Jason Mamoa – Kahl Drogo
Joseph Jason Namakaeha Momoa was born in Hawaii, but spent most of his childhood in Iowa with his mother. This actor didn’t always dream of making it big in Hollywood but rather a marine biologist. After graduating high school, he began attending college as a marine biologist major and studied for a time in Florida and than at Colorado State University. However, he moved back to Hawaii to reconnect with his father before he completed his studies. In 1998, he was discovered by a fashion designer and was recruited to model. The following year he began his acting career appearing as Jason Ioane on Baywatch Hawaii.
Peter Dinklage – Tyrion Lannister
Peter Dinklage was always determined to make it big in Hollywood and his size would not stop him. Early in his career, he was living with friends in an apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The apartment was located under a bridge so it would constantly shake. His apartment also didn’t have heat because the oven was filled with rats. They got a cat to fix the problem which Peter kept for over 10 years. Dinklage worked in data processing for many years before pursuing his acting dream full-time.
Kit Harrington – Jon Snow
Apparently real life Jon Snow, Kit Harrington, really does no nothing. He did not learn his real name until he was 11 years old. Although he goes by Kit, his birth name is actually Cristopher. His parents always called him Kit and did not reveal his real name to him until he was 11-years-old. Glamour magazine asked Kit as to why he thought his parents might do this, he replied “I haven’t got a clue! I think they could see that I wanted to be Kit, but Christopher was a bit of a tradition. My brother’s name is Jack, but his real name is John. Kit is traditionally an offshoot of Christopher, it’s just not used that often. My middle name is Catesby.”
Iain Glen – Ser Jorah Mormont
Iain Glen was born and raised in Scotland. After finishing university, he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he won the Bancroft Gold Medal. His career continued with several other awards and nominations. He won the Silver Bear for Best Actor in 1990 and was nominated for the 2007 Laurence Olivier for Best Actor in a Play for “The Crucible” (just to name a few). Including Game of Thrones, Glen has nearly 100 on-screen acting credits to his name.
Gwendoline Christie – Brienne Of Tarth
As a child, Gwendoline Christie was a semi-professional gymnast. She did rhythmic gymnastics, but she sustained an injury and had to retire from the sport. Luckily, for all Game of Thrones fans she chose to pursue a career in acting instead. She graduated from the Drama Centre London in 2005, and received her first acting job at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her acting career continued to flourish. Today, she is one of the few successful women in Hollywood that stands over 6 feet tall.
Charles Dance – Tywin Lannister
Charles Dance was born and raised in England where he attended The Leicester College of Arts (now known as De Montfort University), where he studied Graphic Design and Photography. He went on to join the Royal Shakespeare Company during the mid-to-late-1970s. He married Joanna Haythorn in 1970. They had two children together. He had his third child 27 years after the second was born, with Eleanor Boorman. Boorman and Dance have since separated.
Sophie Turner – Sansa Stark
Sophie Turner was born and raised in England. She began acting when she was a very young age. By the time she was three years old, she was recruited to be a member of the Playbox Theatre Company. In an interview with The Telegraph, Turner said “My childhood was pretty fun. We had pigsties, barns and a paddock, and used to muck around in the mud.” Her performance as Sansa has received several award nominations.
Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson – Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane
Before he was a strongman and actor, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson was a professional basketball player. During his basketball career, it was discovered that he had been playing many games with a broken ankle and had to get surgery. This injury would cause trouble for him throughout his basketball career and he was forced to retire by the time he was 20-years-old. After his career in basketball, he concentrated on building his physique and strength and partook in several competitions. Today, he is 6 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 403 pounds.
Carice Van Houten – Melisandre
As her father was a writer and theatre-radio producer, Carice was bound for acting greatness. She grew up in the Netherlands where she attended schools that specialize in drama. Her first big break was as the title role in the TV film, Suzy Q (1999), which won her the Golden Calf for Best Acting in a Television Drama. Along with acting, Carice is also a pop-rock singer. She did 4 tracks on the soundtrack of “Black Book” and released her first solo album “See You on the Ice” in 2012.
Natalie Dormer – Margaery Tyrell
Natalie Dormer was a well-rounded and over achieving child. She was the head girl, vice-captain of the netball team and travelled around the world with her school’s public speaking team. After not receiving the grades she needed to attend Cambridge University, she decided to attend the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Shortly after graduating, she received her first movie role in 2005’s “Casanova”.
Diana Rigg – Olenna Tyrrel
Diana Rigg had a long and successful career before she ever became the matriarch of House Tyrell. Along with Oleana, she has played some very strong female characters in the past. From 1965-1968 she played secret agent Emma Peel in the TV series “The Avengers.” In 1969, she appeared as Tracy Bond, James Bond’s only wife in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. On top of all her strong roles, she was also named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, in 1994.
Aidan Gillen – Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish
Aidan Gillan was born in Ireland and got his acting career started at the Dublin Youth Theatre. However, he eventually left Ireland and moved to London as there were more opportunities. His breakthrough role was on Queer as Folk. Gillen said he loved the boldness of the script of Queer as Folk. Another well-known role of his was as Tommy Carcetti in the HBO series The Wire.
Sean Bean – Ned Stark
Sean Bean was born and raised in England and is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. However, before he wanted to be an actor he had dreams to become a professional football (soccer) player. Unfortunately, he smashed a glass door during an argument and a piece of glass got stuck in his leg. The glass briefly impeded his walking and left a large scar. This ended his dream. But, he went on to have an extremely successful acting career as well as became a viral meme for his line “One doesn’t simply…” in The Lord of the Rings.
Kristofer Hivju – Tormund Giantsbane
Kristofer Hivju is the son of two famous Norwegian actors. However, despite his family history, he never wanted to act, he wanted to be a rock star. In an interview with Scan Magazine, he said “I grew up watching them [his parents] and never connected with it, so I played the guitar and went to music school. But then to study music you had to do a year of music, drama and dance before you could choose, so I went in and they cast me as Hamlet. Anyway, turns out that watching other people do it and acting yourself are completely different things, and I loved the connection with the audience. So straight after the last performance I ran through the school corridors to tell the teacher I wanted to change.”
Ross Mullan – White Walker
It may be hard to believe that the friendly face on the left, plays the evil face of a white walker on the right. Mullan began his career in theater, however, he realized he had a a knack for puppetterring. One of his more famous roles (pictured left) was as Neville on the TV series “Bear Behaving Badly”. However, many now see him in a more dark way – as a creepy white walker. It took 6 hours in makeup to fully transform Mullan into a Night Walker.
Thomas Wlaschiha – Jaqen H’ghar
Thomas Wlaschiha was born and raised in East Germany. After the Berlin Wall fell when he was 17-years-old, he traveled to Massachusettes, USA, as an exchange student. Through his schooling in Berlin as well as his time in the U.S., he became multilingual. Wlaschiha actually speaks 4 languages: German, English, French, Russian and Italian. He once said “I grew up in East Germany, so we had to learn Russian in school…. I never thought it would come in handy… But being an actor, I’ve been able to use it quite a bit.” With the multiple languages, the man of many faces seems like a perfect fit.
Maisie Williams – Arya Stark
Margaret Constance “Maisie” Williams was born in England in 1997. Since birth, she has been called Maisie, after the character from the comic strip The Perishers. Her first professional acting role was actually as Arya Stark. Since her professional debut, she has received critical acclaim as well as landed several other roles. Despite her stellar acting, Maisie’s first love was dancing.
Rose Leslie – Ygritte
Rose Leslie was born to a noble family in Scotland, and grew up living in a castle. She attended The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts hons in 2008. Her first on-screen role came when she was 21-years-old, in the 2009 TV movie, “New Town”. However, her breakthrough role was as Gwen Dawson, a housemaid, in the series “Downton Abbey”. She played the role of wildling and love interest of Jon Snow, Ygritte. Ygritte’s and Jon Snow’s love eventually moved off camera, as Leslie and Harrington have been dating since 2012.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster – Jojen Reed
Thomas Snagster was born in London, in May 1990, to actors Anastasia and Mark Ernest Sangster. Sangster is the second cousin, once removed, of actor Hugh Grant. His great-grandmother and Hugh Grant’s grandmother were sisters. With acting in his blood, it’s no surprise that Sangster began his professional career at a young age. His first major theatrical film role came as Liam Neeson’s son, in 2003’s “Love Actually”. Aside from acting, Sangster also plays bass in a band called Winnet (his mother is the vocalist of the band).
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – Jaime Lannister
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau graduated from Danish National School of Theatre in Copenhagen in 1993. His breakthrough role came the following year, as Martin in Nightwatch (pictured left). Despite Jamie Lannister’s fierce bravery, Nikolaj actually had a strange fear: small dogs. He once said “When I was a kid I was always afraid of small dogs, because they always seemed like the ones that would attack.”
Michelle Fairley – Catelyn Stark
Michelle Fairley was born and raised in Ireland. She began her acting career with the with the repertory company, Fringe Benefits, in Belfast. She made her TV debut in 1989 and her movie debut the following year. One of her most famous roles, however, was actually on stage. In 2008, she was nominated for an Olivier Award (the British equivalent to the Tony Awards), for her role in the production of Othello. Game of Thrones is not the only magical production, Fairley has appeared in. She also appeared as Hermoine Granger’s mother in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One.
Iwan Rheon – Ramsay Bolton
Iwan Rheon was born in Wales. Therefore, no surprise, his first language is actually Welsh, not English. He, like many other actors on this list, studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Rheon is also a singer and songwriter and released his first solo work, Tongue Tied EP, in 2010. He released his first album, Dinard, in April 2015.
Liam Cunningham – Davos Seaworth
Liam Cunningham was born in a town just outside of Dublin. He attended school like most children. But, he dropped out of school when he was 15-years-old. This was not to pursue acting but rather learn a trade. He trained and worked as an electrician for many years. Being an electrician, however, wasn’t as fulfilling as Liam thought it would be. So, he began taking acting lessons and eventually moved into community theatre.
Max Von Sydow – Three-Eyed Raven
Max Von Sydow’s love for acting grew when he was in high school. He, along with a few of his classmates, began a theatre club and put on productions. After attending the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stocklhom, Sweden, he met his longtime mentor Ingmar Bergman. Von Sydow went on to appear in 13 films of Bergman’s, which kick started his career and led to many role. One of those offered to him was the title role of the first James Bond film Dr. No. However, he turned it down.
Richard Brake – The Night King
Instead of trying to destroy heroes as the Night King, before Game of Thrones, Brake was helping create them. Joe Chill is arguably the reason Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. Brake appeared in the 2005 film “Batman Begins” as Joe Chill, the man who murdered Bruce Wayne’s parents. However, many now know him as the Night King. But only from seasons 4 and 5. He was unavailable for the 6th season, so he was replaced by Vladimir Furdik.
Alfie Allen – Theon Greyjoy
Alfie Allen is the younger brother to famed singer-songwriter, Lily Allen. Her song “Alfie” is about him. Singer, Sam Smith, is also his third cousin. Despite his singing family, Alfie excelled in acting. He made his first professional on-screen appearance in 1998, in the TV movie You Are Here. When originally auditioning for Game of Thrones, he was asked to read the part of Jon Snow. However, he was obviously given the part of Theon.
Daniel Portman – Podrick Payne
Daniel Portman was born and raised in Scotland. He recieved his Higher National Certificate in acting and performing from Reid Kerr College. His first professional role was as Paul in 2010’s Outcast. Therefore, he only had 1 professional acting credit to his name before he was announced to play Podrick. His character, due to his naturally caring nature, is one of the most loved by fans.
Jack Gleeson – Joffrey Baratheon
Jack Gleeson has been landing professional roles since a very young age. Some of his first roles were in films such as Reign of Fire in 2002, Batman Begins in 2005, Shrooms in 2007, and A Shine of Rainbows in 2009. Despite, King Joffrey’s evil demeanor, many of his cast mates say Gleeson is one of the nicest people. He is so nice that he doesn’t like to swear and even avoided it in rehearsal. He would only swear when filming the real deal.
Nathalie Emmanuel – Missandei
Nathalie Emmanuel has emitted the traits of being a star since she was very young. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Emmanuel said “When I was 3, [I’d] always cause drama that my mum decided maybe I should channel it properly—so she started me on acting, singing and dancing classes”. By the time she was 10-years-old, she was landing roles in big theatrical productions such as The Lion King in the West End. She got her big break starring as Sasha Valentine in the soap opera Hollyoaks. However, she gained international stardom after landing roles in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and Furious 7.
Lena Headey – Cersei Lannister
Lena Headey has always had a love for animals. Unfortunately, one of her pets as a child saw a very unfortunate fate. Headey had a pet goldfish. She felt the goldfish deseerved a spa day. She put it in a hot bath with some bubbles. Apparently, the bath was too hot, and she boiled her pet fish to death. However, along with playing the vengeful Cersei, today, Headey she is actively seen standing up for animal rights.
Emilia Clarke – Daenerys Targaryen
Emilia Clarke decided she wanted to be an actress after seeing the musical Show Boat. She eventually went on to attend Drama Centre London, where she graduated from in 2009. She appeared in several small scale productions, such as commercials and an episode of Doctors, before she was given the opportunity to audition for Daenerys. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Clarke said she did the funky chicken and the robot during her audition.