Kit Harington

Christopher Catesby "Kit" Harington (born 26 December 1986) is an English actor and producer. Born in Acton, Greater London, Harington graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama in 2008. While still at drama school, he landed the leading role of Albert, making his professional acting debut in the National Theatre and West End critically acclaimed adaptation of the play War Horse. His performance was seen by Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, in a private theatre visit in 2009.[1]

In 2011, Harington rose to prominence for his breakthrough role as Jon Snow in the HBO television series Game of Thrones, which brought him international recognition. He has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and a Critics Choice Television Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, among other accolades. In 2017, he was honoured with the Giffoni Experience Award by the Giffoni Film Festival.[2]

Harington has appeared in several feature films such as the historical romance film Pompeii (2014), British drama Testament of Youth (2014) and critically acclaimed animated How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014). He also developed, produced and starred in the BBC historical period drama mini-series Gunpowder (2017), which has since been picked up by HBO and Endemol, and distributed worldwide.[3][4]

Kit Harington
Kit Harington SDCC 2013 (cropped)
Harington at Comic-Con, July 2013
Born Christopher Catesby Harington
26 December 1986 (age 31)
Acton, London, England
Residence Canonbury, London, England
Ipswich, Suffolk, England
Nationality British
Alma mater Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London
Occupation Actor, producer
Years active 2008–present
Spouse(s) Rose Leslie (m. 2018)

Early life and ancestry

Harington was born on 26 December 1986 in Acton, London,[5][6] to Deborah Jane (Catesby), a former playwright, and Sir David Harington, 15th Baronet, a businessman.[7][8] His full name is Christopher Catesby Harington.[9] His mother named him after Christopher Marlowe, whose first name was shortened to Kit,[10] a name Harington prefers. He didn't find out his full name until he was 11 years old[11] Harington's uncle was Sir Nicholas John Harington,[12] 14th Baronet,[13] and his patrilineal great-grandfather was Sir Richard Harington, 12th Baronet. The Haringtons are an ancient family that once spelled their name Haverington and derived the name from their estate, a lordship in Cumberland. The first person identified with their name was one Robert De Haverington, the son of Osulphus or Oswulf whose manor was Flemingby.[14] Through his paternal grandmother, Lavender Cecilia Denny, Harington's eighth-great-grandfather was Charles II of England.[15] Also, through his father, Harington descends from Scottish politician Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville.[16]

He is related to people who were involved on opposite sides of the Gunpowder Plot. He claims a family connection with the leader of the plot Robert Catesby on his mother's side, while through his father's side, he was related to James I (grandfather of Charles II) the target of the assassination attempt, and Lord Harington who was in the Houses of Parliament that Catesby and his co-conspirators tried to blow up. Another relation John Harington (different branch of the family) observed at the age of 13 the displayed head of Catesby after his execution and later commented on it.[17][18]

Harington was a pupil at the Southfield Primary School from 1992 to 1998. When he was 11, his family moved to Worcestershire[19][20] and he studied at the Chantry High School in Martley until 2003.[21] He became interested in acting after watching a production of Waiting for Godot when he was 14,[22] and he performed in several school productions.[21]

He attended Worcester Sixth Form College, where he studied Drama and Theatre (2003–05). When he was 17, he was inspired to attend a drama school after seeing a performance by Ben Whishaw as Hamlet in 2004.[19][23] Harington moved back to London when he was eighteen and, a year later, attended the Central School of Speech and Drama, graduating in 2008.[24][25]

Career

2008–2010: Early work in theatre

Before acting, Harington originally wanted to become a journalist.[26] While still at drama school, he landed the role of Albert in the National Theatre's adaptation of War Horse.[9][26][27] The play won two Olivier Awards and gained Harington a great deal of recognition. He was later cast in his second play Posh, a dark ensemble comedy about upper-class men attending Oxford University.[9]

2011–present: Breakthrough with Game of Thrones and film roles

Kit Harington Comic-Con 2011
Harington at Comic Con in 2011

After War Horse, Harington auditioned for and landed his first television role as Jon Snow in the television series Game of Thrones. The show debuted in 2011 to great critical acclaim and was quickly picked up by the network for a second season.[28][29] Harington's role is largely filmed in Iceland and Northern Ireland.[30] The series was renewed for a seventh season,[31] which premiered on 16 July 2017,[32] and will conclude with its eighth season in 2018/19.[33] Game of Thrones takes place on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos and chronicles the power struggles among noble families as they fight for control of the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms.[34] Jon Snow is introduced as the illegitimate son of Ned Stark, the honorable lord of Winterfell, an ancient fortress in the North of the fictional continent of Westeros.[35]

Harington has received praise for his performance. In 2012, Harington was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television for the role.[36] In 2016, Harington was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.[37] He said, "It is a serious understatement to say that I am somewhat stunned ... For my work on Game of Thrones to be recognized in this way is an emotional moment for me. I could not be more humbled."[38] In 2017, Harington became one of the highest paid actors on television and earned £2 million per episode of Game of Thrones (based on shared percentages of syndication payments).[39][40]

Harington made his cinematic debut in 2012 as Vincent in Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. The horror film was based on the survival horror video game Silent Hill 3, and was a sequel to the film Silent Hill.[41] He was honoured with Actor of the Year at the Young Hollywood Awards 2013, which celebrates the best emerging young talent in film, music and television.[42]

Harington's first major lead role in a feature film occurred when he played Milo in the film Pompeii. Production for the film commenced in 2013 and took place in and around Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Some scenes were also shot in the actual city of Pompeii itself.[43] The film was a modest box office success and received mixed reviews from critics. That year, Harington also voiced Eret in How to Train Your Dragon 2,[44] which was a critically acclaimed, box-office success,[45] won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film and received an Academy Award nomination.[46][47]

In 2014, Harington also appeared alongside Jeff Bridges in the film Seventh Son, a poorly received fantasy–adventure film.[48][49] Harington played Billy Bradley, Jeff Bridges first apprentice killed early in the movie by a character played by Julianne Moore. Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander and Emily Watson also star.[50] The film was released in wide distribution in the UK on 16 January 2015. Its world premiere was in The Centrepiece Gala, supported by the Mayor of London, at the British Film Institute London Film Festival in October 2014.[51][52]

In December 2014, it was announced that he would feature in Xavier Dolan's upcoming movie The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, with Jessica Chastain, Kathy Bates, Thandie Newton and Susan Sarandon.[53] He starred in the 2015 HBO comedy 7 Days in Hell, a short film about a seven-day tennis match.[54]

In June 2015, it was confirmed that Harington would star in Martin Koolhoven's upcoming western thriller film Brimstone, replacing Robert Pattinson.[55] In 2016, Harington starred as the main villain in the first-person shooter video game Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.[56]

On 19 February 2017, it was reported that he would write, star and executive produce a three-part historical drama for BBC based on the real story of the Gunpowder Plot. Harington played the role of his ancestor Robert Catesby alongside actors Mark Gatiss, Liv Tyler and Peter Mullan.[57]

On 15 June 2018, it was announced that Harington would star in the West End upcoming stage play True West, written by Sam Shepard and directed by Matthew Dunster. The play is set to premiere on November 2018 at the Vaudeville Theatre in London.[58]

Endorsements

In March 2014, Harington was named the face of Jimmy Choo, starring in the fall/winter 14 men's lines.[59] In 2015, he returned to front Jimmy Choo's new menswear campaign for Spring/Summer 15.[60]

In 2016, he became a spokesman for Nissan's premium brand Infiniti. He starred in a short film marking the launch of Infiniti Q60 titled "Tyger".[61]

In March 2017, Harington was announced as the face of Dolce & Gabbana The One fragrance for men.[62]

Personal life

Since he moved back to London in 2006, Harington lives in Islington. In 2017, he purchased a £1.75 million 15th-century country home in Ipswich, Suffolk.[63]

Harington began an on-off relationship with Game of Thrones co-star Rose Leslie in 2012. They announced their engagement through the "Forthcoming Marriages" section of The Times in 27 September 2017.[64] On 23 June 2018, the couple married at the Rayne Church in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, followed by a reception at the Leslie family's 12th century Wardhill Castle.[65]

Charity work

In 2015, Harington joined a star studded cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Nicole Kidman, James McAvoy and Christopher Eccleston in a charity production of The Children's Monologues, conceived by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle. The performance took place at the Royal Court Theatre in London, on 25 October. Proceeds went to Boyle’s creative arts charity Dramatic Need, which helps vulnerable children in South Africa and Rwanda to build hope and self-belief in the face of conflict, trauma and hardship.[66][67][68]

Since April 2016, Harington has been an ambassador for The Royal Mencap Society; a leading organisation in the United Kingdom foccused in helping people with learning disabilities that also provides support for their families and caregivers.[69]

On 16 April 2016, he was appointed as a patron of Longlands Care Farm, a charity located on a working livestock farm in Worcestershire, in which they care for, mentor and support disadvantaged and vulnerable young people aged 14 – 19 who are not succeeding in mainstream education.[70][71][72]

On 12 September 2016, Harington, as well as Cate Blanchett, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Peter Capaldi, Douglas Booth, Neil Gaiman, Keira Knightley, Juliet Stevenson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Stanley Tucci, featured in a video from the United Nations' refugee agency UNHCR to help raise awareness of the global refugee crisis.[73] The video, titled "What They Took With Them", has the actors reading a poem, written by Jenifer Toksvig and inspired by primary accounts of refugees, and is part of UNHCR's #WithRefugees campaign, which also includes a petition to governments to expand asylum to provide further shelter, integrating job opportunities, and education.[74]

On August 2017, with a video backing Mencap #StopSleepInCrisis, Harington called on the government to fund six years' back pay for overnight carers. In a personal message of support, Harington said: "The learning disability sector in the UK is on the brink of crisis. It is faced with a back-pay bill of £400 million which it cannot pay. Many of the providers of this essential, ‘sleep-in’ service, face bankruptcy. And some of the most vulnerable people in our society will be left, without care, without hope and without an independent future. Stand with Mencap and stand with the incredible people our colleagues support and care for every day."[75]

On 15 June 2018, Harington backed the 130 challenge, a charity campaign focused on raising the funds to save Townbridge's Town Hall Arts in Wiltshire. Harington stated: "Small-scale out-of-London venues like Town Hall Arts are becoming a more and more precious commodities, for the communities they serve and also for the many actors, musicians and artists they provide paid work for. They are a vital part of the arts ecology and it’s only with these sorts of venues that actors like myself have a chance of building a career in the arts."[76]

Filmography

Film

Title Year Role Director Notes Ref(s)
Silent Hill: Revelation 2012 Vincent Smith Michael J. Bassett [41]
Pompeii 2014 Milo Paul W. S. Anderson [43]
How to Train Your Dragon 2 Eret Dean DeBlois Voice [44]
Testament of Youth Roland Leighton James Kent [50]
Seventh Son Billy Bradley Sergei Bodrov [48]
Spooks: The Greater Good 2015 Will Holloway Bharat Nalluri [77]
Brimstone 2016 Samuel Martin Koolhoven [55]
The Death and Life of John F. Donovan 2018 John F. Donovan Xavier Dolan Post-production [78]
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 2019 Eret Dean DeBlois In production
Voice
[79]

Television

Title Year Role Network Notes Ref.
Game of Thrones 2011–present Jon Snow HBO Lead role [80]
7 Days in Hell 2015 Charles Poole Television film [54]
Gunpowder 2017 Robert Catesby BBC One 3 episodes; also developer and executive producer [81]

Video games

Title Year Voice role Ref.
Game of Thrones 2015 Jon Snow [82]
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare 2016 Salen Kotch (Also Performance capture and Likeness) [83]

Theatre

Title Year Role Notes Ref(s)
War Horse 2008–2009 Albert Narracott Royal National Theatre and New London Theatre [84][85]
Posh 2010 Ed Montgomery Royal Court Theatre [9][86]
The Vote 2015 Colin Henderson Donmar Warehouse [86]
Doctor Faustus 2016 Faustus Duke of York's Theatre [87]
True West 2018-2019 Austin Vaudeville Theatre [88]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2011 Scream Award Best Ensemble (shared with the cast) Game of Thrones Nominated [89]
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (shared with the cast) Nominated [90]
IGN Award Best TV Hero Nominated [91]
IGN People's Choice Award Best TV Hero Nominated [91]
Saturn Award Best Supporting Actor on Television Nominated [92]
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated [93]
2012 Gold Derby TV Awards Best Ensemble of the Year Nominated [94]
Golden Nymph Award Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Nominated [95]
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated [96]
2013 Young Hollywood Awards Actor of the Year Won [97]
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (shared with the cast) Game of Thrones Nominated [98]
Gold Derby TV Awards Best Ensemble of the Year Won [99]
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Ensemble in a Drama Series Won [100]
2014 Gold Derby TV Awards Best Ensemble of the Year Nominated [101]
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Ensemble in a Drama Series Won [102]
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (shared with the cast) Nominated [103]
2015 Empire Award Empire Hero Award (shared with the cast) Won [104]
Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor on Television Nominated [105]
Gold Derby TV Awards Best Ensemble of the Year Won [106]
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Nominated [107]
Best Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (shared with the cast) Nominated [108]
2016 Gold Derby TV Awards Best Drama Supporting Actor Won [109]
Best Ensemble of the Year Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Nominated [110]
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Nominated [111]
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (shared with the cast) Nominated [112]
Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor on Television Nominated [113]
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Nominated [114]
Best Ensemble in a Drama Series Won
2017 Giffoni Film Festival Giffoni Experience Award Won [115][116]
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (shared with the cast) Game of Thrones Nominated [117]
2018 44th Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor on a Television Series Nominated [118]

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