The exact moment that Game of Thrones became a hit is hard to pin down, but for Kit Harrington it's easier to identify. According to the actor, who plays Jon Snow on the HBO show, that time was his "darkest period." Ahead of the eighth and last season of the show, which premieres April 14, Harrington opened up about the toll that its success took on him.
“My darkest period was when the show seemed to become so much about Jon, when he died and came back,” he told Variety in a recent profile. “I really didn’t like the focus of the whole show coming onto Jon—even though it was invalidating my problem about being the weak link because things were about Jon.”
In Harrington's words, “it wasn’t a very good time in my life.”
“I felt I had to feel that I was the most fortunate person in the world, when actually, I felt very vulnerable,” he said, “I had a shaky time in my life around there—like I think a lot of people do in their 20s.... 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—ing terrifying.”
When Harrington realized he was having trouble coping with the newfound attention on him, he turned to therapy. “That was a time when I started therapy, and started talking to people,” he said. “I had felt very unsafe, and I wasn’t talking to anyone. I had to feel very grateful for what I have, but I felt incredibly concerned about whether I could even f—ing act.”
It wasn't until well after he became a household name that he was able to finally enjoy the moment. “It’s like when you’re at a party, and the party’s getting better and better. Then you reach this point of the party where you’re like, it’s peaked,” he said. “I don’t know what I could find more from this. You realize, well, there isn’t more. This is it. And the ‘more’ that you can find is actually in the work rather than the enjoyment surrounding it.”
If it sounds like Harrington is ready to move on, which he's hinted at before, he is; but he didn't expect it would be so emotional to do. “[It was] a huge heave of emotion. I’m just blubbing,” he said of the end of filming the series. “The end of Jon’s journey, whatever that may be … I was satisfied with how his story ended.” On the last day, specifically, Harrington remembered, “I took off the costume, and it felt like my skin was being peeled away. I was very emotional. It felt like someone was shedding me of something.”