Belfast Telegraph

Sleepless nights for Kit Harington ahead of Game Of Thrones swansong

The Belfast premiere marks the final series of a show credited with boosting Northern Ireland’s economy.

Kit Harington attending the Game of Thrones premiere (Liam McBurney/PA)
Kit Harington attending the Game of Thrones premiere (Liam McBurney/PA)

A central character of fantasy drama Game Of Thrones admitted suffering sleepless nights ahead of the final series.

Kit Harington plays Jon Snow, who has become one of the most influential figures in the fictional world of Westeros where the HBO programme is set.

Much of the show was shot in Northern Ireland and the eighth series had its UK premiere in Belfast on Friday evening.

Harington said: “I am having sleepless nights about the whole thing, I really am.

“The last two nights I have slept really badly because I am just a worrier.

“I am a real worrier and there is a lot of pressure on this.

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Sophie Turner arrives at the premiere (Liam McBurney/PA)
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Jerome Flynn at the premiere (Liam McBurney/PA)

“I really hope we have done something that most of the people that follow this show, you cannot please everyone, that people will love.

“So I am nervous, but I am excited for people to see it.”

Sophie Turner, who plays the character Sansa Stark, wore a striking white Louis Vuitton gown on the red carpet.

She described saying goodbye to Game Of Thrones, which she has been a central star in for 10 years, as sad but also liberating.

The cast of Game of Thrones attend the
The cast of Game of Thrones attend the "Game of Thrones" Season 8 premiere screening at Waterfront Hall on April 12, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The first episode of the final season of the HBO series will air this weekend. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Stars arrive for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Maisie Williams, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, and Isaac Hempstead Wright arrive for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Jerome Flynn attending the Game of Thrones Premiere, held at Waterfront Hall, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday April 12, 2019. See PA story SHOWBIZ Thrones. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Liam Cunningham attending the Game of Thrones Premiere, held at Waterfront Hall, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday April 12, 2019. See PA story SHOWBIZ Thrones. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Maisie Williams (left) and Kerry Ingram attending the Game of Thrones Premiere, held at Waterfront Hall, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday April 12, 2019. See PA story SHOWBIZ Thrones. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - APRIL 12: Isaac Hempstead Wright attends the "Game of Thrones" Season 8 screening at the Waterfront Hall on April 12, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Kit Harington attending the Game of Thrones Premiere, held at Waterfront Hall, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday April 12, 2019. See PA story SHOWBIZ Thrones. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - APRIL 12: Maisie Williams attends the "Game of Thrones" Season 8 screening at the Waterfront Hall on April 12, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - APRIL 12: Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner attend the "Game of Thrones" Season 8 screening at the Waterfront Hall on April 12, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Maisie Williams (left) and Sophie Turner attending the Game of Thrones Premiere, held at Waterfront Hall, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday April 12, 2019. See PA story SHOWBIZ Thrones. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Ben Crompton attending the Game of Thrones Premiere, held at Waterfront Hall, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday April 12, 2019. See PA story SHOWBIZ Thrones. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - APRIL 12: Kit Harington attends the "Game of Thrones" Season 8 screening at the Waterfront Hall on April 12, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Stars arrive for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Maisie Williams, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, and Isaac Hempstead Wright arrive for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Maisie Williams and Sophie Turnerat the the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Stars arrive for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner arrive for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Richard Dormer, Maisie Williams, Kerry Ingram, Gemma Whelan, Pilou Asbaek, Issac Hempstead Wright, Joe Dempsie, Conleth Hill, Hannah Murray, Jerome Flynn, John Bradley, Chris Newman, Bernadette Caulfield, Kit Harington, Carice van Houten, Liam Cunningham, Richard Dormer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jacob Anderson, and Sophie Turner attending the Game of Thrones Premiere, held at Waterfront Hall, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday April 12, 2019. See PA story SHOWBIZ Thrones. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Kit Harington arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Pilou Asbaek arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Sophie Turner arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Stars arrive for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Stars arrive for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Pilou Asbaek arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Richard Dormer arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Stars arrive for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Conleth Hill arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Carice van Houten arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Carice van Houten arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Stars arrive for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Stars arrive for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Kit Harrington arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Kit Harington arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner arrive for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Kit Harington arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Kerry Ingram arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Kit Harington arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Hannah Murray arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Isaac hempstead Wright arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Ben Compton arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Gemma Whelan arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Jacob Anderson arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Liam Cunningham arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Rebecca April May and John Bradley arrive for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Jerome Flynn arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Jerome Flynn arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Jerome Flynn arrives for the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premier at the Waterfront ICC in Belfast on April 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Isaac Hampstead Wright attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

“I’ve spent 10 years doing it, we have kind of created and really nurtured these characters and now it is time to fly the nest on to other things and leave that chapter of our lives behind, but of course it is sad,” she said.

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Carice van Houten attending the Game of Thrones Premiere, held at Waterfront Hall, Belfast. (Liam McBurney/PA)

Carice van Houten, who acted the controversial priestess Melisandre, had been unwell but made her appearance on the red carpet, describing the premiere in Belfast as the “most important one”.

“This is where the hard work was and this feels like a home show, and it’s with our friends and crew members who are half the show, it’s amazing what they did, so much hard work,” she said.

Responding to a question about a Press Association story which reveals her character had spent the most time nude of all the females on the show, Van Houten said she would be hesitant about doing that much nudity again.

“It was before I had my baby, it’s not my favourite thing in the world, but I think most of the time it helped the scene, and showed that she used her body as a weapon and not as much to do with sexuality,” she said.

“But if we had to shoot it all over again, I’m not sure if I would have been so easy with it.”

PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/2019 Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham at the launch of the Game of Thrones exhibition , The highly anticipated GOT Touring exhibition includes two never seen before sets at TEC Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/2019 Game of Thrones actor Ian Beattie at the launch of the Game of Thrones exhibition , The highly anticipated GOT Touring exhibition includes two never seen before sets at TEC Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/2019 Game of Thrones actor Isaac Hempstead Wright at the launch of the Game of Thrones exhibition , The highly anticipated GOT Touring exhibition includes two never seen before sets at TEC Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Game of Thrones costume designer Michelle Clandon, with a dress worn by the character Daenerys Targaryen, at the launch of the Game of Thrones touring exhibition at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday April 10, 2019. See PA story SOCIAL Thrones. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/2019 Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham at the launch of the Game of Thrones exhibition , The highly anticipated GOT Touring exhibition includes two never seen before sets at TEC Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Liam McBurney/PA Wire
PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/2019 Game of Thrones actors Isaac Hempstead Wright , Ian Beattie and Liam Cunningham alongside award winning costume designer Michele Clapton at the launch of the Game of Thrones exhibition , The highly anticipated GOT Touring exhibition includes two never seen before sets at TEC Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/2019 Game of Thrones actors Isaac Hempstead Wright , Ian Beattie and Liam Cunningham alongside award winning costume designer Michele Clapton at the launch of the Game of Thrones exhibition , The highly anticipated GOT Touring exhibition includes two never seen before sets at TEC Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/2019 Game of Thrones actors Isaac Hempstead Wright , Ian Beattie and Liam Cunningham alongside award winning costume designer Michele Clapton at the launch of the Game of Thrones exhibition , The highly anticipated GOT Touring exhibition includes two never seen before sets at TEC Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/2019 Game of Thrones actors Isaac Hempstead Wright , Ian Beattie and Liam Cunningham alongside award winning costume designer Michele Clapton at the launch of the Game of Thrones exhibition , The highly anticipated GOT Touring exhibition includes two never seen before sets at TEC Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/2019 Game of Thrones actors Isaac Hempstead Wright , Ian Beattie and Liam Cunningham alongside award winning costume designer Michele Clapton at the launch of the Game of Thrones exhibition , The highly anticipated GOT Touring exhibition includes two never seen before sets at TEC Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/2019 Game of Thrones actors Isaac Hempstead Wright , Ian Beattie and Liam Cunningham alongside award winning costume designer Michele Clapton at the launch of the Game of Thrones exhibition , The highly anticipated GOT Touring exhibition includes two never seen before sets at TEC Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/2019 Game of Thrones actors Isaac Hempstead Wright , Ian Beattie and Liam Cunningham alongside award winning costume designer Michele Clapton at the launch of the Game of Thrones exhibition , The highly anticipated GOT Touring exhibition includes two never seen before sets at TEC Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/2019 Game of Thrones actors Isaac Hempstead Wright , Ian Beattie and Liam Cunningham alongside award winning costume designer Michele Clapton at the launch of the Game of Thrones exhibition , The highly anticipated GOT Touring exhibition includes two never seen before sets at TEC Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/2019 Game of Thrones actors Isaac Hempstead Wright , Ian Beattie and Liam Cunningham alongside award winning costume designer Michele Clapton at the launch of the Game of Thrones exhibition , The highly anticipated GOT Touring exhibition includes two never seen before sets at TEC Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/2019 Game of Thrones actors Isaac Hempstead Wright , Ian Beattie and Liam Cunningham alongside award winning costume designer Michele Clapton at the launch of the Game of Thrones exhibition , The highly anticipated GOT Touring exhibition includes two never seen before sets at TEC Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Game of Thrones costume designer Michelle Clandon, with a dress worn by the character Daenerys Targaryen, at the launch of the Game of Thrones touring exhibition at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday April 10, 2019. See PA story SOCIAL Thrones. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Liam McBurney/PA Wire
An invited guest takes a photo of herself to be placed on the "Hall of Faces" wall at the launch of the Game of Thrones touring exhibition at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday April 10, 2019. See PA story SHOWBIZ Thrones. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Liam McBurney/PA Wire
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Game of Thrones' stars line up at Waterfront Hall, Belfast for the final season premiere (Liam McBurney/PA)

Dublin actor Liam Cunningham, who plays the character Davos Seaworth, said the New York premiere last week had been a “dry run” for coming back to Belfast.

“There are lots of cast here and crew we haven’t seen in a while so this is to say thank you to them for being so good to us,” he said.

“I’m trying to not think about it, (the end of Game Of Thrones), it’s a bit like I am emigrating in three days time but I don’t want to look in my mother’s eyes because I’m going, there is a bit of that, but I’ll do my weeping on my own.”

Cunningham hinted the eighth and final season will continue to be as challenging for viewers as the previous seven have been.

“Like life, some things don’t get resolved, some things do, that’s all I’m going to tell you,” he said.

Game Of Thrones has put Northern Ireland’s scenery on small screens in over 200 countries across the world and has proved a boon for the local tourist industry with scores of bus tours shuttling visitors around many of the filming locations on a daily basis.

LIVE: Star-studded red carpet for Game of Thrones season 8 premiere in Belfast

Posted by Belfast Telegraph on Friday, April 12, 2019

The HBO show is estimated to be worth £30 million to the economy in the region, while Tourism NI estimates it brought 120,000 visitors to Northern Ireland in 2016.

The eighth season will be shown in the UK at 2am on Monday April 15 on Sky Atlantic, and repeated at 9pm.

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