Game of Thrones isn’t exactly too keen on letting its characters live long enough to undergo dramatic physical growth. However, despite the dicey odds and extreme plot twists, many of these characters have lived long enough to make their marks on us, the audience. We know them so well as their characters that it’s hard to imagine that these are real actors who have played other roles.
Luckily, we have picture proof that the Game of Thrones cast did in fact have lives before standing against each other in Westeros.
Tyrion Lannister / Peter Dinklage
Source: Helen Sloan, HBO; Miramax Films
Peter Dinklage didn’t always sport Tyrion’s scars, cynicism, and sibling rivalry. Fifteen years ago, in one of his best-known roles as Finbar McBride in The Station Agent, Dinklage donned dark hair and a relatively clean-shaven face.
Khal Drogo / Jason Momoa
Source: IMDb; Freemantle Media/Rex/Shutterstock
It’s hard to picture Jason Momoa as anything other than the powerful, ruthless, and undefeated Khal Drogo. He won our hearts in much the same way as he did his young Khaleesi’s. But our favorite Dothraki leader – before Daenerys took over, that is – wasn’t always a long-haired warrior. He once played a baby-faced beach hunk in Baywatch. However, the shirtless look seems to be a transformation-defying staple for Jason Momoa.
Olenna Tyrell / Diana Rigg
Source: Helen Sloan, HBO; Terry Disney, Getty Images
While Diana Rigg seems as if she was born to play the role of Lady Olenna of House Tyrell, her acting career started long before becoming a leading member of Westeros. And, I dare say, there’s an interesting resemblance between young Diana Rigg and her on-screen granddaughter, Margaery Tyrell.
Brienne of Tarth / Gwendoline Christie
Source: Helen Sloan, HBO; Dave M. Bennet, Getty Images
We know Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, the loyal, strong protector of the young Stark girls. However, while she may have chosen armor and swords over gowns and braids in the Game of Thrones world, her real-world event looks tell a different story. This glamorous look comes from 2009, a few years before Gwendoline Christie joined the Game of Thrones cast.
Tormund Giantsbane / Kristofer Hivju
Who else better to follow Lady Brienne than her wildling admirer, Tormund Giantsbane? Young, beardless Tormund looks like he should be donning Elizabethan clothing and starring in a Shakespeare play rather than climbing the Wall and providing comic relief to Jon Snow’s brooding.
Cersei Lannister / Lena Headey
Source: HBO; Will Hart, USA Network
Cersei Lannister is one of the biggest forces to be reckoned in Westeros. Lena Headey’s resume shows that she’s enjoyed quite a few roles that could rival the elegant, royal gowns of King’s Landing. But that’s not to say she hasn’t had her fair share of more current characters. Queen of the Seven Kingdoms may be a hard fit to beat, but Lena Headey in casual wear is just as beautiful.
Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish / Aidan Gillen
Source: HBO; Jeff Vespa, WireImage.com
And rounding out our list is Lord Baelish himself. The salt and pepper hair is a good look for this low-key villain. It’s so good that his look doesn’t change much within the confines of the Game of Thrones cameras. However, his early 2000s frosted tips are a tell-tale sign that Aidan Gillen has had quite a life before taking on the role of Littlefinger.