Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington and his co-stars have wrapped the long-running fantasy TV series in what is bound to be a memorable final season. The storyline for this eighth installment, airing in April 2019 onwards, is one of the best-kept secrets in TV. However, when Harington revealed all to wife Rose Leslie, she didn’t thank him for sharing.
To begin with, in 2012 Harington and Leslie met on the set of the smash hit HBO show. At that time, Leslie’s character Ygritte fell for Harington’s Jon Snow. Leslie’s involvement came to an end when Ygritte was written out, but the couple’s real-life romance flourished. Harington’s Jon Snow did also meet his end, but magic brought him back from the dead, and he has survived to be part of the eighth-season finale.
Harington’s role in Game of Thrones – the fantasy phenomenon based on the books by George R.R. Martin – has hugely boosted his career. It appears that Harington, whose father was a businessman and mother once a playwright, never went through the “struggling actor” phase when he first started out. He jumped straight into the profession and landed on his feet.
After attending the renowned Central School of Speech and Drama in 2008, he landed the lead role in War Horse in the West End. Not long later, his defined abs would become a national talking point, after a landmark audition earned him the role of Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Indeed, this was a role that made both Harington and his toned physique hits with viewers.
Mind you, Harington has revealed that he’s not the first of his family to catch the public eye. That’s because one of his ancestors also became a household name back in history. John Harington invented the famous flushing toilet for Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century. In a January 2017 interview in Elle, Mikey Rapkin asked Harington, “We all refer to the loo as ‘the john’ because of your family?” “Yeah,” the actor confirmed, laughing in response.
The Harington of history first installed a flushing toilet at his country house near Bath, U.K., and called it the Metamorphosis of Ajax. The word Ajax was a pun on the word “jakes,” in turn a colloquial word for privy. He claimed that the new flush “would make unsavoury Places sweet, noisome Places wholesome and filthy Places cleanly.”
Back to recent times, with a legacy to be proud of, the young Harington grew up with the moniker Kit. Harington’s full first name is Christopher. He talked about this with Interview magazine in 2013. He said, “I was called Kit from day one, really. I only found out my name was Christopher when I was 11.”
In that childhood, young Kit grew up loving the Sesame Street puppets, and he confesses that even now he’d be bowled over if he ever met them in real life. Sesame Street was the only program that he was allowed to watch when he was sick and couldn’t go to school. But this just made him keener on playing hooky, with the aim of catching more of Big Bird and the gang.
But his furry friends didn’t give him the push into acting himself. In an interview with Esquire magazine in October 2018 Harington said that came after he had watched The English Touring Company’s performance of Waiting for Godot at The Swan in Worcestershire, U.K. He explained that Lucky’s role had blown him away. He added, “This actor says nothing in the whole play then has this thing that’s just a stream of consciousness.”
Harington explained to Elle that he hadn’t had big expectations when he had started out either. At first, he had just wanted to show off and maybe attract the ladies. However, eventually he realized that he had a taste for it, and it would be worth putting in some hard graft.
The actor had plenty to say about his motivations. He divulged, “There’s something about being a show-off, and that gets you attention. And attention gets you the opposite sex sometimes. But by the time I got to drama school, I was a bit more serious about actually wanting to be an actor than I was about chasing skirt.”
Possibly Harington could not have expected the success that he attained with his Game of Thrones role. Like others before him, Harington had hoped for notoriety and fame. However, the worldwide fanbase a big show such as Game of Thrones could attract “hit [him] like a ten-ton truck,” the actor told Sam Parker in the Esquire interview.
Back to the loving couple of Harington and his Scottish wife Leslie, who married in June 2018. It turns out that they share more than just their love for each other. They also both have some impressive noble ancestors: Harington’s uncle is the 14th Baronet Harington, while his spouse’s dad, Sebastian, holds the title Aberdeenshire Chieftain of Clan Leslie.
This is a high title in the Scottish tradition. The word “clan” comes from the Gaelic clann, indicating a family lineage. And as chieftain, Leslie’s father holds a rank that is largely passed down from father to son and brings a great deal of prestige. So Leslie is herself a kind of noblewoman.
Be that as it may, it didn’t make Leslie stand out. As the third child of five, she needed to make herself heard. She told The Daily Telegraph in June 2016 that as a child she would put on little shows to stand out from her siblings. She said, “Certainly, part of being from a big family is that you have to shout to make yourself heard. I remember bossing my younger siblings around and making them put on shows and skits with me.”
Leslie revealed to the newspaper that these little scenes had often featured characters such as the Power Rangers. And it seems as though the prominence her juvenile acting had given her in her family had sparked a love of dramatics. So when she failed to get a place at university, there was only one course to take: she headed to drama school.
However, it wouldn’t be all plain sailing for Leslie. She noted that the school had relied for texts to study on the classics, which have many more parts for men. Consequently, out of 30 students admitted to the LAMDA school, only nine were girls. As she explained to The Daily Telegraph, “In theatre [sexism] still stands.”
However, Leslie found a perfect role as the no-nonsense battle-hardened Ygritte in Game of Thrones. And it might be considered somewhat fortunate for her that that character had a romance with Harington’s Jon Snow. Her part in the show came to a close when Ygritte encountered the wrong end of an arrow, but not before she’d shown her feisty side. Nothing illustrated that spirit more than her catchphrase, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
Meanwhile, the show itself is coming to an end, and fans have been teased with little bits of what’s to come in its final season. HBO revealed in one of these in January 2019 that the three Stark children – Arya, Sansa and Jon – reunite. They are seen creeping through the tombs of their ancestors before being confronted with their own.
This sparked at least one author to ask whether the trailer indicated the family’s demise. And another teaser drops further hints. It shows ice and fire wreaking havoc – the ice overwhelms the dragon of House Targaryen, and the flames hit the wolf of the Starks. What it all means is, however, as yet a mystery.
Apparently, to say Game of Thrones will go out with a bang is an understatement. According to former cast member Jason Momoa, “It’s going to be unbelievable. It’s going to f*** up a lot of people.” Rumored plots include some characters meeting their end and a big fight at Winterfell that apparently led to the set going up in flames. A stand-out clash in the King’s Landing throne room is another suggestion.
With all this intrigue and rumor flying about, it may not be surprising that Leslie became entangled. And Harington told radio station Kiss in February 2019 that she had asked him to tell her about it. However, it seems that what Harington did tell her stunned Leslie into silence.
“I’ve become an expert at not saying anything,” Harington told the radio station. However, he did admit to a private conversation with his wife. He revealed, “I told my wife last year how it ended, and she wouldn’t talk to me for about three days.” He joked, “People ask, then they get angry with you, but you did ask.”
For Harington’s part, he had mixed feelings about the show’s ending, which he expressed to the Digital Spy website. He said, “I don’t think it’s about happy or sad really. I’m satisfied with what they did, but I don’t know whether I’ll be really satisfied until I see it.”
Most of the main players in the drama had scrambled to find out their fate when they were sent the scripts by email, according to TV show Entertainment Weekly. Harington, however, had not. He turned up to a script runthrough in October 2017 without knowing. He told the show that he “preferred to find out with his friends” by reading it out aloud in the group.
And that reading would turn out to be an emotional affair for Harington. The actors gathered at a table littered with fake skulls to recite the last scenes of the series. It was all too much for Harington, who found himself in tears more than once as they read through the show’s final moments.
In 2016 the Games of Thrones author George R.R. Martin warned the Guadalajara International Film Festival that it wouldn’t be a typically happy ending. Martin said that viewers should not expect a finale “where everything is resolved and the good guy wins and the bad guy loses.” He added, “We very seldom see that in real life or in history, and I don’t find it as emotionally satisfying myself as what I like to call the bittersweet ending.”
Whatever the scenes contain, they are bound to be breathtaking. The British magazine Radio Times says a considerable amount of money has been thrown at the project. Actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who stars as Jaime Lannister in the show, spoke about the cost at the Cannes Lions Festival. He said, “We spent twice as much shooting these six episodes than we did on two full seasons before. No expense has been spared.”
Other reports say that there will be fewer episodes this season than previously, but the season will pack in the same amount of action. This is because the six episodes will all be bumper length, with suggested running times of between 80 and 90 minutes. And the season seems to have had an extensive shooting schedule.
Coster-Waldau had not known in August 2017 what lay in front of him. He told website Collider then, “I don’t know what’s going to happen next season. We go back in October, so maybe in the next few weeks, we’ll get the scripts and I’ll find out.” And it seems that filming lasted through the summer of 2018, according to reports.
And the crew needed the time, if Entertainment Weekly’s inside info is to be believed. The battle sequences will be immense. The magazine says that it took 55 nights to film just the fighting at Winterfell alone. And that wasn’t all: having finished the open-air filming, it was off to the studio for weeks more of getting the battle right.
Tantalizingly, Harington dropped a video on Instagram in April 2018. That featured him and Emilia Clarke, who plays screen love interest Daenerys. It appeared that they were on set in Belfast. They briefly introduce themselves before jokingly suggesting producers have ordered them to stop filming. So it seems that Harington wants people to know how tight the secrecy was around the huge production meaning, preventing any spillage to the public.
Some fans loved the Instagram post. “Miss you Jon Snow! Please come back soon,” shugabadi posted in response. Another poster driftaway59 added that they had mixed feelings because while the series was coming back, it would be for the final time, “Love them both. Can’t wait for the season to start but doesn’t that mean the end of GOT?”
Meanwhile, Maisie Williams, the actress who plays Arya Stark, gave her character a social media send-off with an intriguing post in July 2018. Accompanying it was a picture of bloodied trainers, which seem to have been splattered in a gory scene or two. She wrote, “Goodbye Arya. Goodbye Game of Thrones. What a joy I’ve had. Here’s to the adventures to come.”
The post attracted 1.4 million likes, with many people speculating about what the picture of the trainers might mean. They might be covered with “Cersei’s blood,” according to sahilarora.20. There are already rumors circulating that the character is pregnant with Jaime Lannister’s baby so this could hint at a rather gruesome confrontation.
Another respondent, chillxjill, posted, “What do you think this means? Others hazarded a guess, with anadati24 suggesting that it meant victory. User iamlenaheadey suggested that she might end up presiding over the land alongside the illegitimate son of Robert Baratheon, musing, “gendry & Arya are gonna end up on the throne.”
The intrigue continued with another poster airing their thoughts about whether Arya would turn out to be the last woman standing. Javiausten said, “I hope Arya is one of the survivors to build a new Westeros, and I hope she kills a lot of people who deserve it being a faceless woman… Cersei, run!”
One apparent superfan got very excited about their favorite show returning. And the Instagram post had clearly whetted their appetite for new adventures to unfold. Knighttthoe said, “The sentence ‘goodbye game of thrones’ literally creates knots in my stomach. Crazy to me how I’m around while the best show of all time also is.”
Although fans might anticipate a pleasing ending, Isaac Hempstead Wright, who plays Bran, poured just a little cold water on the speculation. In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, he said, “It won’t go the way some people want. It will be too happy for some people, or too sad, or too whatever.”
“That’s the nature of an ending. When it comes to a conclusion, this is the end. Nothing more is coming, and the certainty of it being over will definitely bother people,” Wright added. However, he confidently declared that the show’s hotly anticipated return, on April 14, 2019, would “smash it.”