The Early Acting Gigs of 13 Game of Thrones Stars

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This Sunday, we return to Westeros and the battle for the seven kingdoms in the third season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Here’s how the series’ actors made a living before they were Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, and Targaryens. (Flavorwire has some more interesting early roles of Game of Thrones stars, too.)

1. Emilia Clarke, Daenerys Targaryen

Before everyone’s favorite Khaleesi and mother of dragons embarked on her quest for the Iron Throne, Emilia Clarke starred in a commercial for the charity Samaritans, which provides support to people in emotional distress:

She broke into TV with a guest role on an episode of the long-running BBC series Doctors in 2009 and playing Savannah in the SyFy Channel’s Triassic Attack in 2010.

2. Sibel Kekilli, Shae

Before she landed the role as Tyrion Lannister’s lady-for-hire, Sibel Kekilli won two Lolas—a German award equivalent to an Oscar—and had a role in the 2004 German film Kebab Connection, about a man of Turkish descent who wants to direct the first German kung-fu movie. You can see Kekilli at the 1:01 mark in the trailer below:

3. Richard Madden, Robb Stark

The King of the North honed his craft on the BBC children’s comedy Barmy Aunt Boomerang. Madden plays Sebastian, whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of his wacky Australian aunt, Boomerang—who is actually a ghost. You can see Madden summoning the ghost at the beginning of the show’s theme:

4. Gwendoline Christie, Brienne of Tarth

Before Christie swung a sword as the fiercest lady knight this side of the wall, she had bit roles in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Classy Shopper 2) and The Time Surgeon (The Tape/”Victim”). She also played Lexi/Lucy in 12 episodes of the BBC series Wizards vs. Aliens. Check her out at the 3:35 mark below:

5. Jack Gleeson, Joffrey Baratheon

Yes, Jack Gleeson is the little boy rescued by Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes) in Batman Begins. You can also catch the boy who would be Thrones' psychotic King in 2007’s Shrooms, about three couples who go to Ireland to collect magic mushrooms and trip out (Gleeson played “Lonely Twin”), and in 2009’s A Shine of Rainbows as Seamus; you can spot him in the trailer at around 46 seconds:

6. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jamie Lannister

Before he played the Kingslayer, Coster-Waldau starred in the 1994 Danish thriller Nightwatch as Martin, who takes a night shift job in a mortuary to finance his law school education. Scary stuff ensues, as you can see in the trailer below:

7. Aidan Gillen, Peter “Littlefinger” Baelish

Before taking on a character who is a skilled player in the game of thrones, Gillen had roles in a number of TV movies, hit the big screen as Aiden Lynch in Circle of Friends, and played Councilman Thomas Carcetti in The Wire:

Also, delight in the fact that in the main photo on Gillen’s IMDb page, the actor has a kitten on his shoulder.

8. Rory McCann, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane

Prior to playing the fire-fearing, murder-loving Hound, McCann got his break in a couple of hilarious Scotts Porridge Oats commercials:

You can see the second one here. You might also recognize the 6' 6" actor as Michael Armstrong in Edgar Wright's 2007 Hot Fuzz:

9. Alfie Allen, Theon Greyjoy

Before becoming Winterfell's resident Iron born, Alfie Allen—younger brother of singer Lily Allen—had roles in films like Agent Cody Banks 2, Atonement, and The Other Boleyn Girl. He also appeared in three episodes of the 2008 television series Casualty 1907, which used records from the archives of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel to bring the patients and doctors of a Victorian-era hospital to life. Allen played Nobby Clark:

10. Carice van Houten, Melisandre

In 1999, the actress who plays Stannis Baratheon's right-hand-sorceress starred in the Dutch TV movie Suzy Q, which followed a weekend in the life of a bizarre family in the 1960s:

11. Conleth Hill, Lord Varys

Prior to playing Westeros' scheming eunuch, Conleth Hill sang as an Irish tenor in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. You can get a good look at him here, around the 5:50 mark:

12. Natalia Tena, Osha

Playing a Wildling in Game of Thrones isn't Natalia Tena's first foray into fantasy; the actress is perhaps best known for her role as Tonks in the Harry Potter series. But her first big screen role was Ellie in the 2002 film About a Boy. You can see her at the 1:07 mark in the clip below:

13. Rose Leslie, Ygritte

Before playing Jon Snow's Wildling prisoner-turned-captor, Rose Leslie was a member of Downton Abbey's downstairs crew (she was the maid who wanted a real job!). But her first TV role was on the documentary series Locked Up Abroad. She played Kim, a lady with less-than-honorable intentions who convinces her boyfriend to come to Peru while she runs a drug smuggling job (NSFW language in the episode):

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March 29, 2013 - 11:00am
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