Among the sprawling cast of Game of Thrones, few of the actors who landed parts on the HBO juggernaut—the likes of Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Emilia Clarke, and Kit Harington—were recognizable names prior to its premiere. Sure, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, and Aiden Gillen were all established character actors before they became Tyrion and Cersei Lannister and Lord Petyr Baelish, but for the rest, the Game of Thrones fandom was a bit of a rude awakening to the tolls of stardom. And Kit Harington, for one, will not miss any of it.
Harington has been hinting at the struggles of becoming synonymous with one Jon Snow, né Aegon Targaryen, for a little while now—last summer, he told Entertainment Weekly that he’s most looking forward to cutting his hair “short-short” after he’s done shooting Game of Thrones—but that angst has gone into overdrive with the final press push for the series’ last season. In an interview with Variety released last week, he said Jon Snow’s death and subsequent resurrection was his “darkest period,” due to the intense scrutiny cast on his character in the show and, as a result, in the public eye. And in a forthcoming story for Emmy magazine, Harington further expands on the adverse effects of his newfound stardom, as well as how he dealt with it.
“I was enjoying it, but I was concerned, and I was worried, anxious,” he told Emmy, according to People magazine. His anxiety came to a head, he said, echoing the Variety interview, with Jon Snow’s fifth-season resurrection: “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,” he said. “That’s kind of where I went, ‘I need to separate me from the show a bit.’”
So he did. “As it went on, I stopped letting it have as much of an impact on me,” he explained. “Yes, I was in this big TV show and I was playing this character,” he added, “but that’s not me.” Indeed it is not: Jon Snow, his character, is notoriously unfunny, quite humorless, pretty brooding, but Harington would like the opportunity to flex his comedic side with future projects. “It’s quite nice to now subvert what people see you as,” he said.
Between appointments with a therapist and an impending drastic haircut, Harington seems to be dealing with the fame in all the best ways.