Sunday April 14, 2013
Beyond the Wall
ONE of Game Of Thrones’ taglines is “Winter Is Coming”, but for Kit Harington, Rose Leslie, and most of the cast and crew filming the “Beyond the Wall” segments of the show in Iceland, it is pretty much winter every day.
“It is tough – it is very, very, very cold there. It has a completely alien landscape, which is perfect for Beyond the Wall stuff,” said Harington.
“Beyond The Wall” refers to the wild lands in the northernmost area of Westeros, separated from the Seven Kingdoms by the gigantic Wall guarded by the Night’s Watch, of which Harington’s Jon Snow is a member.
At the end of last season, Jon had infiltrated the vast wildling camp ruled by the King-Beyond-The-Wall, Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds), having convinced the wildlings that he had betrayed the Night’s Watch.
Of all the series’ filming locations, Iceland is probably the toughest, and it doesn’t get any easier when Harington gets in touch with his fellow cast members on the other sets.
“There I am freezing my b**ls off in Iceland, surrounded by men with beards, and then I get a call from Croatia and they say, ‘Oh it’s too hot to film today, we’re just hanging by the pool’,” he complained, adding that despite it all, he has fallen in love with the country and is seriously considering buying a place to live there.
The role of Jon Snow has certainly opened a lot of doors for Harington (he will be starring in the upcoming film Pompeii, alongside Emily Browning), and he is especially grateful for the fact that this is such a great character to play.
“He’s got an incredible story arc. After I read the first episode, I was already excited about the character; and then I read the books, because I couldn’t help myself, and I loved everything about him,” he said. “His story arc is very different from everyone else in the series. He’s got lots of things to work out – his mother issues, his problem with women, his loyalty, his ambition ... he’s got all of these elements that make him an interesting hero type character, but he’s not your typical hero.
“One of the great things about TV is you have this one character that you can develop over the years. When I started this I was about a year out of drama school, and now I’m growing as an actor, and Jon Snow is growing with me as well.”
However, his newfound fame has its downside as well, and the 26-year-old has found things to be a bit more intrusive lately. “I was out shopping one day and someone was filming me. Who’s going to be interested in that? It’s just me buying some chicken! What’s the headline going to be, ‘Jon Snow buys chicken’? It’s really weird to me, that sort of thing,” he said.
This season, Jon will be getting a whole lot closer to the wildling girl Ygritte, played by flame-haired Downton Abbey alumna Rose Leslie.
“Rose and I get on really, really well and this season, it’ll be interesting to see what people make of the dynamics between our two characters. It’s been a lot of fun and she’s a brilliant actress,” he said.
Leslie was similarly complimentary about her co-star.
“Acting with Kit is enormous fun. He’s lovely and he’s very, very nice. And ‘awful’ to look at as well,” she said teasingly, while giggling like a schoolgirl.
In real life, Leslie, who grew up in Scotland, reminds one of Princess Merida from the Pixar film Brave, with her curly red hair and smoky voice with a hint of a Scottish brogue.
The similarities between Ygritte and Merida don’t end there. “This season I was really happy because I get a bow and arrow! I get to show off my archery skills ... rather poorly,” Leslie said, adding that it’s been great playing such a feisty, free-spirited character. “She has always been fiercely independent. For me, she embodies true grit – she is strong, tough and ruthless, but also playful as well. I think she gets so much pleasure from teasing and aggravating Jon Snow as well!”