Kit Harington

by Esme Benjamin

The British Actor's Medieval Weekend
Kit Harington’s tousled hair and stubbly beard make him seem better suited for the snow-scapes of Westeros—the picturesque mythical setting of HBO’s Game of Thrones—than they do an exclusive members-only bar, bathed in mahogany, but that’s where we find ourselves on a Friday night in London. He signals for the waiter to bring him a second glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Grigio for me. The juxtaposition of fantasy universes is heightened by the fact that Harington is disconcertingly similar to his on-screen persona—the sword slinging, leather-and-fur clad, brooding misfit Jon Snow. “He’s not a million miles from me,” Harington acknowledges. “Jon is a very introverted person and an anxious person. I have a lot of similarities, which is probably why I got the part, though I’m not as emo as he is.”

Harington’s seriousness is one of the first things you notice about him—his deep, dark eyes and slow, steady speech belie his youthful 25 years. Sitting in an antique leather armchair, discussing the pitfalls of the acting industry, he transmits a certain level of intensity, which has the converse effect of turning me into an overzealous, giggly schoolgirl. “I think, to a large extent, every actor is typecast,” he says. “When you grow your hair and get a beard, which you have to keep for the duration of the series, you suddenly fit certain characters. For example, I’ve done a film recently, The Seventh Son, which is very different from Thrones, but it is another medieval fantasy.”

Harington seems a perfect fit for The Seventh Son, the latest of a recent slew of fantasy-novel-turned-film adaptations, in which he stars alongside Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore. “I got to work with a really amazing cast and crew,” says Harington. “It’s a weird thing—you’re starstruck for a day, but then after that they’re an actor you have to work with. You try to get along with them, and you might even become friends with them.”

With starring in HBO’s third most popular show of all time and being friends with The Dude himself, surely Harington must at least feel tempted to pat himself on the back? “If anything, I do the opposite. I’m too aware of blowing my own trumpet, and I think I should probably blow it more often,” Harington explains, his gaze dropping to the table in a way suggesting vulnerability… almost too well: “I’m  very self-deprecating and sometimes I give myself a little moment of congratulations or a ‘well done,’” he adds. “But then I’m always looking for the next challenge.”

I notice the couple at the next table silently supping their cocktails in a covert attempt to eavesdrop, so I lean closer to Harington, and in hushed tones, broach the subject I’ve been working up to for the last half-an-hour: sex scenes. Game of Thrones is renowned for its risqué content and with the recent introduction of Ygritte, a potential love interest for Jon Snow, it can’t be long before Harington shows off his birthday suit. “I haven’t yet,” he replies, raising his eyebrows in a show of relief. “But I had to sign a nudity clause when I first got the part, so it was pretty clear that the show was going to be graphic. I came into it knowing what I was getting myself into, signed the clause, and just prayed it didn’t happen for a while.”

And if the challenge does present itself? “I’ll go there if it’s justified in the script,” he shrugs. “Apparently the process is very un-sexual. I’ve always said to other actors, ‘Hang on a minute, what if...?,’ and they’ve gone, ‘No, don’t worry dude, that doesn’t happen. It’s fine.’’

Perhaps it’s the alcohol kicking in, or the fact that he’s just acknowledged the innermost sanctum of his manhood, but there’s a perceptible shift in Harington’s manner. He offers me a cigarette and we go up to the roof terrace where he starts filling me on his local Camden haunts and summer festival escapades. He’s more relaxed off the record than on, and by the time his cigarette has smoldered all the way to its filter he’s joking and teasing me. Back inside he picks up the check, politely wishes me a pleasant weekend, and heads off to meet some friends at a nearby pub. I get the distinct feeling that the wild side of Kit Harington has been awoken, and Friday night has just begun.

Photography: Jessie Craig at JessieCraig.com

Photography Assistant: Paul Craig

Styling: Leila Bani for TheyRep.com

Styling Assistant: Stephi Chin-Salvo

Grooming: Sonia Leal-Serafim for TheyRep.com

Production: Gina Hole for SugarStudios.com

Production Assistant: Jamie Jacquard-Sowa

Location: Sugar Studios in Vancouver at sugarstudios.com

Grooming Notes: Oil free facial lotion SPF 15 by Anthony Logistics