The characters from the American medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones are based on their respective counterparts from author George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels. Set in a fictional magical universe that has been referred to so far as “The Known World,” the series follows a civil war for the Iron Throne of the continent of Westeros, fought between the rival royal and noble families and their respective supporters.
Tyrion Lannister – Peter Dinklage
Peter Hayden Dinklage ( born June 11, 1969) is an American actor. Since his breakout role in The Station Agent (2003), he has appeared in films such as Elf (2003), Find Me Guilty (2006), Underdog (2007), the British film Death at a Funeral (2007) and its American remake of the same name (2010), The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008), A Little Bit of Heaven (2011), Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012), and Knights of Badassdom (2013). Since 2011, he has played Tyrion Lannister in the HBO series Game of Thrones, which earned him the Emmy and the Golden Globe Award for Supporting Actor in 2011.
Dinklage was born in Morristown, New Jersey the son of John Carl, a retired insurance salesman, and Diane Dinklage, an elementary school music teacher. Dinklage was born with achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism. He grew up in Mendham Township, New Jersey, and is of German, English and Irish descent. His German ancestors were related to the Westphalian noble family “von Dincklage”. Peter Dinklage graduated from Delbarton School in 1987, and Bennington College in 1991.
Jaime Lannister – Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (born 27 July 1970) is a Danish actor, producer, and screenwriter. He attended Statens Teaterskole in Copenhagen in 1993. In the United States, he played Detective John Amsterdam on the short-lived Fox television series New Amsterdam, as well as appearing as Frank Pike in the 2009 Fox television film Virtuality, originally intended as a pilot. Since April 2011, he became known to a broad audience by playing the role of Jaime Lannister in the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Coster-Waldau was born in Rudkøbing, Denmark, by Jørgen Waldau (of German descent died 1998) and Hanne Søborg Coster, a librarian, and grew up in Tybjerg.
Cersei Lannister – Lena Headey
Lena Headey (born 3 October 1973) is an English actress. When she was 17, her performance in a one-off show caught the attention of a casting agent, who took a photo and asked her to audition. Eventually she got a supporting role in the 1992 drama film Waterland and went on to appear in major films such as The Remains of the Day (1993), The Jungle Book (1994), Onegin (1999), and Aberdeen (2000).
After working steadily as an actress in small and supporting roles in films throughout the 1990s, she found fame for her lead performances in big-budget films like the fantasy film The Brothers Grimm (2005), in which she acted opposite Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, the action film 300 (2007), portraying the role of Gorgo, Queen of Sparta, and the adventure and biographical feature The Red Baron (2008).
Headey is also known for playing the title role Sarah Connor on Fox‘s television spin-off of James Cameron’s Terminator film series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008–09). As of 2011, she appears as Cersei Lannister in HBO’s television series Game of Thrones.
Headey was born in Hamilton, Bermuda, the daughter of Sue and John Headey.Her father, a Yorkshire police cadet, was stationed there at the time. She grew up in Bermuda and in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Headey had her first experience of acting as a pupil at Shelley College and was noticed at seventeen, when she was spotted performing in a school production at the Royal National Theatre being picked for a role opposite Grant Warnock in the 1992 film Waterland.
Headey has suffered bouts of clinical depression since the age of 15 and she said in an interview: “I was diagnosed when I was 15, and it comes and goes. I may suffer from it once or twice a year, but I now recognise it and deal with it. I don’t use medication because I’m so worried about becoming dependent on it, but I can understand people who do, because you go through the most horrendous feelings of isolation.”
Daenerys Targaryen – Emilia Clarke
Emilia Clarke (born 1 May 1987) is an English actress, best known for her role as Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO series Game of Thrones for which she has received an Emmy Award nomination.
Clarke made her Broadway debut in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as Holly Golightly.
Clarke was born in London and grew up in Berkshire with her parents, her father is a theatre sound engineer, and her mother is a businesswoman. She has one younger brother. Clarke’s interest in acting began at the age of three after seeing the musical Show Boat, on which her father was working at the time. She was educated at St Edward’s School, Oxford from 2000 to 2005, and Rye St Antony School. She then studied at Drama Centre London, graduating in 2009.
Jon Snow – Kit Harington
Christopher Catesby “Kit” Harington (born 26 December 1986) is an English actor who rose to fame playing the role of Jon Snow, a main character in the series Game of Thrones. He starred as Albert in the original West End production of War Horse.
Harington was born in London, England, and lived there until he was eleven. At age eleven, he moved to Worcester, Worcestershire, England until age eighteen, when he moved back to London. He is the son of David Richard Harington and Deborah Jane (née Catesby), an artist, who named their son after Christopher Marlowe. His uncle is Sir Nicholas John Harington, the 14th Baronet Harington, and his paternal great-grandfather was Sir Richard Harington, the 12th Baronet Harington. Christopher is a descendant of Charles II of England, by his paternal grandmother Lavender Cecilia Denny. Also through his father, Harington descends from politician Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, bacon merchant T. A. Denny, clergyman Baptist Wriothesley Noel, merchant and politician Peter Baillie, peer William Legge, 4th Earl of Dartmouth, and MP Sir William Molesworth, 6th Baronet. Harington has English, smaller amounts of Welsh, Scottish, and Northern Irish, as well as 1/128th Spanish, ancestry.
Harington attended Southfield Primary School from 1992 to 1998. He then went on to attend Chantry High School from 1998 to 2003. He attended Worcester Sixth Form College, where he studied Drama and Theatre Studies, between 2003 and 2005. He graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama in 2008.
Tywin Lannister – Charles Dance
Walter Charles Dance, (born 10 October 1946) is an English actor, screenwriter, and film director. Dance typically plays assertive bureaucrats or villains. Some of his most high-profile roles are Guy Perron in The Jewel in the Crown (1984), Dr. Jonathan Clemens in Alien 3 (1992), Sardo Numspa in The Golden Child (1986), Benedict in Last Action Hero (1993), and Tywin Lannister in HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Dance was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, the son of Eleanor (née Perks), a cook, and Walter Dance, an engineer. He attended Widey Technical School for Boys (it closed when known as Widey High School in 1988) in Crownhill. He was set for a career in graphic design after graduating from the Plymouth College of Art before turning to acting.
Margaery Tyrell – Natalie Dormer
Natalie Dormer (born 11 February 1982) is an English actress. She is best known for her roles as Anne Boleyn in the Showtime series The Tudors and as Margaery Tyrell in the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Dormer was born in Reading, Berkshire. She attended Chiltern Edge Secondary School before moving to Reading Blue Coat School, an independent boys’ school that admits girls in the sixth form. She grew up with her stepfather, mother, sister Samantha, and brother Mark. She has said that she was the victim of bullying while at school, but “still to this day I can’t place why”. At school, Dormer was head girl, a straight-A student, vice-captain of the school netball team, and she also got to travel the world with her school’s public speaking team.
During her school years, Dormer trained in dance at the Allenova School of Dancing. She describes herself as the “academic hopeful” of the family and hoped to be offered a place to study history at Cambridge; but, in her A-level History exam, she did not achieve the A grade she needed to attend. Dormer decided she would audition for drama schools and decided to train at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
Bran Stark – Isaac Hempstead-Wright
Isaac Hempstead-Wright (born 9 April 1999) is an English actor. Beginning his professional acting career at the age of eleven, Hempstead-Wright is best known for his role as Bran Stark on the HBO series Game of Thrones, which earned him a Young Artist Award nomination as Best Young Supporting Actor in a TV Series. Currently, Hempstead-Wright resides in Faversham, Kent, with his family, and is juggling both school (at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Faversham) and acting jobs.
Hempstead-Wright had no interest in acting until he joined a drama club to get out of playing football on cold Saturday mornings during the winter. Started acting in commercials, and studied acting at the Kent Youth Theatre in Canterbury, England. He made it his screen debut in the horror film, The Awakening. But, the big break came when he was cast as Bran Stark on Game of Thrones, which earned him 2 Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations as Oustanding Performance by an Ensemble in Drama Series at the 18th and 20th Screen Actors Guild Awards. Hempstead-Wright plays piano and drums.
Sansa Stark – Sophie Turner
Sophie Turner (born 21 February 1996) is an English actress, best known for her role as Sansa Stark on the HBO fantasy television series Game of Thrones, which earned her a Young Artist Award nomination as Best Supporting Young Actress in a TV Series.
Since 2011, Turner plays Sansa Stark, a young noblewoman, in the ongoing HBO fantasy TV series Game of Thrones, in her first television role. Her drama teacher encouraged her to audition for the part. She dyed her blonde hair auburn for the role.
In 2013, Turner played the lead role in the thriller film Panda Eyes, based on the novel Another Me by Catherine MacPhail. She starred as Adeline March in the 2013 television film The Thirteenth Tale and was cast in the comedy film Barely Lethal. She also narrated the audiobook version of the Lev Grossman short story The Girl in the Mirror included in the short fiction anthology Dangerous Women edited by George R.R. Martin.
Arya Stark – Maisie Williams
Maisie Williams (born 15 April 1997) is an English actress, best known for her role as Arya Stark in the HBO television series Game of Thrones, which earned her a Portal Award for Best Supporting Actress – Television (2012), Portal Award for Best Young Actor (2012), BBC Radio 1 Teen Award for Best British Actor (2013), Scream Award for Best Ensemble nomination (2011), and Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Series – Supporting Young Actress nomination (2013).
Williams was born in Bristol, South West England, to mother Hilary Williams (Frances), a former university course administrator. She grew up in Somerset, and is the youngest of four children. She attended Clutton Primary School and Norton Hill School in Midsomer Norton before moving to Bath Dance College to study Performing Arts.
Ygritte – Rose Leslie
Rose Eleanor Arbuthnot-Leslie (born 9 February 1987), better known as Rose Leslie, is a Scottish actress. She is best known for portraying Gwen Dawson in the ITV television drama Downton Abbey and Ygritte in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones.
Leslie was born in Aberdeen, and grew up in Lickleyhead Castle, her family’s 15th century ancestral seat, before moving to England for school. Her father is Sebastian Arbuthnot-Leslie, the Aberdeenshire Chieftain of Clan Leslie, and her mother is Candida Mary Sibyl “Candy” Leslie (née Weld). Leslie is the third of five children. Her parents own the 12th century Warthill Castle in Aberdeenshire.
Leslie’s great-great grandfather was Guillermo de Landa y Escandón, who served as Mayor of Mexico City. She was educated at Rayne North primary school in Aberdeenshire, and then the private Millfield School in England, before spending three years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, graduating with a BA in 2008.
Joffrey Baratheon – Jack Gleeson
Jack Gleeson (born 20 May 1992) is a former Irish actor, best known for his portrayal of Joffrey Baratheon in the HBO television series Game of Thrones.
Gleeson was born in Cork. He attended Gonzaga College in Dublin from 2004 to 2010. Gleeson is a student of Trinity College, Dublin studying philosophy and theology, and is a member of DU Players. In 2012, he was awarded a scholarship at the same university.
Catelyn Stark – Michelle Fairley
Michelle Fairley (born 17 January 1964) is a British actress from Northern Ireland, best known for her roles as Catelyn Stark in the HBO series Game of Thrones and Dr. Ava Hessington in multiple episodes of USA Network series Suits.
Fairley was born in Coleraine, Northern Ireland to locally renowned publicans Theresa and Brian Fairley. She attended a Roman Catholic grammar school. As a teenager, she became a member of the Ulster Youth Theatre, where she fell in love with acting. Upon graduation, she moved to Belfast where she honed her skills with the repertory company Fringe Benefits, alongside a fellow alumnus of the Ulster Youth Theatre, Conleth Hill.
Robb Stark – Richard Madden
Richard Madden (born 18 June 1986) is a Scottish stage, film, and television actor best known for portraying Robb Stark in the HBO series, Game of Thrones.
Madden grew up in Elderslie, Scotland. His mother, Pat, is a classroom assistant, and his father, Richard, is in the fire service. He has two sisters – Cara and Lauren. At the age of 11, he joined Paisley Arts Centre’s youth theatre programme to help overcome his shyness. He was soon cast as young Andy in the film adaptation of Iain Banks’s Complicity, followed by him being cast in a lead role as Sebastian in the television series Barmy Aunt Boomerang, for which he filmed 6 episodes that aired from 1999 until 2000. He graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2007.
While at RSAMD he worked with the Arches and Glasgow Repertory Company, followed by Franz Xavier Kroetz’s play Tom Fool at the Citizens’ Theatre, which was so well received that it transferred to London, where Madden was spotted by a team from the Globe Theatre. In his final year with RSAMD, he was cast as Romeo in a production of Romeo and Juliet at the Globe Theatre which, after a run in London, toured in open-air stages during the Summer of 2007, being the Globe’s first-ever tour. He also played Callum McGregor in the stage production of Malorie Blackman’s ‘Noughts and Crosses’ in 2008.
He later gained the lead role of Dean McKenzie in the 2009 BBC series Hope Springs, followed by his roles as Ripley in the 2010 film Chatroom, and as Theatre of Hate singer Kirk Brandon in the 2010 film Worried About The Boy. From 2011 to 2013, he starred as Robb Stark in the HBO series Game of Thrones, based upon George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels, the Channel 4 series Sirens, and in the BBC series Birdsong.
In May 2013, Madden was chosen to portray the Prince in the live action Disney film Cinderella, which also reunited him with Game of Thrones co-star Nonso Anozie.
Madden first obtained his Screen Actors Guild (SAG) card for the 2014 miniseries Klondike, in which he plays Bill Haskell.
Madden has been in a relationship with actress Jenna Coleman since late 2011.
Eddard Stark – Sean Bean
Shaun Mark “Sean” Bean (born 17 April 1959) is an English film, television, theatre and voice actor. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1983 and was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Bean first found success for his portrayal of Richard Sharpe in the ITV television series Sharpe. He has since garnered further recognition for his performances in the HBO epic fantasy series Game of Thrones, the BBC anthology series Accused and the ITV historical drama Henry VIII. His most prominent film role was in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy as Boromir (2001-2003). Other notable roles include Alec Trevelyan in the James Bond film GoldenEye (1995) and Odysseus in Troy (2004) as well as Patriot Games (1992), Ronin (1998), National Treasure (2004), North Country (2005), The Island (2005) and Black Death (2010). He will also co-star in the upcoming science fiction film Jupiter Ascending. As a voice artist he has featured in the video game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and the drama The Canterbury Tales among several others.
Bean has received several honours throughout his career and has won an International Emmy for Best Actor. He has also been nominated for a BAFTA and Saturn Award.
Bean was born in the Handsworth district of Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, the son of Rita (née Tuckwood) and Brian Bean. His father owned a fabrication shop which employed 50 people, including Bean’s mother, who worked as a secretary. Despite becoming relatively wealthy (his father owned a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow), the family never moved away from the council estate as they preferred to remain close to friends and family.
As a child, Bean smashed a glass door during an argument over a pair of scissors. It left a piece of glass embedded in his leg that briefly impeded his walking and left a large scar. This prevented him from pursuing his dream of playing football professionally. In 1975, he left Brook Comprehensive School with O Levels in Art and English. After a job at a supermarket and another for the local council, he started working for his father’s firm with a day release at Rotherham College of Arts and Technology to take a welding course. While there, he stumbled into an art class and decided to pursue his interest in art.
After attending courses at two other colleges, one for half a day and the other for less than a week, he returned to Rotherham College, where he came across a drama course for which he subsequently enrolled. After some college plays and one at Rotherham Civic Theatre, he applied for and received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, starting a seven-term course in January 1981.
Khal Drogo – Jason Momoa
Joseph Jason Namakaeha Momoa (born August 1, 1979) is an American actor and model. He is known for his television roles as Ronon Dex (2005–09) on the military science fiction television series Stargate: Atlantis (2004–09) and as Khal Drogo in the HBO medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones (2011). He also starred as the title character in the sword and sorcery film Conan the Barbarian (2011).
An only child, Momoa was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the son of Coni, a photographer, and Joseph Momoa, a painter. He was raised in Norwalk, Iowa, by his mother. His father is of Native Hawaiian descent, while his mother is of German, Irish, and Native American ancestry. Being an art lover, and an avid spiritualist, Momoa traveled extensively as a young adult and took up pastel painting in Paris, and studied Buddha teachings in Tibet, but eventually returned to the Hawaiian Islands to attend college.