Life After 'Game of Thrones'
No one is safe in the world of Westeros, and now that Game of Thrones’ sixth season is underway, the race to the Iron Throne is getting tighter. Fan-favorites are falling left and right, and author George R.R. Martin seems to relish in the emotional turmoil his story has caused. If there’s any solace, it’s that those who’ve left us have found new life in the world beyond — and by “world beyond,” we mean Hollywood. If you’re not caught up with Game of Thrones, beware of spoilers from all seasons as we honor some of those characters who left us and what the actors are up to now.
Sean Bean (Eddard Stark)
The beheading of Ned Stark set a precedent: don’t get comfortable. The actor found a new, more permanent home on TNT, taking the lead in Legends (which has since been canceled). Bean also featured in a number of films: Jupiter Ascending (playing Stinger Apini), Pixels (Corporal Hill), The Martian (the astronauts’ earthbound advocate, Mitch Henderson), and the Biblical film The Young Messiah. Alongside his on-screen nemesis on Game of Thrones, Lena Headey, the actor will next voice a role in the CGI Final Fantasy movie dubbed Kingsglaive.
Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo)
It took a while for the Khal of Khals to find his next major gig after Game of Thrones, which he followed with a string of smaller roles, like in Bullet to the Head with Sylvester Stallone, his directorial debut Road to Paloma, a couple sketches of Drunk History, and his TV series The Red Road. But you know what they say: when in doubt, star in a superhero movie. DC cast Momoa as Aquaman, who made his first appearance in a cameo for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The actor has been posting training videos in preparation for his next appearance in Justice League: Part One, before he headlines the Aquaman movie (costarring Amber Heard and directed by James Wan).
Rose Leslie (Ygritte)
Jon Snow may have lost his beloved Ygritte on the battlefield, but Kit Harington doesn’t have to look far for his real-life girlfriend Rose Leslie. With Snow seemingly out of the Game, Leslie has already left this life behind, moving on to ITV’s The Great Fire, the U.K. series Utopia, and a return to Downton Abbey. Fans of Luther may have also recognized the actress standing alongside Idris Elba in the series’ return last year. But she didn’t stray too far from the fantasy genre; Leslie costarred with Vin Diesel as a sorceress in The Last Witch Hunter, and she featured in the spooky indie film, Honeymoon. (We won’t spoil that twist for you, but it marks another otherworldly presence.)
Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark)
As Game of Thrones continued to divert from Martin’s books, it became apparent that we may never see Lady Stoneheart. That said, TV lovers could look to Suits, 24 miniseries revival Live Another Day, and ABC’s Resurrection to see Michelle Fairley’s face again. The silver screen has felt her ghostly presence, as well; the actress featured in minor roles opposite Judi Dench in the Oscar-nominated Philomena, in The Invisible Woman with Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones, and Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea with Chris Hemsworth. More recently, she appeared on SundanceTV’s Rebellion miniseries and the Arctic Circle-set British horror drama Fortitude.
Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell)
All the ladies (and gentlemen) wanted a piece of Oberyn Martell, thanks to actor Pedro Pascal. The sensual Prince of Dorne (a.k.a. the Red Viper) wasn’t with us long, but he made an impact, which boded well for Pascal. Days after his fatal episode aired on HBO, Netflix announced the Graceland and The Mentalist actor for Narcos. The streaming service gave its original series a second season, but Pascal has two other high-profile gigs coming down the pipeline. He’ll add his handsome mug to the lineup of chiseled chins in the Kingsman sequel, and he’ll costar with Matt Damon in a film about The Great Wall of China.
Richard Madden (Robb Stark)
Long live the King in the North! Richard Madden was born to play royalty, even if his lordship was gutted along with his fiancée, unborn child, and mother on Game of Thrones. The actor flashed his pearly whites as Prince Charming in Disney’s live-action Cinderella, as well as in less mainstream but still noteworthy roles. He headlined the Western miniseries Klondike with Abbie Cornish, acted opposite Dustin Hoffman in Medici: Masters of Florence, and gamers will recognize him as the voice of Alucard in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. Madden can be seen next fighting against terrorists in France with Idris Elba for the movie Bastille Day.
Kit Harington (Jon Snow)
Jon Snow is now a corpse, regardless of whether said corpse will rise again. If the answer turns out to be no, the actor already has a résumé filled with film roles to further propel his career forward. He appeared in Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, Pompeii, Testament of Youth, Seventh Son, HBO’s tennis spoof 7 Days in Hell, the actioner MI-5, and voiced a role in How to Train Your Dragon 2. All of this took place in between shooting for Game of Thrones. Harington has already filmed his next movie, Brimstone with Dakota Fanning and Guy Pearce, and his project with Jessica Chastain and Natalie Portman, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, is developing. One way or the other, we’ll be seeing him again.
Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon)
Who would’ve thought that the little boy asking for help in Batman Begins would grow up to become the most hated man on Game of Thrones? (That is, until Ramsay Bolton came along.) When Joffrey eventually got his comeuppance, Jack Gleeson retired from Hollywood. “I’ve been acting since age 8. I just stopped enjoying it as much as I used to,” he told EW, adding, “When you make a living from something, it changes your relationship with it.” While he didn’t know at the time what he wanted to do, Gleeson later cofounded a theater company. He told The Standard, “What I enjoy most is this kind of thing, where I can have fun with my friends.”
Kate Dickie (Lysa Arryn)
If the character of Lysa Arryn is any indication, actress Kate Dickie knows how to play the creep card. She brought it out again in the critically acclaimed horror indie The Witch, which got two thumbs up from satanic temples. None of her other projects have achieved such mass market accessibility, but she’s been consistently working. She appeared in The Silent Storm, Take It Back and Start All Over, the series Midwinter of the Spirit, the miniseries London Spy, and The Frankenstein Chronicles, the latter bringing her together with fellow deceased Westerosi Sean Bean.
Ed Skrein (Daario Naharis)
Actor Ed Skrein originated the role of Daario Naharis, Dany’s warrior and piece of man candy. When the actor decided to headline the revamp of the Transporter franchise, HBO recast the character with Michiel Huisman. Transporter Refueled didn’t perform as well as the studio might’ve hoped, but after various roles in films like Tiger House, Kill Your Friends, and Sword of Vengeance, Skrein landed the role of Francis (sorry, Ajax) in Deadpool. While Fox’s superhero film became the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time, Skrein also released his latest effort overseas, a Denmark film titled The Model.
Harry Lloyd (Viserys Targaryen)
Jack Gleeson may not have been able to escape the Game of Thrones fans after playing one of the most hated characters in all of television, but Harry Lloyd (a.k.a. the creeper brother of Daenerys) did. The same year that the HBO series debuted, Lloyd featured in a small role in Meryl Streep’s The Iron Lady. After a slew of TV and film performances, he appeared in another Oscar contender, The Theory of Everything opposite Eddie Redmayne. Lloyd’s next TV home, Manhattan, soon met the axe, but he’s not down for the count. The actor appeared in the futuristic drug film Narcopolis, the British dramedy The Show, and the series Marcella.
Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister)
Charles Dance has too unique a voice and presence to slump into the shadows of the bathroom stall where Tyrion left Tywin. The English-born actor continued his post-Game of Thrones trek with roles in Child 44 (starring Tom Hardy), Victor Frankenstein (starring James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (starring Lily James), And Then There Were None, and Syfy’s Childhood’s End. He also lent his voice to the highly praised Witcher 3 video game as Emperor Emhyr var Emreis of Nilfgaard. It’s a small world when it comes to Game of Thrones as he’ll next be seen opposite Emilia Clarke in Me Before You, before he features in Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot and reprises his role of Thomas in the fifth Underworld movie.
Ciaran Hinds (Mance Rayder)
Equally comfortable on stage as well as screen, Ciaran Hinds isn’t at a loss for parts. After the King Beyond the Wall was mercifully killed by Jon Snow, Hinds appeared in the Zooey Deschanel-led dramedy The Driftless Area, as Litvenko in Hitman: Agent 47, and on the ITV series Shetland. The actor also starred opposite Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet on stage as Claudius, and Hinds currently stars in a Broadway production of The Crucible with Saoirse Ronan and Ben Whishaw.
Esme Bianco (Ros)
Much like Rose Leslie, Esme Bianco left one fantasy realm for another. Many were rooting for Ros, the ambitious prostitute looking to rise above her means, but now fans can root for her as Eliza on Syfy’s TV adaptation of The Magicians, which was recently renewed by the network for a second season. Elsewhere, Bianco was one of the few Game of Thrones actors to appear on Funny or Die’s spoof recap series, Gay of Thrones. Alfie Allen (Theon) and George R.R. Martin featured in previous installments. Her roles since have been for a pair of TV movies, A Christmas Mystery and Ominous, though she’ll be seen in film releases Mind Puppets and Living Among Us.
Gethin Anthony (Renly Baratheon)
Renly Baratheon was a refreshing change of pace as one of the few LGBT characters on Game of Thrones, but he became another face to add to the wall thanks to the Red Woman. Like some of his fellow former cast mates, he dusted himself off with a combo of video game voice roles (notably Dragon Age: Inquisition and Need for Speed: Most Wanted), films like Copenhagen and We are Monster, and TV gigs including Call the Midwife. But fans of the NBC series Aquarius know Anthony as the actor behind cult leader and murderer Charles Manson. The show, starring David Duchovny, centers on the rise of Manson and the L.A. detective tracking him, and was renewed for a second season.