Kit Harington

Jon Snow is different in Game of Thrones season 4.

It’s not his wild black hair, which we suspect will never change. It’s not his dour clothes in Night’s Watch black. It’s something else…

“He starts talking more,” says star Kit Harington. “This season is Jon’s biggest season. The major thing for him is he doesn’t have the usual patriarchal figure over his head telling him what to do. There’s no Uncle Benjen, no Qhorin Halfhand, no Mance Rayder. He’s found himself back at The Wall and he knows there’s an imminent threat from the Wildlings. There’s a power struggle between him and the Castle Black commanding officers.”

And Jon trying to gain control of Castle Black in order to save the Southern lands from a Wildling invasion means being more proactive than we’ve ever seen him — and, yup, being more chatty. “He’s never spoken much, he’s always been talked to,” Harington notes. “He absorbs things and I like that about him. This season he had a speech and it felt very weird and unnatural playing Jon Snow for three years — he’s such a silent character — for him to make a stirring speech. It was very well written, you can tell he doesn’t want to do it but he has no choice.”

But expect trying to gain any power at the castle to be an up-Wall battle. There’s still the not-so-minor matter of answering for killing the Halfhand last season (even though it was at the Halfhand’s own urging to convince the Wildlings he was a traitor) and breaking pretty much every one of his vows (for the same reason … mostly). And now Castle Black command includes two men that you know will not appreciate him, both of which have been off screen on Thrones for at least a season. There’s the weaselly Janos Slynt (the former King’s Landing commander of the City Watch who Tyrion demoted for his role in Ned Stark’s execution in season 2) and Ser Alliser Thorne (the master-at-arms of Castle Black who mockingly dubbed him “Lord Snow” and seemed to truly relish calling him a “bastard” at every opportunity). “He has to account with what he’s done and where he’s been to Master Thorne, who we haven’t seen since season one and never liked him in the first place,” Harington says.

Another difference this time: When shooting last season, Harington had to cope with a broken ankle that resulted in the production having to shift some of his shooting dates and necessitated using a stand-in for some scenes. But the actor says he was fully healed in time for his action-heavy season 4 storyline. “It was pretty much better by end of last season and by beginning of last year it was pretty much healed and now it’s as good as it’s ever going to be,” he says.

Between trying to ready Castle Black for war, we suspect there won’t be much time for Jon to think about his estranged Wildling love Ygritte, at least not at first. “There has been in the past — not quite rightly — from the fans a feeling that Jon Snow’s story has not been done justice and I don’t think that’s correct,” he says. “I think some of the bits have been building to this season. We get a lot of payoff for his storyline and The North storyline.”

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Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series A Song of Ice and Fire.

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