Fantastical places and tales of legend dominate what we watch on TV these days. And because these shows often feature epic clashes of good, bad, and everything in between, viewers may not appreciate the details of the world — things like wardrobe and makeup that sync fantastical characters with their mythical environments…
So while the cast of Game of Thrones may blend seamlessly into the fictional land of Westeros, it takes hours of work and a good amount of manpower to transform them into the characters we know and love. After seeing what these 20 GoT stars look like in real life, you’ll want to give their stylists a call yourself!
1. Daenerys Targaryen: It’s no secret that Daenerys Targaryen is one of Game of Thrones‘ most beloved characters, and her signature silver hair is easily her most recognizable feature. In reality, actress Emilia Clarke is a natural brunette!
Game of Thrones / StarWars.com
2. Varys: With a nickname like “The Spider,” Varys establishes himself as a character you don’t want to cross right from the get-go. Strangely, though, knowing Conleth Hill has a full head of fluffy gray hair and once won an Oliver Award for his role in Stones in His Pockets makes him infinitely less intimidating.
Pinterest / By Country & Town House
3. The Hound: Sandor Clegane’s scarred face and rough demeanor may lead you to believe that the actor himself is just as intimidating, but, like the character he plays, there’s much more to Rory McCann than meets the eye. The imposing Scottish actor is also a trained painter, gardener, and even plays the banjo.
The Daily Bell / Aceshowbiz
4. Hodor: Though the lovable giant may only know one word on the show, actor Kristian Nairn speaks an entirely different language in real life: music. The seven-foot Irishman is a well-known progressive house DJ and even toured the U.S. and Australia under a concert series called “Rave of Thrones”.
Game of Thrones Wiki / The Star
5. Sansa Stark: Eldest of the Stark daughters and the Lady of Winterfell, strong-willed Sansa is very much like Daenerys both in personal history as well as in their approach to ruling. Not only that, but Sophie Turner had to change her hair for her role, going from a natural blonde to her more recognizable auburn.
Refinery29 / Self
6. Cersei Lannister: Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that Cersei is as good a villain as they come. For the vast majority out there who shudder at the mere mention of a Lannister, they’ll be happy to know that Lena Headey is nothing like the character she plays on screen, hair color included.
Inverse / Self
7. Brienne of Tarth: At 6’3″, there’s no one better suited than Gwendoline Christie to play Brienne of Tarth, who in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels is depicted as a tall, muscular warrior. But where reality deviates from fiction is in each’s appearance, as Christie is strikingly beautiful compared to the unsightly Brienne.
Screen Rant / Listal
8. Jaime Lannister: When you’re the golden boy of the richest family in Westeros, of course, you’re going to have the finest armor and locks of flowing blonde hair. No, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau may not boast a golden lineage (or hand) like Jamie, but the Danish actor still has one of the best heads of hair in Hollywood.
Game of Thrones Wiki / Watchers on the Wall
9. Jaqen H’ghar: A man may have no name, but the actor that plays him is Tom Wlaschiha. Unlike H’ghar – with his long red locks – Wlaschiha typically sports a clean-cut look. Of course, if Wlaschiha is playing the “game of faces,” who knows what he really looks like…
Game of Thrones Wiki / Zimbio
10. Margaery Tyrell: Westeros’ Queen Consort proved to be one of GoT‘s most chameleonic characters, and Natalie Dormer herself is no less capable of changing her appearance on a whim. The English actress is known for stepping out in a variety of looks, including shaving her head for two Hunger Games films.
11. Brandon Stark: Bran has come a long way since his fall from the Winterfell tower, surviving seven seasons to become a key player in the war against the Whitewalkers. The newest Three-Eyed Raven’s introspective nature is reflected in Isaac Hempstead-Wright’s latest look: a very un-Westerosi pair of glasses.
12. Arya Stark: Since debuting on Game of Thrones at the age of 12, Maisie Williams has grown up right before our eyes. Still, it’s definitely strange to see the young actress wearing anything but her standard Westerosi garb, especially after watching her slash and stab her way across the Narrow Sea.
Game of Thrones Wiki / Teen Vogue
13. Melisandre: Carice van Houten may not be a Red Priestess, but she and the character Melisandre do share one glaring similarity: they both are not as they appear. Melisandre conceals her true form using powerful magic, and van Houten uses dye to turn her brown hair red. Two very different deceptions, but deceptions nonetheless!
14. Jon Snow: For all the Jon Snow lovers out there, here’s some good news: actor Kit Harington is just as good-looking in real life as he is on the show. Sure, he may not have a wolf pelt slung over his back or an army under his command, but who in the Seven Kingdoms could resist such a smolder?
TIME / Refinery29
15. Samwell Tarly: The intellectual yin to Jon Snow’s dour yang, Sam’s shyness, and reserved nature mirror the personality of John Bradley, the actor who plays him. Appearance-wise, Bradley naturally maintains Sam’s trademark facial hair, though it’s unlikely he keeps a Night’s Watch cloak or Maester robes in his closet.
16. Tyrion Lannister: Peter Dinklage flew under the radar for years before breaking through with his award-winning performance as the Lannister black sheep, and it’s safe to say that both Westeros and Hollywood are all the better for it. As far as appearances go, Tyrion’s looks aren’t much of a stretch from Dinklage’s own.
Digital Spy / Bustle
17. Missandei: Like her character’s ascension from slave to a royal advisor, Nathalie Emmanuel was working as a shop assistant when she got the call that she’d landed her famous role. Emmanuel may not speak 19 languages like Missandei, but her real-life style is just as stunning as her character’s.
Game of Thrones Wiki / Speaker’s Corner
18. Theon Greyjoy: It’s easy to see that Theon’s treatment throughout the series is nowhere near befitting of the heir to the Iron Islands, especially that which he suffered at the hands of Ramsay Bolton. Fortunately, Alfie Allen’s time spent as “Reek” was fictionalized, meaning he’s not actually missing his… well, you know…
Medium / Variety
19. Gilly: It’s not easy to pull off the look of a Free Folk woman forced to live amongst wildlings beyond the Wall, but Hannah Murray plays the role of Gilly perfectly. Though Murray’s own appearance isn’t too different from Gilly’s, the English actress is known for having a variety of hair colors and styles.
Game of Thrones Wiki / Reddit
20. Yara Greyjoy: Though she plays a fierce Ironborn reaver on GoT, Gemma Whelan is actually the polar opposite of Yara. In addition to acting, Whelan is also a professional dancer and even performs stand-up as a character named Chastity Butterworth.
Pinterest / IMDb
Isn’t it amazing what Hollywood makeup teams can do?
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