HBO often holds Game of Thrones above and beyond its current television lineup as the best show on their network. With several accolades and awards flying in the direction of the show's acting, writing, and direction on an annual basis, it's easy to see why. Yet, out of all of the things which HBO pats itself on the back for with Game of Thrones, there's one fact about the epic series that often goes overlooked: the hair and makeup.
The makeup department — ever since the very beginning of the show's inception — have done a remarkable job every season. When need be, the makeup crew is able to take regular folks off the street and completely morph them into something spectacular for the spectacle of the screen. Sometimes, the makeup team must turn a dashing handsome bloke into a rugged scary fellow. Other times, they have to turn an absolute stunner of a woman into a muddy mess. And if they are really feeling a need for a change, the team turns a random actor into a monstrous looking beast.
It's happened dozens of times and when we compare some of these actors to their TV show counterparts, we would have to do a double take.
25 Ellaria And Her Sandy Moustache
The ever elusive Ellaria Sand is an enigma of sorts. Bloodthirsty for vengeance, Sand is played with an intense tenacity by Indira Varma who allows the character to be a force to be reckoned with to be feared in living rooms across the world. Varma herself is far more kind in real life. Their personalities are vastly different enough, but they especially look different when looking at this photo. We have no idea why Varma is rocking a moustache — whether this is for a role or she was just goofing around backstage — but it's her Twitter avatar.
24 Peter Dinklage's Mullet Rages Out
Peter Dinklage has been the butt of the Internet's joke ever since we all discovered the high school photo of him rocking a mullet back in the day. As if that photo was not embarrassing enough for him, Dinklage looks nearly unrecognizable in another old photo of the Emmy winner back when he grew his out locks to reach down to his shoulders. It suited the time and it was fashionable back in the day, but it's just cringeworthy to look at in 2018. Thank the Old Gods and the New that he decided to chop it off in time for his star making performance on the show.
23 Septa Unella Is Out Of Character
Considering the fact that a major bulk of Septa Unella's screen time sees her barely visible and wrapped up from head to toe, we don't usually see much of the actress herself. When she's not playing the character on Game of Thrones, Hannah Waddingham is a highly accomplished theater actress and singer. She found her career breakout in playing the Wicked Witch of the West for a West End production of The Wizard of Oz. Her performance won the whatsonstage.com Theatregoers Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, and Waddingham's career started to truly sail off from there.
22 Natalia Tena On Stage
In her role as Osha for just 16 episodes of Game of Thrones, Natalia Tena looks virtually unrecognizable. Like a chameleon adapting to its surroundings, Tena has morphed into a wild and ravenous character. When she isn't playing the dirty member of the Free Folk clan, Osha, Tena can be seen in other acting roles on both the screen and the stage; most famously as Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter franchise. Speaking of the stage, Tena also has a side hustle as a musician. Tena knows how to play both the piano and the accordion.
21 When Tyene Sand Lets Her Hair Grow
Tyene Sand — best known as the bastard child of Ellaria Sand and Oberyn Martel — was first introduced to Game of Thrones fans as a woman with short hair, and that initial image of the character has been the image that fans use to remember her best by. In real life, the actress who plays Tyene Sand — whose name is Rosabell Laurenti Sellers — actually has long hair in real life. It is a small difference to be honest, but it's enough of a difference to make us do a double take if we were to walk past the actress at a local grocery store.
20 Aidan Gillen = Handsome Dad?
There was always something about Petyr Baelish (better known as Littlefinger) that never sat right with fans at home. Maybe it's the fact that he looks just as much like a snivelling snake as his character has proven to be over the years. Oddly enough, the actor behind the character doesn't look snivelling at all. Perhaps it's the rather unappealing moustache-goatee combo that makes Aidan Gillen look more like a rodent left on the side of the road in the blazing hot sun. Without that scruffy look on his face, men and women would agree that Gillen looks hotter than the sun.
19 Taking A Break From The Throne
Robert Baratheon was the successor to The Mad King, Aerys. The more Baratheon started to lose his own marbles, the more he drew some of his own comparisons to The Mad King. To make the parallels to The Mad King all the more apparent, Mark Addy was costumed to look, well, mad; a complete and utter mad man. With a wildly unkempt beard, frizzy hair, and an oafish demeanor, Addy certainly looked the part during his stint during Game of Thrones' first season on the air. In real life, Addy actually has an unassuming funny charm to his looks.
18 Blondes Have More Fun
In the books, being ugly must have been a hereditary family trait for the Greyjoy clan, and the creators of the series were dead set on making the Greyjoys as ugly as possible. The same goes for Theon's uncle, Euron Greyjoy. Maybe he just comes off as ugly because he's riddled with a tacky handlebar moustache, but that's the ugliest moustache that we've seen on a human being. Pilou Asbæk doesn't look nearly as horrible in the facial region as his Game of Thrones counterpart, and looks like a completely different person once he's shaved his face and dyed his hair blond, which he did when he starred in Ghost in the Shell.
17 He Isn't Scaring Us This Time
Ramsay Bolton was just the worst. The guy gave King Joffrey a run for his money as the most hated character in the history of the series. He truly was a despicable character. In real life, Iwan Rheon doesn't look or come off as nearly the same kind of awful villain as his Game of Thrones counterpart. While Ramsay the character always looked just as ugly on the outside as he was on the inside, Rheon actually looks as ravishing as the average leading Hollywood heartthrob. In fact, he might be Hollywood's next leading man after the success of his next movie, Berlin, I Love You, which he stars alongside A-listers like Helen Mirren.
16 More Than Just A Waif
After gaining infamy among the fanbase for torturing fan-favorite Arya Stark, The Waif drew much ire from viewers. What made The Waif even easier to hate was the fact that she wasn't exactly a looker herself. No offence to the actress who plays her, but the way that the clothing and makeup departments made The Waif out to be pale faced and deadpan, it did her no favors. In all honesty, it made her look far too young for an adult to legally judge her as attractive. Thankfully, the young Faye Marsay looks like a fully developed adult in real life and doesn't have to worry about being mistaken for a minor.
15 Beneath The Makeup
Most people may not recognize Kae Alexander by name — some of us reading probably do not even know her by face most likely — but most of us certainly should recognize her by character counterpart from her stint on Game of Thrones. While on the show, she played Leaf, who was one of the Children of the Forest in service to the very last greenseer. It took 9 to 10 hours to put makeup and prosthetics on Alexander and the rest of the Children of the Forest. When the actress is not in heavy prosthetics, she can be seen in all of her humanized glory starring in the London stage production of Gloria.
14 Sunday's Best
The Greyjoy family — in all honesty — look like they have all been through some rough times. Especially Theon — which when we look at the ordeal that Ramsay Bolton put him through, we don't blame him — but the fact remains that both he and his sister, Yara, look rough, muddy, and as hard-edged as they come. In real life, they both look completely different. Alfie Allen looks quite dashing once he has had a shave and a shower, and Gemma Whelan comes off as far more feminine in real life compared to her butch alter ego on television.
13 When The Ice Melts Off
One of the most eerie visuals in the history of Game of Thrones was the emergence of the Night King. In the midst of a frozen and icy battlefield against Jon Snow and his men, The Ice King leading an army of White Walkers was bone chilling - pardon the pun - for all the viewers watching at home. As scary as The Night King might look to viewers, the guy who plays him just looks like a regular ole schmuck. His name in real life is Richard Brake, and quite frankly, he happens to be a nice fellow to boot.
12 When Gilly Leaves The Free Folk
Sometimes, all it takes is some dirt smudged across the face for a normally stunning actress to look unlike her usual self. Take Hannah Murray for example. Whenever she's playing Gilly on Game of Thrones, she's playing one of the show's resident Free Folk, and the Free Folk have never been the wealthiest, most luxurious people in the show's history. To fit the part, she's covered in dirt and tattered rags that she has to wear on a daily basis. Those who've never seen Hannah Murray outside of Game of Thrones were shocked to see how she looks in real life once she started hitting the red carpets.
11 From Queen Of The Dragons To Queen Of Hollywood
Queen of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen is perhaps the most unique looking character on the face of the Game of Thrones cast. Her bright white hair adds a sort of regality and royalty to her presence before we know anything about her personality or even so much as hear her utter a single word on camera. Off camera, on the other hand, is a different story. In contrast to the royal statehood of Dany, Emilia Clarke looks no different from the average gal on the street when she dyes her hair to a natural dark color. It is amazing how a simple hair color switch can change the way we recognize someone.
10 Still Looking As Wise As Ever
For eight straight seasons without foul, Lord Varys has remained everybody's favorite overly sardonic pessimist on Game of Thrones. He has been played by an admirable stoic from Conleth Hill, and we could not have approved more highly of Hill's performance if we tried. Aside from the character's distinguished personality, Varys is best recognized by his shiny bald head. Alternatively, it would be easy to miss the actor who plays him if we were to walk passed him on the street without doing a double take. With a full head of hair, the actor looks like a whole new man.
9 Liam Cunningham Must Be A Fassbender Fan
Liam Cunningham is best known today for playing Davos Seaworth on Game of Thrones. A few years before he joined the cast, he starred in Steve McQueen's Hunger alongside Michael Fassbender, a film about the 1981 hunger strikes in Northern Ireland. Like Game of Thrones, the film is deadly serious and Cunningham's performance as Father Dominic Moran is equally serious, much like how he plays Davos. Oddly enough, during a photoshoot for the Copper House Gallery, Cunningham decided to take a detour from serious and head into an oddly comedic direction when he licked Fassbender's ear, for some strange reason.
8 Jason Momoa Kows How To Party
Khal Drago was never the partying type, but Jason Momoa sure is. Don't ask us why Jason Momoa has this bloke in a headlock. Don't even bother to ask us who the bloody bloke is to begin with because we haven't got a clue. Nor do we understand why they're just chilling in front of a bunch of ice cubes (Get it? Chilling? Ice?). There is a lot going on in this picture ladies and gentlemen. All we know is that Jason Momoa acts even crazier in person than he does on camera, and this was taken at a birthday party for Michael Fassbender.
7 Tywin Proves Why It's A Drag To Be A Lannister
Prior to snagging the role of a lifetime as the ever visceral Tywin Lannister, Charles Dance has lived a very prolific, respected career as a veteran actor. In all of his years as an actor, he made a career out of playing tough guys, but his toughest character to date wasn't Tywin Lannister, but a character sporting drag. He appeared in an episode of Ali G Indahouse where he rocked a cheetah print crop top and knee-high boots. If we were flipping channels and stumbled across the episode, we would never have recognized him as the same man who played a ruthless tyrant once upon a time.
6 Brienne Is Super Glamorous
As a soldier at heart and a fighter at her core, Brienne of Tarth was never a character who was going to win any beauty contests. With fighting the good fight being the main thing on her mind all the time, external beauty was never a priority for Brienne. Looking at how rough, bloody, and battered Brienne tends to look like on the show on a regular basis, audiences would have been justified to be shocked to see what the actress looks like in real life. In direct contrast to her character's more masculine presentation, Gwendoline Christie fits a more feminine aesthetic.
5 Closer Than Sisters
Game of Thrones fans know that Arya and Sansa Stark are not exactly the closest of sisters on the face of the planet. Mind you, they did spend most of the earlier seasons nations apart from each other and became vastly different people by time they finally reunited, but the fact remains the same. However, in complete contrast to their onscreen relationship, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams are inseparable. We are always seeing the best friends together more often than not, and the pair of goofballs act as if they've known each other for decades, as if they were real life sisters.
4 Jon Snow?
If you know nothing about Jon Snow, then you know that he'll never get mistaken for the most charismatic members of the Game of Thrones cast. No shade to Mr. Snow, but his character typically displays a certain maturity that does not lend itself often to examples of humor. That might explain why the actor who plays him — Kit Harington — tries to show his sillier side whenever he has the chance. Like on an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! when he dressed up as different GoT characters — including the Queen of Dragons herself, Daenerys — for a skit.
3 King Of Pugs
Before his infuriating to watch reign of terror as the kid we all loved to hate on Game of Thrones came to an end, Jack Gleeson's performance as King Joffrey Baratheon was the most hated character in all of television. Oddly enough, Gleeson is the exact opposite. We can turn on HBO on any given day of the week and see Joffrey do and say some of the most vile things to ever be broadcast into the average living room. Meanwhile, if we catch Gleeson on the street or find pictures on the Internet — like this one of Gleeson holding a pug — then we'd get an adorable bundle of joy.
2 Ain't Nothing But A Hound Dog
The Hound is one scary son of a gun. It is rare to ever see the man crack a smile and if he has, it was most likely to relish the anguish of his enemies. The actor who plays him, on the other hand, is nothing but smiles whenever we see him. The actor in question — Rory McCann — is also surprisingly charismatic compared to his deadly serious character and is also multi-talented. He has been seen to be a tremendous singer and guitar player. One day on the set, he and Richard Dormer (Beric Dondarrion) on the ukulele performed a cover of Tom Waits's "I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love With You."
1 Sneaky Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa's character on Game of Thrones - Khal Drogo - was the type of guy who'd sneak up on someone just to slice their neck open. Momoa himself would rather sneak up on someone to spook them just for the sake of a hardy laugh.
He did just that at the London red carpet premiere of Suicide Squad. Henry Cavill was just posing elegantly for the cameras when his Justice League co-star crept in from behind like a thief in the night, and gave him a sneaky hug from the back. This would have been a far more grim story had Khal Drogo been the one doing the creeping on a defenceless actor.