Betrayal. Betrothal. Ice-wall climbing. Hot sex in cold caves. And a Red Wedding.
The third season of “Game of Thrones” draws to a close tonight, and that means fans are already gearing up their questions about the future of the show, and about what’s ahead for the series of novels by George R.R. Martin that inspired the HBO series. Speakeasy chatted with actor Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow on the fantasy-adventure program, to get his take on the season that’s just wrapping up as well as what’s coming up next. We also posed some reader questions that came in via Twitter.
Harington is set to appear in a number of coming big-screen movies, including “Seventh Son,” “Pompeii,” and the animated movie “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”
Here are some edited excerpts from our interview with Harington.
Why he’s not on Twitter.
Kit Harington: I just never really got Twitter. I’ve nothing against it, if people want to be on Twitter that’s great. But I think for actors it’s a mistake. I’m sure there are advantages to it, but I talk enough about myself in interviews, I don’t want to have to do it in my free time as well, is basically why I’m not into it.
On the difference between Jon Snow in the books and on the show.
It can be tricky that one. There’s a lot about Jon in the books. He’s becoming a young man in the books. He’s fourteen or fifteen, and a lot about his story is going into adulthood and becoming a man. I think that can get tough at times because you’re like ‘Why is this twenty six year old man acting in this way? He should have learned this by now.” Actually it’s because in the books, he’s a much younger person…But it can be tricky, it’s difficult sometimes. You think “Why is he a virgin?” and “Why did he make that mistake?” That can be tough at times.
On actress Rose Leslie, who plays his love interest Ygritte on “Game of Thrones.”
Obviously Rose was cast in the second season, so I was intrigued to see who I’d be working with because it’s a very important part of Jon’s story. These two people fall in love and it’s a beautiful part of the series of books. So it was a bit nerve-racking meeting her for the first time. We would be working together for a few years and we needed to be able to get on, and luckily we really did. We’re really good friends, and we’ve got a good dialogue going and we can talk about their stories.
On meeting Leslie for the first time.
They cast Rose, and she couldn’t make the first read-through, so we met on set, actually. We met at the costume fitting. We got on well. We’re the same age, similar kind of [background]. We both went to drama school, and had a lot of things in common….Everyone in this show has not only been cast well, in that they fit their characters very well, and they’re good actors and they’re hard working, but also just honest down to earth people. And Rose is one of those people. Very pleasant and lovely and we’ve all become very close friends because we’re enjoying what we’re doing and no one is a diva in any way. No one sees themselves above the show.
On losing his on-screen virginity to Leslie’s character.
Most of my stuff is location based, so I’m usually out there in Iceland or some hillside in Belfast. But this was one of the few ones we did that was in the studio in Belfast. They built this massive cave, you saw it. I was intrigued to see what it was like. I had a picture in my head of what this was, this special moment that happens for them. It went perfectly really. Sometimes I can be critical of what I do, but I really enjoyed that scene. It was kind of how I imagined and how I picture it in the books. It was a very tender moment on set. You can get a vibe of what a scene is like on set–if it’s a very violent scene or a tender scene it kind of seeps into everyone on set, the crew. And we just had a really lovely day that day. It was an enjoyable scene to film. It can get uncomfortable, especially for women, being nude in front of a lot of people. But the director was very good that day. It was very nice.
On climbing the Wall.
They built a huge section, massive, in the studio. They built this huge section of wall that was made out of plaster and wax. Which you could climb, which we could climb. It was an amazing piece of set. They must have spent a lot of money on that sequence special effects-wise and the actual building of it. I think they knew it was a big action sequence in the books and it needed to be spectacular. They really went for it. It was a long three days of filming. It was very physically demanding. We had harnesses on all day and you’d be left danging on the wall for like hours. But then you’d look at what you were doing and hope the result would be good. It was kind of incredible.
On training for the show.
They like you to look like you know what you’re doing. So they sent us to ice wall climbing and rock climbing [training]…Climbing a fake wall is a lot different than climbing the real thing. But it’s nice they get you to do the real thing so you know how it feels.
On other members of the far-flung cast.
Everyone is in their own world… At one time I’m pretty certain they had four units going. One in Iceland, one in Belfast, one in Morocco, one in Croatia. Which is mad if you think about it because you’ve got four different sets of actors, four different sets, four different directors, four different crews. It’s a huge operation. But we’re all very connected, we’re all friends. We all meet up in London. You find out how things are going from other people just by word of mouth.
On reading the books.
I still haven’t read the latest one, “A Dance with Dragons.” But I’ve read the others. I really like the books. I enjoy reading them. I find it useful. Some of the actors they want to take what they’re doing purely off the show because they do differ. But I like merging the two, so I like reading the books.
On where the books and the show are going next.
What do I know about what happens in George’s head from the fifth book onward? I know absolutely nothing. And I would never ask. I’ve met George numerous times, and we’re friends, but I think he’s got so much pressure on his shoulders from fans about what’s going to happen I would never want to ask him what’s happening with my character. I would never ask him and I’d want it to be a surprise anyway. I don’t know who [Jon Snow's] mother is, I don’t know what is going to happen to him, I don’t know if he’s going to be in the sixth book. Not a clue.
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