Kit Harington’s first go as Jon Snow didn’t quite work out. In a new interview with the UK’s Guardian, the actor explained that the original pilot that he shot for the now-hit HBO series Game of Thrones didn’t quite get the look and feel of Westeros right the first time.
“They made a lot of mistakes,” he said of the show’s creators, DB Weiss and David Benioff. “It didn’t look right, didn’t feel right, had nothing different about it.”
Harington’s Snow, for instance, was tasked with wearing a wig and going clean-shaven for the part, a vast departure from the more rugged appearance that GoT fans are now familiar with. Harrington also added that the entire team was unsure of how successful the series on could be.
“We didn’t know if it was going to go, and we didn’t know if it was going to be any good,” he said. “But it was HBO, and it was American TV, so it felt like a huge deal.”
As it turned out, the original pilot fell flat, and so Weiss and Benioff tried a different approach their second go-round, this time giving the entire series and its characters a grittier look more fitting to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books.
To this day, Harington added, not many people have seen the original pilot – not even himself – though Weiss and Benioff use the footage as a kind of joking blackmail against the actor.
“They say, if I ever piss them off too much, they’ll release it on YouTube,” Harington said. “Every now and then, they send me a screen grab, just as a threat.”
The British actor added that he believes GoT is ending at just the right time, especially in reflection of what made its beginnings so special. “I wouldn’t have wanted to go on for another year, but if it had finished last year, it wouldn’t have felt long enough,” he said. “Maybe the most special year was the first. We weren’t being recognized in the street, we didn’t know what we were doing, we were having a great time.”