From Khaleesi’s health struggles to Hodor’s record-spinning career, here are things you didn’t know about the Game of Thrones actors

Emilia Clarke

Who isn’t in love with the Mother of Dragons? We sure are, and there’s probably a lot about this actress that you didn’t know. Although you might not imagine “Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons” being a goofball in real life, Emilia actually danced like a chicken during her Game of Thrones audition. During a 2014 interview with Jimmy Fallon, the actress stated that she was extremely nervous. But, when David Benioff, the series creator, said she should perform a dance, she “did the funky chicken and the robot.”

However, Emilia Clarke is as strong as Daenerys Targaryen in many ways. When she was only twenty-four years old, during the filming of Game of Thrones, Emilia experienced a brain aneurysm and was forced to receive emergency surgery. Although a third of people who have brain aneurysms don’t survive, Clarke was one of the lucky few.

However, she was informed that there was another aneurysm on the other side of her brain that the doctors hoped would stay dormant. However, the other aneurysm grew, and she went in for a second surgery that failed. Emilia had to undergo a third that required doctors to go through her skull. This amazing star survived both brain aneurysms, all three surgeries, and wrote in The New Yorker that she is thankful for everything she’s been able to achieve in her life so far.

Maisie Williams

Those who watch the show know that Arya Stark is someone you don’t want to mess with. She can slay anybody who gets in her way with Needle, her trusty sword. However, you might not know much about the actress who plays this fearless fighter. Maisie Williams started out as a dancer when she was ten years old. But, after she performed in a Paris talent show, she got her first agent and began pursuing a career in acting. Maisie auditioned for The Big Bang and Nanny McPhee.

However, since she looked so young, she didn’t receive the part. Something that might truly shock you about this actress is that her name isn’t even Maisie. Her full name is Margaret Constance Williams, but we can all agree that Maisie suits the young star.

Jerome Flynn

As Bronn in Game of Thrones, this guy is somebody you don’t want to mess with. He’s not afraid to fight dirty and proved it while he was defending Tyrion Lannister at the Vale of Arryn. Jerome has been acting since 1986 when he was cast in the TV film London’s Burning. He partially retired in 2007, but it was announced a few years later that he’d be portraying Bronn.

However, Flynn isn’t only a star on-screen; he was part of the duo Robson & Jerome during the 1990s. Their cover of “Unchained Melody” stayed at the number one spot for a total of seven weeks in the United Kingdom. In 1995, the single became the best-selling of the year. Their other number one hits were “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” and “I Believe.”

Gwendoline Christie

There’s no getting past this actress’s incredible height. At six foot three, Gwendoline Christie turns heads as soon as she enters a room, and there was no exception for her Game of Thrones character, Brienne of Tarth. But, Christie wasn’t always interested in acting. When she was a child, she was training to be a gymnast.

However, she injured her spine which propelled her into an acting career. Christie faced a lot of adversity as an actress because of her unique looks. Her agent didn’t believe in her, reportedly saying “good luck with that” after she expressed interest in on-screen acting. Obviously, she proved them wrong because she’s one of the most popular Game of Thrones characters. One thing about Gwendoline that you probably weren’t aware of is that she posed nude for a photography series called Bunny in the early to late 2000s.

Jacob Anderson

As Grey Worm in Game of Thrones, Jacob Anderson is fearless, loyal, and caring, especially with his love, Missandei. You don’t often see Anderson’s character smile since he was trained to be emotionless during his life as a fighter and slave before Daenerys set him free. But, in real life, he’s quite the opposite. This Bristol-born actor moved to London when he was seventeen years old to pursue a career in music.

In 2012, he was cast as Grey Worm in the HBO series. He signed to Columbia Records in 2013 as well and began making music. Anderson released his debut album, titled You’re a Man Now, Boy, in February 2016. But, he doesn’t go by his real name when he’s recording albums; he calls himself Raleigh Ritchie. Although Jacob appears courageous and confident on the show, there are some things he struggles with in his real life.

He opened up about his mental health in 2017 in an interview with Square Mile. But, he didn’t want to classify his personal struggles as any disorder like anxiety or depression. However, Anderson did note that there’s “a lot of stuff [he’s] struggling with.” He also said his outlet is writing music, and his songs have a lot of meaning. A couple of his tracks are “Time in a Tree” and “Stronger Than Ever.”

Lena Headey

As one of the most hated characters in the show, Lena Headey does a wonderful job portraying the evil queen, Cersei Lannister. From a massacre of innocent people to her betrayal of Jon Snow, Lena has truly brought her Game of Thrones character to life. You probably wouldn’t have guessed that Peter Dinklage, the actor who plays Tyrion Lannister, and Lena Headey are good friends in real life since they despise each other on screen. But, Dinklage was the one who suggested Lena for the role of Cersei.

But, something even more interesting about Lena is that she was once dating Jerome Flynn, who plays Bronn in the series. There aren’t many details about their romance; all we know is that it didn’t end well. Because of their dislike of one another, the two actors are kept apart on set. If you pay close attention, you’ll see that they’re never together in the same scene.

Sophie Turner

This starlet’s popularity took off quickly when she started playing Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones. However, she wouldn’t have ever auditioned had her drama teacher not pushed her to do it. Sophie and a group of her friends auditioned for the role, and she ended up getting the part. Although Sophie is only twenty-three years old, she’s been acting since she was three. Playing Sansa Stark in the series has had a major impact in the actress’s life. She even adopted the dog that played her direwolf on screen. Something you probably didn’t know about Sophie is that once upon a time she had a twin.

During an interview with Marie Claire, she said she had a twin before she was born. Unfortunately, her sibling didn’t make it to full term. In the Game of Thrones series, Sansa Stark is a young girl who faces a harsh reality after being harmed by her to-be-husband Joffrey and getting married off to Tyrion Lannister and Ramsay Snow. But, in real life, Sophie Turner got engaged to Joe Jonas in October 2017.

Kristian Nairn

This actor was born in Northern Ireland in 1975 and played one of the most loved characters on the Game of Thrones series, Hodor. Kristian Nairn is as giant as he looks in the show, standing six foot ten. But, outside of Game of Thrones, this star is a DJ. He’d been spinning at clubs in Belfast for about seventeen years before auditioning for Hodor. Nairn even had a residency in a gay club called Kremlin.

After gaining a significant amount of recognition from the show, he went on a tour endearingly titled “Rave of Thrones” in 2014. Nairn is also an outspoken member of the LGBT community and discussed being gay during an interview in 2014. People consider the interview to be his “coming out.” However, Kristian stated that he’d “never been in.”

Peter Dinklage

This star is most well-known for portraying everyone’s favorite Lannister on Game of Thrones, Tyrion. He was only in fifth grade when he got his first acting job in The Velveteen Rabbit. Due to his dwarfism, Dinklage was often offered jobs to play leprechauns and elves while he was staying in New York City pursuing his career.

However, he turned down numerous roles out of principle even though he was struggling financially. In 2003, he got the part of Miles Finch in Elf alongside Will Ferrell. Dinklage accepted the part because it was different than what he’d been previously offered because it challenged stereotypes concerning actors with dwarfism in Hollywood. Miles Finch was a successful businessman who attacked Buddy, Will Ferrell’s character, after he mistakes him for one of Santa’s helpers, calling him “an angry elf.”

The part of Tyrion Lannister also addresses stereotypes as the character is one of the most intelligent and noteworthy in the entire series. Something you probably wouldn’t have guessed about Peter Dinklage is that he used to be in a band called Whizzy. He even got a scar during his music career after he was kneed in the forehead on stage. Dinklage is also a vegetarian and has been since he was a kid. He openly speaks about animal rights and even told fans of Game of Thrones to stop adopting Siberian Huskies when their popularity spiked due to the direwolves on the show.

Kit Harington

This guy has won over just about every Game of Thrones fan. I mean, who can resist Jon Snow’s long, curly locks, sultry eyes, and self-sacrificing tendencies? Kit Harington has been acting since he was about fourteen years old. But, it wasn’t until 2008 that he was cast in a production of War Horse by the National Theatre. The role gained Kit an immense amount of recognition and grabbed the attention of the Game of Thrones producers. He was then invited for an audition, ultimately getting the part of Jon Snow. In the series, his character joins the Night’s Watch, pledging his allegiance for life and swearing off women.

However, he falls for a wildling named Ygritte, played by Rose Leslie, after being captured. But, their romance extended beyond the screen when the actors began dating in 2012. The lovebirds were on-and-off for awhile, but they tied the knot in 2018 in Scotland. Something interesting about Kit Harington is his name. The star’s full name is Christopher Catesby Harington. But, what’s even more intriguing is the fact that he didn’t know his name was Christopher until he was eleven years old since his family only referred to him as Kit.

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