The 'Game of Thrones' Cast: Then & Now

Bethany Quinn | Apr 29, 2019 TV
The 'Game of Thrones' Cast: Then & Now
Image: HBO

Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones
HBO

The final season of Game of Thrones is in full swing, and fans everywhere are in a frenzy. So much has led up to this last season, and there are still so many questions left to be answered. The show remains just as popular while on hiatus as it does when on the air, so it's easy to see why GoT has become somewhat inescapable -- especially since we're all trying to figure out how it all ends.

It's pretty safe to say fans are going to be shook for a while.

As the series continues to wrap up and we say goodbye to our faves (tear), it's crazy to think back to the 2011 premiere as some of the main characters were just kids. Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, and Isaac Hempstead-Wright were just a few of the young stars that grew up on the show, right before our eyes. Other stars like Emilia Clarke and Kit Harrington were virtually unknown, especially to American audiences. But now are household names!

These actors have been launched into stardom, but they all say the same thing: They've developed deep friendships with their castmates and even consider each other to be like family. (Sophie and Maisie even have matching tattoos!) Game of Thrones has made such an impact on society that it's easy to understand why members of this cast are so close.

As we prepare ourselves to say goodbye to the iconic show, let's take a look back at the last seven years. Here's a look at 15 Game of Thrones stars then and now.

  • Bran Stark: Then

    1

    Seven years ago, Isaac Hempstead-Wright was a 12-year-old boy and had no idea how his life was about to change. His character, Bran Stark, gets pushed from a window and winds up in a coma in the first season. Bran later develops the ability to see the past, present, and future through visions as the Three-Eyed Raven.

  • Bran Stark: Now

    2
    Isaac Hempstead Wright in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    "It feels like I've just lived an entire career and an entire life, but I've literally just started my life," Isaac told GQ about his Game of Thrones stardom and playing Bran. Now that the show is in its final season, many fans are wondering if Bran will predict the show's ending.

  • Daenerys Targaryen: Then

    3

    Emilia Clarke broke onto the scene as Princess Daenerys Targaryen. She was married off to Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), thanks to her horrible brother. After a dramatic first season, Daenerys emerged as the Mother of Dragons, inspiring a million memes and catchphrases.

  • Daenerys Targaryen: Now

    4
    Iain Glen, Conleth Hill, and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    Emilia has had a successful acting career since Game of Thrones premiered, starring in several blockbuster films -- including Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Me Before You. Daenerys Targaryen has risen to great power in GoT, and we just can't wait to see what she will do next!

  • Jon Snow: Then

    5
    Kit Harington in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    Kit Harrington plays Jon Snow, the illegitimate child of Ned Stark (or so we thought). His character was part of one of the most unforgettable scenes in the entire run of the show and has had quite the interesting story line throughout the seasons.

  • Jon Stark: Now

    6
    Kit Harington in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    Harrington married GoT costar Rose Leslie, so he not only got a successful career out of the show, but the love of his life, too. For Kit, the show is his literal everything. "It gave me my future family and my life from here on in," the star once confessed. "That's the main thing it did for me, and it's changed it completely."

  • Arya Stark: Then

    7

    When Game of Thrones first premiered, Maisie Williams was just 14. She plays the butt-kicking little sister, Arya Stark, in her first acting role ever! (Not too shabby.) Needless to say, she absolutely slays (pun intended) the part.

  • Arya Stark: Now

    8
    Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    Now 21, Maisie is excited to see what post-GOT life has in store for her. "I think it's quite exciting that the show's coming to an end," she told Time. "I think it's a time to look quite positively at the future and really try to shape my career without being tied to anything." As for future non-acting plans, she will serve as castmate, Sophie Turner's, maid of honor in her upcoming wedding to Joe Jonas.

    But for now, we're loving Arya Stark and all the twists she's bringing to the show. (Word of advice: Don't mess with her.)

  • Sansa Stark: Then

    9

    Sophie Turner plays Sansa Stark, the eldest daughter in the Stark family. She starts out as a naive young girl who's forced into an engagement with the young King Joffrey. Throughout the series, she narrowly escapes several sketchy situations.

  • Sansa Stark: Now

    10
    Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    Over the course of the series, Sansa really comes into to her power -- which is quite satisfying to see. As for Turner, she credits her time on GoT for giving her friendships that will last forever. "I feel like I have the world's biggest family," she told People.

    "When you're in the public eye, for every one positive comment, you get ten negative. So that's a definitely been tricky to deal with … but the support system has been the greatest thing for me."

  • Tyrion Lannister: Then

    11
    Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    Peter Dinklage stars as Tyrion Lannister in the show and started out as the "Black Sheep" of the Lannister family. He quickly became known for his wit and humor throughout the show's crazy plot lines and has proven to have staying power.

  • Tyrion Lannister: Now

    12
    Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones
    HBO
    While Dinklage was a prolific actor before appearing on GoT, it was his role as Tyrion Lannister that landed him seven Emmy nominations and three wins. He described his last day on set as emotional and bittersweet to Vulture: "But as anticlimactic as it was, my last day was also beautifully bittersweet. A lot of people whom I love were on set that day. Even if they weren’t working, they came to set, which was beautiful." Aww.

  • Joffrey Baratheon: Then

    13

    As young King Joffrey, Jack Gleeson made quite the impression as the cruel heir to the throne. Gleeson started the show when he was 17, and while he only lasted a few seasons, his character is truly unforgettable.

  • Joffrey Baratheon: Now

    14
    Peter Dinklage, Jack Gleeson, and Natalie Dormer in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    King Joffrey had a very ... dramatic exit during the fourth season of Game of Thrones -- at his own wedding to boot! The scene as quite shocking and set in motion the fates of many of the other main characters. After four seasons on the show, Jack Gleeson announced he would no longer be acting. "I've been acting since age 8. I just stopped enjoying it as much as I used to," he told Entertainment Weekly.

  • Brienne of Tarth: Then

    15

    Gwendoline Christie's character, Brienne of Tarth, first appeared on Game of Thrones in season two. She quickly became a fan favorite as the only female in the Kingsguard. She protected various Stark children throughout the series and is known for being fiercely loyal and incredibly tough.

  • Brienne of Tarth: Now

    16
    Gwendoline Christie in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    GoT fans were elated when Jaime Lannister knighted Brienne of Tarth this season. As for Christie, she is ready to get started on a new role and hang up her armor. "Now it's the last season, I don't need to worry about being employed for another year with a company," she said during an appearance on Good Morning America. "I am open to offers."

  • Jaime Lannister: Then

    17
    Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    Nikolaj Coster-Waldau got off to an explosive start during the first season of Game of Thrones. (Sick spoiler: He has romantic relations -- and kids -- with his twin sister, Cersei.) He is also the one responsible for Bran's injury. Prior to GoT, Coster-Waldau had roles in Black Hawk Down and Wimbledon.

  • Jaime Lannister: Now

    18
    Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jerome Flynn in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    In a twist of events, Jaime Lannister has changed his evil ways, teaming up with the Starks and Targaryens, which puts him at odds with his sister (and mother of his children), Cersei. We love the relationship he's developed with Brienne (platonic) and love seeing these two in action.

  • Cersei Lannister: Then

    19

    Lena Heady is quite the accomplished actress and took on the role of Cersei Lannister shortly after giving birth to her first child. She spoke to Porter Magazine about the dramatic toll it took on her. "I was postnatally depressed but I didn't know it .... I saw a great guy and he sorted me out, but I did the first year on Game of Thrones in that space, figuring out motherhood and going through a weird time personally. It was tricky."

    Wow.
  • Cersei Lannister: Now

    20
    Lena Headey in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    Playing one of the most sinister characters on television doesn't faze Headey. In fact, she rather enjoys it. When asked about Cersei's best moment she said, "I think the highlight was last season when she blew up the Great Sept of Baelor, then just enjoyed her wine."

    Cold as ice, Cersei. Cold as ice.

  • Ser Davos Seaworth: Then

    21
    Liam Cunningham in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    Liam Cunningham plays former smuggler Ser Davos Seaworth and has appeared on the show since season two. He had auditioned for a few roles in the first season, but scheduling conflicts made it impossible for him to appear.

  • Ser Davos Seaworth: Now

    22
    Liam Cunningham in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    Ser Davos has sided with Daenerys and ultimately the Starks and has helped them in the quest for the throne. Cunningham has worked nonstop while simultaneously appearing on GoT and taking parts in other television series and films.

  • Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish: Then

    23

    Aiden Gillen played Petyr Baelish or "Littlefinger" on the show for six seasons. He's in love with Catelyn Stark, Ned Stark's wife, and when she dies, he sets his sights on her daughter, Sansa ... because that's not creepy at all. Prior to GoT, Gillen was known for his role as Mayor Thomas Carcetti on The Wire.

  • Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish: Now

    24
    Aidan Gillen in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    Littlefinger was a cruel character, but got what was coming to him in season seven when Arya slit his throat. After being killed off on the show, Gillen went on to star in the series Peaky Blinders and even had a part in the award-winning film Bohemian Rhapsody.

  • Missandei: Before

    25
    Nathalie Emmanuel in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    Nathalie Emmanuel plays Missandei, a former slave who was an interpreter to Kraznys mo Nakloz of Astapor before Daenerys Targaryen freed her. She forms a relationship with Grey Worm, commander of the Unsullied, an army of elite warrior-eunuchs, and is one of Daenerys's trusted advisors.

  • Missandei: Now

    26

    Because Missandei can speak 19 languages, she is quite vital to Daenerys Targaryen's rise to power. Outside of Game of Thrones, Emmanuel has starred in Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious, and will star as Maya in the upcoming TV series Four Weddings and a Funeral.

  • Samwell Tarly: Then

    27
    John Bradley in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    John Bradley is best known for playing Samwell Tarly on Games of Thrones and got the part shortly after graduating from acting school. (Not bad!) His character is good friends with Jon Snow while on the Night's Watch and plays a pivotal role in helping the "bastard" Stark learn his true identity.

  • Samwell Tarly: Now

    28
    John Bradley in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    Throughout the seasons on the show, Samwell evolves from weak to strong and is eventually the one to tell Jon that he is the true heir to the throne. As for John Bradley, he's earned parts in Patient Zero and Shameless while appearing on Game of Thrones.

  • Theon Greyjoy: Then

    29
    Before landing the part of Theon Greyjoy, Alfie Allen auditioned for the part of Jon Snow. As Prince Theon Greyjoy, son and heir of Lord Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands, he was taken hostage in Winterfell after his dad's failed rebellion against the Iron Throne. He pledges his allegiance to the Starks, only to betray his word in an attempt to invade the North. He gets captured, is forced to serve Ramsay Snow as "Reek," loses his male member, but helps Sansa flee her new husband Ramsay before Jon shows up with a vengeance.
  • Theon Greyjoy: Now

    30
    Alfie Allen in Game of Thrones
    HBO

    Though Allen's journey on GoT took him all over the place, his character realigned himself with the Starks, vowing to defend Bran in the Battle of Winterfell against the Night King and his legion. Allen has kept busy outside of Game of Thrones, starring in John Wick alongside Keanu Reeves and has upcoming projects that include How to Build a Girl with Emma Thompson, and Jojo Rabbit with Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell.

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