It’s the most popular show of our time, and it’s coming to an end. As the final episode of Game of Thrones draws near, we’re still not ready to say goodbye to the plethora of characters that have touched our hearts.
Millions of fans tune in to watch GoT every week, and apparently, it isn’t just viewers who find themselves in awe of the show and its complex characters. The actors involved in GoT have spoken out about their experience in the fictional land of Westeros, and for the most part, couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to appear on such an iconic show.
GoT has given them a huge platform from which they have been able to launch their acting in new and exciting directions and made them part of a cast that turned into a family.
While most of the cast are grateful to have been part of GoT, whether their roles were iconic or short and sweet, there are also those cast members who don’t feel so strongly about their time on the show. In fact, they actually regret their decision to play their characters and don’t feel the same connection to the story.
Keep reading to find out which actors loved their time on GoT and which ones didn’t.
20 Grateful: Aiden Gillen – Petyr Baelish
The end of Littlefinger was one of the most surprising moments on GoT (and that’s saying a lot!). Aiden Gillen was part of the show for seven seasons, and he loved every minute of it. According to Screen Rant, he still puts on his old Littlefinger costumes from time to time!
“It’s pretty fascinating,” Gillen said of his role on the show. “The fact that I was actually part of it for a number of years is kind of mind blowing, as a big player in George Martin’s fantastic world.” The actor has also revealed that he’s excited to watch the final season as an audience member!
19 Grateful: Peter Dinklage – Tyrion Lannister
Tyrion Lannister has been a fan favorite from the very beginning. It may because of his wit, his kindness, or that epic speech during his trial after Joffrey’s wedding, but we love Tyrion. And evidently, so does Peter Dinklage.
In the beginning, Dinklage was concerned about taking the role because he didn’t want to be part of a fantasy series, but he soon learned that GoT is hugely different from so many other shows in the same genre. As the final episode approaches, Dinklage is finding it difficult to “say goodbye” to playing Tyrion: “It’s bittersweet when it’s time to move on with everything,” he told Variety.
18 Grateful: Maisie Williams – Arya Stark
With her shapeshifting and sword skills, Arya Stark looks like she’d be a lot of fun to play. Maisie Williams has never hesitated to open up about how much she’s enjoyed the experience of bringing Arya to life on the show, as well as the experience of working with her GoT co-stars. In particular, she feels that Sophie Turner, who plays her on-screen sister Sansa Stark, “lifts her up.” BFF goals!
Like her castmates, Williams has had trouble parting with the show and paid a beautiful tribute to her role on social media. “Goodbye Belfast,” she captioned the image. “Goodbye Arya. Goodbye Game of Thrones. What a joy I’ve had. Here’s to the adventures to come.”
17 Grateful: Jason Momoa – Khal Drogo
His role as the leader of the Dothraki, Khal Drogo, really launched Jason Momoa to international stardom, so it’s no wonder he holds GoT close to his heart. Even though his character was written off early on, he was fundamental in helping Daenerys evolve into a powerful character.
“I’m so grateful to be a part of the greatest show on earth,” Momoa gushed (via Screen Rant).“I’m honored to be able to come to Ireland and celebrate with my friends. I’m just here for kisses and hugs.” It looks like the actor couldn’t be further from his ruthless Dothraki character in real life!
16 Grateful: Sophie Turner – Sansa Stark
Like her fellow castmates, Sophie Turner loved her time on GoT, even if her character had to endure quite a lot. Then again, it’s GoT—everybody’s character had to endure a lot! Still, Sophie has a special love for the show.
Turner is never shy about showing her love for her character, her castmates, and the show in general in interviews and on social media, but if you need real proof that she’s grateful for GoT, you need only look at her tattoo which honors House Stark. To permanently ink your skin with a tribute must mean that you feel pretty strongly about the show!
15 Grateful: Gwendoline Christie – Brienne Of Tarth
If you love strong female characters, there’s pretty much no way to avoid worshipping the recently knighted Ser Brienne of Tarth. It seems that Gwendoline Christie loves her character and the show as much as fans do. She admitted in an interview that she had to drastically change her look to fit the character, but Brienne still seemed made for her.
“I know how generic it sounds but it just was, in every sense of the word, incredible that that part should come along, made for me in a way that none of my friends would’ve identified for a second,” she said (via Screen Rant). “I had to cut my hair, change my body, strip off my make-up. This is not the person I have presented to the world at all.”
14 Grateful: Iwan Rheon – Ramsay Bolton
Liking the character of Ramsay Bolton is probably a major red flag since he was among the most heartless characters to ever appear in any film or television show. Not even the actor who portrayed him, Iwan Rheon, could empathize with Ramsay and was just as happy as everyone else when he met his end in the dungeons of Winterfell.
Even though Rheon didn’t like his character in the least, he still had a blast on the show, according to Screen Rant: “I’ve had four lovely seasons here,” the actor said. “It’s been great to be involved with such an amazing show.”
13 Grateful: Lena Heady – Cersei Lannister
Most viewers can’t stand her, while others are lowkey rooting for her. However you feel about Cersei Lannister, there’s no doubt that she is one of the most prolific characters on the show and is portrayed magnificently by a truly talented actress.
Lena Headey revealed in a video interview with Mashable (via Screen Rant) that it’s been a pleasure to play one of the most complex characters in history. Although she acknowledged that playing Cersei has been physically and emotionally taxing, she said that the show changed her life in “spectacular ways,” for which she will always be grateful to it.
12 Grateful: Emilia Clarke – Daenerys Targaryen
Emilia Clarke herself revealed that GoT was her first job when she was 22. There’s no denying the fact that playing the Mother of Dragons has opened up doors for her that she might never have thought possible before!
Clarke refers to the set as her “home away from home” and is never afraid of gushing over her co-stars, like Jason Momoa and Iain Glen, who mean everything to her. Daenerys Targaryen has one of the largest fan bases among all the GoT major characters, so it will be interesting to see what happens to her by the end of the final season!
11 Grateful: Iain Glen – Jorah Mormont
From the beginning, Jorah Mormont has been right there beside Daenerys’s side, helping her rise to unprecedented heights. He’s one character who’s been tipped to meet his demise in Season Eight’s Battle of Winterfell, and we don’t know if we’re ready to say goodbye yet!
During an interview with Indian Express, Iain Glen spoke about how grateful he is to have played Jorah, and that he’s actually a fan of the show as a viewer and not just an actor. We are grateful that Jorah has stuck it out for all this time and hope that he stays around for just a little longer!
10 Grateful: Nathalie Emmanuel – Missandei
Another cast member who is grateful to have appeared on the show is Nathalie Emmanuel, who plays former slave and Daenerys’s wing-woman, Missandei from the Isle of Narth. Screen Rant divulged that originally, Emmanuel was hesitant about joining the cast because she was intimidated by the show’s success. But looking back, she knows it’s one of the best decisions she ever made.
"It’s been an incredible experience for me professionally. It’s really opened up so many doors because people just love the show.” In a social media post saying farewell to the series, Emmanuel revealed that the cast feels like her family, and Belfast, where the show is filmed, now feels like her home.
9 Regrets: Jack Gleeson – Joffrey Baratheon
There’s one other GoT character besides Ramsay Bolton who was perhaps universally disliked: Joffrey Baratheon. Joffrey was such an insufferable character that fans couldn’t help thinking the worst of the actor portraying him, Jack Gleeson, which negatively affected him. The fact that so many fans disliked Gleeson himself is a true testament to how talented an actor he is.
After Joffrey was written off the show, Gleeson actually announced that he was retiring from acting, as he didn’t enjoy any of the attention that came with such an infamous role. Gleeson has also said that he’s less than impressed with how the show treats women and that he no longer watches it.
8 Grateful: Carice Van Houten – Melisandre
Melisandre the Red Priestess and servant to the Lord of Light has been one of the notably absent characters so far in Season Eight. But fans have no doubts that she will appear eventually, and she will have a huge impact, the way she has in the past.
Carice van Houten is aware of how influential her character has been on the show and is grateful for the opportunity to portray her. She has spoken openly of how rewarding some of her “crazy scenes” have been to film, including the infamous moment where she decided to offer Stannis’s daughter Shireen to the Lord of Light.
7 Grateful: Pedro Pascal – Oberyn Martell
He may only have appeared briefly on the show, but Pedro Pascal left quite a mark as The Red Viper, Prince Oberyn Martell. His character only had a short time to leave an impression, but he ended up with millions of fans who were rooting for him during his fight with the Mountain.
Pascal is grateful not only for the opportunity to play Oberyn but for the impact his involvement on the show has had with the Latin American community: “I do feel like Oberyn brought some sort of, like, cultural of representation to fantasy land that resonated not just for Latin America, but for many nonwhite people, amongst many nonwhite cultures,” he said (via Screen Rant).
6 Grateful: Kit Harington – Jon Snow
It’s hard to pick just one character to root for on a show like GoT, where all the characters are so beautifully written and complex. But if there’s one universal favorite among fans in all corners of the world, it’s Jon Snow. And Kit Harington is grateful to the show, not just for being able to play such a monumental character, but for the opportunities it’s given him, both professional and personal.
Of course, Harington is now a megastar thanks to his role as Jon Snow, but he also met his wife, Rose Leslie, on the show. “… say me and Rose do have children, they’ll know,” Harington told GQ Australia. “They’ll be able to see the genesis of their parents getting together. Which is quite a wonderful thought, really.”
5 Grateful: Natalie Dormer – Margaery Tyrell
Margaery Tyrell is another character we were sad to see go during Cersei’s revenge stunt in the Sept of Baelor. Judging from Natalie Dormer’s own words, the actress was also emotionally invested in her character, to the point where she still feels like Margaery emerges within her from time to time.
“Just looking at how gorgeous High Garden was—and when the High Garden soldiers were all [deceased] on the floor I felt, you know, protective. It was so stupid. It was that little bit of Margaery that’s still in the back of my brain.” Now, that’s commitment to a role!
4 Grateful: Jerome Flynn – Bronn
Though he’s a minor character compared to some of the bigger names on the show, there’s no denying how much fans love Bronn. Even when he does things that are questionable, like attack Daenerys’s dragons on behalf of the Lannister army, fans still want the best for this no-fuss character.
Jerome Flynn is sad about having to say goodbye to Bronn and GoT, revealing in an interview that he’s become attached to it. “I get a bit weepy thinking about it,” he said (via Screen Rant). “It’s going to be a strange year. Saying goodbye to everyone, having your last scene with this person or having your last scene with that person.”
3 Grateful: Rose Leslie – Ygritte
Rose Leslie, who played the wildling Ygritte, loved being on the show just as much her now-husband, Kit Harington. Though her role was a lot less significant, and her time on the show was shorter, she still enjoyed playing Ygritte and being part of something so iconic.
Harington revealed that even though Ygritte’s been gone for seasons, Leslie is still a massive fan of GoT: “I told my wife last year how it ended, and she wouldn’t talk to me for about three days,” the actor admitted in a radio interview with Kiss Breakfast. “And she’d asked!” Kit should know better! No spoilers!
2 Regrets: Stephen Dillane – Stannis Baratheon
Not everyone on GoT is grateful for the experience. One of the actors who just didn’t get it the way his co-stars did is Stephen Dillane, who played Stannis Baratheon. Dillane recalls that he didn’t really understand what the story was about during filming, which kept him from becoming emotionally invested in it. He also had doubts about his ability to portray a character that he couldn’t really connect with.
“I was entirely dependent on Liam [Cunningham] to tell me what the scenes were about—I didn’t know what I was doing until we’d finished filming and it was too late,” said Dillane (via Screen Rant). “The damage had been done. I thought no one would believe in me and I was rather disheartened by the end.”
1 Grateful: Sean Bean – Ned Stark
We only had the pleasure of Ned Stark’s presence for one season, and his demise showed us that GoT is a show where literally anything can happen and no character is safe. But Ned Stark remains one of the most important characters and one of the most beloved.
Sean Bean has opened up about how much doing the show meant to him, and how much of an impact his final scene made on viewers: “It was a memorable event—a bit of a shock. I’m proud of all that, though. It’s great to be part of a phenomena, establish this character and then he’s there forever.”
Sources: Screen Rant, E!