Other than the fact that they both exist within the fantasy genre, Game Of Thrones and Harry Potter could not be more different. One is a series of books that was adapted into a TV show; the other is a series of books that was adapted into movies. One is about a generation of young kids coming of age in a magical land called Westeros ruled by tyrannical kings and queens; the other is about a generation of young kids coming of age in a magical land called Scotland ruled by tyrannical wizards and witches. One features a host of mystical creatures, including elves and dragons; the other features a host of mystical creatures, including elves... and... dragons. OK, so maybe they're not actually that different after all.
It's no surprise, then, that the two properties share a number of the same actors — especially given that both Game Of Thrones and the Harry Potter films did all of their studio filming within the United Kingdom (the former in Belfast, Northern Ireland; the latter in Hertfordshire, England). While the amount of overlap behind the scenes is likely too numerous to keep track of, I can account for all the faces that you've seen onscreen in speaking roles.
The following eight actors appeared in at least one of the eight Harry Potter movies and then went on to appear in at least one of the five seasons of Thrones so far.
1. Nicholas Blane
Harry Potter 5: Bob
When Harry first arrives at the Ministry of Magic with Arthur Weasley in Order Of The Phoenix, he rides an elevator alongside an employee named Bob. "Morning, Arthur," Bob intones while carting a box carrying some sort of fire-breathing creature.
Game Of Thrones Season 2: Spice King
On Thrones, Bob pops up in Qarth, as the sneering spice merchant who refused to give Dany any ships. Of course, he ended up getting his throat slit by a warlock, so that's karma for you.
2. David Bradley
Harry Potter 1-6, 8: Argus Filch
Poor Filch. Not only were those annoying Hogwarts students always doing their best to muddy his perfectly clean floors and break his perfectly rigid rules, but he had to go and be a squib on top of it all. Embarrassing.
Game Of Thrones Seasons 1, 3: Walder Frey
Ugh. Just in case you thought Filch was as despicable as they come, Walder Frey is here to prove just how wrong you are. It doesn't get any worse than the sniveling traitor who helped plan the Red Wedding, and Bradley's performance has ensured that none of us will ever be able to watch Harry Potter again without cringing at the very sight of Filch.
3. Michelle Fairley
Harry Potter 7: Mrs. Granger
Oh hey Mum and Dad, I'm off to fight the evil wizard Lord Voldemort but real quick let me wipe myself from existence first. Yeesh. Deathly Hallows — Part 1 got off on a dark note when Hermione was forced to erase herself from her parents' memories in order to keep them safe while she marched off to war.
Game Of Thrones Seasons 1-3: Catelyn Stark
Hermione's spell was apparently so good that Mrs. Granger totally forgot about her entire life in England and packed up for Westeros, where she started a second family with noble northman Eddard Stark and raised five beautiful children. Of course, Catelyn ended up dead anyway, so maybe Hermione should've just left well enough alone.
4. Julian Glover
Harry Potter 2: Aragog
Hagrid's pet acromantula may have provided some key information to Harry and Ron, but all good feelings were put aside when he immediately tried to have them eaten by his unholy spawn of giant spiders. That scene still gives me the heebie jeebies...
Game Of Thrones Seasons 1-5: Grand Maester Pycelle
Turns out that the man who voiced Aragog is now swaddled in robes, chains, and lots of facial hair to play King's Landing most ineffective maester. At this point, his position has basically been usurped by Qyburn, who better pray that Aemon doesn't have a similar brood of spiders at his command.
5. Ciarán Hinds
Harry Potter 8: Aberforth Dumbledore
The eleventh hour secret-family-member reveal is a tried and true staple of storytelling. Indiana Jones got a dad in The Last Crusade, Jack Bauer got a dad and a brother (both evil, natch) in Season 6 of 24, and Albus Dumbledore got, well, Aberforth, the notorious goat-obsessed pariah of the wizarding world.
Game Of Thrones 3-5: Mance Rayder
Aberforth may have saved the day by smuggling Harry, Ron, and Hermione into Hogwarts for the final battle, but his Thrones character wasn't shown any such latitude; Mance Rayder was unceremoniously (or rather, very ceremoniously) burned to death in the Season 5 premiere.
6. Ralph Ineson
Harry Potter 7-8: Amycus Carrow
Although the Potter films all but wiped the Carrow siblings from the story, on the page they were nasty pieces of work: Amycus took over Defense Against the Dark Arts and his sister Alecto took over Muggle Studies under Snape's tyrannical tenure of Hogwarts.
Game Of Thrones Season 2: Dagmer Cleftjaw
Ironborn soldier Dagmer wasn't exactly the smartest squid in the sea. He talked Theon into abandoning his father's battle plan in favor of attacking Winterfell singlehandedly, and then he betrayed Theon and handed him over to their besiegers when it was clear they couldn't hold the Stark stronghold. Oh, and he got skinned alive by Ramsay as soon as he surrendered. Better luck next time, pal.
7. Natalie Tena
Harry Potter 5-8: Nymphadora Tonks
Tonks was awesome. She was smart, she was funny, she was good with a wand, she could change her hair color at will, and she was in love with everyone's favorite werewolf, Remus Lupin. So of course, when J.K. Rowling was looking for two casualties to wreak maximum emotional damage in the final novel, she chose Tonks and Lupin. Still not over it.
Game Of Thrones 1-3: Osha
Osha may not be able to change her hair color at will and so far she's absent a romantic werewolf companion, but hey — there are at least three more seasons to go, right? (Speaking of, we better catch up with her and Bran sometime soon.)
8. Bronson Webb
Harry Potter 3: Slytherin Boy
The love affair between Malfoy and Goyle went temporarily sour in their third year, since Gregory was inexplicably replaced in some Prisoner Of Azakaban scenes by this random "Slytherin boy." (He's like Veronica, the fourth Heather.)
Game Of Thrones Season 1: Will
This unnamed Slytherin boy's face was one of the first we saw in the entire history of Thrones, when he played Night's Watchman Will, who abandoned his post after an encounter with the White Walkers... and was beheaded by Ned for it.
Even with Voldemort popping up every year like clockwork to try and defeat Harry, it looks like Hogwarts is a much safer place for fantasy characters than Westeros.
Images: Helen Sloan, Screengrab (9)/HBO; Warner Bros. Pictures (10)