Before they were fighting across Westeros, every actor in Game of Thrones had a past. Some had gone to university, some hadn’t.. and others were still too young. We know you’ve seen lots of facts about this actor or the other, but do you actually know how each star became an actor?
Here’s how some of the Game of Thrones actors became the stars they are today:
1. Tywin Lannister
Charles Dance never actually went to university, but rather started his acting career at the Royal Shakespeare Company during the 70s.
2. Tyrion Lannister
Peter Dinklage’s love for acting started early on when he was part of his school’s drama club. He then went on to study at Bennington College, from where he’s since become one of its notable alumni, along with Alan Arkin.
3. Cersei Lannister
Missing out on university must be a Lannister thing. Like her Westerosi father, Lena Headey never studied at university. At the age of 17, she was scouted for some secondary roles in acting and then broke through in 2005 with The Brothers Grimm.
4. Jaime Lannister
The Danish “Kingslayer”, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, started off his acting career by becoming the youngest actor to enter the Danish National School of Theatre and Contemporary Dance.
5. Joffrey Baratheon
After being poisoned at his own wedding in the series, Jack Gleeson retired from acting to concentrate on his studies. He’s now studying Philosophy and Theology at Dublin’s renowned Trinity College.
6. Ned Stark
Poor Sean Bean, he dies in all of his movies. Even if he does meet his demise in most movies he’s part of, he’s usually in them because of his excellent acting skills, which he learned at King’s College London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
7. Robb Stark
An actor since the young age of 11, Richard Madden starred at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where he was even given the role of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet.
8. Sansa Stark
Having broken onto the TV scene before she’d even taken her A-levels, Sophie Turner hasn’t gone to university yet. We’ll see what George R.R. Martin has planned for Sansa. Maybe she’ll be heading to university sooner rather than later.
9. Arya Stark
Like many of you, Maisie Williams has just started her higher education adventure. Young Arya is now studying Performing Arts at Bath Dance College.
10. Jon Snow
Mr. Kit Harington knows nothing. Except for everything he learned at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama (part of the University of London), where he graduated from in 2008.
Bonus: His 8 times great-grandfather was King Charles II: fancy!
Rose Leslie attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, the oldest drama school in the UK. Apparently being a ginger really helped her career as a young Scot take off.
Another bonus: Her family owns a 12th-century castle in Scotland… and she’s also a descendant of King Charles II. Now that’s a cool coincidence.
12. Samwell Tarly
Sam Tarly is John Bradley-West’s first big breakthrough on the TV screens. His days at the Manchester School of Theatre (Manchester Metropolitan University) are finally paying off!
Unlike her character in the series, Hannah Murray is very well educated. Her degree in English from the University of Cambridge’s Queens’ College should speak for itself.
14. Daenerys Targaryen
Emilia Clarke’s interest for acting started at the early age of three when she watched a play her father was working on. She then went on to study at Drama Centre London (part of the reputable Central Saint Martins school).
15. Khal Drogo
Before starring as the Khal of the Dothraki, Jason Momoa had already starred in Baywatch. Being a native Hawaiian, Jason had a love for marine wildlife, so went off to Colorado State University to study Wildlife Biology. He also spent some time pastel painting in Paris and studying Buddhist teaching in Tibet.
16. Jorah Mormont
Iain Glen first studied at the University of Aberdeen and then went off to train at RADA (part of King’s College London), one of the UK’s oldest, and most distinguished, drama schools.
17. Daario Naharis
Michiel Huisman has been more of a student at the university of life. He hasn’t been to an actual university, but he has had a career in music during his time as an actor.
Nathalie Emmanuel hasn’t had to go to university. You see, before she was even old enough to go, she was already playing Young Nala in The Lion King in London’s West End. Her TV breakthrough was when she starred in British teen soap Hollyoaks.
19. Stannis Baratheon
Before becoming an actor, Stephen Dillane studied History & Politics at the University of Exeter and then became a journalist. Eventually, after reading about someone else abandoning their career to pursue acting, he decided to try it out himself and started studying at the Old Vic Theatre School, in Bristol
The Red Lady, Carice van Houten, has had a stellar acting career in her native country, The Netherlands. Both her parents were part of TV-scene in her home country, so they both spurred her on to go and study at Amsterdam’s University of Arts’ Theaterschool.
21. Davos Seaworth
Liam Cunningham didn’t go to university, but he’s got a funny background. He dropped out of school and eventually went to be an electrician at a Safari Park in Zimbabwe. He then got bored of that and went back to Ireland, where he took some acting lessons at a local theatre.
Conleth Hill graduated from the Acting programme at Guildhall School of Music and Drama (City University of London) back in 1988.
Bonus: He usually has his hair quite long, but has to shave it all off when they start shooting a new season of GoT.
23. Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish
Like his character in the series, Aidan Gillen rose through the ranks by his own accord. He never went to university but started acting at the age of 17 at the Dublin Youth Theatre.
Jerome Flynn learned his trade studying at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. If you were paying attention, that’s the same school as Jon Snow studied at years later.
25. Margaery Tyrell
Initially, Natalie Dormer aimed to sit History at the University of Cambridge, but after her A-Levels didn’t go as planned, she thought she’d try out acting. She ultimately got into Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, which is now also part of the university Jon Snow attended.
26. Brienne of Tarth
Before becoming Big Brienne of Tarth, Gwendoline Christie studied at the Drama Centre London – the same school Daenerys would later come to study at.
27. Ramsay Bolton
Iwan Rheon’s career as an actor started off back in school. He enjoyed acting so much that he then joined the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (the same school as Ygritte).
28. Theon Greyjoy
Alfie Allen didn’t go to university, but he had everything it took to become an actor: hit mother was a film producer and his father was an actor.
Bonus: The singer Lily Allen is his sister! And their cousin is Sam Smith.
29. High Sparrow
Although not a prominent figure in the GoT, Jonathan Pryce is a well-known actor, so we thought we’d add him in too. Jonathan’s past as a student features being offered a scholarship to RADA, the same school Ser Jorah Mormont graduated from.
All photos were taken from gameofthrones.wikia.com and belong to HBO.
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