For a time, Kit Harington believed he’d have to play a disfigured and bald Jon Snow on “Game of Thrones.”
Known for being pranksters, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss told Entertainment Weekly that they made the Jon Snow star believe that his character would suffer horrible burns, destroying his hair and disfiguring his face.
According to “Thrones” writer and producer Bryan Cogman’s book, “Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2,” the prank occurred while shooting the eighth episode of season one. In the real, aired version, Snow sets a wight on fire at Castle Black while protecting Lord Commander Mormont (James Cosmo). But Harington didn’t initially get that version of the scene.
The producers sent Harington a script with a fake version of the scene. In it, Jon Snow pulls burning drapes from a fire and throws them at the wight. The fire, though, engulfs the both of them. In the end, Mormont exclaims, “Gods, boy. I was wrong about you. You’re a ranger, through and through!”
The scene ends with: “Jon smiles, his teeth shining brightly in his destroyed face. Mormont, sickened, has to look away.”
Harington was prepared to shoot the fire scene, which Weiss told him was the result of HBO being “worried the Jon Snow storyline was too Harry Potter, and they wanted to do something to make it darker.”
Harington, who has said that his looks have made him a victim of sexism against men in Hollywood, may have relished the idea of playing a disfigured Jon Snow. At any rate, he seemed up for the challenge.
“We kept this up until we started laughing,” Weiss told EW. “He was a remarkably good sport about the whole thing.”