As the “Game of Thrones” Season 4 premiere proved, Jon Snow is far from the silent, brooding character he was when he joined the Night’s Watch in Season 1. He knows his purpose and is committed to it, and seems willing to do whatever is necessary to protect the realm.
Part of that will involve him becoming more of a leader. Jon has never led his peers before, and actor Kit Harington says viewers will be able to see Jon become more of a hero in Season 4.
“What I want to do with Jon is that he can’t be a hero straight away, and that’s what the writers are doing as well. He has to learn,” Harington tells Zap2it. “I think this season he really starts learning. He starts being able to control his temper more, which he’s not been so good at in the past.”
Most of the patriarchal figures in Jon’s life who he could have used as mentors — Ned Stark, Benjen Stark, Jeor Mormont and Qhorin Halfhand — have all died (or at least he assumes they are dead, like Benjen). But Harington says the one person Jon could turn to for advice on how to be a leader is the one he never will: Alliser Thorne.
Hunky British actor Kit Harington on playing the courageous emo-swordsman on the HBO fantasy epic and the real coldness we’ll see this season in the most famous bastard in Westeros.
When we last left Jon Snow (Kit Harington), the bastard son of the late Lord Eddard Stark, he was serving as a spy, marching South towards Castle Black with the Free Folk army and Mance Rayder. After losing his virginity to Ygritte (Rose Leslie), a redheaded wildling woman, and barely scaling the Wall, Snow is ordered by (a very jealous) Orell to kill an old man. He refuses, kills Orell, and escapes the wildling bunch.
Later, his wildling love shoots his back full of arrows—intentionally leaving him alive—and Snow barely makes it back to Castle Black.
In the Season 4 premiere, “Two Swords,” Snow is tried before five sworn brothers of the Night’s Watch, and confesses to killing Qhorin Halfhand, living as a spy amongst the wildlings, and sleeping with one, thereby breaking his vow of celibacy. But Snow also warns the Night’s Watch about the wildling army on its way, and is allowed to keep his head.
Harington is currently abroad shooting Testament of Youth, a biopic of poet Vera Brittain, who will be played by Alicia Vikander. The Daily Beast caught up with the 27-year-old British star to discuss Snow’s journey during Season 4, sex scenes, and much more.
There’s a big moment in the premiere with Jon Snow where he stands up to the Night’s Watch, who are mulling his execution. He’s becoming more Machiavellian and learning how to play the game better, so to speak, and becoming a leader.
That’s a major thing for him this season. This season, he really starts to learn from his father’s mistakes. He starts to realize that if you want the world to be the right place, you have to fight dirty at times, so he’s entering the world of politics this season, and entering the world of being a leader. He’s a good man, a good warrior, and a good leader, but I don’t think he’s naturally born to talk, or convince. But this season is the first time Jon has more than like three lines in a piece of dialogue.
HD screencaps of Kit in the season 4 premiere episode have been added to the gallery. Enjoy the new additions!
4.01 Two Swords
The world of Game of Thrones—absurd, fantastical but also disturbingly familiar—is one in which treachery, debauchery, and every kind of nastiness seem to thrive. “People are constantly shocked,” Kit Harington notes, almost apologetically, “that the characters who are trying to do good get killed off.” Somehow the responsibility of portraying an antidote to all this despair and degradation—in the guise of the innocent-eyed, endlessly baffled but somehow nobly heroic Jon Snow—has fallen on the shoulders of this 27-year-old Brit with barely any acting experience at all before now. It is a duty he takes seriously. “I think Jon Snow is one of the last bastions of a young hero who might do a good thing,” he says. “There’s a huge amount riding on him to be a leader, and I want him to become that leader. I guess for me, Jon Snow is a figure of hope within the whole thing—that he’ll continue to be this good person, and somehow the story will end well for everybody.”
Harington is still a little surprised by the trajectory that catapulted him here after one job on the London stage. He had been conditioned to expect less: “I didn’t really think I’d be a leading man in any respect whatsoever. At drama school in my third year I was resigned to the fate of being Young Male Rape Victim No. 2. That was the kind of category I was put in. I’ve got a very baby face underneath all of this fuzz.”
In fact, it was that very baby face that helped him get this role. At the beginning of the George R.R. Martin fantasy-book cycle on which the show is based, Jon Snow and many of the related characters are aged around 14, and that’s how the actors were asked to play it in the pilot. As a man in his early twenties who could pass as a teenager, Harington was perfect. But it didn’t work: “They were, ‘It’s way too clean-cut—we want you to grow your hair and grow your beard.’ ” He had never even tried to grow a beard before; he wasn’t actually sure that he could. As it turned out, the result was a winning one, both in terms of fitting into the Game of Thrones universe and causing quite a stir in our own world. Now he’s contracted to keep this look as long as he is on the show, which shoots through the second half of every year. Whatever other acting he does in the first half of the year, he has to arrive on the set in July looking like Jon Snow. “It does keep you restricted,” he points out. “I can’t go off and play a U.S. Marine.”