Okay, so we all know the image by now: a lone dark figure struggling through heavy snow, crystals of cold flecking his mane of hair, beard and fur cape. He is obviously an alien to this environment – a fact starkly highlighted by his darkness against the bleached white background. Yet the man also appears oblivious to the cold, his pale tormented face hinting at the unswerving dedication to duty in his heart, warming him from the inside out.
Jon Snow is one of the most iconic figures in modern screen history – a throwback monochrome snapshot in today’s Photoshopped 48-bit Deep Colour world. So it is little wonder that the Game of Thrones marketing team often reach for Jon’s image to promote the show, as his character epitomizes the binary nature at the heart of the story: good vs evil, night vs day, life vs death, summer vs winter.
There is even less surprise that we admire Jon Snow’s character so much. He represents the values of a bygone time; when men were selfless rather than selfish and saw it as their duty to protect the herd, rather than bully the weak or sneer at them online. A time when courage was commendable, rather than a surefire sign of low intellect.
Jon is a hero’s hero, so pure of heart, he is willing to stand up to an entire army by himself, and so invincible he can even cheat death! (Well, perhaps with a little dubious Melisandre mumbo jumbo assistance anyway)
What about the man behind the myth?
Okay, so we all love Jon Snow to bits – and the show’s ratings seem to back that up. But how do we really feel about Kit Harington, the actor who actually plays him?
Personally, I’m worried for the guy as this – allegedly – is the final season of Game of Thrones and, unlike the vast majority of his current castmates, I’m not sure Kit has such a rosy thespiatic career ahead of him. In fact, I see the same scene described above not as Jon Snow – but in the context of Kit Harington himself heading out into the wintry, uncertain world of his own post-Game of Thrones career…
What?! I hear you cry; how can you say that about one of the most recognizable faces in pop culture? Surely you are just bitter and jealous of Kit’s fame and fortune!
Not at all, I honestly wish him all the best – which is why I’m mulling over which future option will offer the greatest chance of ensuring Kit’s continued post-Thrones success:
Option 1: Carry on acting
Potential issue: Kit Harington is NOT a good actor
There, I’ve said it. The giant grey pachyderm in the room has been identified. If you don’t believe me, actually watch one of his movies – especially Brimstone. Man, he STINKS! So bad that even the producers of Shortland Street would think twice about getting him on their show. (Nah, who am I kidding? They’d have him on in a teenaged girl’s heartbeat – although they might have to trim his lines down to one or two words per episode to spare everyone’s dignity.)
So, how can this be? How can one of the MAIN actors in the biggest TV show on Earth be so crap at his job? Especially when he’s surrounded by so many really good thesps like; Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), Lena Headley (Cersei), Aidan Gillen (Little Finger) and Diana Rigg (Olenna Tyrell).
Well, the true reason Kit has got away with a complete lack of acting chops on Game of Thrones is: because he doesn’t need any. At all. The heroic character of Jon Snow – for all of his stirring, uplifting qualities – is a robot. Unlike any other of the multitudes of characters on the show, you know EXACTLY what Jon will do in any given situation: There are ice demons at the gate? – I’ll grab my sword! The Wildlings need fetching? – I’ll put my boots on! We need another army? – I’ll go woo the Dragon Queen!
And in order to fulfill those duties, the actor playing Jon requires no subtlety, no super motivation, no deception. He only needs to master a mere two facial expressions; fierce & determined + hurt & confused – and Kit has them both NAILED!
But beyond that… hmmm. Kit’s (and, to be honest, Emilia Clarke’s) lack of range was brutally exposed when the script demanded that Jon and Daenerys “fall in love” in the previous season – and it would’ve been a damn sight more fun to watch them fall out of a building! Suffice to say their sexual chemistry was about as fiery as a Sheldon Cooper/Amy Farrah Fowler Pre-Relationship Agreement heavy petting session.
Now, you might think that possessing a limited skillset relevant to the industry in which you work could be a bit of a handicap – yet it doesn’t always necessarily play out that way. For example; Quade Cooper is missing quite a few rugby abilities and Donald Trump is a lousy businessman – yet these realities haven’t harmed their careers any. So, maybe there’s still hope for Kit yet…
Keanu Reeves – now this dude is a LONG WAY from even being an okay actor. Yet he has somehow carved out a multitude of attention-grabbing roles in movies such as; The Matrix, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Point Break and even Speed. NB: Remember, I’m talking about ROLES – not necessarily good movies! Now, how many of us can recall as many memorable performances by so-called acting legends like Laurence Olivier or Sir John Gielgud?
John Travolta – likewise, John Boy STILL sucks at acting, even after 50 years of practice. Watch anything he’s been in for proof. Actually don’t – your life is far too precious to waste on the Urban Cowboy’s celluloid ramblings – just take my word for it. Yet, he was also in Pulp Fiction – so he can die happy, content with his life’s work.
Nicholas Cage – on the other hand, despite appearances, is actually a GOOD actor – although he often does himself no favours at all. Take a break from laughing at the many Cage-going-crazy collections online to watch him do Travolta in Face/Off and wonder where the hell it all went wrong…
KIT HARINGTON CONTINUED SUCCESS QUOTIENT: 19%
OPTION 2: Transition from TV to film
Potential issue: Kit Harington is seriously typecast
Part of the problem here is that Game of Thrones has dragged on and on for nearly ten years now, as the seasons have got shorter and further apart. Unfortunately for us all, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have found it a lot harder to just make stuff up as they go along than George R.R. Martin ever did. (For God’s sake, someone please roll those two dweebs a doobie!)
The net result is Kit Harington seems to have been playing Jon Snow since way back in the legendary Age of Valyria, which means he is becoming more and more ingrained in our minds as the fur-trimmed battler at the Wall…
But hey! Being typecast is not the end of the world, some actors have overcome this problem just fine in the past:
Lest we forget: George Clooney started off just like Kit, as a small screen heartthrob, playing the pediatric surgeon Doug Ross on ER back in the 90s. And he’s done reasonably okay ever since!
Likewise, Bruce Willis kicked off his career as a wise-cracking urbane private eye on Moonlighting before he ever read a Steven E. de Souza script. Frankly, at the time the very idea of him becoming some kind of a blue-collar action hero was ludicrous in the extreme, yet Die Hard set the tone for the rest of his career. Okay sure, most of his movies since have sucked hard – but in between, he has found time to do; The Sixth Sense, Pulp Fiction, The Last Boy Scout and Twelve Monkeys. Which is a couple more classics than most.
But once we get to the glittering Iconic League, times get a heap tougher. Sean Connery had to wait a long, long time – basically until he was a grandfather! – before he could shake off the bonds of James. Similarly, it was years before the paying public wanted to see Al Pacino as anything other than Michael Corleone and it took an attention-grabbing tour-de-force performance in Scarface to shake a lot of preconceptions.
On the other hand, Clint Eastwood has always done whatever role he damn well wants whenever he damn well feels like it – and we all meekly nod in obedience.
The entire cast of Friends. Man, when that show ended back in ’04 pretty much everyone expected the sexy six to simply take over Hollywood. Yet, with the possible exception of Jennifer Aniston, they have all pretty much crashed and burned in a cinematic sense – badly!
KIT HARINGTON CONTINUED SUCCESS QUOTIENT: 7%
Option 3: Become a male model
Okay, so now we’re talking. Surely Kit has some sort of future here…
How do I know? Because if you ask any guy about Game of Thrones and he’ll talk about “Jon Snow” – whereas any woman will talk about “Kit Harington”. Why? Because Kit has wavy hair and abs – which apparently are GOOD THINGS for men to possess in Female World.
Right then. Lesson learned – probably too late for me, sadly – but not for Kit! All he has to do to become the new Brad Pitt/Robert Redford/Fabio is to drop the fur-lined cloak and bust out his best Blue Steel for the camera…
Or so you’d think. But, as usual, poor old Jon Snow is the last to hear any news of note – so he’s forced into playing catch up again. A case in point is his modelling for a fragrance brand – where a largely unseen woman is sitting behind Kit, her leg teasingly draped over his shoulder. In return, the handsome hunk of wavy-haired masculinity clasps her ankle with all the passion… of steadying a flag pole in a strong breeze. To complete the sexy pose; his eyes look like he’s mentally calculating whether those pork chops he took out of the freezer this morning will have defrosted in time to grill for dinner.
Dude! Shooting a magazine ad may not be as glamorous as being one of the MAIN actors in the biggest TV show on Earth, but it’s gonna pay your bills long after the King’s Landing set gets struck. Get excited about it for God’s sake! To remain an object of female desire, you need to smoulder – not soldier on!
KIT HARINGTON CONTINUED SUCCESS QUOTIENT: 3%
Option 4: Beg HBO to make a spin off series
Seriously Kit, pitch your tent outside the network offices as I think this is by far your best bet.
While this upcoming season Game of Thrones will – allegedly – be the last, I find it HARD to believe that network executives EVER know when every last drop of blood has been squeezed out of a stone. They usually need to undergo at least two cringe-inducing spin-off flops before their nostrils are able to detect the scent of coffee. (For the record; someone needs to tell Matt Groening The Simpsons passed their use by date way back in about 2004!)
But this could be VERY GOOD NEWS for Kit! Those very same spin-off flops could be exactly what the doctor ordered for his post-Thrones career. For example; Kit could explore Jon Snow’s early years with Jon & Theon: Living A Stark Lie, or get back together with an ice-walking zombified Ygritte in Love Beyond The Wall, or even explore the big first season plot device largely left thereafter on the cutting room floor with; Dancing with Direwolves.
The possibilities are endless! And the best thing for Kit is he doesn’t have to attempt any more of that tricky subtlety, super motivation or deception bizzo necessary in acting jobs outside of his Game of Thrones role. He can just carry on playing variations of Jon Snow for the rest of his career until he becomes the new William Roache – you know, that guy who’s played Ken Barlow on Coro Street for every waking moment of his adult life, from ambitious whippersnapper through to doddery old coot. Now there’s an exciting opportunity!
KIT HARINGTON CONTINUED SUCCESS QUOTIENT: 94%
So, all the options have been explored, I’ve done my math and the best choice is obvious. Kit, get down on one knee and dust off your absolute best impassioned Jon Snow speech. Plead, implore, beg – in that curious faux-Northern accent that’s won the hearts of fair maidens (and the occasional guy) right across the world – for that ONE last chance to save Westeros your acting career from endless winter.
But, for goodness’ sake, don’t treat it like a fragrance campaign shoot – put all your heart and soul into it. Because – not to put too fine a point on it, mate – your whole bloody future is at stake!
The last season of Game of Thrones will be showing on SoHo and NEON from April 15.