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The subject of pay parity in showbiz has become a hot topic in recent years, with more and more people calling for actors and actresses to be paid the same for doing the same job. Game of Thrones is arguably the biggest show in television history, so one would assume that the cast would take home pretty impressive paychecks. Well, as it turns out, the actors playing two of the Stark siblings (or so the characters think at this point) don't take home the same amount.
Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones, recently revealed that Kit Harington was paid more than her for the hit show, but she's not actually upset about it. Here's why:
[It's] a little tricky. Kit [Harington, who plays her brother Jon Snow, the King in the North] got more money than me, but he had a bigger storyline. And for the last series, he had something crazy like 70 night shoots, and I didn’t have that many. I was like, 'You know what... you keep that money.'
Although Sophie Turner understandably didn't drop any precise figures, she did reveal in an interview with Harper's Bazaar that Kit Harington was paid more for Game of Thrones. According to Turner, however, it's only fair that he took home more than she did. Jon Snow is one of the biggest characters of the series; while Sansa is certainly important, Jon is literally one half of the "song of ice and fire." Also, all those night shoots, which may have been quite unpleasant.
In the opening credits for Season 7, Kit Harington was fifth-billed, behind Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, and Emilia Clarke. Sophie Turner was eighth-billed, just ahead of Maisie Williams. We're still a few days away from seeing the opening credits for Season 8, but Turner will probably at least be moved one name closer to the beginning.
Aiden Gillen was previously billed sixth, after Kit Harington but before Liam Cunningham. Littlefinger rather gloriously died in the Season 7 finale; unless Thrones found somebody to promote ahead of the Stark sisters, both Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams will likely be moved up a slot. Everybody else ahead of Turner in the credits is still in the mix heading into Season 8. I'd put money on at least some of them dying before the end of the season, though.
Sophie Turner's comments about Kit Harington making more than her track with reports about the Game of Thrones cast salaries. No figures were ever officially released, but back in Fall 2016, the leads were reportedly earning $500,000 per episode. Those leads were listed as Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Peter Dinklage.
Later rumors suggested that those same five leads would receive upward of $2 million per episode for Seasons 7 and 8. I wonder what the actor who passed on a part on Thrones early on because it didn't pay enough would think about those numbers! Anyway, if Sophie Turner wasn't counted as one of the five leads on top of working fewer night shoots, then it's not surprising that Kit Harington was paid more.
Now, if Kit Harington was paid more than Emilia Clarke or Lena Headey, there might be more cause for curiosity. As it stands, Game of Thrones has not been rocked by reports of actors playing secondary leads being paid more than the undisputed star like on The Crown, which saw Queen Elizabeth II actress Claire Foy -- a.k.a., the person wearing the crown in The Crown -- paid less than Matt Smith. The resulting controversy led to changes at Netflix.
You can see Sophie Turner's final turns as Sansa Stark when the final season of Game of Thrones kicks off on Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Sansa will have to team up with her sister now that Jon's allegiances align with those of his lady love/aunt Daenerys Targaryen. Be sure to tune in on Sunday nights to see what happens next. If you need a refresher ahead of Season 8, check out our breakdown of what we know so far.