These 'Game Of Thrones' Characters Have Changed So Much Since Season 1

Helen Sloan/HBO

Game of Thrones' characters have been through a lot in the eight years since the show premiered. Not only have countless individuals died (like seriously, countless), but people have changed allegiances, appearances, and even houses as they prepare for the inevitable winter. Still, it's a bit shocking to look at the Game of Thrones characters then and now and see how far they've come.

Not only has the Stark family been slimmed down by four members (well, six if you include Robb's wife and baby) since the pilot, but its remaining four have been to hell and back (quite literally, in Jon's case). The same could be said of the other remaining characters in Game of Thrones. All men must die, as the Greyjoys are so fond of saying, and plenty of people have done just that. But in the eight years since the HBO series has been on the air, many of the actors have grown up before our eyes (most notably, Bran, Arya, and Sansa).

Plus, plenty of characters have undergone serious evolutions, from Jaime's change of heart (and loss of a limb) to Daenerys' transformation from Khal Drogo's terrified child bride into the Mother of Dragons herself. Here are all of the remaining Game of Thrones characters, with their before and after photos side-by-side, in case the finale season has you feeling a little nostalgic.


Jon Snow

He started out as a depressed bastard bound for the Night's Watch, but since then, Jon has become Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, the King in the North, and now heir to the Iron Throne. All it took was for him to be murdered once and have sex with his aunt.

Sansa Stark

Gone is the bratty, lovestruck Sansa of Season 1, who was dead-set on marrying Prince Joffrey. The Stark daughter has been engaged three times and married twice in the years since and takes crap from nobody — Daenerys included.

Arya Stark

Arya has always been a fierce warrior — it's just that she wasn't always taken seriously. But since Ned Stark was beheaded in King's Landing, she's been preparing for her standoff with Cersei, and she won't rest until it happens. All (wo)men must die, after all.

Bran Stark

Ah, sweet Bran. What was once an energetic boy who loved climbing was scarred forever (both emotionally and physically) after seeing Jaime and Cersei in a compromising position. Afterward he, Hodor, Jojen, and Meera sought out the Three-Eyed Raven, who taught him how to greensee and warg. Bran has been through a lot since the beginning of the series, and it shows.

Brienne of Tarth

Brienne is a woman of honor, swearing fealty first to her beloved Renly Baratheon, then to Catelyn Stark, and finally to Lady Sansa. She hasn't changed all that much since she came onto the scene in Season 2, but she favors a slicked-back hairstyle now.


Jaime Lannister

Perhaps no one has had more of a character arc than the golden-haired kingslayer. Whereas Jaime started Game of Thrones as an incestuous, cocky member of the Kingsguard, he's had quite the change of heart in the ensuing years.

Cersei Lannister

Not only did Cersei undergo a dramatic haircut, but she's gone from Robert Baratheon's wife to widow to now Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. But her reign is likely to be a short one, if Daenerys has her way.

Tyrion Lannister

Back in Game of Thrones Season 1, Tyrion was depicted as a sardonic sex addict with his nose always stuck in a book. Since then, he was named Joffrey's Hand of the King, was married off to Sansa Stark, and murdered his father while he was on the toilet. What's more, Tyrion doesn't rely on self-deprecating humor, like he did at the beginning of the series, and is now more serious — but you have to be when you're Hand of the Queen to Daenerys Targaryen.


Tyrion's most loyal soldier, Bronn is both cocky and impulsive, with a dirty sense of humor. He and Tyrion met when he defended the Lannister in the Eyrie at a trial by combat, winning his freedom. He's more of a team player now but is still easily paid off.

The Mountain

After Oberyn Martel nearly murdered Ser Gregor Clegane during trial by combat, he certainly looked to be dead. That is, until Qyburn did some kind of medieval science on him at the behest of Cersei. Now, The Mountain is a zombie-fied version of himself. If possible, he looks even more dangerous and terrifying than he did before.

The Hound

Sandor "The Hound" Clegane looks pretty much like he did at the start of the series. But while he's always been more compassionate than his older brother (but that's not saying much), the soldier has a soft spot for Arya, although she left him to die and all. But that's just payback for killing her friend, the Butcher's Boy, back in Season 1. Hopefully he'll be on the right side of history this time around.


Daenerys Targaryen

While Dany began Game of Thrones as a terrified teenager under her awful brother's thumb, she's gained numerous titles since then: Mhysa, Mother of Dragons, Lady of Dragonstone, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, Khaleesi, Protector of the Realm, Breaker of Chains, the Unburnt — the list goes on and on.

Jorah Mormont

The exhile from Bear Island, Ser Jorah is hopelessly in love with his queen. And while the feeling may not be mutual, he seems to have made peace with that. In fact, after Sam healed Mormont of his Greyscale, he returned to serve his Khaleesi once more.


Dany first met her handmaiden in Astapor, where she served as a translator for the Masters. But while they were cruel, the Mother of Dragons taught Missandei kindness and mercy, freeing her from bondage.

Grey Worm

The captain of the unsullied, Grey Worm is a gentle, self-serious soul whose love for Missandei and his queen know no bounds.



This hot blacksmith is secretly Robert Baratheon's bastard son. He and Arya were friends for a brief period when they were younger, and when they reunited in the workshop in the Season 8 premiere, sparks flew.

Yara Greyjoy

Theon's much-more-capable sister, Yara is an accomplished sailor and warrior. And although the Ironborn have a reputation for cruelty, she's got big plans to turn that ship around and make them a more merciful people. Yara hasn't had many opportunities to shine so far, but she'll likely factor into the ensuing battle against the White Walkers.

Theon Greyjoy

Theon looks pretty much the same, but audiences know that he's been through hell in the past eight seasons. He began the series as Ned Stark's ward, and while he was treated well by the northern family, he jumped on the opportunity to take over Winterfell when Robb left for battle. But he more than paid his debts after Ramsay Bolton tortured Theon, renamed him Reek, and castrated him.

Samwell Tarly

Our gentle, aspiring maester just wanted approval from his abusive father. But while Sam never got it, joining the Night's Watch turned out to be the right move. Not only was he introduced to his best friend, Jon Snow, but he also met Gilly, Maester Aemon, and the opportunity to study down at the Citadel in Oldtown. And while he started Season 1 calling himself a coward, Samwell Tarly has the heart of a lion.


It's hard to decipher what's going on in this slippery socialite's brain, but he's had perhaps the least dramatic arc of anyone in Westeros. Deep down, however, he seems to have the right intentions.


This Wilding was impregnated by her abusive father before Sam rescued her while north of the wall. Since then, she's given birth to Little Sam and traveled south with Tarly for Oldtown.

Podrick Payne

Tyrion's former squire isn't a warrior, per se, but he's loyal to a fault and has a pure heart.

Davos Seaworth

Ser Davos, aka The Onion Night, was devoted to Stannis Baratheon before Melisandre brainwashed the king, forcing him to burn his own daughter at the stake. Since then, Davos has sworn fealty to Jon Snow.


The last time we saw this priestess for the Lord of Light was Season 7, Episode 3, when she fled Westeros. However, Melisandre will likely come back for the eighth and final season.

Tormund Giantsbane

Since Jon met this Wilding north of the wall, Tormund has set his crazy eyes on Brienne of Tarth. Hopefully they'll get their reunion soon and make gigantic babies together. They deserve it.

And although the death count in Game of Thrones Season 8 is bound to be historic, it's impressive that anyone has made it this far. So whether or not these characters make it all the way to the end, it's fascinating to see how much they've changed since the series premiered.