Witness How ‘Game Of Thrones’ Characters Changed From The First Season To The Last
Game Of Thrones will finally wrap up its epic story in the upcoming eight and final season. The show debuted in the spring of 2011, and Winter has finally come. After nearly a decade of getting to know, love and lose (a looooot) of these characters, we will get to see the conclusion. Who will wind up on the Iron Throne? Will the White Walkers add all of the living to their army of the dead? If this show has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.
So who is left? And how far have they come? Unless you regularly go back and rewatch the entire series (which we do… a looooot), it’s easy to forget just how much each of these characters has grown. Literally and figuratively. With the debut of the last season, we figured this would be a great opportunity to take a look back and see how much the characters have changed from the beginning of the series to the end, before we have to say farewell forever… *ugly sobbing.*
Jon Snow – Season One
After a ton of episodes, we now know that Jon Snow is the main character of the series.
He is literally the song of ice and fire that the books are named after, being a Stark and a Targaryen.
But at the beginning of the series, he was just the mumbley bastard of Ned Stark, who was cute and all, but didn’t seem nearly as important as everyone else. If only we knew how much Kit Harrington we’d be seeing in the coming years.
Jon Snow – Season Seven
Now we’re in the endgame (of Game of Thrones, not Avengers), and Jon Snow is the King in the North.
He’s leading that army of the living to battle the army of the dead. He may very well be the most important character in the entire series.
Physically, look how much he’s grown up. We saw him go from being a boy to a self-assured man… with a man bun. Yeah, apparently those were all the rage even back in the day in Westeros.
Arya Stark – Season One
Actress Maisie Williams was born in 1997, which means she was just 13 when she started playing the roll of Arya!
We literally saw this character grow up before our eyes on the show… although her childhood was anything but easy.
Her entire family was slaughtered, her friends were killed and she herself was nearly murdered time and time again. That has a way of aging someone far more effectively than just the passage of time over the years.
Arya Stark – Season Seven
Now, Maisie Williams is an adult. She’s legally allowed to drink, in the U.K. and the U.S.
And considering all that Arya Stark went through, we wouldn’t blame her if she indulged in an occasional goblet of wine or two (or eleven).
For portraying Arya’s transformation from little girl to skilled assassin, Williams has been nominated for an Emmy for the second season of the show. Hopefully the industry nominates her for more… because we wouldn’t want to get on Arya’s list.
Sansa Stark – Season One
Game of Thrones was Sophie Turner’s acting debut, which she made when she was just 14 years old.
She seems to be everywhere these days, so it’s hard to remember seeing that she was ever this little.
Now, she’s super tall and super self-assured, but when we first met Sansa in the show, she was a prissy, girly-girl that just wanted to marry prince Joffrey. Oh, how we all know what a huge mistake that turned out to be.
Sansa Stark – Season Seven
Look at Sansa stark now! She’s grown up a ton, because that’s how aging works. And as for the actress that plays her?
Sophie Turner is in a relationship with the Joe Jonas (of the Jonas Brothers). They’re even engaged to be married. Sooo much better than Joffrey, right?
In the show, Sansa has become a master manipulator and player in the game. She’s not the frightened child she once was. She even outsmarted Littlefinger, leading to one of the most satisfying demises in the series.
Bran Stark -Season One
Daaaw, Isaac Hempstead Wright was so little when he started playing Brian Stark on Game of Thrones!
The English actor was just 11 years old when he started playing the role of Bran Stark that he’s now most associated with.
When the show began, Brandon Stark was a precocious little scamp that loved nothing more than running around the castle and climbing. Oh boy, did this little boy love to climb. Well, uh… that all changed in a hurry, didn’t it.?
Bran Stark – Season Seven
Now Hempstead Wright is nineteen years old. He attended the University of Birmingham to study math and music, but dropped out to focus on his acting.
He says he plans on returning to school once Game of Thrones is over, which is very soon. *Continued ugly sobbing.*
Now, Bran Stark is a creepy, emotionless, psychic weirdo that can mentally command animals. The transformation in his character from the first season to the last has been truly… stark.
Jamie Lannister – Season One
Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is the man responsible for bringing the villainous Jaime Lannister to life.
But is he truly villainous? Well, at the beginning of the series, we all thought so. He’s the reason Bran Stark can’t walk!
Just look at his smug face and gorgeous hair in this picture. He’s the epitome of a bad guy. But oh, how things changed for him over the course of the series. Let’s take a look at where he’s at now in the show.
Jaime Lannister – Season Seven
Coster-Waldau has won an Emmy for his portrayal of Jamie Lannister on Game of Thrones. Good for him!
It’s a truly impressive role. He went from clear villain, to deeply complex, sympathetic character that may be a good guy in the end.
It’s a series-long redemption arc. You can tell by his appearance all that he’s gone through, sporting some gritty stubble and also some gray in his hair. You have to give this guy a hand… you know, since he’s missing one now.
Cersei Lannister – Season One
At the beginning of GoT, we thought Cersei Lannister was a terrible person. And it turns out… we were totally right.
Over the years, actress Lena Headey has racked up four Emmy nominations for her dastardly role.
When the show first started, she was a pampered queen. She had royal good looks and long, flowing hair. My, my, just take a look at all that hair. Terrible things happened to her character as well, but she wouldn’t seek redemption.
Cersei Lannister – Season Seven
While her twin brother/lover’s experiences made him a better person, Cersei’s trials and tribulations made her double down on being terrible.
She is now Queen again, and ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. She’s also sporting a much shorter haircut, which she rocks pretty hard.
In real life, Headey used to be a vegetarian, but now she eats meat, although she says she eats it “rarely.” Considering all the humans she figuratively devoured in the show, it makes sense she’d gain a taste for blood.
Tyrion Lannister – Season One
We first saw Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in season one of Game of Thrones.
Before that, the actor had a pretty good and busy career, playing roles in films such as Elf, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Death at a Funeral, and Penelope.
But this is the role that made him a mega star by showing off his acting chops. At the beginning of the show, he was a fun-loving imp that drank and knew things and just wanted to have a good time.
Tyrion Lannister – Season Seven
Several seasons later, Tyrion still drinks and knows things, but is showing the literal and figurative scars of his journey.
He’s killed his lover and his father and was wrongfully accused of killing his nephew. Yeah, that’s pretty stressful.
Now he’s sporting longer hair, a slash across his face and a solid beard. Have you noticed that the actors that were adults when this show began seem to only get better looking with age? The stress of vying for a throne can do wonders for you aesthetically, apparently.
Daenerys Targaryen – Season One
Actress Emilia Clarke got her start in acting on a British soap series called Doctors.
Clarke has also appeared on Broadway. She made her debut in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which is a far cry from her breakout role.
When we first met Daenerys, she was essentially a slave to her cruel older brother. Her journey from timid, scared child to Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains and too many other awesome nicknames to rattle off was truly something to behold.
Daenerys Targaryen – Season Eight
Started from the bottom and look at her now. She hasn’t aged a day physically, but looks like a totally different person mentally.
She might be the most confident person in all of Westeros, and with good reason.
She’s the general of her own massive army, and she has more victories than she has hair to count them on with braids (fun fact: that’s a Dothraki tradition). Now she prepares to help lead the fight against the White Walkers. All bow before her majesty.
Theon Greyjoy – Season One
Did you know actor Alfie Allen is related to singer Lily Allen? Her song “Alfie” is about him.
Makes sense now that we really think about it. We’re just trying to make him seem likable, because he’s so good at being the worst on the show.
Theon Greyjoy was the person you loved to hate when the show began. He was cocky, vain and selfish, and wound up doing some truly terrible things that can never be forgiven.
Theon Greyjoy – Season Seven
But after seeing everything Theon, then “Reek,” then Theon again went through… maybe we can forgive him?
He seemed so boyish in the early seasons, now he seems like a broken shell of a human being. The actor himself even seems to have become more gaunt for the role.
Also, fun fact: Allen originally auditioned for Jon Snow, but he landed the part of Theon Greyjoy instead. Can you imagine what the show would have been like if he was the lead instead of Kit Harrington? The fact that idea repulses you shows how great he is at playing Theon.
Lord Varys – Season One
What make Game of Thrones so freaking awesome is its massive cast of interesting characters.
Lord Varys is played by actor Conleth Hill. Did you know his younger brother has won three Emmys for the sound mixing on Game of Thrones? That is one heck of a talented family, there.
Lord Varys – Season Seven
After several seasons, Lord Varys looks… practically the same. Wow, this guy just doesn’t age.
To be fair, that’s because he might be the smartest man in all of Westeros. He hasn’t been in any major battles nor lost any body parts.
Living mostly stress-free like that will help you age gracefully. However, now that the war for humanity is upon us and Winter has come, he may not be so lucky. There’s just a few episodes left. Who will survive, and how will Game of Thrones end? We can’t wait… but we also don’t want it to end. Ohhhhh, the emotions.