It's been said time and again, but Game of Thrones is one of the biggest shows to ever grace television screens. So, naturally, with weeks to go before the series' final season begins, the cast is taking a look back at what starring on the show means to them. For the actor behind Jon Snow, this means looking back at a turbulent young adulthood spent grappling with a once in a lifetime job and the fame that came with it. In a new interview with Variety, Kit Harington revealed the dark time on Game Of Thrones that led him to go to therapy.
In the interview, published Tuesday, March 19, the actor, who has starred on the show since the pilot episode, opened up about what it was really like to be Jon Snow at the height of his GoT popularity. “My darkest period was when the show seemed to become so much about Jon, when he died and came back,” Harington said. The actor, of course, is talking about the end of Season 5, when Jon was stabbed to death, leaving many fans in despair over the loss of one of the favorite characters. The cliffhanger had fans constantly asking the question, "Is Jon Snow really dead?" and the intense scrutiny was difficult for Harington. “When you become the cliffhanger of a TV show, and a TV show probably at the height of its power, the focus on you is f*cking terrifying,” he said. “All of your neuroses — and I’m as neurotic as any actor — get heightened with that level of focus."
According to the actor, all the fame on top of scrutiny about his fate on the show left him feeling pretty vulnerable and paranoid, which in turn made him even more uncomfortable. He explained:
“It wasn’t a very good time in my life... I felt I had to feel that I was the most fortunate person in the world, when actually, I felt very vulnerable. I had a shaky time in my life around there — like I think a lot of people do in their 20s. That was a time when I started therapy, and started talking to people. I had felt very unsafe, and I wasn’t talking to anyone. I had to feel very grateful for what I have, but I felt incredibly concerned about whether I could even f*cking act.”
Earlier in the interview, Harington mentioned that he didn't read Game of Thrones reviews, or tried not to, but that when he did, it made him worry about his performance. "My memory is always ‘the boring Jon Snow,’" Harington said. "And that got to me after a while, because I was like, ‘I love him. He’s mine and I love playing him.’ Some of those words that were said about it stuck in my craw about him being less entertaining, less showy."
Looking back, Harington admitted that if he were to watch earlier seasons of Game of Thrones, "there’ll be 70% of the scenes that I’ll just never be happy with." However, he seemed at peace with that fact, and confident that this last season, which premieres on HBO April 14, will be some of his best work. “I know who this is now, and I’m at peace with who this is. I just got a feeling that it’s the most satisfied I will be with my work as Jon Snow.”
Harington might be hard on himself, but he has a very loyal fanbase who have fallen in love with him and his performance as Jon Snow. It might be the same fanbase that hounded him with questions about Jon Snow's fate, but it's also a fanbase that is sure to support him in whatever he does next, once the fight for the Iron Throne is officially over.
If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.