CERSEI LANNISTER- LENA HEADEY
Cersei Lannister is yet another complex character that we have trouble deciding whether or not to love her wicked ways or absolutely loathe every move she makes. She no doubt has had a rather complicated life as a young queen and eventual mother to not one, but two different adolescent Kings. Her relationship with her brother is shocking, and yet, we still have trouble writing off this character as a monster. Some of her motives are clear, and we understand her desire to be evil and seek revenge. Other times, it’s other beloved characters that she goes after, making it hard to not see her as a villain. But outside the show, the actress who plays her, Lena Headey, is nowhere near as manipulative as the ambiguous character that she plays! Lena Headey often sports short, dark hair, and loves to show off her various tattoos that are always hidden in the series.
2. BRIENNE OF TARTH- GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE
Brienne of Tarth is one of the coolest, baddest, toughest ladies to ever grace our screens on the series. She may not have the power of her family name behind her, three dragons to protect her, or the desire to seek revenge for her slain family, but that has never stopped Brienne from being the strongest female character we’ve seen so far in the series. I mean, she wrestled a bear in a dress, how much cooler can you really get? Outside the show, Gwendoline is just as cool as the character she plays on the series. Who, in their lifetime, is lucky enough to be a character on Game of Thrones as well as have a pretty important part of the Star Wars franchise? Gwendoline Christie is definitely cool enough. The only thing we have trouble deciding with her is whether we like the real actress or the characters she plays better.
3. ARYA STARK- MAISIE WILLIAMS
Like Sansa, Arya has had a pretty tough life resulting in an immense transformation in her character throughout the entirety of the series. Arya has always been a strong character and has shown from the beginning she had no interest in becoming someone’s wife and was only focused on learning how to be the best swordsmen in all the Seven Kingdoms. In the series, Arya is often disguised. Within the first season, she cut off all her hair and hid her noble identity so as to escape the Lannisters. Since then, she has been training, and even had the ability to become an incredible fighter while blind! Outside the series, the actress who plays her, Maisie Williams, is much different than her character on the series. Arya would never be caught dead in a dress, but Maisie is not afraid to show off her feminine side!
4. SANSA STARK- SOPHIE TURNER
Sansa Stark is one of the few members of the Stark family that are still a huge part of the show. Her character is one that has progressed throughout the series the most compared to other stars’ transformations. We watched her go from a young girl infatuated with the idea of marrying a prince, to a survivor of rape and abuse who looks to seek revenge for her family and gain the power that she so deserves. Not only has her character transformed immensely, but the actor who plays her, Sophie Turner, has transformed throughout her years starring on the series as well! Most of the time, we see Sansa in long dark gowns with long dark hair. In real life, Sophie enjoys wearing outfits and sporting a look much different than her character on the show! We’d imagine she’d like to take a break from Sansa’s look to help separate her real life from the life she portrays in the series.
5. DAENERYS TARGARYEN- EMILIA CLARKE
Daenerys Targaryen is one of the strongest and most influential characters on the show. Like Sansa, we’ve watched her go from timid and afraid to the person we hope leads the Seven Kingdoms by the end of the series. This mother of dragons has been through some seriously challenging times throughout her run on the series. She was forced into a marriage, lost her husband and future child, and gained three new baby dragons- all in just the first season of the show! There is no doubt that she has one of the most interesting story arcs throughout the series, and fans are dying to see what happens to her, who she meets, and who she conquers in the next season. Outside the series, Emilia Clarke has seen quite the transformation in her life as well! Daenerys’ long golden hair is only just a wig, and Emilia enjoys sporting her natural brunette locks whenever she gets the chance.
6. LORD VARYS- CONLETH HILL
Lord Varys is arguably one of the most ambiguous characters on the show. At first, we never really knew whether or not we could trust him. He is secretive, manipulative, and overall just good at doing whatever he has to get done in order to help and protect himself. He’s by far one of the most interesting characters on the show, and we can’t wait to see what the next couple of seasons has in store for our very secretive Lord Varys. Outside the series, it seems as though the actor who plays him, Conleth Hill, has the opportunity to live secretly as well! With all of the hair on his head as well as on his face, it’s almost impossible to recognize Conleth Hill as the popular GoT actor. Although this isn’t Conleth’s only role, it’s probably his most notable, so fans of the series probably don’t realize that it’s him when they see him out and about!
7. MISSANDEI- NATHALIE EMMANUEL
Missandei is a newer character that isn’t as well known for her strong voice and actions like the rest of the characters we’ve seen on the list so far. That does not mean she’s any less interesting or intriguing than the other roles played on the show. We mostly know her as Dany’s right-hand (wo)man, a scribe with many skills that have been useful for our Mother of Dragons. She started her life as a slave, but when freed by Dany became her loyal and dedicated sidekick. There’s still so much we don’t know about her, but we get a little more of a glimpse into her mind with each and ever season. She’s bound to have more crucial roles in the upcoming episodes, so it’s interesting to get a glimpse as to what the actor who plays her looks like when she’s not all dressed up for the series!
8. TORMUND GIANTSBANE- KRISTOFER HIVJU
Tormund Giantsbane is one of our favorite Wildings to ever grace the screens of our favorite HBO series. He is tough, smart, and also adds a bit of humor to the very serious storyline of Jon Snow. In the newest season, we even got a bit of a hint that he might be crushing on our favorite lady, Brienne. When not all dressed up in fur and animal skins for the series, you would think that this hairy redhead would be a bit more clean cut like the rest of his fellow cast members. But finding a picture of Kristofer Hivju without the bushy red beard is actually a bit of a challenge! It seems as though there isn’t much of a difference in look between the character and actor besides a lot fewer layers of warm clothing. However, there are a few pictures of this Wildling without his facial hair, the one above being one of the best.
9. BRONN- JEROME FLYNN
Bronn is one of the least complex characters in the show, but that doesn’t make him any less likable. He mostly works for the Lannisters, and it seems as though he pretty much cares about himself, money, women, and nothing more. He’s a great fighter but an even better friend to both Tyrion and Jaime. He’s pretty collected and cool throughout the series, but the actor who plays him in real life is much different. Jerome Flynn actually used to be part of a musical duo long before he got his big role on the HBO series. The pop duo only lasted two years, and it’s clear that Jerome does better as a tough actor than being in a tiny boy band. But the photographic evidence still exists from his time as a musician, as seen in his blonde locks from the picture above.
10. GILLY- HANNAH MURRAY
Gilly is another one of our favorite Wildlings as she’s the love of Samwell, Jon’s best friend, and sidekick. Unfortunately, Gilly lived a life of abuse by her father, eventually being forced to give birth to his child, both her son and her half-brother. As if she hadn’t gone through enough, she’s also come in contact with white walkers and has also been shunned from Sam’s royal family. She doesn’t fit in the high class with her protruding teeth and low scholarly level. Although she isn’t the brightest in the bunch, that doesn’t make her any less of a strong character who’s sure to have an interesting storyline in the newest seasons. Outside the show, the actress who plays her, Hannah Murray, differs immensely from the character she plays on the show. Hannah obviously cleans up pretty nice and goes through one of the biggest transformations on the show!
11. YARA GREYJOY- GEMMA WHELAN
Yara Greyjoy is another tough leading lady who proves time and time again that she doesn’t need to wear a dress and have pretty hair to get noticed in the Seven Kingdoms. She’s always fought for what was right and has risked her own life and the lives of others to save her brother, Theon. In the series, she’s proven that she’s a better leader and fighter than the rest of the boys in her family, but still struggles to gain the respect of her peers simply due to the fact that she’s a woman. Outside the series, the actress who plays her, Gemma Whelan, doesn’t have any trouble proving just how talented and intelligent she is! Gemma goes through quite the transformation to play Yara and would be almost unrecognizable if you ran into her on the street! She just proves she has great talents as an actress, and also probably has a pretty good wardrobe team!
12. OLENNA TYRELL- DIANA RIGG
Olenna Tyrell is definitely our favorite matriarch that we’ve met so far throughout the series. She always gives her family excellent advice and proves she isn’t afraid to speak her mind to those around her. She’s going to have quite the struggle dealing with everything in the next couple of seasons now that her powerful family isn’t as big as it used to be. But we don’t have any fear that she won’t be able to use her wit and strategic thinking to get back at Cersei for her family somehow. Before her role on Game of Thrones, the actress who plays Olenna, Diana Rigg, used to be quite the model as well! She’s still just as beautiful as when she was young, but vintage photographs like these prove just how gorgeous she really used to be! She’s had a very long and successful career and Game of Thrones is unlikely to be her last role.
13. LEAF- KAE ALEXANDER
We don’t know much about Leaf, as we’ve only met her in a few episodes, but so far, she seems to be a pretty important character. Leaf is a Child of the Forest, a rare breed that is among the oldest creatures in Westeros. We learned a pretty dark secret about them in the past season, but we won’t give it away if you haven’t watched the series yet. Little is known about her character, but as she has the potential to return in the next couple of seasons, it’s good to see the face behind the makeup! The actress who plays Leaf is Kae Alexander. You would never recognize this actress outside of the makeup if you ran into her on the street! She has a rather distinct voice, so if you overheard her speak there’s a chance you’d know who she was! But she’s probably the one of the few who goes through the biggest transformation in the series.
14. JOFFREY BARATHEON- JACK GLEESON
Joffrey Baratheon is our absolute favorite character on Game of Thrones to hate. Even though we saw the evil Ramsay Bolton in the past few seasons, we still can’t forget Joffrey’s perfect punchable face. He was cruel, manipulative, and completely sadistic. He abused some of our favorite characters for no reason other than the fact that he was just a total jerk. He was one of the least complex villains on the show so far, but that didn’t make us hate him any less. Outside the series, however, the actor who played Joffrey, Jack Gleeson, is the complete opposite of the character he portrayed throughout the series. Jack is actually a pretty good person who isn’t evil by nature like Joffrey. Now, Jack spends a lot of his time doing charity work and is often known for helping and loving animals. But is there ever enough charity work to do in the world that makes up for all the messed up stuff Joffrey put us through?
15. MARGAERY TYRELL- NATALIE DORMER
Margaery Tyrell is one of our favorite characters on the show that we’ve seen so far. She married not one, but two Baratheon sons, maintaining her queen status for several seasons. She’s had her ups and downs as a likable and unlikable character throughout the show, but there’s no doubt that she still played a pretty important role throughout the series. She made Cersei mad, which we loved, but she always seemed to have a manipulative undertone that made her hard to trust. Outside the series, the actress who plays her, Natalie Dormer, is a much less complicated character! She’s way different in appearance than the role she portrays on the series as well! Natalie made headlines after shaving part of her head and dying it blonde, a look that you’d never see on Margaery in the series. Natalie has proved her talent as an actress and we’re sure we’re going to see a lot more of her outside the Game of Thrones world.