laughter (much like her real-life bestie and on-screen sister Sophie Turner). Sure, she’s a little more vulgar in the sense of humor realm than Arya is, but man is it hilarious.
On the screen, Cersei Lannister is cunning, intelligent, ruthless, and really really loves her wine. Off-screen, Lena Headey is nothing like her onscreen counterpart. She’s giving, sweet, fun-loving, charming, and… she may love her wine too. But really, it’s like night and day when it comes to Headey and you can tell just by looking at her IG timeline.
She cares deeply for the world around her, and that includes politics as well as many selfless causes. Recently, she was criticized for her political views and she simply told her followers who were telling her to “stick to acting”–“Just unfollow me.”
You may remember a notable character that actor Jack Gleeson played: a little prince named Joffrey Baratheon. Joffrey was basically the terror of the Seven Kingdoms and would do everything in his power to control and hurt as many people around him as humanly possible.
In real life, Gleeson, a fun-loving, down-to-earth guy, had to take a step back from acting after playing that defining role. But, still true to his fun-loving real-life personality, he reunited with former onscreen love interest Sophie Turner in a hilarious IG photo at the Season 8 premiere. Obviously he's no villain in real life!
In GOT, Lord Petyr Baelish played by his own rules and didn’t really care about anyone else’s needs but his own. He was sneaky and managed to manipulate those around him… at least until a couple of Starks finally got the best of him and turned his own game around on him.
In real life, however, Aidan Gillen has not a spec of the man known as Littlefinger in his entire being. He’s actually a strong advocate for the homeless and also wishes that the show that made him famous had a happy ending in order to soothe the minds of fans.
At 6’9", actor and strongman champ Hafthor Julius Bjornsson is pretty hard to miss. On the critically acclaimed drama, he plays the man known as “The Mountain,” Ser Gregor Clegane. Earlier in the series, he was a champion fighter who no one, not even his own brother, would mess with. But after a battle that basically left him dead, he came back… well…. A little different.
In real life, however, Bjornsson is a gentle giant of sorts and a far cry from the bad guy you see on the screen. And all he wants now? Is to play a less villainous character in the future.
The character of Jaqen H’ghar has always been somewhat of a large question mark. When he ended up “befriending” Arya in the second season of GOT, he took us on a wild, yet almost stoic, ride of his entire character arc. Did he care about Arya? Did he dislike her? Did he respect her? There was a lot of his emotionless ride to take in.
In real life, Tom Wlaschiha is a well-known multi-lingual actor whose acting world is crazy vast. He puts all of his passions into his characters and is very emotional, unlike the character who made him internationally famous.
On screen, Sean Bean was the most recognized actor in the first season of Game of Thrones, which is why it came as such a shock that he met his untimely end so very quickly. Ned Stark was an excellent family man, but he wasn’t too wise, which is what ended up being his demise in the end.
In real life, not only is Sean living it up, but he’s doing it extremely stylishly. Living in luxury and loving life at middle age, Sean has proven you don’t need to be young to be impressively stylish. Maybe he can teach ol’ Ned a thing or two about how to dress properly (even without a head).
Okay, I’ll go ahead and say it–Robb Stark wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. The oldest and heir to the North, Robb took too many wrong turns and it ultimately cost him his life (other lives were lost becaues of him, too). Sure, he claims it was in the name of love, but he should have seen his end coming. Sigh.
Actor Richard Madden, however, is a different story altogether. He was actually happy to leave GOT and Robb Stark behind him. He’s gone on to star in the wildly popular Netflix series Bodyguard and the new Elton John biopic that is being released this year.
Ruthless is a word commonly used to describe Tyron Lannister, the head of the Lannister family. He manipulated his own children, CLEARLY had favorites, and was just an all-around bad dude. He was especially forthcoming about his negative feelings toward his youngest son Tyrion. But in real life?
Charles Dance couldn’t be further from the ruthless “hand-of-the-king” that he was on the show. He's a genial guy who really showed off his acting chops in Lannister's particularly jarring scenes. In fact, Charles just revealed who he wishes would end up on the Iron Throne: Tyrion. That’s a far stretch from Tyron’s outlook on life, we’d say.
I know what you’re thinking: “BUT WE LOVED DROGO!” Okay, we fell in love with Jason Momoa’s Khal Drogo shortly after Dany’s character. But in the beginning, he didn’t really care about anyone but himself, until she taught him differently. And then, as GOT does, they took him from us, and not in a nice and fuzzy fade-to-black moment, either.
In real life though, Jason Momoa is a lover, not a fighter. Even recently, he shaved off his iconic beard for a good cause and videoed himself doing so while encouraging people to save the planet. Khal Drogo would have NEVER done that.
In real life, people can’t always really tell what’s so familiar about Carice van Houten when they simply see her strolling down the street. They know she looks familiar, but not why. One time, the actress said that a woman came up to her and said she recognized her, but couldn’t remember from where. All Carice had to say was “The night is dark and full of terrors” and the woman instantly knew.
On screen, Carice’s red priestess Melisandre is willing to sacrifice every around her to please the god she worships, but she’s always sacrificing the WRONG people. In real life, Carice is fun-loving and nothing like the dark woman she plays on TV.
Just A Little Bit…
“You know nothing, Jon Snow” is a famous line we associate the most when it comes to Kit Harington’s character Jon Snow. It was uttered by Ygritte, Jon’s wildling love who met her brutal end and passed away in Jon’s arms at Castle Black.
While Jon may be not too quick on the uptake, he loves fiercely, just like Kit does in real life. In fact, Kit pulled a very Jon Snow move and asked Rose Leslie, the actress who played Ygritte, to be his wife. If that’s not staying totally true to his character, I don’t know what is.
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones and you DON’T love Gwendoline Christie’s beloved character Ser Brianne of Tarth, you don’t have a heart. Brianne is a woman of honor and an impressively talented Knight. She simply proved herself to those who laughed in her face rather than seeking revenge and has most commonly been the one who has the last laugh.
Gwendoline has proven that she, like her character, is amazingly talented and a lover of life in general, which is refreshing to see in this day and age. We'd say she's more like Ser Brianne than we expected!
Yeah, yeah, in the beginning, we didn’t like Ser Jaime Lannister. Why? Well not only did he have a little something going on with his twin sister, but he pushed a kid out a window and scarred him for life. But since those fateful moments, Jaime has changed for the better and has turned more into the man that portrays him, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
The disgraced knight finally saw the error of his ways when he met Brianne of Tarth and actually became a good and decent human being–much like Nikolaj is in real life. We're happy to report that Nikolaj is just like his developed character in all the right ways.
After Sean Bean’s character unexpectedly, uh, “left” the show, it was Peter Dinklage who became the most famous out of the cast of characters. And while Peter isn’t a fall-down drinker much like Tyrion Lannister, he is just as clever, if not more so (only because he’s making us all, including Sansa Stark, do a double take when it comes to his decisions in the last couple of episodes) than his onscreen persona.
Peter has been acting for years and was recognizable even before winning an Emmy for his portrayal of Tyrion, but we'd say this is one character he's most like out of all his roles.
If you’re familiar with Natalie Dormer’s work, you may have recognized her from The Hunger Games trilogy or from Showtime’s drama The Tudors, and those were notable roles. But after she played the much loved Margaery Tyrell, she couldn’t walk down the street without being stopped by adoring fans.
Much like her character, Natalie is charming and quick-witted and all her co-stars seem to agree. And also like Margaery, Natalie is ambitious and very family oriented. So needless to say, she’s one of the good ones, and we're glad she gets to show off some of her positive traits via GOT.
From the moment Lady Lyanna Mormont appeared on the screen, GOT absolutely fell in love with her no-nonsense ways and ambitiously strong character. And in real life, Bella Ramsay is a pillar of strength and now that the show is ending, Bella says she’ll miss “shaming men” the most.
“I think the opportunity to stand up in front of a load of grown men and shame them,” Bella responded when she asked what she’ll miss the most about her character. “I think playing confident characters also helps you with your own confidence.” And confident this impressively bold young woman is.
When we were first introduced to Samwell Tarly, he was an intelligent man who was afraid of his own shadow. He had to be taken under Jon’s protection in order to thrive a little bit more. He was suddenly thrown into an unknown world beyond the Wall and had to fight to stay alive. But above all, Sam was able to keep intact his brilliant intellect, which was the sole purpose of his character’s existence.
In real life, John Bradley has Sam’s startling intellect and uses it to his advantage in his field. It’s going to be really fun to watch him grow as an actor beyond Game of Thrones.
Sources: Time, People, Fox News, Esquire, CBS News, The Guardian