30 Game Of Thrones’ Actors Before They Were Famous

You don't know it, but you have seen them before in films and TV shows.

Game Of Thrones Emilia Clarke
Mother of Dragons Emilia Clarke in Game Of Thrones. Image Picture HBO

Game of Thrones, besides being one of the most successful TV shows ever, is also characterised for how different its actors look when they are out of their costumes.

Let’s be honest, there are some of them that few of us would recognise if we ran into them in the street. And not only that: we have probably seen them in another TV show or in a film and didn’t even know who they were. Well, here at loaded we are going to solve the problem for you, thanks to an Imgur user who has taken the time to put them together.

1. Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark)

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The twenty-year-old has suffered a great deal as Sansa, her first-ever role. Before that, Sophie had a happy childhood in Chesterton.


2. Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth)

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The tall beauty is also kicking ass in the new Star Wars trilogy as Captain Phasma, but before Game of Thrones, Christie was in Heath Ledger’s last film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and did mostly theatre (in fact, Simon Callow was her theatre mentor).


3. Rose Leslie (Ygritte)

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The Scot’s biggest role before playing Jon Snow’s love interest was as a housemaid in Downton Abbey. She also appeared in an episode of Banged Up Abroad.


4. Rory McCann (Sandor Clegane)

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The tough man who plays The Hound worked as a painter and a carpenter before becoming an actor. He played an extra on Willow, but was fired for laughing. You’ve probably seen him in the flop Alexander, Hot Fuzz or the remake of Clash of the Titans. Or as a priest in Shameless.


5. Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister)

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The head of the Lannister clan was a member of the Royal Shakespeare company back in the seventies, and he’s been everywhere ever since: For You Eyes Only, Alien 3, Ali G Indahouse, Scoop, Starter for 10, Gosford Park or Foyle’s War are just a few examples.


6. Conleth Hill (Lord Varys)

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Yes, he has hair in real life. He has done a lot of stage work, and his most high-profile roles before playing the Spider of Westeros were in Whatever Works and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.


7. Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm)

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Before his big break as the leader of the Unsullied, Anderson appeared in episodes of Doctors, Primeval, Casualty, Spooks, Outnumbered and Skins, among others.


8. Sean Bean (Ned Stark)

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Bean is known for dying in every film and TV show he’s in, but he was by far the most famous face before GoT began. He died as Boromir in The Lord of the Rings; he also died in GoldenEye and in countless other films. He didn’t die in Troy, though, so that’s a first.


9. Stephen Dillane (Stannis Baratheon)

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Before committing filicide to win a war, Dillane was seen in The Hours, the Goal! Films, Zero Dark Thirty and King Arthur (he played Merlin in that one).


10. Carice van Houten (Melissandre)

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Before wearing only red clothes, the Dutch actress did a bunch of work in the Netherlands, as you’d expect. She also appeared in Valkyrie, Intruders and Repo Men.


11. Maisie Williams (Arya Stark)

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Before she became a child badass as the youngest Stark girl, Williams, well, she was a child. She grew up in Somerset and had three older siblings. We guess the best of her is yet to come.


12. Iain Glenn (Jorah Mormont)

Iain Glenn Image Imgur

The king of the friend zone had one of his first roles as Hamlet in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, but he also appeared in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Resident Evil: Apocalypse and its sequel, Extinction. He must really like video games.


13. Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy)

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Playing one of the cockiest characters in Westeros wasn’t Alfie’s first role. After all, his own father, Keith Allen, is an actor as well, and his mother is a film producer. Lily Allen’s brother had parts in Elizabeth, The Other Boleyn Girl and Atonement.


14. Lena Heady (Cersei Lannister)

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The Queen of Westeros (who knows for how long) already knew what war was like thanks to her role in 300. One of her first roles when she was younger was in The Remains of the Day. Her biggest TV role before Cersei was as the lead in The Sarah Connor Chronicles.


15. Emilia Clarke

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Funnily, Emilia has also played Sarah Connor (in Terminator Genisys). Before being the people’s khaleesi, Clarke had only had roles in an episode of Doctors and the Syfy movie Triassic Attack.


16. Diana Rigg (Olenna Tyrell)

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The Queen of Thorns herself couldn’t have had a vaster career. She played Emma Peel in The Avengers (the 1960s show, not the Marvel films), and she has done so much work on film, TV and theatre that it would be impossible to fit here.


17. Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon)

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Now retired from acting, Gleeson (who is much nicer than the psychotic boy king) is mostly remembered from a small scene in Batman Begins. Christian Bale hugs him, basically.


18. Jerome Flynn (Bronn)

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Not sure if Flynn enjoys remembering this, but he was a singer in the 1990s with the duo Robson & Jerome. Besides his singing career, Flynn had roles in episodes of Casualty and most notably Soldier Soldier.


19. Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark)

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Like his fellow child actors, Isaac hadn’t done much before joining the Stark clan. Mostly just drama school and commercials. The same year that the show started, he had a small role in the film The Awakening.


20. Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton)

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He is surely missed as one of the best villains in the show, but Rheon was already famous for his leading role in the TV series Misfits and the sitcom Vicious.


21. Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei)

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Emmanuel didn’t have time to play many roles before her turn as a translator in Essos. Before that, she played Sasha Valentine in Hollyoaks for four years.


22. Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell)

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The costumes in Game of Thrones weren’t a new thing for Dormer: she had already played Anne Boleyn in The Tudors and had a small role in Captain America: The First Avenger.


23. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister)

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The Danish actor had one of his first English-speaking roles in the war film Black Hawk Down, and he also appeared in Kingdom of Heaven (both directed by Ridley Scott).


24. Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister)

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Everyone’s favourite drunk had already done quite a few popular films before Game of Thrones. Dinklage played roles in Elf, Death at a Funeral and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.


25. Richard Madden (Robb Stark)

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Robb’s was probably one of the most tragic deaths in the show, but the Scottish actor saw his career develop after the show. Before, the Scot was part of the show Hope Springs and appeared as a young teenager in Barmy Aunt Boomerang.


26. Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark)

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The Northern Irish actress had played another resigned mother before Game of Thrones in the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where she took the role of Hermione’s mother. She also had roles in Misfits, Holby City or Casualty.


27. Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth)

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One of the kindest men in Westeros, Cunningham appeared in quite a few films, like Clash of the Titans, Hunger, War Horse, Centurion or The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.


28. Aidan Gillen (Petyr Baelish)

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The Irish portraying sneaky Littlefinger appeared in Queer as Folk, but is probably better known for playing Tommy Carcetti in the acclaimed TV series The Wire.


29. Kit Harington (Jon Snow)

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Another one who didn’t have much time to act beforehand. In fact, all Harington had done between drama school and the show was the play War Horse, where he played the lead. And then he grew his hair long.


30. Kristian Nairn (Hodor)

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Hodor was Nairn’s first acting role. Before that, he had been working as a DJ. Which he still does, by the way. And quite successfully.

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