For anyone who has played an important role in one of the most successful TV shows of all time, the end of said experience will likely be a bit of a downer. When that man is Kit Harington, who played the affable but morally conflicted hero Jon Snow in Game of Thrones — arguably the world’s most-watched TV series — the disappointment might be even more intense.
But Harington, who won hearts with his portrayal of Snow, is finally coming to grips with the fact that the show will no longer be a part of his life. In an interview with Variety, a 32-year-old Harington spoke about how playing Snow had restricted his identity — sometimes in a manner where it would affect him physically.
“A huge part of my 20s are me with that look. My wedding pictures [with former co-star and now-wife Rose Leslie] are me with that look. For a long time toward the end of Thrones, I felt like I wanted to be a new person but I was stuck in this shape.”
He said that the last day of shooting was too difficult to take. When filming for Game of Thrones finally wrapped up, Harington said, taking off his costume felt like his “skin was being peeled away.”
Harington went on to say that he was very concerned about how critics were perceiving his portrayal of Snow in the first three seasons — but when he realized he was failing to win them all over, he began to accept the limitations of his character and his performance.
“Looking back at the entirety of Thrones, there’ll be 70 percent of the scenes that I’ll just never be happy with. I’ve come to terms with that,” he said, before adding that the eighth and final season has been the most satisfying for him on a creative level.
But while the struggles and successes of Game of Thrones may have made Harington the actor he is today, there was a very “vulnerable” moment which, in his own words, was “f**king terrifying.” That moment came at the end of season 5, where his character was left hanging — and no one quite knew if he had died. Harington admitted that being the focus of the cliffhanger was a brutal experience. Harington confessed that the situation became so bad that he had to seek therapy.
“When you become the cliffhanger of a TV show, and a TV show probably at the height of its power, the focus on you is f**king terrifying,” he said.
Now, however, Harington is all well and good — and cannot wait for another start. The final season of Game of Thrones premieres on Sunday, April 14.