“I stood up for a girl, but it didn’t end well”Kit Harington, the British thespian summoned out-of-character courage to become the latest breakout star from Game of Thrones.
The unlikely hero to emerge from HBO’s Game of Thrones is brooding outcast Jon Snow. Kit Harington, 28, brings his own unique mix to the mysterious character. And with starring roles in Hollywood blockbusters under his belt, heroism is something the London-born actor is getting used to.
THE RED BULLETIN: Is Jon Snow a hero?
Kit Harington: He’s as close to heroic as it gets in Game of Thrones. He has got less of an ego now than anyone, and he’s just trying to do his job and defend people who are less able to defend themselves. He’s a good person, but in this world good people don’t make it, as we’ve seen many times.
Have you done anything remotely heroic yourself?
In the past I would have said doing this interview was heroic. When you’re put on the spot and everyone asks you questions — I used to be scared by that. But I’m not scared by it anymore. I’ve become harder. Still, it’s not a natural position to be in. You lose some parts of your privacy. It can be daunting at times.
How do you think Jon Snow would cope in the media maelstrom?
We are quite similar. There’s a lot of Jon in me. We’re both introverted people.
Is acting the right kind of job for an introvert?
When you do publicity, you appear as yourself and have to lose some introvertedness. But I got into acting when I was a kid. My mother was a playwright and took me and my brother to the theater a lot. Then I ended up doing it at school and college. When it came to choosing a university, I decided I wanted to go for it head-on. At drama school, I knew this is what I wanted to do as a profession. There’s nothing I’d rather do than get paid for swinging a sword.
What scares you?
I hate needles. I’ve always wanted to give blood, but I just can’t do it. Also, I’m bad at getting on planes,and I can’t stand spiders.
What do you do when you have to get on a flight?
I have a few glasses of wine to calm the nerves. But it’s getting worse as I get older.
What about your fear of spiders — do you kill them?
No, I hate killing anything. I can’t bear it. They’re probably more scared of me than I am of them. I have to get someone to move them.
What would you do if you and an equally scared woman were in a room with a spider?
I find most women have far more backbone than I have.
So do you ever act in a courageous way?
Not with these little things. But when it comes to really scary situations, I stay calm. I’m a bit like my dad. He’s very good in emergencies. When we were kids, we went out sailing and got caught in a freak storm. My brother and I were terrified, and Dad must have been, too, but he stayed cool. He doesn’t ever raise his voice. I like to think if I was put in a situation where I had to be heroic, I would be.
Have you ever tested that?
I once stood up for a girl’s honor in McDonald’s. A guy started insulting the girl I was with, so I told him to get up, and he was easily a foot taller than I was. It didn’t end well for me. Heroism is stupidity.
You were born in London. Was Jon Snow’s Northern accent a stretch for you?
I auditioned in a Received Pronunciation accent [the standard accent of English in the U.K.], then Sean Bean came in and they asked if he could do the same. He said, “No.” So they said, “Right, all of you are doing Northern.” It was one of those wonderful un-thought-out things. It opened everything up, and we now have a range of accents. This season we go into a new part of the world, which has a Hispanic vibe.
Do people like Jon Snow?
People ask why he’s so miserable. But in the chronology of the story he’s had a bad two years. He’s lost his uncle, both his brothers and sisters, his stepmother, his father, his commander and the love of his life. He’s had to kill, he’s in the freezing f*cking cold, surrounded by men. Is that not enough?
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