The fantasy hit Game of Thrones is a mega-hit, still breaking records all over the world. It’s season 7 premiere reached 30 million views, smashing records for both HBO and TV fantasy genre in general. It’s a phenomenon – and not slowing down.
Of all the characters (and ask any Game of Thrones fan – there’s hundreds of characters), Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington, is one of the biggest fan favorites. In terms of story – it’s easy to see why. He’s an illegitimate child of the Starks, the royals of the North, starting as an underdog in the Night’s Watch (sort of a border patrol) and quickly ascending the ranks. Throughout the previous seasons, he has (spoiler alert!) united his people with the barbarian wildlings of the North, fought head to head against nearly unstoppable snow zombies, died, was resurrected, and won a gruesome battle against the sadistic monster Ramsay Bolton. But his friends will simply introduce him as “King of the North.”
In real life, his likeability is obvious. He’s a handsome, talented, humble guy with amazing curly locks who has gone on record about not liking talking about himself very much. A serious artist, the following are facts he probably wouldn’t announce at any cocktail party. Hey man, as true fans we love ya Kit – but nevertheless – here are 15 things Kit Harington (probably) doesn’t want you to know.
15 He’s Illegitimately descended from English Royalty
We’ve written previously about his royal heritage. Through his father’s side, Kit can trace his lineage through eight generations to English royalty. Specifically, his great-great-great-great (breath) great-great-great-great grandfather, was King Charles II of England. Technically, for a time Charles II was King of England, as well as Ireland and Scotland.
But here’s the catch – he’s an illegitimate descendent of royalty, just like his character, Jon Snow.
Though Charles II had no official heirs with his queen, he had a dozen (or more) illegitimate children from women who were not his wife—an interesting case of art imitating life. Though Kit Harington may never be King of England, Jon Snow IS King of the North. Whether Snow eventually becomes King of Westeros remains to be seen.
14 His ancestor, John Harington, invented the flushing toilet
Contrary to popular belief, the notion that the flushing toilet was invented by Thomas Crapper is an urban myth. True credit goes to John Harington, born in 1590. Though the modern flushing toilet is much more advanced than what John Harington designed, he came up with the first “water closet” or flushing toilet, called an “Ajax” at the time, later nicknamed to a “Jake.”
Some historians think that John Harington is the true origin of the slang term for the toilet, “John” – but this is disputed and so far can’t be proven. What we do know is that Queen Elizabeth loved the invention and had one installed herself. It would be more than 200 years before the invention became popular amongst the masses.
I can’t think of many inventions outside electricity, modern plumbing, and the flushing toilet that has improved society so much. Pretty cool ancestors, you got there, Harington!!
13 He developed an early dislike for George R.R. Martin
Long before he played Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, Kit Harington used to work in a bookstore. The book series that Game of Thrones is based on, A Song of Ice and Fire, was an international best seller. It was no different in the bookstore where he worked.
Part of Harington’s job was physically lifting stacks and stacks of heavy copies of the A Song of Ice and Fire series and moving them around the store. Harington, over time, started to resent this chore, and began disliking George RR Martin for putting him through it.
Ironic that he himself would become synonymous with the story. I’m sure he has since changed his mind about the man who is responsible for writing the story that has changed his life.
12 His full birth name is stuffy
The name Christopher Catesby Harington doesn’t quite roll of the tongue, does it? Sounds a bit…fancy, especially for American audiences. No doubt “Kit” agrees. He was named after Christopher Marlowe, who was a 16thh century playwright and contemporary of Shakespeare. Christopher went by “Kit”, and so Christopher Catesby Harington has become known as the same.
Apparently “Kit” stuck right away, and as we have mentioned in a previous article, he didn’t even know his real name until he was 11. He was later quoted as saying, “That was kind of a bizarre existential crisis for an 11-year-old to have, but in the end I always stuck with Kit, because I felt that’s who I was. I’m not really a Chris.”
Yeah, I think the fans would agree that it suits you, Kit!
11 He hates pretentious titles
Though Kit Harington has a fancy lineage and is descended from royalty, he isn’t having any of it. In fact, he detests the tradition around royalty altogether. A few years ago he was quoted in a Metro interview as saying, “There’s an unhealthy obsession in America with royalty and the class system, ‘Oh, my God, you’re the son of a duke!’ I’m not an anti-royalist, but who gives a s**t?”
I’m sure Kit’s not alone in that sentiment! He went on further, discussing his hate of the show Downton Abbey, one of his dislikes we’ve written about earlier “I really disagree with Downton Abbey on lots of f****** levels. It celebrates the class system, and its kind of overall message seems to be, “Wasn’t it good when everybody knew their place within society?”…We got out of that, and thank the f*** we did.”
That’s awesome, Jon Snow, er, I mean Kit. I can totally see why you were cast.
10 He wore a wig in season one of Game of Thrones
I knew I wasn’t crazy when I thought that Jon Snow’s hair suddenly improved after the first season. Something about it the first season just looked not quite right. Now I know why!
It wasn’t that he couldn’t grow curly locks – it’s just that they weren’t long enough when they started filming the first season. So they game him a wig. An imperfect wig, but still pretty good by TV standards.
Later, as his hair grew, it far outshined the wig and became one of the signature physical traits of the character. He ditched the wig after season one—what you see now is all pure Kit Harington. Interestingly enough, while he was shooting the film Testament of Youth, he had to don a short hair wig in order to hide his long hair.
9 He’s a short guy
Hey, I’m a short guy too. No shame in it! But it’s funny how on TV with camera angles and framing it’s really hard to tell. Kit Harington is 5’8” – but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a hugely popular leading man and dating one of the most beautiful women on TV.
Kit Harington has joined the ranks of dozens other enormously successful short actors, including Tom Cruise (5’6”), Michael J. Fox (5’4”), Robin Williams (5’7”), Dustin Hoffman (5’5”), Al Pacino (5’6”), Daniel Radcliffe (5’4”), James McAvoy (5’6”) and, of course his fellow actor on Game of Thrones, Peter Dinklage (4’4”).
The television and film industry is definitely an equal opportunity employer in the height regard. Let that be an inspiration, all you short guys out there! It’s not an excuse for not succeeding! But don’t get all Napoleon about it. No one likes that. Thankfully, Kit Harrington seems as humble as they come.
8 He hates his birthday
What? Who on earth hates their birthday?!
As it turns out, people like Kit Harington, who was born on December 26th, do.
Yikes, I kind of empathize with that one. Do people just lump your Christmas present and your birthday present together? Do you just lose out on half your present loot? Ok, it’s not all about presents. But how can you ever spend birthdays with friends? Isn’t everybody visiting home? Are you stuck with your family for Christmas AND your birthday?!
Says Kit, “It's always the same... my whole family just descends on my birthday and I get no attention. So I always end up getting really grumpy and selfish on my birthday. It's always the same... I go to my local pub.”
Something tells me that after all that Game of Thrones cash, he’s not crying in his beer.
7 His first film was a poorly received video game adaptation
Hey don’t be me wrong – if I was offered a part in a major video game film adaptation I would take it in heartbeat. And so did Kit – his first film was Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, the latest sequel in a movie franchise that’s based on a survival-horror themed video game.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D was absolutely savaged by critics, receiving a 5% composite score by Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences rated it slightly better, with a 35% score. Says Ethan Gilsdorf of The Boston Globe, “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D quickly devolves into a smorgasbord of sutured faces and blades poking the viewer in the eye.”
Luckily, Kit was not specifically criticized in the film, and it seems not to have injured his career in any way. The $20 million film bombed, grossing barely over $17 million domestically, but eventually made it’s money back internationally, with a total of approximately $52 million altogether.
6 Before stardom, he primarily aimed to be a journalist, a cameraman or a war correspondent
I always find it interesting where people in life eventually end up. In Harington’s case, it’s fascinating that what he originally wanted for a career is still kind of loosely related to where he ended up.
Though he’s not a journalist himself, he speaks with entertainment journalists frequently.
Though he’s not a cameraman, he interacts with cameramen everyday on set, no doubt making friends with more than a few.
And though he’ll probably never be a war correspondent, he shoots major scenes of fictional medieval battle often, in a show that’s all about war and politics.
Seems to me he gets a taste of all of it, doesn’t he? It all makes me kind of think he was just destined for the role of Jon Snow.
5 He hates public transportation
Harington used to love public transportation, taking the bus nearly everywhere he needed it to go. But he gave it up for two reasons.
First, admirably, Harington is not very vain and actually detests seeing his face stuck everywhere in ads for Game of Thrones. As the show increased in popularity, so did the posters and banners. He started to really hate it when he was shooting an unrelated project, and the director would have to cut the scene when a bus with his face on it would pass through the shot.
The second reason? Harington’s sense of direction is pretty bad, and he would often end up lost using public transportation.
I’m sure he can find someone willing to drive him around.
4 He is scared of flying
Harington is absolutely terrified of flying. Which I can only imagine becomes more and more difficult as his fame continues to rise—more opportunities mean he will have to shoot in more places.
So far, he’s developed a few pre-flight rituals to assuage his fears – including a tapping pattern, a few glasses of wine, and a lucky pen. He was quoted recently in Conde Nast Traveler saying, “I still touch the plane three times on the way in and on the way out! It’s a bit of a ritual. I’m still not good at taking off. The more you fly the more unsettling it is, because you realize how much more likely it will be for you to crash. I am getting better at it though.”
Still the safest way to travel. Be thankful you’re not stuck flying by dragon!
3 He’s scared of spiders
Harington really hates spiders. Doesn’t everybody? This is pretty common.
But he has an interesting twist on his fear – he doesn’t like killing animals either. Although, as far as I’m concerned, spiders aren’t so much “animals” as they are “demons from the underworld” so he gets a lot of credit for having empathy for such terrifying creatures.
In The Red Bulletin, when asked if he kills spiders, he said, “No, I hate killing anything. I can’t bear it. They’re probably more scared of me than I am of them. I have to get someone to move them.”
When asked what he would do if he was in a room with a woman that was also afraid of spiders, he said, “I find most women have far more backbone than I have.”
That’s actually kind of adorable. You know something Jon Snow.
2 He’s scared of injections
Kit Harington once said, “There’s nothing I’d rather do than get paid for swinging a sword.” Kind of ironic that a guy who plays a character that lugs around a giant Valerian steel broadsword that he uses to smash white walkers to smithereens has a problem with needles that are fraction of the size of those sharp blades. But there you have it.
Harington reportedly would like to give blood, but can’t bring himself to do it because of his fear of needles and injections.
He’s definitely not alone there. According to the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th edition) – over 10% of Americans have a fear of needles. Just stay healthy, Kit, and I’m sure you’ll have nothing to worry about.
1 He thinks the real world is scarier than Game of Thrones
Harington recently sat down with Time magazine and had an in-depth interview. In it, he discussed how Game of Thrones reflected the world, and how the real world has become scarier to him than it was when he started the show.
“…the world, in my view, seems to be shifting again, breaking apart. There is a lot of chaos in the world right now, whether it’s implemented by our government, purposeful chaos or not. It’s interesting being in a TV show that is not reflecting the world, but at the same time is…And also, until very recently, the big power players in Westeros were far more Machiavellian than our big power players. Unfortunately, until recently. Now, Westeros maybe feels like a nice escapism compared to what you’re seeing on the news, because the world’s politics has gotten very, very dark in recent weeks and months.”
I’m not sure what’s scarier – watching the news or watching a white walker attack. For now, I’ll just stick to watching Game of Thrones.