Months after the Game of Thrones series finale, Kit Harington (a.k.a. Jon Snow) is speaking out about the contested end of the HBO juggernaut. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Emmy-nominated actor looks back at his final chapter as the brooding half-Stark, half-Targaryen warrior. Here are the biggest takeaways.
What did he think about Jon killing Daenerys?
Harington didn’t read the Season 8 script until the table read in Belfast with the whole cast, so when costar Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) sat next to him on the plane, she basically tortured him about it. “She was like, ‘Shit, Kit. You are in for some surprises,'” the actor recalled.
When he finally reached Dany’s murder on the page, it was a “big shock.” Harington said, “I remember my mouth dropping open and looking across Emilia at the table, who was slowly nodding as I went, ‘No, no, no!’ It was a ‘holy fuck’ moment, pardon my language. Jaw dropping.” If you saw the Game of Thrones documentary, The Last Watch, you were privy to this exact moment as it played out on camera.
Harington was “completely surprised” by the plot twist but could “kind of see” how the story got there over the last couple seasons. It ultimately took him and Clarke three weeks to film that “highly emotionally charged scene,” he revealed.
So, why did Jon do it?
To state the obvious, he had just watched the woman he loves (and his aunt) burn down a city of innocent people and vow to conquer more lands beyond King’s Landing. But for Jon, the inner conflict went beyond that.
“Jon essentially sees it as Daenerys or Sansa and Arya, and that makes his mind up for him,” Harington said. “He choose blood over, well, his other blood. But he chooses the people he has grown up with, the people his roots are with, the North. That’s where his loyalties lie in the end. That’s when he puts the knife in.”
Despite his mixed backgrounds as a Stark and Targaryen, Jon’s loyalties ultimately lay with the North. “At the end of it, it’s beyond honor for Jon. It’s his family,” Harington explained.
Did it really make sense for Jon to ride north of the Wall with the Free Folk in the last scene?
Some viewers were disappointed that Jon’s highly theorized Stark-Targaryen heritage didn’t ultimately lead to his coronation as the King of the Seven Kingdoms. (All that buzz for nothing?) However, Harington thinks Jon’s story couldn’t have ended more perfectly.
“I loved it. When I read it, that bit really made me cry,” the actor explained. To him, Jon felt “finally free” in that scene. “Instead of being chained and sent to the Wall, it felt like he was set free. It was a really sweet ending,” he added.
Shouldn’t Jon have killed the Night King?
The Night King’s death at the hands of Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) in “The Long Night” was arguably the most surprising moment of the entire series. Harington was caught by surprise too.
“I was a bit pissed off, only because I wanted to kill the Night King!” he said. “I think I felt like everyone else did, in that it had been set up for a long time, and then I didn’t get to do it. But I was so happy for Maisie and Arya. I was secretly like, ‘I wanted to do that!'”
Harington also mentioned wanting to fight Night King actor Vladimir Furdik, who also played the White Walker Jon killed in the Battle of Hardhome. “But it was a really great twist, and it tied up Maisie’s journey in a really beautiful way,” he added. “Over the seasons, we’ve seen her build up these skills to become this hardened assassin, and she uses it all to kill our main antagonist.”
Did he help Arya kill the Night King at the Battle of Winterfell?
“No thanks. That’s crap. She did it all on her own. It had nothing to do with Jon.”
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