Kit Harinton as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones Season 3
Kit Harington in Game of Thrones Season 3. IMAGES: HBO ASIA

As with many epic journeys, Kit Harington’s passage on Game Of Thrones is finally coming full circle.

The 26-year-old Englishman – who plays the quiet, smouldering Jon Snow in the hit fantasy series – auditioned for his role several years ago with a scene from Season 3, even though nothing from the earlier seasons had yet been filmed.

Season 3 has started, and Harington recalls his audition as if it were yesterday. The moment he played out during his screen test opposite then fellow hopeful Rose Leslie, now also a cast member, has emerged as the central moment in his character’s journey, according to the actor.

“When I auditioned for Thrones, two of the scenes that I did came from this season, which was very strange,” begins Harington, who rose to prominence starring as Albert in the London production of Warhorse.

“I was doing a scene with Rose and I thought I’d be as lucky as hell if I ever got this far in the show.

“It was an amazing scene and I can see why the creators were so excited about Season 3. Some amazing things happen and if there is going to be a season of Game Of Thrones that is iconic, I think it is this one.”

Launched in the United States in 2010, the show uses much of the content in the third season from George R.R. Martin‘s third novel in the series, A Storm Of Swords. Family and loyalty emerge as main themes.

“It’s a belter,” Harington says of the latest 10-episode season. “It’s a very high-impact season and a lot of narratives come to a head and a lot of climaxes happen and a lot of things get resolved.”

The story driving Games Of Thrones and the world in which it unfolds draws its inspiration from North European myth and Icelandic saga, blending that raw ferocity with the complex political machinations that dogged mediaeval England.

The men and women at the heart of the show correspond to familiar heroes, anti-heroes, gods and goddesses of the ancient West, and in the character of Jon Snow, the series creators have cleverly carved out an epic everyman.

Though raised a rough aristocrat by the noble house of Stark, Jon Snow “never had a mother, so he has got something of a mother complex”, notes Harington, whose character is the bastard son of Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark, Warden of the North before he was slain.

“Also he’s never been fully integrated into his family. He’s an illegitimate child and doesn’t really belong anywhere and yet he has a huge amount of ambition.

“But this is not a world where you can go to a psychiatrist about that sort of thing,” the actor adds with a laugh. “So he’s had to deal with that.”

Ygritte in Game of Thrones Season 3This season, Jon Snow – a man who is not easy in the company of anyone, let alone women – fosters his relationship with Ygritte, one of the “Wildlings” who live beyond the wall that separates the civilised kingdom of Westeros from the ice-shrouded danger that lurks in the far north.

Ygritte first appeared in Season 2 and is brought to life on screen by Leslie, a 26-year-old Scottish actress, who also starred in the first season of Downton Abbey as Gwen Dawson.

“Ygritte’s relationship does develop with Jon Snow,” says the actress, “though I can’t say much more than that.”

Harington adds: “We see a different side to Jon Snow in this season, but I’m not saying he waxes lyrical this year about his emotions.”

Snow’s journey into the land of the Wildlings also leads him into contact with several new characters including Wilding leader Mance Rayder, played by Belfast-born actor Ciaran Hinds, whom Harington holds in awe.

“I have worked with so many great people on this show,” says Harington, “but it has been amazing this season. I will always look up to Ciaran Hinds, one of the greatest British actors we have living.”

Physically, it was a tough season for Harington to shoot.

While much of the series is filmed in Morocco and Croatia, with some location and a great deal of studio work done in Ireland, Jon Snow’s journey takes him north of the wall into a land of ice and winter snow. This section of Game Of Thrones is filmed in the mountainous and volcanic realm of Iceland. “We were in Iceland for over a month and it’s always very intensive,” Harington remembers.

“It gets light at 10 in the morning and dark at 4pm, so everything has to move at a real pace to get everything done in time.

“It is immensely cold and very brutal and hard to work in but at the same time it is an amazing country and I have really fallen in love with it. It is so beautiful.

“Those cold icy conditions really inform what you do,” he says. “It is great that we get to do so much on location. It adds a lot to the show.”

Game of Thrones Season 3

With the show picking up increasingly more viewers with each new season, his anonymity is disappearing quickly.

The actor says: “I find that I get stopped on the street more and more nowadays. My friends think it’s hilarious and take the mickey out of me for it.

“People come up to me often and they say, ‘I think you’re going to win. I think you’re going to be on the throne,’ and that’s kind of funny to hear.

“The global scale is immense and I can go to any country on holiday and I get recognised now.”

Does he enjoy the attention? “I always feel like I am letting people down,” he says with a laugh.

“It’s a weird thing meeting someone and then considering you are ruining the character for them. Sometimes actors can be aloof when you meet them but it’s not that they’re being rude, it’s more, ‘You don’t want to know who I really am.'”

Game Of Thrones Season 3 premieres in Singapore on HBO (StarHub Channel 601) on April 20, 9pm.

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on April 6, 2013. For similar stories, go to You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.