Imagine, then, how it must feel to not only bid farewell to that character, but to no longer be that character. That's just what Kit Harington described in a new interview with Esquire : how someone he has devoted a large chunk of his last decade to not only knowing but being is stripped away when "cut" is called for the final time.
"My final day of shooting, I felt fine... I felt fine... I felt fine... Then I went to do my last shots and started hyperventilating a bit," he said. "Then they called, 'Wrap!' And I just fucking broke down. It was this onslaught of relief and grief about not being able to do this again. It wasnt so much about Jon. It was about not being in this world, not getting to smell those smells, fight those fights, be with these people-the whole package."
The idea of being so personally connected to a character is an interesting one. Harington has seen his character come of age just as he himself has come of age. When the show aired its first episode, the English actor was just 24 years old, embarking on his first real acting role, and HBO series at that.
Now, eight years later, he's a bonafide star. He's met his wife, actress Rose Leslie, on the show (she played Ygritte). He's hosted Saturday Night Live, and seems primed, with the ending of Thrones, to move on to the next stage of his career. But that requires a goodbye that sounds like it'd be tough for anyone.
"The weirdest bit was when we came off set and they started taking the costume off and it felt like being skinned," he said. "It felt like they were unceremoniously, for the last time, ripping off this character. I was still blubbering my tears," he says, before describing the costume department of the show ripping his Jon Snow sleeves. "'I need to say goodbye,'" he recalls telling them. "But it was too late. He was gone."
Check out Men's Health's exclusive video with Game of Thrones' own Jaime Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, below: