Game of Thrones star Kit Harington says Jon Snow discovering his true parentage, and subsequently his incestuous romance with aunt Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), came as “the most upsetting thing in the world” and a “sledgehammer” blow to the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
“If Jon could go back in time and say: ‘Whatever you’re about to say, don’t tell me,’ he would. He’d happily be in ignorance,” Harington told EW.
“He’s not hard to predict, Jon, he doesn’t do many unexpected things. You mark the particularly tricky scenes that you’re going have to concentrate on and this was one. He finds out such a massive piece of information. Not only does he find out who his mother is but also that he’s related to the person he’s in love with. It’s hard for any actor to play. It’s not a two-hour movie but eight seasons of playing a character who’s finding out.”
In coming to understand his true lineage — he’s not a bastard as believed, but instead the son of Lyanna Stark (Aislin Franciosi) and Rhaegar Targaryen (Wilf Scolding) — it’s a revelation Jon learns after the audience, and one that leaves him deeply angered and perturbed.
“The key to it is the audience already knows,” Harington said.
“So it’s not a shock to them. With Jon, it’s about what he says, ‘You’re telling me my father lied to me? My father, the most honorable man I’ve known my entire life, you’re saying that?’ For that moment, Samwell is nothing to him. Jon would disown this friend and beat him up if he was trying to lie to him about this. He’s quite threatening: You’re telling me this, you better be f—king right, and if you’re trying to play me — that was the way to play that scene I think. I hope it was.”
Though Jon now has a claim to the throne, “He doesn’t f—king want it. He doesn’t want that f—king information.”
“He doesn’t want to know. He has no ambition for the throne,” Harington explained. “He’s never wanted that. The end of the world might be coming soon but at least he’s in love with somebody and knows who he is, and then comes this sledgehammer.”
Delivering such hard-to-hear information was similarly hard for Samwell (John Bradley), who was forced to tell Jon he was fed a life’s worth of lies by Ned Stark (Sean Bean).
“Jon feels Sam is muddying the name of one to the most noble people he’s ever known and that his entire life is built on a lie,” Bradley told EW.
“You know The Beatles White Album? Just toward the end is ‘Revolution 9,’ which is a very sinister soundscape. The inclusion of that on the album makes you doubt what you’ve heard before it, makes the rest sound darker and more dire. You thought you had an angle on the album but that track means nothing you’ve heard before can be trusted. With Jon, he can review his entire life backwards and see everything completely different and in sinister terms even if [withholding his parentage] was done for the right reasons. Everything he’s done seems to have been compromised.”
Jon “didn’t take it well,” Bradley noted, “But coming from anybody other than Sam, he would have taken it worse.”
Game of Thrones next airs its second episode of its eighth and final season Sunday, April 21 on HBO.
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