Growing Up Game of Thrones: How the Cast Has Changed Since Season 1

The eighth and final season of the hit HBO fantasy series is set to premiere on April 14.

By Corinne Heller Apr 04, 2019 5:57 PMTags

Can you believe it's been eight years since we first learned winter is coming?

Well, winter has arrived on Game of Thrones, and the characters are set for an epic showdown on the upcoming eighth and final season.

The cast and characters have certainly come a long way since the HBO fantasy series' 2011 debut. Original stars Sophie Turner, 23, who plays Sansa Stark, and Maisie Williams, who plays her warrior sister Arya Stark, 21, were just teenagers when the first season aired. The two have grown to become beautiful young women, Turner is now also an X-Men movie star, and she is also set to join House Jonas; she and Joe Jonas got engaged in 2017.

Speaking of romantic couples, Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow on Game of Throneslast year married Rose Leslie, who played his character's first onscreen love interest. The two were all smiles at the Game of Thrones season eight premiere in New York on Wednesday.

Game of Thrones Season 8 Premiere

See photos of the Game of Thrones cast and characters in their first season and see how much they've changed.

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark

My oh my has Sansa Stark changed. Sophie Turner's Game of Thrones character has grown into her own. 

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen

All hail the queen! Emilia Clarke's Daenerys Targaryen has been through her fair share of fire (literally) and emerged intent on reigning over the Seven Kingdoms.

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark

Has anybody changed more than Maisie Williams' Arya Stark? Aside from the growing up thing, Arya Stark has come into her own, rebounding from blindness and becoming one badass woman.

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

Wigs come and go, but Lena Headey's Cersei Lannister remains deadly and cunning.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister

He's down a hand and been through quite a number of experiences, but Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's Jaime Lannister is still around and kicking in season eight of Game of Thrones.

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister

Beards make the man, according to some, and Peter Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister listened. A few scars over the eight seasons never hurt anybody.

Kit Harington as Jon Snow

Kit Harington's Jon Snow embraced the man-bun after his brush with death. Well, it was more than a brush with death, he actually died. Now he's alive and well, reunited with his sisters and in a relationship and alliance with Daenerys Targaryen.

Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth

Gwendoline Christie burst onto the scene as Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones season two. She has a long history with Jaime Lannister, but is currently aligned with Sansa Stark.

Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth

Liam Cunningham's character first debuted in season two when he set sail with Melisandre. He was instrumental in bringing Jon Snow back to life in season six and is his confidant now in season seven.

Aidan Gillen as Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish

Aidan Gillen made his debut on Game of Thrones in season one.

Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei

Nathalie Emmanuel joined Game of Thrones as Missandei in season three of the hit HBO drama. She was a slave interpreter before joining team Dany.

John Bradley as Samwell Tarly

John Bradley has been playing Samwell since the beginning of the series.

Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy

From Stark hostage in season one to team Dany in season eight, Alfie Allen's Theon Greyjoy has been put through quite a few ordeals during his time on Game of Thrones.

Conleth Hill as Varys

Conleth Hill's Varys has been around since the first season of Game of Thrones. The eunuch is now aligned with Daenerys Targaryen.

Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark

Isaac Hempstead Wright debuted as Bran Stark in the first season of the HBO fantasy hit drama. After appearing in seasons one-four, he sat season five out, only to return for season six and face the death of his companion, Hodor.

Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane

Kristofer Hivju popped up as Wildling Tormund Giantsbane in season three of Game of Thrones. He eventually aligns himself with Jon Snow.

Carice van Houten as Melisandre

The red hair color may change, but Carice van Houten as Melisandre stays the same year after year. Viewers owe a lot to her, she brought Jon Snow back to life and gave us that great meme moment when she took off her necklace and revealed her true form.

Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont

One of the few to survive from season one to the current season seven, Iain Glen's Jorah Mormont started as an exiled knight serving Daenerys Targaryen. By season six, he revealed to Dany he was stricken with greyscale and she instructs him to get better, she will need his counsel.

Hannah Murray as Gilly

Hannah Murray first showed up as Gilly in Game of Thrones season two and went on the run with Samwell in season three, finally reaching Oldtown in season six.

Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna Tyrell

Diana Rigg made her Game of Thrones debut as Lady Olenna Tyrell (or the Queen of Thorns) in season three. Eventually she joins team Dany after meeting with Ellaria Sand in Dorne. And tell Cersei...she wants her to know it was her.

Jerome Flynn as Bronn

Jerome Flynn debuted as Bronn in season one of Game of Thrones. He was instrumental in helping Jaime learn to fight with his left hand and returned to King's Landing with Jaime.

Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo

The actor who played Daenerys Targaryen's beloved barbarian husband in season one went on to become none other than Aquaman in the new DC movies. He also stars on the show Frontier. He and Emilia Clarke are friends and occasionally get together.

Jack Gleeson as King Joffrey

The actor who played the psychopathic teen monarch has not acted in recent years. He attended the Game of Thrones season eight premiere in New York and reunited with Sophie Turner, much to her fiancé Joe Jonas' mock horror.

Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark

The actress who played the Stark family matriarch has in recent years appeared on shows such as 24: Live Another Day, and The White Princess.

Sean Bean as Nedd Stark

The actor who played the Stark family patriarch has in recent years appeared on shows such as Legends, Wasted, The Frankenstein Chronicles, The Oath, Medici, and Curfew.

Rose Leslie as Ygritte

Ygritte was Jon Snow's first onscreen love. In 2018, the actress married Kit Harington, the actor who plays him. In recent years, she has appeared on shows such as Luther and The Good Fight.

Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell

The actress has in recent years appeared on on shows like Penny Dreadful and recently portrayed a character in the Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance reboot series.

Pedrol Pascal as Oberyn Martell

The actor played Javier Peña on Netflix's Narcos and also stars in Wonder Woman 1984 and the new Star Wars series The Mandalorian.

Richard Madden as Robb Stark

The actor who played the King of the North went on to star on the show Bodyguard on Netflix and also played the prince in Disney's live-action movie Cinderella.

Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen

The actor who played Game of Thrones not-so-golden boy and evil brother of Daenerys Targaryen in season one went on to star on shows such as The Fear, Manhattan, Marcella, Hang Ups, Counterpart, and Legion.

View More Photos From Game of Thrones Cast: Then and Now

The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones will premiere on HBO on Sunday, April 14.