Kit Harrington on Game of Thrones Critics and Fans

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Kit Harrington on Game of Thrones Critics and Fans

In an interview for Esquire’s May cover story, Kit Harington talked about the burdens of living up to fans’ expectations while shooting the climactic season of Game of Thrones. He also discussed his initially puzzled reaction to the original pilot script and revealed who he thinks the show’s true central character is.

ESQUIRE: Was there added emotional or creative pressure shooting the final season in the sense of, yikes, people are expecting amazing things from us? How do you shoulder those expectations?

Kit Harington: How I feel about the show right now is quite defiant. I think no matter what anyone thinks about this season—and I don’t mean to sound mean about critics here—but whatever critic spends half an hour writing about this season and makes their [negative] judgement on it, in my head they can go fuck themselves. ‘Cause I know how much work was put into this. I know how much people cared about this. I know how much pressure people put on themselves and I know how many sleepless nights working or otherwise people had on this show. Because they cared about it so much. Because they cared about the characters. Because they cared about the story. Because they cared about not letting people down.

Now if people feel let down by it, I don’t give a fuck—because everyone tried their hardest. That’s how I feel. In the end, no one’s bigger fans of the show than we are, and we’re kind of doing it for ourselves. That’s all we could do, really. And I was just happy we got to the end.

This season, we got kind of philosophical about it all and what it might mean. You know, trying to make sense of these last eight years of what we’ve been doing. For me, really, I felt that the world was the main character. Yeah, you could point to Jon, or Dany, or Tyrion, or Jaime Lannister. You can point to any one of the characters and kind of make your case for them being a lead. And Jon’s definitely in that category.

I’ve gone in in my own right and pitched TV shows and [the executives] always want to know to know, “Who are we following? Who are we following? There’s got to be a central character? Who are we following?” Still. And what’s amazing about Thrones is you’re not following anyone person. You’re following who you want to follow. But really, this world you’re in—Westeros, Dorne, Narrow Sea, this fantasy world—that’s the main character. Which is very hard to do. In a way, the art department is the main character.

“I felt that the world was the main character,” Kit Harington says about the final season of Game of Thrones. “Yeah, you could point to Jon, or Dany, or Tyrion, or Jaime Lannister. You can point to any one of the characters and kind of make your case for them being a lead. And Jon’s definitely in that category.”

HBO

That reminds me a bit of Star Wars. One thing that was great about seeing the original movie when it first came out was that there was no backstory. You were just plunged into this world. What is Jedi? You have to figure out the history as best you can.

This world has a history too. In Thrones, you’re entering when Jon Arryn’s been killed by someone. You’re like, Well, what was that story? Oh, too late! We’re on. And I think that’s why it might have grabbed people’s imagination like Star Wars did. It took them completely away from their universe into another universe. And we forget that it’s a universe that doesn’t physically work, where a winter lasts for X amount of years. How does that work, planetary-wise? But you just don’t question it. You’re in the world, and you go, okay!

To me, looking back, when I read the pilot way back in 2009, I remember thinking, What is this crock of shit? I don’t understand this. I’m going to have to read this again. And I read it again. And I’m like, I still don’t get this shit at all. I think it’s kind of weird, but it’s HBO and alright, let’s do it. I would love to get this. And I think that’s what people feel when they start watching it. Or when they hear about it. Like, “No. Fantasy—weird.”

They think it’s going to be a bunch of elves or something.

But you watch it, you invest in it, and you go, “Okay, I’ll buy into this world. Fine. I’m in.”

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