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Oh, my sweet summer children... Ten years ago, the future stars of Game of Thrones knew nearly nothin' about what was to come -- the good, the bad, the Hodor. Game of Thrones debuted on April 17, 2011, but the stars obviously had to tape the premiere first. Before doing that, they were cast in their roles and did a season premiere read-through. All told, it's been a full decade since they started this journey.
Richard Madden (Robb Stark) hasn't been with us since Season 3's Red Wedding, but he just shared a look back from before the filming of the very first episode, titled "Winter Is Coming." Here are Madden and fellow baby-faced cast members Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) on the cusp of starting the great game.
Sophie Turner, who plays Robb and Jon's sister Sansa Stark, replied to Richard Madden's post with "Oh my god you’re babiesssss."
They really do look so much younger. It's like getting misty over a high school yearbook. Kit Harington's Jon Snow became famous for his hair, so much so that Harington's hairstyles were viewed as spoilers on Jon's fate. When Harington finished filming Game of Thrones and shaved his beard off, returning to his baby face, it was truly the end of an era.
Game of Thrones Season 8 is the final season and it only has six episodes. The first episode already broke viewership records, since the HBO series has just grown in popularity since it first arrived in 2011. This kind of popularity is pretty much unheard of, and it's fascinating to look into the eyes of the lads in the photo above and think about how much is to come for them. Like the shirtless scene they'd soon have to tape:
But seriously, think back to the series premiere and how much has changed for the characters -- and the actors.
Kit Harington met his future wife Rose Leslie (Ygritte) while filming Game of Thrones Season 2. In Season 8, Jon Snow has a new lady love in Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). He just gave up his title of King in the North, the title given to Robb Stark after Ned Stark was killed toward the end of Season 1.
Theon Greyjoy pledged his sword to his BFF Robb, then tried to impress his own father Balon Greyjoy by taking over Winterfell. That disastrous decision changed things for just about everyone. Now the Starks are back in control of Winterfell, thanks in large part to Lady Sansa, and the much-tortured Theon has been working to make up for his failings.
We last saw Jon in the Season 8 premiere, reeling from Sam's news that Jon is actually Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Jon was not happy to hear that. Meanwhile, Theon went back to save his sister Yara Greyjoy, after literally jumping ship to get away last season.
The cast is already finished filming Game of Thrones, but they are in nostalgia mode as they prepare for viewers to experience the journey they just completed.
Do you think both Jon and Theon will survive to the end? I wouldn't be shocked if Theon sacrificed himself, maybe even for a Stark, as a completion of his redemption arc. But Game of Thrones does like to subvert expectations so maybe nothing like that will happen at all. The final season continues Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.