Warning: Spoilers for the Game of Thrones finale up ahead!
The most recent season of Game of Thrones (quite literally!) but the hype surrounding the fantasy series has still very much remained milling above our heads. In fact, as it stands, it really appears as if nothing can quench our thirst for all things Seven Kingdoms. And one of the primary reasons is our deep fascination with all of the characters at the crux of the epic storyline.
A few weeks back we dissected between some of the most notable protagonists in Game of Thrones in the books. We cast an eye back to their original descriptions in George R. R. Martin’s original narrative and compared them to the faces we know on TV. Now, the time has come to crank it up a notch and to delve into some more appearance comparisons — dive right in:
1. Cersei Lannister played by Lena Headey
Like Lena Headey’s interpretation, Cersei’s book version boasts a flowing head of blonde locks, fair skin and piercing green eyes. After all, she is a Lannister through and through.
However, what the TV show doesn’t mention is the Queen’s weight gain as events of the plot take its toll on her emotional and physical state. In the TV version though, she does retain the vicious brutality, as shown by her most recent
2. Davos Seaworth played by Liam Cunningham
Image by Roman “Amok” Papsuev via
The former aide of Stannis Baratheon, who may have switched allegiances in the recent season, is portrayed in the books as having a inconspicuous build, brown hair and a beard. The first joints of his fingers on his left hand are notably missing — a painful reminder of a punishment he once received for smuggling.
Undoubtedly, we all love Liam Cunningham’s version of Davos, although there are slight differences. For starters, the actor lacks a few strands in the hair department and although he often hides his missing fingers with a glove, this appears to be on the wrong side. It seems that the show’s creators allowed Liam the courtesy of switching the injured hand to the right to align with his own left-handedness.
In the books, Petyr Baelish is of a short height, as his nickname “Little Finger” suggests. He also boasts dark hair with a smattering of grey and a small pointed beard, exactly like his on-screen counterpart played by Aidan Gillen. Nice one!
4. Gilly played by Hannah Murray
Samwell’s wildling love, Gilly, appears in the books much like she does on the TV show — she has dark hair, a slim face and is described as being around the age of 15.
Although Hannah Murray excellently portrays the little lady, she is naturally older than the young woman in the original narrative.
5. The Hound played by Rory McCann
George R. R. Martin describes Sandor Clegane as exceptionally tall and heavily-built — yet not to the monstrous extent of his 8-foot tall brother Gregor. You might remember that his sibling leaves The Hound with a horrendously deformed face and without an ear after being brutally burnt by a fire. According to the narrative, his eye and skin is blackened and “pocked with craters,” leaving a part of his jaw grotesquely exposed.
You’ve got to agree, actor Rory McCann does a great job of bringing the above to light on the screen. However, his deformities are far less visible on the show.
6. Blackfish played by Clive Russell
As far as character adaptations go, this one is pretty faultless. Apart from the fact that actor Clive Russell has blue eyes instead of brown, his version of Ser Brynden Tully is similarly lean, tall and bears a face weathered by the elements and his countless battles.
7. Varys played by Conleth Hill
Image by Roman “Amok” Papsuev via
Completely bald, relatively plump and of an effeminate nature, the book version of Varys loves to shroud himself in fine silks and soft velvets. Conleth Hill’s adaptation does a good job of portraying this and the actor even shaves his lid for the role!
8. Jaime Lannister played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
The dashing King Slayer gets hearts racing aplenty, thanks to his stunning Lannister traits, shiny golden hair and deep green eyes. Like his sister, he is a very good-looking citizen of Westeros.
Actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau essentially ticks all the boxes in his portrayal of Jaime. However, one thing that wasn’t emphasized in the show enough was that following his imprisonment under Catelyn Stark, he shaves his head off completely in order to escape recognition on his journey back to King’s Landing.
9. Bran Stark played by Isaac Hempstead-Wright
In George R. R. Martin’s original storyline, Bran Stark falls in line with the rest of his siblings, all taking after their mother’s Tully side with their deep auburn hair and blue eyes. Although Sansa seems to be the only one to fit this trajectory perfectly, Isaac Hempstead-Wright’s appearance is far out. Like Arya, he takes on the Stark’s darker features.
10. Jorah Mormont played by Iain Glen
Just as in the books, Jorah is madly devoted to Daenerys Targaryen, willing to do anything for his beloved khaleesi. Yet, in terms of appearance, the show’s creators somewhat missed the mark with Iain Glen’s aesthetics.
For one, the actor is far more good-looking than described in the books. In the writing, he has far less hair on his head.
11. Missandei played by Nathalie Emmanuel
Due to our fascination with the on-screen Game of Thrones, we might often forget that Missandei is only a child. In the books, when she first appears and becomes one of Dany’s most loyal aides, she is just 10-years-old.
Further, she’s described as having a round flat face and big golden eyes. Comparatively, although her skin-tone hits the nail on the head, actress Nathalie Emmanuel is years older at 27-years-old.
12. Hodor played by Kristian Nairn
Image by MiguelRegodon
Now that all the commotion regarding Hodor’s heart-breaking exit from the show has died down, we can look back at the character’s differences with relative calm. While actor Kristian Nairn is pretty huge, he’s not as tall as the book version, where he is described as being over 7-foot tall and with a prominent brown beard.
13. Margaery Tyrell played by Natalie Dormer
Like 34-year-old actress Natalie Dormer herself, Margaery Tyrell in the books is a beautiful young woman. She has cascading curly brown hair and brown, doe-like eyes. Her figure is also described as slender, but shapely.
One of the difference however, is that when Margaery joins the court in King’s Landing as King Joffrey’s wife, she is merely 16-years-old.
14. Jon Snow played by Kit Harington
And finally, last but not least — Jon Snow. The bastard son of Ned Stark has certainly come a long way since we first laid eyes on the scruffy hair of the future Lord Commander in the first season of Game of Thrones.
In terms of looks, in the books Jon resembles a Stark far more than any of his half-brothers with his dark hair, grey eyes and elongated face. In the show, Harington makes for a perfect on-screen counterpart. However, like with many of the other actors, he’s far too old to play our new King in the North.
Which Game of Thrones actor is nothing like their book version?