Kit Harington’s been one of the biggest stars to emerge from the cultural juggernaut that is Game Of Thrones, his Jon Snow functioning more or less as a protagonist in a show that’s got one of the best ensembles on TV. Now, Harington is cleansing his palate with a play, starring alongside Johnny Flynn in a London revival of Sam Shepard’s True West.
As a new interview with the BBC makes clear, Harington is not only happy onstage, but he’s in no rush to return to HBO. “It was emotional to leave the job definitely,” he says. “But I wouldn’t say I was sad: if like me you go all the way back to the pilot of Game of Thrones that’s almost 10 years of your life - that’s really unusual in an actor’s career. It was a huge emotional upheaval leaving that family. But would I want to go back and do more? Not on your life.”
How about a cameo role on the forthcoming Game Of Thrones prequel (as an ancestor of Jon Snow, the BBC posits) or one of the network’s three-dozen other Thrones spinoffs? “His answer remains an unequivocal no,” the BBC writes. “He’s enjoying stage-work too much.”
His comments evoke those of Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint, who recently acknowledged how difficult it was to spend so much of one’s formative years on a single project. “But it did feel like stepping out of an institution,” Grint said. “It was nice to breathe the fresh air and now I’m really enjoying stepping further away from that blue-screen world.”
Harington sounds like he’s in a similar place—he may also be burned by the shrugs that met his leading man film debut, Pompeii—but old habits die hard. When asked about the most difficult aspects of the production, True West director Matthew Dunster said it was “persuading Kit he can’t always be the winner.” He added, “At one point in rehearsal Johnny put a cable around Kit’s neck for maybe five seconds and Kit freaked - he wasn’t happy at all.”
After 10 years of playing a reincarnated, dragon-blooded warrior, can you really blame him?