Kit Harington: Fame is a strange thing

Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - April 1, 2013 - 12:00am

LONDON - An “iconic” season of epic battles, spectacular CGI scenes and some more Jon Snow moments. These were just some of the bits and pieces our small group of print journalists was able to pry out of the English actor fleshing out Jon Snow himself, Kit Harington, in a roundtable interview during the international press junket scheduled ahead of the hotly-anticipated Season 3 of the HBO series Game of Thrones (GOT).

In the US and Canada, the third season of the worldwide hit adaptation (by GOT creators Dan Weiss and David Benioff) of George R. R. Martin’s best-selling Song of Ice and Fire novels, premiered March 31. Pinoy fans will have to wait a bit but it’s debuting soon this month on HBO Asia.

Nevertheless, like the rest of the GOT stars who figured at the roundtable Q&As  all held at the history-laden Corinthia Hotel in Central London one chilly Tuesday recently  Kit, 26, talked at length about how he feels towards his character and teased about how the character of his character develops this season, but was careful not to spill surprises and spoilers.

“I’m very excited about (the new season). I can see why (creators) Dan and David want to get to this one. There are some amazing things that happen and… I’ve said this and I may be getting way ahead of myself but I think if there’s going to be a season that’s iconic, I think it might be this season,” Kit told The STAR and some reporters from Europe, UK and Latin America.

He continued, “(It’s a) a very higher impact season. A lot of narratives do come to an end, a lot of climaxes happen, and a lot of things get resolved, which in Game of Thrones, well, things never get resolved (so) it’s good because of that. There’s also some spectacular scenes, spectacular CGI scenes and amazing battles.”

While he read the first two books, Kit said he steered clear from the rest. “I can’t speak for many other people’s storylines because I consciously decided not to read the rest of the series… But from what I heard from every different person I bumped on the set, and they’d say ‘Oh, I just did this scene and it’s amazing’... So, there’s a general buzz of excitement amongst the producers and cast this season, which hopefully is not just asking for nothing.”

GOT, a medieval-fantasy tale grounded in the mythical continent of Westeros  where intrigue is pervasive as ambitious men and women of honor and ill-repute fight for power in a land where summers and winters can last for years  has been oft-described as having one of the most layered and dense stories and plots around since its TV debut in 2011.

But the thread of Jon Snow’s story is one of the most followed among the characters. He’s the bastard son of the late Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) but his background is still a big question mark. Ask diehard fans and they’ll tell you: That Jon is a tortured guy, but he’s shown “principled leadership” as a young warrior. That his physical attributes  luscious curls and doe-eyed expressions  enhance the “tragic-emo-hero-stereotype.” All these contribute to tribute articles, blog posts and Google hits like “Jon Snow is the most husband-material GOT male.” 

Readers of the novels may have an idea what to expect this season as it’s adapted in large part from A Storm of Swords, Martin’s third novel, where family and loyalty will be the overarching themes. As a refresher, the season-two ender saw Jon held in the custody of the Wildlings and about to be presented to the “King Beyond the Wall” Mance Rayder (played by Ciarán Hinds).

According to Kit, Season 3 might have demanded more of him as an actor, but he was lucky to have been surrounded by actors who made it easier, giving props to new GOT entrants Hinds, Mackenzie Crook and Kristofer Hivju, as well as Rose Leslie as potential love interest Ygritte. “And yeah, I have some quite demanding scenes emotionally. You know, for someone who is quite an emotionally-stunted person, (I mean) having built Jon Snow up that way, that he’s got that mother complex and not very good with women, he’s finally found himself having to deal with a woman and a possible feeling towards that woman and that made for some quite interesting scenes, I think.”

Being “emotionally stunted” is one of the things that Kit loves about playing Jon Snow. “I love it about him! I think when you read among the pages and where he’d go, he has never had a mother… He has never been accepted properly into his family, he’s an illegitimate child and he doesn’t really belong anywhere, yet he’s got huge amount of ambition so you got all of those things at play inside. But (his) is not a world in which you can go to a psychiatrist about that sort of thing so he has to deal with all that fighting with each other and having no real sympathy for, you get on to do what you need to do as a bastard in this world, so I really enjoyed playing all those elements and (he’s) very confusing to play sometimes.”

When prodded to reveal his “acting process,” his answer drew some laughs. “It’s various things really. Even the voice. Way back when I auditioned with my own voice, and then we got on the set, they kind of decided that Sean Bean’s accent was probably where we should be from and that kind of came into who Jon was. That kind of gets me into it. And another way is you have these wonderful costumes and you get tied into them, and they’re really heavy and before you know it, you kind of on-set with a northern accent...and some really heavy clothes and it’s a pretty simple kind of process (hahaha.) And he scowls. He’s upset a lot. I love that he’s always confused and upset (and) emotional, constantly.”

Kit is obviously pleased but still gets surprised at the reception to his character and the series. “When I auditioned for Thrones, I think two of my major scenes I auditioned were from this season (3) which is very strange…I thought in my head that I’d be lucky as hell if I’d ever get to this.”

While elaborating on fan encounters, he acknowledged how some fans find it hard to separate the actor from the character. He mused, “It’s one of those horrible things wherein they go, ‘Jon Snow,’ and you’re like, ‘how lovely to meet you,’ which is not what Jon Snow would do. Suddenly, it’s a weird thing when you meet someone and you feel like, by actually meeting (fans) you’re ruining the character… Sometimes actors can be quite aloof when you meet them, not because they’re being rude but because ‘you don’t really want to know who I am, otherwise I’m going to ruin the character for you.’ ‘I’m not going to speak to you honestly, I’m going to ruin the show if open my mouth and start talking crap.’ I think that’s why some actors are how they are.”

But there’s no stopping Kit’s growing fame (scoring Hollywood film projects like Silent Hill: Revelation, How To Train Your Dragon 2, The Seventh Son on the side), thanks to the show. “I find more and more nowadays, you get stopped more on the street and people recognize you more and that’s always a very strange thing for me and very strange for my friends.”

Strange thing but also overwhelming. “It is incredible, and the global scale of (Game of Thrones’ popularity) as well and you know, the fact that it is seen in all these different countries, and I can go to any country really on a holiday and I get recognize or something.”


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