After nearly a decade of playing Jon Snow on HBO’s hit Game of Thrones, actor Kit Harington is ready for what’s next. But before he moves on, there are still two more episodes of the series to finish off. Despite the sadness of having something as big and special as Thrones finishing up, Harington said he feels lucky to have worked on the series for so long and seeing it be so successful around the world.
“I’ve felt very fortunate to even be in it, and now it’s coming to an end,” Harington told Men’s Journal. “In a way, I don’t know how to describe it; it’s been many things for me. It’s been such a big part of my life and it doesn’t fit into any one description of how I feel about it. But it’s been an incredible experience and I’ve had a lot of luck to be in this role as Jon Snow.”
Part of being Jon Snow has helped make Harington a worldwide star and led him to work with Dolce & Gabbana as the face of The One For Men fragrance. Ahead of the final season of Game of Thrones, Harington was in New York to talk about his work with Dolce & Gabbana on The One For Men fragrance campaign, as well as about the final season of the series and all the work that went into it. Last year, we spoke with Harington about working on The One For Men campaign for Dolce & Gabbana, as well as his work on Game of Thrones. Last year he helped launch The One Grey fragrance.
We caught up with Harington to talk about working on the final episodes of Game of Thrones, what he took home from the set, being the face of a fragrance, and about the time he accidentally punched a co-star.
Men’s Journal: What was it like for you working on the final episodes and how did it feel finishing Jon Snow’s story?
Kit Harington: In a way, it’s like this: You know when you watch sportsmen and they get interviewed after an event or a big game, and people ask them how they feel? I always kind of felt bad for them, because how are you meant to accurately describe how you feel about something like that right after? This job in many ways has felt like winning a medal in something. I’ve felt very fortunate to even be in it, and now it’s coming to an end. In a way I don’t know how to describe it; it’s been many things for me. It’s been such a big part of my life and it doesn’t fit into any one description of how I feel about it. But it’s been an incredible experience.
The “Battle of the Bastards” was a major moment for Jon’s character. What was it like to film that battle, which at the time was the biggest the show had done?
The “Battle of the Bastards” was quite an episode to film. A funny moment from that is what I punched Iwan [Rheon, who played Ramsay Bolton] in the face [laughs]. At the end of that battle when I’m supposed to punch him and lay into him, I accidentally connected with him once. I bought him a beer after that to make up for it.
What was your favorite season of Game of Thrones?
I think the most magical season for me was Season 2. We realized the show was a success and it was getting so big and doing well. We went to Iceland and it was just an amazing time in my life during Season 2. Relationships got closer and there was so much we did that was important for the future of the show and how big it would get.
How about your favorite episode of Game of Thrones?
My favorite episode would probably be “Hardhome” in Season 5. It felt like that was where the show ramped up a little bit and became even bigger. Thrones is always massive, but Hardhome was just on a massive scale and at the time was one of the biggest things we had ever done. The extras on our show are some of the most hardworking people I’ve ever worked with, and especially on that episode they gave all they had, and that helped make it even better for everyone working on it.
Did you bring anything home with you from the Season 8 set of Game of Thrones?
The stuff is too precious to steal now [laughs]. HBO keeps a close eye on it. I took my gloves, that’s the only thing I took.
What was it like building relationships over the years with the cast? Any funny memories from working on the show together?
There are so many moments from the nine years of working on this. There’s not one moment I can jump on, there were so many. Most of what Thrones was, people won’t have heard about it in interviews, because it’s the stuff we’ll never share in interviews that really made those friendships and relationships as strong as they are. Right now the fun thing is, there’s a big Game of Thrones WhatsApp group with a bunch of the actors. It’s full of fun and reminiscing and those great memories from the series.
What’s your training like for the show and when you’re working on these big battles, like the Battle of Winterfell?
In a way I didn’t do much specifically for each season, obviously there’s some stuff I did to get ready, but nothing super extensive. I always felt you come back to the show and didn’t necessarily train for it, but you felt ready for it by wearing the costumes and doing the fights. Once you put on that armor and get going, you’re sort of getting fit while doing it. I always felt fitter at the end of the show than I did coming into it. My worry now is that I always had that to come to get me in shape, now what jobs do I have to do that? I’ll have to pick them carefully [laughs].
What have you enjoyed about working with Dolce & Gabbana and being the face of The One For Men fragrance?
I think the reason I wanted to do a campaign with Dolce & Gabbana was about the authenticity of everything. The level of enjoyment has been quite high and it’s been fun, and the campaign itself had a lot of joy and fun in it. To me, when they sent me the campaign and everything since, it felt authentically Italian rather than something posing as it, and that was important. There’s a sense of fun to it, and with genuine real people and a sense of authenticity. That’s what I love about working with DG and the team.
How would you describe the fragrance and what do you hope people take away from it? What do you enjoy about the fragrance and how it makes you feel?
I quite like it as a fragrance, and it doesn’t kick you in the teeth. It’s subtle and has style to it and it’s not overpowering or anything like that. I like something that’s a little more subtle. When I buy a candle or something, I want the room to have quite a deep scent. I live in the countryside, so wood smoke and wood paneling, that sophisticated scent is my type of thing and that fits in this category. It’s a great one.
What’s it like for you being the frontman and being the face of it, how does it feel for you?
As an actor, there are all sorts of things you want to tick off the list on, and realize that you’ve reached a level of success or notoriety and you get to do a campaign. That’s an amazing box to tick. But you want to pick the right one. You want one that makes you feel comfortable and makes you feel you fit the brand, rather than do something for the sake of it. I try and do everything that way. T
here’s a level of enjoyment and I believe in it. I feel both of those with this work with DG.
While playing Jon Snow, you had a very recognizable head of hair and beard. How did it feel to cut it and what was it like to have it all that time?
It’s funny because growing up I was clean-shaven and had short hair all through until I did Thrones. You can’t really predict what your style is going to be, and I’m not sure what my style will be over the next 10 years, just like I didn’t know when I was 20. It became quite a defining thing for me. Long hair and a beard become that defining feature when you have it that long, as I found out from having it and people wanting to talk about it [laughs]. I realized, “Oh, I’m one of those guys now.” You kind of just deal with it, and I enjoyed having it, but it’s nice to change things up.
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