'Winter Is Coming': The 'Game Of Thrones' Cast In Their First Season And Now

Jordan Claes
Emilia Clarke side-by-side photo. On the left is a picture from Season 1 of 'Game Of Thrones'. On the right, she's holding a dog and smiling.
HBO / @emilia_clarke | HBO / @emilia_clarke

It's been more than a decade since Game of Thrones fans first heard Ned Stark utter those three earth-shattering words: winter is coming. Since then, Game of Thrones has gone on to be revered as one of the greatest series of all time.

Now that House of the Dragon has made its debut and with rumors of a Jon Snow sequel series currently in the works, I thought it'd be fun to do a little GoT retrospective. Have a look below and check out the cast from Season 1, compared to how they look now.

Then: Isaac Hempstead Wright

Bran Stark wandering around Winterfell Keep in 'Game Of Thrones'.

It's funny to look back and see how young Isaac was when he first started playing Bran. Little did anyone realize what a major role the youngest Stark child would come to play as the series went on.

Now: Isaac Hempstead Wright

Photo of Isaac Hempstead Wright at Glastonbury festival, wearing reflective wayfarer sunglasses and a baseball cap.
instagram | @isaachwright

Isaac's acting career since Game of Thrones has been sparse and sporadic, at best. He hasn't acted in a live-action feature film since 2013 when he portrayed Tom Rose opposite Eric Bana in Closed Circuit.

Then: Richard Madden

Richard Madden as Robb Stark, watching Brand shoot an arrow in Season 1 of 'Game Of thrones'.

While few people could argue that Robb Stark wasn't the author of his own demise, his death hit the hardest of arguably any character in Game of Thrones. The events of "The Red Wedding" still haunt us to this day.

Now: Richard Madden

Richard Madden wandering in the foothills with his shirt off, wearing dark circle-rimmed glasses.
instagram | @maddenrichard

Richard's career trajectory has been going up and up these past few years. In 2019, he played Lieutenant Joseph Blake in the Oscar-winning war drama, 1917. This past year, Richard made his MCU debut as Ikaris in Marvel's Eternals.

Then: Sophie Turner

Sansa Stark smiling in Season 1 of 'Game Of Thrones'.

Few characters underwent greater growth than Sansa Stark — save for maybe her sister. Arya. In an incredibly short amount of time, Sansa went from being an innocent and immature young girl to the reigning Queen of the North.

Now: Sophie Turner

Sophie Turner with a Lemur on her shoulder.
instagram | @sophiet

So far, 2022 has been an incredibly busy and eventful year for Sophie Turner. She and her husband, Joe Jonas, welcomed their second child into the world, and Sophie's thrilling new mini-series, The Staircase, has also premiered on HBO Max.

Then: Sean Bean

Sean Bean saying "Winter is coming," to his wife, Catelyn, in 'Game Of Thrones'.
Giphy | Game of Thrones

The best and worst thing to ever happen over the course of Game of Thrones was the death of Eddard Stark. Never before had an audience ever bore witness to a show killing off its principal character in the finale of its debut season.

Now: Sean Bean

Sean Bean sitting in a library, with his hands folded in front of his face, in 'Snowpiercer'.

Sean Bean was already a well-established actor long before he stepped on the set of Game of Thrones. Since he left, not a lot has changed for him career-wise. Sean's still acting and has recently released the captivating family drama series, Marriage.

Then: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Jaime Lannister approaching Ned Stark in Season 1 of 'Game Of Thrones'.

Speaking of incredible character growth, if you had told me back in Season 1 that Jaime Lannister would soon become my favorite character — I'd have called you a liar. His performance is a testament to what can happen when great acting and incredible writing come to a head.

Now: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau standing outside in the winter, sporting a thick beard, with a black D written on his right palm.
instagram | @nikolajwilliamcw

In the past few years, Nikolaj's specialty has been direct-to-video crime dramas. He hasn't starred in a major motion picture since 2016's ill-fated Gods of Egypt, although he recently starred in the Netflix survival drama, Against the Ice.

Then: Jason Momoa

Khal Drogo watching with approval as Daenerys eats a heart in 'Game Of Thrones'.

He may not have been around for very long, but darn it if Jason Momoa didn't capture the hearts and imaginations of GoT fans all over the world with his startling and gripping portrayal of Khal Drogo.

Now: Jason Momoa

Before making his shortlived appearance as Khal Drogo, Jason Momoa was best known for his work in Baywatch: Hawaii and Stargate: Atlantis. Now, he's one of the biggest movie stars on the planet and is set to reprise his role as Arthur Curry/King Orin in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

Then: Maisie Williams

Arya Stark shooting a bow and arrow in Season 1 of 'Game Of Thrones'.

From the very first moment that audiences saw Arya hit a perfect bullseye with her brother's bow, all the way back in episode 1 — you knew that she was going to have a major part to play as the story unfolded. Her battle against Brienne of Tarth is easily a series highlight.

Now: Maisie Williams

Maisie Williams wearing a green sweater, carrying a white purse over her shoulder, smiling at the camera.
instagram | @maisie_williams

Believe it or not, Maisie Williams recently turned 25 years old. She's still acting, having most recently appeared in the FX bio-series, Pistol. This year, she's set to astound audiences once more as Catherine Dior in The New Look.

Then: Kit Harington

Jon Snow in Season 1 of 'Game Of Thrones'.

Back in Season 1 of Game of Thrones, Kit Harington was still so young that he had a hard time growing his beard. He became an instant fan favorite and carried that title with him until the bitter end.

Now: Kit Harington

Kit Harington as Black Knight in 'Eternals'.
Disney | HBO

Don't get me wrong, I was super excited to see Kit in the MCU — especially opposite Richard Madden. But I just can't get over seeing him with short hair; it feels wrong. I for one can't wait to see him reprise his iconic role in the Jon Snow sequel series.

Then: Lena Headey

Cersei Lannister wearing a fur pelt in Winterfell in Season 1 of 'Game Of Thrones'.

Was there ever a character more universally despised than Cersei Lannister? If so, I certainly haven't met them. But as repugnant as the majority of her actions undoubtedly were, there's no denying that Cersei possessed a fierce love for her family and children.

Now: Lena Headey

Lena Headey taking a selfie, wearing large wire-rimmed glasses.
instagram | @iamlenaheadey

Some of Lena's best work in recent years has been voicing iconic characters in Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Masters of the Universe: Revelations, and DC League of Super Pets — which recently hit theaters this past July.

Then: Peter Dinklage

Tyrion Lannister drunk in a brothel in Season 1 of 'Game Of Thrones'.

Tyrion Lannister is the perfect example of why you should never judge a book by its cover. Sure, he might come off as unassuming to the uninitiated, but real ones know that this man has one of the most brilliant and strategic minds in all of Westeros.

Now: Peter Dinklage

Peter Dinklage in 'American Dreamer'.
Estuary Films | Estuary Films

Peter Dinklage is one of a handful of Game of Thrones stars who have found their way into the MCU. Peter also starred as the title character in 2021's Cyrano and received a Golden Globe nomination for his efforts.

Then: Emilia Clarke

Daenerys Targaryen with the Dothraki in Season 1 of 'Game Of Thrones'.
Giphy | Game of Thrones

When we first meet "The Mother of Dragons," she's little more than her brother's bargaining chip. By the series' end, she proves herself to be a formidable ruler, conqueror, and perhaps even the second coming of "The Mad King," Aerys Targaryen.

Now: Emilia Clarke

Emilia Clarke holding a dog and smiling.
instagram | @emilia_clarke

Emilia has only appeared in two feature films since Game of Thrones came to a close and hasn't been in front of a camera in more than three years. That being said, fans can look forward to her big-screen return in 2023, when Emilia is set to portray Jean Kerr in McCarthy.