There are a lot of awesome, horrible, fun, and crazy characters on “Game of Thrones.” If you’ve watched the show you know that every single character is very distinct in how they look, and you are not likely to confuse them with each other. While you might never mistake the TV show’s popular characters on the small screen, you might not recognize the actors who play them if you were to walk by them on the street. The makeup artists and costume designers for “Game of Thrones” have done a really amazing job when it comes to completely transforming the TV show’s stars into the men and women they portray. Here are 25 “Game of Thrones” characters you might not recognize in real life.
Character: John Snow / Actor: Kit Harington
Jon Snow is one of the most popular characters on “Game of Thrones” and the actor who plays him, Kit Harrington, has done an amazing job of showcasing the character’s tortured life and his immense strength in the face of adversity. If you were to walk up to Kit Harrington on the street you might recognize him, but it could take a double take before you were able to draw the connection. Maybe it’s the glasses or maybe it’s the fact that he’s not wearing his usual battle gear.
Character: Sansa Stark / Actress: Sophie Turner
It’s truly amazing what a transformation can be accomplished by putting Sophie Turner into some period clothing and then coloring her hair. She has done a great job in her role as Sansa Stark. Truth be told, she’s a beauty on the show and in real life. She’s the elder daughter of Lady Catelyn and Lord Eddard Stark and a true beauty to behold. She does look a little older with the red hair but not enough to be shocking to fans who happen upon her in real life.
Character: Tyrion Lannister / Actor: Peter Dinklage
Peter Dinklage, with his beard and mustache, is one of the few actors on our list who actually looks more out of place in real life than he does as the clean-cut Tyrion Lannister on “Game of Thrones.” You might walk right past him on the street if not for his easy-to-recognize brow and distinctive stature. I have to admit, I find his real-life persona to be more alluring and manly. Plus he acts the heck out of his role so we have mad respect for his skills.
Character: Cersei Lannister / Actress: Lena Headey
I’m a huge fan of GoT but I have to admit I would probably walk right by Lena Headey in real life without paying her a second notice. Her short hair that covers the top of her forehead makes her look nothing like her character, Cersei Lannister. The makeup and hair team for “Game of Thrones” have done an amazing job transforming her into a memorable character. Plus, she freaks us out beyond belief and that’s just an impressive acting job by itself.
Character: Jamie Lannister / Actor: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
We didn’t think it was possible, but Jamie Lannister is even sexier in real life than he is on “Game of Thrones.” Actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau takes his stubble to the extreme while not acting on the popular HBO series. It really works for him and provides a scruffy manly look. He also styles his hair far better than the show’s makeup team does for his character. But we will take him however we can get him.
Character: Daenerys Targaryen / Actress: Emilia Clarke
While Emilia Clarke has some very distinct facial features, she is still a much different-looking character on the show. Her lipstick is toned down which makes her lips less prominent on the show, and her hair is pulled back most of the time to reveal more of her face. In either case, she is a beautiful actress and her character is the type of powerful and thoughtful type of person we want to stand behind and cheer for throughout her quick and surprising rise to power.
Character: Margaery Tyrell / Actress: Natalie Dormer
Natalie Dormer’s character is a master of manipulation who uses her sex appeal and cute smile to get her way. Oddly enough, we feel like she’s more of a dangerous sexy vixen in real life. Her flowing blonde hair makes her look more mature when she’s off the screen. Regardless of her looks, some things can’t be avoided — even with a cute smile, as we learned towards the end of the most recent season of “Game of Thrones.”
Character: Bran Stark / Actor: Isaac Hempstead Wright
His hair’s different, he’s wearing glasses, and he actually smiles in real life. Admittedly upon first look, we would probably walk right past Wright without giving him a second look. He’s actually a pretty “casual stylish” guy in real life. He most certainly looks less weary and world traveled, which makes him look younger. I’m sure the ladies reading this would agree that he’s cute in any form. We expect to see him in many other roles in the years to come.
Character: Ramsay Bolton / Actor: Iwan Rheon
I get the shivers and the shudders every time I look at Ramsay Bolton. His sadistic acts and ominous crazy demeanor are riveting but also incredibly disturbing. In real life, he looks like a really nice, and even likable, guy. His hair is a bit different and his eyes don’t look so dead, which by the way was an impressive feat of acting on his part. He really does a great job of going from sadistic-looking to pretty ordinary in real life.
Character: Lady Melisandre / Actress: Carice Van Houten
Carice Van Houten is hot. Lady Melisandre is not. This is one of the “Game of Thrones” stars we would definitely walk right past on the street without realizing in any way that such a beauty plays the hideous character we see above. It helps that in real life she has a full set of hair and doesn’t look like a gray monster who wants to eat your soul. We give all of the credit to the makeup team for this transformation.
Character: Missandei / Actress: Nathalie Emmanuel
The hair. The hair. The hair. Let’s talk about Nathalie Emmanuel and her hair. She has a full-on afro in “Game of Thrones,” but wears her hair a bit more relaxed in real life. We can’t get over the fact that her dresses on-screen and in everyday appearances seem to match up oddly well. I have to admit that I like her hair pulled back a little more to reveal more of her face and her ears. She’s a sexy female both in real life and on the small screen.
Character: Brienne of Tarth / Actress: Gwendoline Christie
Brienne of Tarth has quickly become one of my favorite characters. I always figured that with her very distinct look on the show that I would spot her in public in seconds. Truth be told, when her hair isn’t combed all the way back, her facial features look completely different. Without the armor, she appears more feminine as well. We even have a photo when she’s smiling and she has a cute smile.
Character: Theon Greyjoy / Actor: Alfie Allen
Greyjoy didn’t start to look crazy until Ramsay got his hands on him. He is actually a really good-looking guy on the show, especially when he’s not being twitchy after being repeatedly tortured. I would probably pass right by him in real life but then do a double take over his face. He seems like a really normal guy you — someone you would have a drink with at the pub without realizing he’s a star on “Game of Thrones.”
Character: Arya Stark / Actress: Maisie Williams
Arya Stark is quickly becoming a fan favorite on “Game of Thrones” and that may be because of her transition from a tomboy to a young woman taking charge of her own life and destiny. We chose to show her extremes, from blind street wanderer to gorgeous young Hollywood starlet. I’m 100% sure I would walk right past this hot actress and only pay attention because she’s gorgeous and not because she’s on “Game of Thrones.”
Character: Varys / Actor: Conleth Hill
Here’s yet another star from GoT who looks better in real life. Actor Conleth Hill looks like a creepy monk-type character on “Game of Thrones,” and because we never fully understand his motives, he’s a bit of a creepy mystery. In real life, he looks like a guy who should be playing a typical TV dad on any other show. He’s a distinguished gentleman who looks like he enjoys a glass of whiskey after a long day.
Character: Peter Bealish / Actor: Aidan Gillen
Take away the beard and mustache and actor Aidan Gillen looks refreshing. He definitely doesn’t look like a brothel owner in real life, which is a step up compared to his cathouse-owning character on “Game of Thrones.” His facial features are distinct, so even with the differences in his appearance we would probably recognize him in real life.
Character: Yara Greyjoy / Actress: Gemma Whelan
Yara Greyjoy is a war-torn lady who is hellbent on restoring honor to her family name. She looks dirty, unafraid of a fight, and is often visibly angry. In real life, Gemma Whelan is a super cutie. I would place her in the “take her home to meet the parents” category. What amazes us most are her beautiful eyes that look so alive, even though they look dark and mysterious on GoT. This is definitely quite the transformation.
Character: Davos Seaworth / Actor: Liam Cunningham
Admittedly, Liam Cunningham is probably one of the most recognizable actors on this list. He pretty much maintains the same hairstyle and facial hair that he wears on the show. His biggest difference are the glasses that he is often spotted wearing when not filming scenes for “Game of Thrones.” His facial hair is a little bit more trimmed but that’s pretty much the biggest difference in his two looks.
Character: Daario Naharis / Actor: Michiel Huisman
Huisman is another actor on our list who we would probably recognize in real life. He wears the same facial hair in real life and his flowing hair is hard to ignore. The coloring in his hair is the biggest change we could spot, but overall he’s the Daario Naharis we have come to love — and even admire — for his devotion to the mother of dragons. Not only would we recognize him, we’d probably stop and try to chat.
Character: Joran Mormont / Actor: Iain Glen
The biggest difference setting Iain Glen apart from his “Game of Thrones” character is the lighter natural hair color he wears when not filming for the show. He’s another actor who appears less worn, torn, and weary than his GoT character. He’s also a bit more clean-cut in real life which makes him look distinguished. We love his casual and confident look.
Character: Rickon Stark / Actor: Art Parkinson
Art Parkinson looks like a young boy going through puberty in real life, and not so much like a Stark who is in a constant battle to protect his land and live up to the family legacy. I would honestly have no inkling that the actor above was on “Game of Thrones” if I didn’t see it with my own eyes. He’s definitely a better-looking character than a real life person.
Character: Osha / Actress: Natalia Tena
Tena’s character is often dirty and her hair is all over the place. Perhaps that’s why seeing her in real life is such an eye opener. She is a real stunner and that is likely owed to the fact that she isn’t covered in dirt in real life. Her darker hair in real life would probably be enough for many fans to walk right by without realizing who she is. She really does become transformed from real life to the small screen.
Character: The Three-Eyed Raven / Actor: Max von Sydow
Max von Sydow is one of those distinguished actors that you see and immediately recognize. His hair is lighter on “Game of Thrones” but ultimately his appearance is unmistakable. He even maintains the same smirk and furrowed brows in real life. It’s as if he is living the character he plays on the show. He does look a little younger in real life and I’m sure he’s not complaining about that.
Character: Ellaria Sand / Actress: Indira Varma
I wouldn’t recognize Indira Varma if I saw her in real life. She wears her hair completely different off-screen than she does for the hit TV show, and she appears to be more whimsical in real life. It’s really amazing how even the smallest makeup choices can transform her into a character that we have all watched with intensity. She’s an interesting personality on the show, that’s for sure.
Character: Samwell Tarley / Actor: John Bradley-West
Give him a much better haircut and a shave, and John Bradley-West is actually a very nice looking young man. His character has become more strong-willed in recent seasons which is great, after watching him admit to being a coward for far too long. His face is definitely recognizable but with his haircut and clean-shaven look, it would probably take me a minute to recognize him in real life.