It wasn’t until I wrote this article that I realized just how many actors are in Game of Thrones. I knew there were a lot, but when you think about pretty much every other show out there at the moment, there's a startling number of important characters on the HBO series in comparison. While some of them are famous because of the HBO masterpiece, some inhabitants of Westeros were famous long before Game of Thrones began. A handful of them may be coming to your mind right now, including Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey, who garnered success in major movies before joining the never-ending HBO cast, but don’t get too ahead of yourself. I think we need to discuss the other side of this first. (Yes, this is what I do while I patiently await Game of Thrones Season 6.)
Obviously, many of these actors WEREN’T famous before all of George R.R. Martin's madness began. Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke were not famous at all before this series and now both are household names. Think about how successful all of these actors are now because of Game of Thrones — they will probably coast along the high road because of this show, including Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Alfie Allen and many, many more. Good for them for landing something so awesome that will only lead to better things, as Emilia Clarke and Gwendoline Christie have already proven.
Now, back to people who were famous in their own right before they came to Westeros.
Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) In Elf
In what is now considered a Christmas tradition, every year the entire world sits down together to watch Elf. In case you forgot, Peter Dinklage plays the wildly famous children's book publisher Miles Finch.
Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) In 300
Alongside lots and lots of sweaty, attractive men, Lena Headey stars in the gory Zack Snyder classic. She plays Gerard Butler's equally attractive wife, Queen Gorgo.
Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell) In The Tudors
I'm not sure what it is about Natalie Dormer, but she's great at playing the role of a queen. Before she was Margaery Tyrell, she played King Henry VIII's second and most important wife.
Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth) In A Little Princess
If you grew up in the '90s, you definitely saw the remake of A Little Princess. Davos Seaworth, Stannis' advisor, plays Captain Crewe, Sara's father, who goes missing.
Natalia Tena (Osha) In Harry Potter
We haven't seen Osha in awhile because she's off with Rickon Stark somewhere. Most people know Natalia Tena as Tonks from Harry Potter, one of our favorite Aurors.
Sean Bean (Ned Stark) In Lord of The Rings
I know he hasn't been on the show since Season 1, but you have to love Ned Stark and I couldn't keep him out of this list because he was pretty iconic as Boromir in the Lord of The Rings trilogy. Poor Sean Bean just can't live through a series — ever.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster (JoJen Reed) In Love Actually
Everyone remembers JoJen Reed from his role in Love Actually. He falls in love with a girl and chases her through an airport. Adorable.
Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister) In Last Action Hero
Tywin Lannister has been many things, including Benedict in the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic Last Action Hero. If you’ve never seen Last Action Hero, do yourself a favor and watch it immediately.
Aiden Gillen (Littlefinger) In The Wire
Before he was Littlefinger you could see Aiden Gillen on HBO in The Wire. He played Councilman Thomas ‘Tommy’ Carcetti.
Julian Glover (Grand Maester Pycelle) In Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
Grand Maester Pycelle is probably the most famous person on the entire show and you just didn’t even realize it. He played Walter Donovan in the third Indiana Jones film. Who is that? Well, remember that guy who drinks from the wrong holy grail at the end and disintegrates? That would be Julian and that terrified me as a child. That scene will never not be the most terrifying thing ever.
Julian Glover (Grand Maester Pycelle) In Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
He leads the Empire into the battle of Hoth.
Clearly, Game of Thrones is the sum of some truly talented parts — well, that, and Jon Snow's free-flowing locks.