Earlier this week, the Content Team was nerding out over the latest Game of Thrones episode (not to mention the new Hunger Games sneak peek). As we recounted the action-packed GOT, I mentioned that Theon Greyjoy’s savior was none other than Iwan Rheon from the cult British series, Misfits. (For the uninitiated, think Skins meets Heroes—and yes, you should watch it.)
This led to a morning filled with frequent “Did you know she was in…?” and “No way!” as many of us recalled other roles where we’d seen these actors before. Naturally we couldn’t let these important discoveries go undocumented. Read on to find out why your favorite GOT character is giving you deja vu and get ready for a few nostalgia-inducing, pretty awesome surprises.
(Photo: HBO; ITV)
Actress: Rose Leslie
Game of Thrones character: Ygritte, Wildling Soldier in Mance Rayder’s Army
Where you saw her before: Gwen Dawson from Downton Abbey
Leslie played shy, yet driven Gwen—our favorite maid-turned-typist. It looks like she carried over the same fiery streak for her sword-wielding role as Ygritte, Jon Snow’s sassy love interest.
(Photo: HBO; Paramount)
Glover’s scheming advisor Maester Pycelle on Game of Thrones often finds himself making less-than-brilliant choices. Indy fans may recall that he had equally poor judgment when confronted with the Cup of Christ in The Last Crusade.
(Photo: HBO; E4)
Actress: Hannah Murray
Game of Thrones character: Gilly
Where you saw her before: Cassie Ainsworth from Skins
This was one of the more surprising connections for our team. Who would have thought that Gilly was played by the same actress as eccentric and spacey Cassie?
(Photo: HBO; Walt Disney)
Actor: Mackenzie Crook
Game of Thrones character: Orell the Warg
Where you saw him before: Ragetti from Pirates of the Caribbean
For the most part we felt like Crook’s two characters have a similarly grungy look about them. But there are some significant personality differences: Orell seems remarkably clued in to GOT’s world, while Ragetti (as part of a buffoonish duo) never quite had it together.
Another Skins regular makes an appearance! Like Hannah Murray above, Dempsie’s portrayal of the orphan blacksmith Gendry on GOT is a far cry from his drug-addicted character Chris in Skins.
(Photo: HBO; E4)
Actor: Iwan Rheon
Game of Thrones character: Theon’s Nameless Savior (so far)
Where you saw him before: Simon from Misfits
Looks like Welsh actor Iwan Rheon has a history of playing the mysterious hero. SPOILER ALERT: On Sunday, he rescued Theon Greyjoy from a rough hostage situation, and on Misfits he played masked crusader Superhoodie.
(Photo: HBO; Warner Bros.)
Actress: Natalia Tena
Game of Thrones character: Osha
Where you saw her before: Nymphadora Tonks from Harry Potter
Natalia Tena may have lost the colorful locks she had as Tonks to play wild Osha, but her protective, warrior-like tendencies have lived on in her role as the unexpected caregiver to the youngest Stark boys.
(Photo: HBO; ITV)
Even though Ser Jorah Mormont lives in something of a savage wasteland on GOT, he’s a decidedly more polished and gentlemanly character than the terse and calculating news tycoon, Sir Richard Carlisle, from Downton Abbey.
(Photo: HBO; New Line Cinema)
Actor: Sean Bean
Game of Thrones character: Ned Stark
Where you saw him before: Boromir from Lord of the Rings, Alec Trevelyan from GoldenEye, and Odysseus from Troy
To be honest, we have a reallllyyy hard time telling the difference between Ned Stark and Boromir. Two brave, long-haired characters wielding swords? Careful Sean Bean! Don’t get typecast. We’ll always have a special place in our hearts for his villainous turn as a Russian double agent in GoldenEye.
(Photo: HBO; NBC)
Actor: Jason Momoa
Game of Thrones character: Khal Drogo
Where you saw him before: Jason Ioane from Baywatch, Conan the Barbarian
Jason Momoa can’t ever seem to keep track of his shirt! Just kidding, but seriously we can’t think of anyone better to play two barbaric warriors (with hearts of gold) and one very headstrong young lifeguard.
(HBO; New Line Cinema)
Actor: Peter Dinklage
Game of Thrones character: Tyrion Lannister
Where you saw him before: Miles Finch from Elf, Stewart from 30 Rock, Marlowe Sawyer from Nip/Tuck
You may have figured this out before, but how could we not include the quick-witted Tyrion Lannister, aka Peter Dinklage? He’s played everything from a high-powered book publisher in Elf to Liz Lemon’s nerdy potential boyfriend on 30 Rock.
(Photo: HBO; Universal)
Actor: Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Game of Thrones character: Jojen Reed
Where you saw him before: Sam from Love Actually
The last time we saw Thomas Brodie-Sangster was as the adorably lovesick stepson in Love Actually, so it was a bit of a shock to see him face down a snarling dire wolf and forcefully overtake Bran’s escape party.
(Photo: HBO; BBC)
Actress: Natalie Dormer
Game of Thrones character: Margaery Tyrell
Where you saw her before: Anne Boleyn from The Tudors
Future queen, past queen—Natalie Dormer is no stranger to playing royal figures. She’s the newest contender to be King Joffrey’s (poor) wife, and not so long ago she played the powerful Anne Boleyn in The Tudors.
Gillen seems to be particularly good at playing characters who are enticed by power and ambition—though Tommy Carcetti’s idealistic nature is far more endearing than Littlefinger’s manipulative tendencies.
(Photo: HBO; Warner Bros.)
Actress: Lena Headey
Game of Thrones character: Cersei Lannister
Where you saw her before: Queen Gorgo from 300, Sarah Connor from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Lena Headey is the newest poster girl for tough-as-nails women caught in unfortunate situations. Both of Headey’s characters use their particularly sharp minds to run circles around the men that try to take them down.
(Photo: HBO; Columbia)
Actor: Mark Addy
Game of Thrones character: Robert Baratheon
Where you saw him before: Roland from A Knight’s Tale, Dave from The Full Monty
While most of you may recognize Addy from his turn as Dave in The Full Monty, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that he played one of Heath Ledger’s affable and loyal sidekicks in A Knight’s Tale.
How many of the actors and actresses on this list did you recognize? We know we’ve missed some—who else is on your “a HA!” list?
Whether bearded or otherwise, check out Birchbox Man’s Game of Thrones Guide to Grooming to find out how to recreate the look of many of our favorite Westeros men.