Warning: This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones.
As Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, Kit Harington gets beaten down quite a bit, whether it's by the Night's Watch or Ramsay Bolton's troops in the Battle of the Bastards. And it turns out that in his audition for the part, he had been beaten up beforehand, too—which may have helped him land the role of a lifetime.
Before the audition, he had starred in the play War Horse, and after that, he tried out in three different auditions for the pilot of Game of Thrones. Here's a feature on Harington in War Horse:
"I was fresh off the boat from drama school, and they were auditioning every young Brit in the U.K. [for]," he told Absolute Radio. "For whatever reason, the producers spotted me on the second one and said, 'This guy looks upset enough to play Jon Snow.' He's a very solemn character."
That upset look may have come from a black eye Harington earned from a fight that happened with a larger-than-expected guy before one of the auditions. Here's how he explained it in an interview with W magazine.
"I went into McDonald's with this girl I was sort of dating at the time, and it was late at night and there was no seats. I asked this guy and this girl he was with if we could sit at the same table, and they said yeah. We sat down, and quite quickly, he started being really rude to the girl I was with, you know, calling her names. […] And then he called her something like an ugly pig, or something worse. And I got up and said, no no no, you can't call her that, get up. So I called him up for a fight, which I had never done before. […] I realized that I had to at that point throw the first punch, otherwise I'd look like a complete wimp. And I got battered."
Harington then went to the screen test with a black eye, and that can give anyone enough tough-guy gravitas to look the part. "I think that man who punched me in the face may have helped me get the job," he said. And that man now gets the bragging rights to claim he punched Jon Snow in the face.
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