The ‘Game of Thrones’ Cast’s Glow-Up from Season 1 to Season 8 Is Unreal

"Game of Thrones"
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It’s the final countdown, Game of Thrones fans. After eight seasons of dragons and sword fights, the final season of Game of Thrones is finally here. But with how much time has passed between season 1 and season 8 (almost eight years, to be exact), we can’t help but wonder: What does the Game of Thrones cast look like, then and now? When the series first premiered in April 2011, many of its actors were relative unknowns. We had never heard the names Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington or Sophie Turner before—let alone know what they looked like. The first season’s characters were innocent and naive, but since the show has gone on, these characters—like the actors who play them—have evolved in the strong, badass people we see on screen today.

It’s been almost a decade since Game of Thrones first premiered, so naturally, the characters and actors of the show will look noticeably different. Some of them look more rugged now; others have grown facial hair or changed their style. Whatever the difference, we can’t wait for season 8. But before we tune in, let’s look at how the cast of Game of Thrones has grown up over time. Their glow-up is unreal.

Bran Stark (played by Isaac Hempstead Wright)

Wright, who plays the second youngest Stark, Bran, started the show when he was only 12 years old. (He is now 19.) Appearance-wise, his character has maybe changed the most out of anyone. His hair is shorter. He’s taller. And he has the power of Three-Eyed Raven. The character has come a long way from accidentally watching Jaime and Cersei have sex in the show’s premiere.

Season 1

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Season 8

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Arya Stark (played by Maisie Williams)

Williams was 14 when she started the show in 2011. She is now 21. Arya still has the same spunk she had when the show started, except now she’s an expert assassin. The character no longer needs the wooden sword lessons she was taught in much of season 1. She can also now change her appearance as a faceless man. Now that her hair has grown back to the length it was in season 1, she looks a little more like baby Arya. But rest assured, she’s braver and more badass. Just check out how different her all-leather looks in season 8 compared to her sparring outfit from season 1.

Season 1

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Season 8

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Sansa Stark (played by Sophie Turner)

Sansa is known for her red hair, but as the show has gone on, the color has changed from the bright red ginger it was in season 1 to the dark crimson seen in season 8. We don’t mind though. Sansa has been through a lot, including a couple forced marriages and the death of her father, mother and brother, so dark hair could reflect her hardened personality. Along with her hair, the character’s outfits have also become much darker. Turner was 15 when she started Game of Thrones. She is now 23.

Season 1

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Season 8

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Jon Snow (played by Kit Harington)

Snow has become the heart and soul of Game of Thrones and has been through so much in Westeros. (He died and came back to life. Who else can say that?) The character has become one of the fiercest fighters and there many theories that he will end up on the Iron Throne at the end of the show’s run. But how different does he look from season 1 Jon? Well, the short answer: Very. Season 1 Jon was young and innocent-looking, with minimal facial hair and a clean face. Season 8 Jon looks much more weathered, with scars and a full-on beard. Harington is 32 now, but started the show when he was 24.

Season 1

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Season 8

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Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke)

Daenerys has had maybe one of the biggest arcs on Game of Thrones, and that’s, no doubt, reflected in her evolved look. The character started the series with frayed platinum blonde hair and skin-baring clothes appropriate for where she lived in the Game of Thrones universe. But as the character made her way to King’s Landing, Daenerys’s look has changed. The character has stared wearing more complex braids and her hair has become glossier and shinier. She’s also started to wear more black like other characters. Clarke started the show when she was 24. She is now 32.

Season 1

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Season 8

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Jaime Lannister (played by Nicolaj Coster-Waldau)

Coster-Waldau was 40 when Game of Thrones premiered. He is now 48. His character, Jaime, has also changed a lot in looks. The beginning of Game of Thrones saw Jaime with pretty, prince-like looks, including a bare, unshaven face and wispy blonde hair. By season 8, that Jaime is long gone and replaced with a rugged knight with a full, coarse beard and messier hair. He also no longer has his right hand.

Season 1

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Season 8

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Cersei Lannister (played by Lena Headey)

When Headey started playing Cersei in 2011 (when actress was 37—she is now 45), Cersei had long, blondish brown locks and a regal air about her. The character still has that regal persona, but her long locks, which were usually tied into a braided crown, are long gone. The character had her hair chopped off several seasons ago, and it’s grown back into a chic pixie cut. Other than that, her appearance is pretty much the same, except she’s become wiser and even more manipulative.

Season 1

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Season 8

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Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage)

Tyrion started the show as Cersei and Jaime’s clean-shaven brother. He barely had any facial hair and his brownish blonde hair always had the perfect amount of waves. As the show has gone on—and Tyrion has switched alliances (he is currently on team Daenerys, though there are theories about that changing too)—his appearance has also changed. The Tyrion we see today has a full head of golden curls and his beard is one of the darkest and fullest of the cast. His look has also become much more serious—makes sense, because Tyrion means business. Dinklage started the show when he was 41. He is now 49.

Season 1

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Season 8

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