Exclusive interview with Kit Harington
This exclusive interview with Kit Harington was made available to us by HBO and Sky Germany. The british actor Kit Harington plays his first leading role, Jon Snow, on the HBO fantasy drama "Game of Thrones" which is based on the fantasy saga by George R. R. Martin. In this interview Kit talks about the development of his character through the first and second season, teases new adventures in season 3 and speaks about what he likes most about his work.
1. Can you set the scene for your character at the beginning of season three?
When we last saw him he was in a bit of a predicament. He'd killed Qhorin Halfhand and he was hoping that would prove to the Wildling camp that he is one of them. So now he's essentially a spy within the camp. He's got the loyalty of Ygritte, who is quite a strong voice within the Wildlings so he's got that going for him, but essentially we don't know what's going to happen to him. He gets taken off to meet Mance Rayder and we don't know whether Mance is going to accept him, or believe him, so he's walking into a situation where he feels there is a 30% chance he might live but a 70% chance he might die. So not really a safe place! He's further away from home than he's ever been, and he is way, way out of his comfort zone...
2. What does he see as his mission?
At the beginning, his mind is set – he's got to make up for what he did wrong because he feels it's his fault the other members of the Night's Watch were killed, including Qhorin Halfhand. He didn't kill Ygritte. He got everyone in trouble and left them all in the deep end, so he has to make good by collecting as much information as he can and getting back to the Wall to relay his findings to the Lord Commander - if he's there. That's his mission.
3. Does he waver from his loyalty to the Night's Watch?
He remains loyal at the start but throughout this series you'll see that the lines start to blur for him. He realises the Wildlings aren't the evil group of people that he's always been told they were and in a lot of ways, it might be easier for him to succumb and become one of them. Will he give in and betray the Night's Watch? You'll have to wait and see!
4. Jon Snow feels like a character always searching for acceptance…
Yes. In the first season we see that his house becomes the Night's Watch; he finally finds his place. He's never really been a Stark - as much as he was close to his father, brothers and sisters he was never really one of them. He always needed a place to belong and the Night's Watch became that, but even there he's called 'The Bastard' and 'Lord Snow'. He doesn't have an easy time. So I think he could be forgiven for wanting to go off and join the Wildlings: to be free to disobey his vows, sleep with women, have a family and create his own life beyond the Wall. It's not an easy decision. If you're a young man like he is, the Night's Watch is a pretty bleak place to be really.
5. And then there’s Ygritte… Am I pronouncing it right?
I had trouble with that! It's 'E-GRIT.' Rose Leslie first read it as 'E-GRITTY' which I thought was hilarious.
6. So how will that play out? She is messing with his emotions…
I like to think that Jon didn't kill her because he doesn't want to kill a woman. But whilst I think that plays a part in it, there's also the fact that the minute he sees her he's completely intrigued with her. From the moment they lock eyes, he knows there's something between them. She knows it as well, something sparks, and that makes his job a lot harder. It will be interesting for the audience to see how it plays out this season because they battle with each other and he loses constantly. He's terrible with women! (laughs)
7. Do they battle physically?
No, no, it's a constant verbal battle: she's always yap, yap, yapping at him and he's just like, "Go away." It’s that classic teenage thing where when you like someone, you take the piss out of them, and she takes the piss out of him constantly! But because of that he starts to come round. He's actually very taken with her in lots of ways.
8. Confusion, repression, anger – that's a nice cocktail of emotions for an actor to play…
It's great. The minute I read the script I saw he had a number of things that both I and the audience could immediately lock on to. For example, his mother issues, he doesn't know who his mother is, he's an outsider, he's never been accepted and he wants to prove himself. He's obviously got huge ambition. That's always what I kept coming back to with Jon in the first season – his inner turmoil. There's a lot of angst there. That's one of the reasons I think it's great for him to have a character like Ygritte come along and force him to be less introverted. It's a bit like Samwell in the first season - he comes along and makes him laugh and suddenly we see this human side to Jon, Ygritte does the same. He needs someone like that to constantly break into him because he's a very closed book.
9. In terms of filming what has it been like being amongst the Wildlings?
There's a brilliant shot we filmed in Iceland where Jon's walking into Mance Rayder's camp, and all the Wildlings were told by the director to give him really evil looks. That was very uncomfortable, that weird feeling of intruding in someone else's space where you're not safe. But it was really exciting to film.
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von Kerstin Seemann