20 Rare Photos Of The 'Game Of Thrones' Cast Growing Up

Winter is here

Game of Thrones, adapted from George R.R. Martin’s best selling book series, A Song Of Fire And Ice is arguably one of the hottest series to ever grace our television sets. What? Never watched it? No worries. Just Google the title and one will be floored by all the information, fansites, memes, reviews and previews. It’s a must watch!

After nearly a decade of dominating the small screen, the Emmys, the airwaves, office chats and internet memes, our heroes (and villains) are now nearing the end of their journey. And so, we found it only fitting to pay tribute to our favorite characters by showcasing their childhood photos before they bid us goodbye in this final season.

We’ve watched them grow and flourish over the years and grew to love (and hate) their characters, rooted for them and even jumped for joy when the unsavory ones got their just desserts. But before they had such an impact on our lives, they were once little kids too. So what did they look like? Was Jon Snow always so sad and intense looking? Did Joffrey always scowl non stop? Does Arya ever age? Let’s see if we can see any resemblance in their childhood pictures or if they blow us away with a 180-degree change in their appearances.

20 Richard Madden - Rob Stark


I've won every battle but I'm losing this war.

Richard Madden was born to act. Even though he did not come from a family of performers (his mom was a teaching assistant while his dad worked in the fire brigade), little Richard was adamant about his calling and joined a youth theatre programme at the Paisley Arts Center. His choice to join the programme paid off and he was soon cast in roles on a number of children’s television series. He climbed the ranks and went from supporting roles and to finally becoming the lead actor in Barmy Aunt Boomerang before finally joining the big leagues as he was chosen to play Romeo with Shakespeare’s Globe (an acclaimed theatre company). His stint with GoT may not have lasted as long as some of the other actors and actresses, but he sure did leave a lasting impression. At least for female fans of the show.

19 Emilia Clarke - Daenerys


I'm not going to stop the wheel, I'm going to break the wheel.

Emilia Clarke whose full name is actually Emilia Isobel Euphemia Rose Clarke (that’s even longer than Kit Harington’s name!) fell in love with acting at the mere age of 3. Talk about a passion for acting! Most of us were still playing with toy blocks and puzzles back then. Emilia, whose nickname is Milly was determined to become an actress after seeing a production of Show Boat (for which her father was the sound engineer). While her parents were initially skeptical about their darling daughter wanting to pursue acting, they finally relented and eventually became two of her biggest fans.

18 Jason Mamoa - Khal Drogo


The stallion that mounts the world has no need for iron chairs.

Ahhhh…Aquaman….no wait, we mean Baywatch heartthrob, no…we mean Kahl. It’s easy to get confused with all these, ahem, wonderful characters that Jason Mamoa has played over the years. But did you know that before he was known as ‘the body’, little Jason was once a surfer kid who was raised near the beaches of Hawaii and had actually considered pursuing a career in Marine Biology? Boy, are we glad he changed his mind in the end! Not only that, Wikipedia would have us know that the actor got his scar from an interaction with a man in a cafe and he had to undergo a painful 140 stitches during reconstructive surgery. Not that we’re complaining. It just makes him even more attractive.

17 Sophie Turner - Sansa Stark


I'm a slow learner, it's true. But I learn.

Sophie Turner, who recently opened up about her depression on a podcast with Dr. Phil, made her professional debut on GoT at the tender age of 14. It was, in fact, her teacher who had encouraged young Sophie to audition for the role during her school’s lunch break and, boy, she must be happy that she skipped lunch that day. Since then, the blonde lass (yes, she used to dye her hair auburn red for the part of Sansa but has since resorted to wearing wigs due to her hair falling out) has gone from strength to strength and is set to appear as Jean Grey aka The Phoenix in what is deemed to be the X Men's swan song from 20th Century Fox studios.

16 Maisie Williams - Arya Stark


Not today.

Did you know that Maisie is actually a nickname for this beloved actress? Her real name is actually Margaret Constance Williams. Maisie, who was born the youngest of 4 children, is a well-respected young and rising actress with an accolade of awards and nominations under her belt. In fact, her acting portfolio is impressive for someone her age. It showcases stage plays, voice works, appearances in music videos and she has also been cast in the much anticipated upcoming drama Mary Shelley. Plus, this petite lass has a knack for business and kick-started Daisie, a social media app which allows collaborations between artists from different industries to come to life.

15 Lena Headey - Cersei Lannister


Everyone who isn't us is an enemy.

Lena Kathren Headey got her first taste for acting while she was attending school at Shelley College. She was discovered during a stage performance and personally handpicked to act in the 1992 film, Waterland. Suffice it to say, the rest is history. She has since then starred in numerous films and received a number of Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Not bad for someone who once cried because she was told to stop attending her ballet lessons at the age of 11. Lena Headey has also recently opened up about her experience with postpartum depression while filming season 1 of GoT after giving birth to her first child.

14 Peter Dinklage - Tyrion Lannister


A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.

Peter Dinklage has been credited as the man who recommended Lena Headey for the role of Cercei to the producers of GoT. Peter was born in New Jersey with achondroplasia (a form of dwarfism) and is the only one in his family to have this condition. Before he was a household name, his older brother inspired him to perform and he got his first taste of theatrical success in the 5th grade. However, it was not an easy path as he refused to be typecast. His perseverance paid off when he debuted in a low budget but critically independent film Living in Oblivion. And the rest is, as we say, history.

13 Diana Rigg - Olena Tyrell


Old. I'm something of an expert on the subject.

It’s hard to imagine Olena Tyrell as a fetching young woman but let it be known that the actress playing this wonderful character is a former Bond girl (what?!) and held her own opposite Sean Connery in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In her heyday, she was also cast as Emma Peel in The Avengers, which preceded an extensive career in theatre. Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg spent most of her young life in India where her father worked before being sent to boarding school in England which she hated but credits with shaping her into who she is today.

12 Kit Harington - Jon Snow


The more you give a king, the more he wants.

The most popular actor (and the one whose character is most worthy of the throne) was born Christopher Catesby Harington, the day after Christmas day in 1986. His parents gave him the nickname Kit, which has stuck with him till now. We thank our lucky stars for that. Imagine having to say his full name aloud each time. That can be quite a mouthful. Young Kit started to develop a passion for acting after seeing a production of Waiting for Godot at the tender age of 14, and the rest is history. He was scouted by GoT’s casting director after appearing in a play in 2009 and was so amazing in the audition that he got cast right away, never mind that he showed up with a black eye from the previous night. Man, that’s what we call good acting!

11 Gwendoline Christie - Brienne Of Tarth


All my life I've been knocking men like you into dust.

Gwendoline Christie was born into a very normal household and grew up in a loving family with a SAHM and a salesman dad. As a young girl, she was often ridiculed for her height and her dreams of being a gymnast were crushed when she suffered a spine injury. To add insult to her struggles, she was told by her agent that she had neither the looks nor the physique to make it as an actress and only got a ‘good luck’ when she announced her intention to act on screen. Perseverance paid off and she finally landed the role of Brienne of Tarth and became a fan favorite and household name.

10 Alfie Allen - Theon Greyjoy


My sword is yours, in victory and in defeat.

Alfie Allen, who recently gained more followers after his character went from wimp to hero grew up a very active and naughty child (like most little boys). He grew up in a family of performers with his mother being a producer, father an actor, and sister a singer. Talk about having artistic genes in the family! In fact, his sister is the one and only Lily Allen and her song Alfie was all about her brother. So if anyone is interested in how little Alfie was growing up, check out the song and you’ll be in for a real treat. Alfie Allen, on the other hand, must have cringed when the song was released.

9 Isaac Hempstead - Bran Stark


Hush Hodor! No more Hodoring!

Well, we know now for sure that Bran is definitely not the white king. Unless, of course, the series pulls a twist in the next episode. But until the next episode airs, let’s find out a little bit more about this talented young actor. Well, according to a recent talk show, little Issac stumbled into the world of acting because he wanted to avoid going to the school’s football club during the long cold months of winter. And he had recently tried a stint at University but had to drop out to focus on acting. However, fear not! Word has it that he will be returning to hit the books at the end of this year to pursue a degree in neuroscience. Suddenly science became a whole lot more interesting.

8 Nathalie Emmanuel - Missandei


All men fear death.

Nathalie Emmanuel who plays Daenerys’ faithful sidekick had shown a love for acting at the very young age of 3. She was an extremely dramatic child, so much so that her mom thought it would better to channel all her energy into acting and dancing classes. And apparently those classes paid off and young Nathalie soon got cast as young Nala in the West End production of The Lion King at the age of 10. From then on, her resume expanded to cover GoT, Fast and Furious and The Maze. Not bad for a little girl who made a mountain out of a molehill over every little thing at home.

7 Natalie Dormer - Margaery Tyrell


I want to be the queen.

Before Natalie Dormer dominated both the big and small screens, she was once a high school over-achiever, head girl, a first-class student, vice president of her school’s netball team and even a member of the public speaking team. Talk about being at the top of her game in school! However, she missed her chance at placement at Cambridge when she misread an exam question. Wow. One minute she was on top of the world and the next it all came crashing down. But perhaps this was meant to be because she next channeled all her energy into acting and became widely praised for her portrayal of Anne Boleyn in Tudors, Cressida in Hunger Games and Margaery in GoT. Aren’t we glad she flunked her exams back then?

6 Kristian Nairn- Hodor


Hold the door! Hold the door!

Well, no one saw that heart-wrenching scene coming. Methinks many cried a river watching that. Born in Ireland, Kristian Nairn had always stood out from the rest of the pack because of his impressive stature. Many have described him as being a jolly but quiet child who surprisingly  grew up to be quite outspoken and expressive and is now not only an actor but also a notable DJ with a huge (when we say huge we mean really huge for someone who had practically one line in GoT) following on Instagram and Twitter. Time to follow and check out his profile, people.

5 Jack Gleeson - Joffrey Baratheon


Kneel. Kneel before the king.

Of all the actors on the show, Jack Gleeson is perhaps the one that caught this writer’s attention the most. First, the little dude had already left a wonderful impression for his portrayal in Batman Begins. And secondly, the dude’s already retired from on-screen acting! What? No! He’s only 26! But fear not, people. He may have retired from acting in front of the camera, but this enigmatic young man who made us loathe him so much on GoT is now the founder and producer of the Collapsing Horse Theatre Company in Dublin. So anyone who misses watching him (very little information is available regarding this young man who is extremely protective of his private life) on TV can head over to Dublin to see his plays on stage. Nothing beats the adrenaline rush of seeing your favorite actor in the flesh.

4 Iwan Rheon - Ramsey Bolton


If you think this has a happy ending, you've not been paying attention.

Here’s a fun fact: Iwan Rheon had initially auditioned for the role of Jon Snow but lost the role to Kit Harrington, with whom he maintains a close friendship. But before he started gaining recognition for being one of the most hated characters to ever grace the TV screen, Iwan Rheon dabbled in singing and songwriting and even became the leader of a band. However, he decided to focus on acting and this eventually led to a collection of roles both on the stage and screen, big and small. Talk about having the best of both worlds.

3 Thomas Brodie Sangster - Jojen Reed


A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . A man who never reads lives only once.

Arguably the most baby-faced actor of the GoT lot, Thomas Brodie Sangster burst onto the entertainment scene at the tender age of 11. His baby face allowed him to portray numerous characters in children’s movies. I mean, who wouldn’t fall in love with a face like that? It practically calls for hugs and kisses! Awww….but the little boy has since grown up to become a lanky 5’11” young man and has branched off into playing more diverse characters, like the broody Jojen Reed of GoT and Newt of The Maze Runner series. Trivia time: Did you know that he is Hugh Grant’s cousin (twice removed) and that he learned to play the guitar left-handed to portray Paul Mc Cartney in the film Nowhere Boy?

2 John Bradley - Samwell Tarly


I'm a coward.

Oh! Just look at baby Samwell! Wait, we mean John Bradley! Look at how grumpy but cute he was as a child! Don’t you just want to cuddle both baby John and big John? While little is known about the actor (this guy really protects his privacy), we know for a fact that the Manchester United fan is the youngest in his family, with a sister who is 13 years older than he is. Talk about a sibling age gap! This one’s just huge! Well, at least we know that he probably didn’t have to fight with his sister over toys and food.

1 Carice Van Houten - Milesandre


What do we say to the god of death?

The Red Woman in GoT who famously predicted the death of the Night King is played by Dutch singer and actress Carice Van Houten, who in real life was born a blonde. The little girl with a twinkle in her eyes grew up watching silent movies and has admitted to preferring roles that do not require any dialogue. Er, does that mean she didn’t enjoy any of her GoT scenes at all? Regardless, the little girl who once grinned from ear to ear with a biscuit in her hand has come full circle to become one of the most sought-after actresses around with director Paul Verhoeven declaring Clarice to be the most talented actress he has ever worked with.

References: Wikipedia, IMDb.com, eightieskid.com

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