It’s bizarre to think there was a time when Jon Snow wasn’t the beloved focal point of Game Of Thrones. Even those who don’t watch the series know who Jon Snow is, if only because of the endless fan speculation over Jon’s death, then his resurrection, and then his parents. Even if he’s not your favorite character, few of us outright hate the dude, especially given how essential his narrative has become as the series builds to its final episodes. But there was a time when people actually hated that moody, handsome fan favorite, like when Vox called him the worst part of the series, or Marie Claire’s passionate plea to keep him dead, to name a few. Harington heard your harsh words, and he’s still not over it.
As sensitive as the man he plays, Harington is still broken up by the criticism his character faced in the earlier days of Thrones. “My memory is always ‘the boring Jon Snow,’” Harington told Variety, reflecting on reviews of the show’s first few seasons. “And that got to me after a while,” he said. “Some of those words that were said about it stuck in my craw about him being less entertaining, less showy.”
Harington got even more stuck in his head at the end of Season 5, when he became one of the most famous characters on TV. When his former Night’s Watch Commander was stabbed to death and became pretty much all fans could talk about, from obsessively speculating over Harington’s physical whereabouts to his hair length for plot clues, it threw him into another dark mental spiral.
“When you become the cliffhanger of a TV show, and a TV show probably at the height of its power, the focus on you is fucking terrifying,” he told the trade. The crazed attention was so much he started going to therapy—celebs, they’re just like us! “I had to feel very grateful for what I have, but I felt incredibly concerned about whether I could even fucking act.” Jon Snow may know nothing, but Kit Harington smartly learned to stop reading reviews and just tune out the noise.