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'Game of Thrones' Kit Harington on Jon Snow's wilding woman

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  • Kit Harington says Jon Snow will make a "huge mistake" later this season that will change him forever in HBO's "Game of Thrones."
Kit Harington says Jon Snow will make a "huge mistake" later… (HBO )
April 25, 2012|By Curt Wagner | RedEye

In just four years, Kit Harington has gone from fledgling actor to one of the leading men in the HBO hit "Game of Thrones."

Harington plays Jon Snow, the bastard son of Ned Stark and a mother he's never known who now serves as a Brother of the Night's Watch sworn to protect the 700-foot ancient Wall and the realm against threats from the north, with a mix of melancholy, pride and quiet power. Jon is one of the most pivotal characters in the series based upon George R.R. Martin's best-selling "A Song of Ice and Fire" books.

The role has given the 25-year-old Brit, who before the show starred in the original West End production of "War Horse," opportunities such as the upcoming film "The Seventh Son," in which he stars with Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, worldwide fame and the chance to travel from Ireland to Iceland to film the series.

Jon's Season 2 story arc also has allowed Harington to do something he hasn't done since early in Season 1: act opposite a woman.

"It's really enjoyable," he said, laughing. "It was nice to work with someone who's not a bloke. As much as I love working with the guys."

Beginning with Sunday's episode, "The Ghost of Harrenhal," Jon and the Brothers continue their journey beyond the Wall fortress to stop the advance of a wildling army. Jon eventually meets a wilding woman named Ygritte (played by Rose Leslie, who Harington says is "absolutely brilliant.") Harington said Ygritte confounds Jon.

"He's always got a very masculine presence around him. So, when he meets a woman he just doesn't know how to deal with her," he said. "He never really interacted with women before, other than his younger sisters, which isn't really the same thing."

Sounds to me like romantic sparks might warm things up for Jon, but Harington wouldn't reveal any more about the relationship.

The upcoming episode is also the first that was filmed on locations in Iceland, including on the country's largest glacier, Vatnajokull. Harington said the frozen landscapes of Iceland were "perfect" for the wilderness beyond the Wall.

"It looks incredible on screen," he said. "It is very, very cold, but beautiful. It was a -35C wind chill. But it's very much the landscape he's supposed to be going into."

Harington talked about how his life has changed since he began working on "GOT," Jon's motivations and the "huge mistake" Jon makes later this season that will change him forever.

I was listening to the Season 1 commentary and I heard you say that you have a phobia about things being around your neck. Would you care to elaborate on that?
[Laughs] I do. I don’t like constriction around the neck, [laughs] I don’t know why. My brother used to be torture me as a kid and poke at my neck, so I flinch whenever anything comes near.

With all the heavy cloaks you have to wear, is it kind of hard to be acting in this?
No [laughs], you know, I get through it.

Tell me how Jon has changed from Season 1 to Season 2 so far.
I think he grows up. I think he sort of inevitably has to. He realizes he’s going into a whole new territory so he kind of stops, I don’t know, I think he stops moaning as much about wanting to go down South and avenge his father. He realizes there are bigger things at stake in Season 2 than the wars and the politics that happened down South. So he has to grow up. I think that’s the main thing. He matures a bit. I think he matures every season that we’re going to go into like everyone does, but especially with Jon. He realizes he’s got responsibility.

Do you think he’s happy to sort of happy to be beyond the wall and moving into the thick of things with the wildlings?
I don’t know if happy is the right word. [Laughs.] I don’t know if anyone in this show has a very happy situation going on. I think it’s not about sort of proving himself now. It’s not about trying to show the world that he’s a great and good leader. It’s more that he realizes that it’s a practical sort of thing he has to deal with. But yeah, I don’t know if he’s happy here.

What would it be? Eager to fight, I guess, to do what he’s trained to do?
Yeah, I think so. I think the reality of these guys that we meet is that they’ve been trained from Day 1, probably from about the age of five, that the first and foremost is not learning the world, it’s learning how to fight. And so he’s going into a world where he’s going to put his sword skills and swordsmanship to use. But I think he’s eager to do that. I think it’s like those soldiers who go into battle—he’s been trained to kill. I have no idea of the reality of things, but it’s not the same really when he faces the real world, the actual fight sort of, it kind of hits him in the face. But yeah, he gets to go and see real combat.

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