Kit Harington on Sharing Beers With John Bradley On Screen and Off
When brave Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and his longtime friend, book-ish Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), sat down for a drink and a heart-to-heart in the Season 5 finale of Game of Thrones, they didn’t know it would be for the last time. But Harington and Bradley did. Harington told us how the two actors approached the scene that became even more touching after Jon’s apparent death in the episode’s tragic ending.
You and John Bradley have been sharing scenes and storylines since Season 1. Have you bonded?
The Castle Black cast really bonded over the years, becoming really good friends off set. Understanding each other as people before we understand each other as characters, that really helps.
Do you and John typically go over scenes together before you shoot?
There are times that we will talk about scenes in the bar the night before. We’ll go through them before we go onto set if we feel we need to. Some scenes are just so obviously Jon and Sam, we just let them be who they are. But sometimes they require a bit more analysis. This was that kind of scene.
What made this special?
It’s not a hugely dramatic scene. There’s nothing major that happens in it. There is, but it’s Jon and Sam sitting around a table, drinking and debriefing and talking. It was so tender and so beautifully written that we felt that we had to analyze what was going on, what the subtext was behind it all. Scenes like that, you know they have been written with love. They’re not so plot-driven. The plot driven stuff is pretty self-explanatory, “Hey, Sam. I’m going up north of the Wall.” “Okay, please be back soon.” Big hug, you know. That stuff has meaning behind it, but it doesn’t require a huge amount of talking about. Whereas scenes that aren’t really driving the plot forward but that [showrunners] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] have written about character and about characters revealing themselves—you notice straight away as being one you have to decipher and work apart and look at.
So when you break this scene down it’s really about friendship and wanting the best for the people you love, right?
I remember looking at the scene and turning to John in the bar the night before, and saying, “It’s exactly what we’re doing. It’s exactly this. It’s no different from this, and it should not be overcomplicated.” It’s really simple. It’s two guys. We see them in this epic world discussing very important things, and everything’s life or death. And then there’s this scene where it’s just two young men having a beer together. That’s what I like about Jon and Sam’s relationship. You forget that these are just two young men who are experiencing life, albeit in a very fantastical, strange way.