Kit Harington studied acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama at the University of London. Soon after graduating in 2008, he starred in the London production of War Horse. Harington had his first hit statewide with the debut of the popular fantasy series Game of Thrones in 2011. He played Jon Snow, a warrior and illegitimate son of Lord Eddard Stark, on the show for five seasons.
Early Life and Education
Born Christopher Catesby Harington on December 26, 1986, in London, the actor Kit Harington is best known for playing Jon Snow on the hit HBO series Game of Thrones. He grew up in London and then moved to Worcester around the age of 11. Around this time, Harington made an important discovery. He told CNN that he learned that his first name was only a nickname. "I went to school, you do these exams and I put down Kit Harington and the teacher said, 'That's not your name,' and I said, 'Yeah I think I'd know my own name!' They were like, "No no your name is Christopher." I was a bit pissed off with my mum."
Harington first dreamed of taking up another career growing up. As he told Variety, "I always thought I would be a journalist, and never really saw acting as a career, only as a hobby." He changed his tune when he was admitted to the Central School of Speech and Drama at the University of London. Harrington explained to Back Stage that "getting into the so-called top drama schools in London is very, very difficult."
'Game of Thrones'
After graduating in 2008, Harington landed his first major role on the London stage. He played a young man who follows his beloved animal into combat in the drama War Horse. After War Horse, Harington soon auditioned for his most famous part to date. He looked a little rough around the edges when he first tried out for Jon Snow, the bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark, on Game of Thrones. Harington told the Daily Mail that "I had a black eye as I'd been in a scrap. But I think it might have helped. You know, 'Who's the kid with the black eye?'"Once he won the part, Harington asked to change his look after shooting the show's pilot episode. The producers asked him to grow his hair and a beard and skip shampoo to make him "look a bit dirtier and grubbier and more visceral," he told CNN.
Based on the fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones debuted in 2011 and quickly developed a strong following. Harington explained the show's success to GQ. "I think people like Game of Thrones because people respond to not being treated like idiots. It's a really complex story, and it's very hard to follow, and people love working that puzzle out." It also probably helps that "it's rollicking good story with sex and violence."
In 2015, Game of Thrones fans (and Harington) received a nasty shock—warrior Jon Snow seemingly met his end at the conclusion of the show's fifth season. While some viewers may still be in denial, Harington insisted to Entertainment Weekly that there will be no resurrection of his character. "I’ve been told I’m dead. I’m dead. I’m not coming back next season." But come back he did, and in 2016 he received his first Emmy nomination for his work on the show.
While working on Game of Thrones, Harington found time for other projects. He starred in the historical action-adventure Pompeii (2014) with Carrie-Anne Moss and Kiefer Sutherland and in Vera Brittain's autobiographical war drama Testament of Youth (2014) with Alicia Vikanderand Emily Watson. The following year saw Harington in a new comedic light when he starred opposite Andy Samberg in the 2015 HBO tennis mockumentary 7 Days in Hell.
Harington is set to appear in the upcoming dramatic film Brimstone with Dakota Fanning and Guy Pearce.