Game of Thrones' Kit Harington Talks Final Season and Living in the Shadow of Jon Snow In Emmy Magazine
After a decade of playing Jon Snow in the HBO juggernaut Game of Thrones, Kit Harington is happily awaiting the show's final reveal and is ready to move on from the iconic role. As the world awaits the eighth and final season, emmy talks to the actor about the GoT phenomenon, his final days on set and what the future holds.
The award-winning official publication of the Television Academy hits newsstands March 26.
Harington landed the role in the Emmy-winning Game of Thrones just a few years after training at London's Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. It was his first screen role and catapulted him to stardom. "I was about to go onstage on War Horse when I got the call saying, 'You got the pilot.' I was sharing a flat with my friends, and we were obsessed with HBO - The Wire, The Sopranos - so to think I was going to be in something like that... I mean, I never could have predicted it would be this big or bigger."
In cover story "Shadow and Light," Harington explains that the role has brought many personal accolades, including an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series; but it has also resulted in some personal challenges. The intense wave of attention following the season five finale was difficult to manage. "It was probably one of the darkest periods I have been through in my life," he recalls. "I think it must have had something to do with being a walking cliffhanger; I didn't enjoy it. You want to be a lead, and then you get all the spotlight of the biggest show in the world onto you for a few months. It's very disorientating, and weird, and unpleasant in many ways."
Despite his success, he has remained grounded. "We've been forced to spend a few thousand hours in Kit's company over the past decade," say showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss. "Many young people who emerge from anonymity into superstardom become monsters. It is to Kit's everlasting credit that he's remained the sweet, funny, charming person he was when we first met him."
Even as Harington transforms his appearance for his most recent role in the Sam Shepard play True West, cutting his iconic locks and growing a mustache, he acknowledges that he will always live in the shadow of Jon Snow. "It's always there. I get that. Having stepped away from it physically, it already feels like it's a part of my past. It always felt like a domineering presence in my life. Even now that it hasn't come out yet, I still feel I'm separate from it; I'm moving on."
Harington is among only a handful of people who know how the series ends, but he hasn't told anyone—not even his wife, actress Rose Leslie, whom he met on the show. "It's not because I don't trust people; it's because they don't want to know," says Harington. While he is confident the show will end "strong," he is also realistic about the possible audience response. "I haven't watched a single series that has a following like Thrones does where everyone is satisfied with the ending. I don't think that it'll be any different with this. I think it will be a divided opinion."
Additional feature highlights from the new issue include:
- In "Experience Matters," emmy sits down with BET president Scott Mills to discuss how an investment banker became the leader of the network devoted to the African-American experience.
- YouTube has recently pivoted on its strategy for series originals, moving originals from behind its paywall to the free, ad-supported YouTube environment. In "Back to You," emmy explores what's driving the platform's about-face and reports on the state of streaming.
- Emmy talks to Don Lemon, host of the news-opinion program CNN Tonight, about his mission to unearth and disperse the truth. "In the Mix" shares Lemon's path to journalism and recounts stories from his most famous viewer, President Donald Trump.
Emmy, the official publication of the Television Academy, goes behind the scenes of the industry for a unique insider's view. It showcases the scope of television and profiles the people who make TV happen, from the stars of top shows to the pros behind the cameras, covering programming trends and advances in technology. Honored consistently for excellence, emmy is a six-time Maggie Award winner as Best Trade Publication in Communications or the Arts and has collected 52 Maggies from the Western Publishing Association. Emmy is available on selected newsstands and at TelevisionAcademy.com for single print and digital copies as well as subscriptions.
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