Even though the stars of Game of Thrones are some of the most recognizable people on television, they spend so much time on the show covered in dirt that seeing them out of costume can be a jarring experience. I mean, who knew Kit Harrington's hair was that luscious when it wasn't soaked in blood? But one character in particular has a pretty dramatic transformation: Gilly from Game of Thrones looks totally different in real life, so much so that I had to double-check that it was actually her.
One half of fan-favorite Game of Thrones couple Gilly and Sam, Gilly (played by Hannah Murray) is a wildling who's endured some pretty terrible abuse. Sam first met her in Craster's Keep, where her father rapes his daughters and only allows the babies to live if they are girls; boys get donated to the White Walkers.
Gilly's look on the show often reflects the gloomy and removed location of her upbringing. She's often wearing dirty brown dresses, sporting limp hair, and no makeup. Who can blame the girl for not spending a lot of time getting ready in the morning — when the arrival of White Walkers is impending, there are more important things to worry about than contouring.
Murray, on the other hand, is no stranger to the glitz and glam of fashion and red carpets. In fact, she's had practice since she was cast in British teen drama Skins at the age of 16. With red or blonde hair, a little makeup, and a face clear of dirt, Murray is almost unrecognizable as the Gilly we know and love on screen.
Fans won't have forgotten that Gilly did have a brief Princess Diaries-esque makeover in Season 6, but she still spends most of the show covered in dirt.
Murray is much more concerned with playing interesting women than with how she'll look to audiences on screen. As she said to RadioTimes:
"Having [Skins] as my first job, I learned so much, and it made it very clear to me what I wanted to do for the rest of my career: I wanted to play characters that were equally interesting and equally challenging. There are so many female roles — particularly for young women — that are just somebody's girlfriend or somebody's daughter, or that are accessories to the main story rather than being three-dimensional characters."
So, even though playing Gilly doesn't allow Murray to look like the glam goddess that she is, it does allow her to explore a complex female life on screen. And that's what really matters.