Belfast Telegraph

Kit Harrington: I'll never try and separate myself from Game of Thrones

Kit Harington knows all too well that there's an emotional upheaval when a TV show or movie series you've starred in finishes for good. With both the Game of Thrones and the How to Train Your Dragon film franchise ending, he talks to Georgia Humphreys about what's next

Final showdown: Kit Harington voices Eret (left) in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Final showdown: Kit Harington voices Eret (left) in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

This year will be massive for Kit Harington. Unless you've been hibernating, you'll know April will see the last ever (gasp) season of HBO's Game of Thrones - in which he plays the heroic Jon Snow - hit our screens.

Before that though, we'll hear the 32-year-old lend his voice to DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

Returning to the character of Eret for the third and final chapter in the franchise was some welcome light relief from the heavier, more dramatic roles he's known for.

"He (Eret) is still quite an overly serious guy," notes the affable Londoner.

"He takes himself too seriously, which means - like certain other characters I play - he lends himself quite well to having the mickey taken out of him, which is quite fun.

"I've loved playing him. It is nice to do something which has a bit more comedy to it."

Harington first took on the part of dragon trapper Eret in the second instalment of the How to Train Your Dragon series, which was released in 2014.

Fans of the films will know the focus has always been on the beautiful friendship between an adolescent Viking named Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and a fearsome Night Fury dragon called Toothless.

In the latest movie, Hiccup is chief and ruler of a gloriously chaotic dragon utopia.

But when the sudden appearance of a female Light Fury coincides with the darkest threat their village has ever faced, Hiccup and Toothless must journey to a hidden world thought only to exist in myth.

What happens along the way promises to be a surprising tale about growing up, finding the courage to face the unknown, and how nothing can ever train you to let go.

Being part of the The How to Train Your Dragon films is something Harington has relished.

Not only does recording in a studio mean acting in the warm, as opposed to battling the elements while on location as Jon Snow, but only being able to use his voice for the character was also "freeing".

"They're following what your movements are doing, and they're using it to inform what the character does," he elaborates.

"But when you know it's not you being filmed and it's just your voice, it can be quite relieving because sometimes acting can feel like lots of eyes on you, which is sort of what you want, but it also can be quite exhausting.

"This is quite nice, just going a bit crazy with your voice in a booth."

There's a question we all want to ask Harington - what to expect from the eighth, and final, series of Game of Thrones, which depicts a violent tale of dynastic wars and mythical conflicts, based on a series of epic fantasy novels by George RR Martin.

However, everyone involved in the drama - which has become an international hit and won multiple awards - is, understandably, being notoriously tight-lipped about giving away any details.

It's hard to imagine how it must feel being part of something so hugely anticipated.

Endgame: Kit with Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Endgame: Kit with Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones

But while Harington has previously spoken of his "grief" over the show ending, he says he's now feeling "strangely calm" as the air date creeps nearer.

"I think that's probably one of the signs of grieving or something, I don't know," he says.

"Like, I've reached that point of going, 'Oh well, that's done'. I know there's going to be one last kind of feeling of 'Wow, that's over and done', but I'm looking forward to the celebrating of it.

"I'm looking forward to seeing my mates (from Game of Thrones) again. It's very few times now when we will all be in the same room."

He deftly steers the topic back to How to Train Your Dragon, stressing: "The team that put this together will be feeling the same way, and I feel the same way about this.

"When something finishes, there's an emotional upheaval, but really you just want to be around the people that you made it with."

Would he like to take the chance to reinvent himself with his next role?

"Well, I certainly don't look like myself right now," Harington jokes, gesturing towards the trim moustache he's grown for the West End play he's currently starring in - Sam Shepard's True West, which is set in the Seventies.

"I'm looking forward to whatever the next thing is," the star, who's also cut off his famed glorious curls, continues.

"You'll never find another Thrones, I don't think. But saying that, I've been part of this (How to Train Your Dragon), and this has been a huge hit series of films in the same way Thrones has, so who knows?

"I think it's best not to try and plan or predict. Just see what comes around the corner."

But when it comes to life after Game of Thrones - which was also where he met his wife, former co-star Rose Leslie - Harington isn't naive.

He knows Jon Snow is a part he will always be known for and he's more than happy with that.

"I'll never try and separate myself from Thrones," he says.

"It is what it is. And it's been a huge part of my life."

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is in cinemas now

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