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The Game of Thrones Cast's Post-Show Roles, Ranked

It's been three years since we left Westeros behind. Which cast members have made the most of their post-Thrones era?
  • Photo: HBO
    Photo: HBO

    It's been three years since the finale of Game of Thrones, and the distribution of its cast members across the entertainment landscape has been vast, but some GOT cast members have been able to leverage their fame better than others. So who tops our ranking of the show's 25 most successful post-Game of Thrones careers? Place your bets.

    25. Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister)

    In the immediate aftermath of Game of Thrones, it made sense that the woman behind Cersei Lannister would be looking for a break. That final season was a lot. Her first post GOT credits were voice roles, including parts on Cartoon Network's Infinity Train and Netflix's Masters of the Universe: Revelation. Last year, she joined an all-star cast that included Karen Gillan, Michelle Yeoh, Carla Gugino, and Angela Bassett as a sisterhood of assassins in the film Gunpowder Milkshake. Her biggest post-Thrones role is one that hasn't arrived just yet, as she's set to play the wife of Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt (Woody Harrelson) in the HBO miniseries The White House Plumbers.

    24. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister)

    The Danish actor behind Kingslayer-with-a-heart-of-gold Jamie Lannister hasn't been on the screen much since the series ended. His 2020 thriller The Silencing, in which he starred opposite Annabelle Wallis, was swallowed up by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with its South by Southwest premiere cancelled and ultimately a quiet VOD release on DirecTV. This March he starred Netflix's Against the Ice, playing a Danish explorer in 1909 on an expedition to frigid Greenland.

    23. Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth)

    Considering the way Game of Thrones ended, few cast members retained the goodwill from the rest of the series as well as Christie did, as her Brienne ended the series knighted and heroic. She'd been cast in the J.J. Abrams-produced Star Wars trilogy before Thrones ended, but that was largely seen as a waste of her talents. Only recently did she finally get the chance to step back into the spotlight in the plum role of Lucifer in Netflix's The Sandman.

    22. Maisie Williams (Arya Stark)

    Another Game of Thrones star whose post-show career sat on a shelf for a while, Maisie Williams's big follow-up to Arya was supposed to be New Mutants, the X-Men affiliated movie that also starred Anya Taylor-Joy. That film was originally slated to be released in April of 2018 but was subjected to numerous release-date changed amid bad buzz for the film and Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox. It was finally released in August of 2020, when most theaters were shut down due to the pandemic. Elsewhere, Williams starred in the HBO miniseriesTwo Weeks to Live.

    21. Tobias Menzies (Edmure Tully)

    None of the Tullys met particularly cheerful ends, but poor surrendering Edmure sure went out on a down note. His portrayer, Tobias Menzies, however, was able to parlay that role (as well as his leading role on Outlander) into a memorable portrayal of Prince Philip on The Crown.

    20. Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell)

    Queen Margaery was tragically killed when Cersei blew up the Sept of Baelor at the end of season six. Since then, Dormer has starred in films like the 2018 thriller In Darkness, which she also co-wrote, as well as the TV series Picnic at Hanging Rock for Amazon and Penny Dreadful: City of Angels at Showtime.

    19. Kate Dickie (Lysa Arryn)

    Though she met a cruel fate at the hands of Littlefinger over the moon door, Kate Dickie managed to pivot off Game of Thrones to become an oft-occuring character actress. She played the mother of the Puritan family besieged by supernatural forces in director Robert Eggers's The Witch. Last year she played Queen Guenivere in The Green Knight. This past April she worked with Eggers again, this time opposite Nicole Kidman in the upcoming The Northman.

    18. Indira Varma (Ellaria Sand)

    As the last woman standing in Dorne, Indira Varma endured one of the show's more wasted storylines, but at least she got some career opportunities out of the deal. 2022 has been a huge year for her, co-starring in the new Mission: Impossible movie and in the  Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    17. Rose Leslie (Ygritte)

    After Ygritte bit the big one north of the Wall on Game of Thrones, Rose Leslie was a hot commodity in Hollywood, ultimately getting a lead role opposite Christine Baranski on the Good Wife spinoff The Good Fight. She left the show after a few seasons, and she was most recently on the big screen as part of the big, starry ensemble of Death on the Nile.

    16. Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Jojen Reed)

    After Jojen met his sad end north of the Wall, Thomas Brodie-Sangster hopped over to another series about people trapped by walls, starring in all three parts of the Maze Runner trilogy. In 2021, he got an Emmy nomination for his role as a chess rival/lover in Netflix's The Queen's Gambit.

    15. Harry Lloyd (Viserys Targaryen)

    It was only one season for Harry Lloyd before Khal Drogo dumped a bowl of molten gold atop Viserys Targaryen's head and cut off several seasons' worth of paychecks to the British actor. On the bight side, exiting the series in 2011 means he's had a whole decade to capitalize on it. In 2014, he co-starred opposite Eddie Redmaynen in The Theory of Everything, and had a main role as a British scientist working on the first nuclear bombs on the WGN series Manhattan. He also starred opposite J.K. Simmons in the Starz series Counterpart, showed up for a handful of episodes as Charles Xavier on FX's Legion, and starred in Peacock's flagship series Brave New World.

    14. Ciaran Hinds (Mance Rayder)

    The former star of HBO's Rome played wildling leader Mance Rayder on Thrones, and just a few short years later, he was an Oscar nominee for his supporting role in Belfast.

    13. Dean-Charles Chapman (Tommen Baratheon)

    Poor Tommen stepped off the ledge of his kingly tower and with that, Dean-Charles Chapman exited the show forever. Since then, though, he's shown up in some decently big movies, including the Liam Neeson transportation action flick The Commuter and the suuuper charming, Bruce Springsteen-obsessed British dramedy Blinded by the Light. In 2019, Chapman starred in the World War I epic 1917, which was a multiple Oscar nominee. He's also due to appear in the Lena Dunham-directed medieval comedy Catherine, Called Birdy.

    12. Michiel Huisman (Daario Naharis)

    As the second Daario Naharis, Michiel Huisman was best known on Game of Thrones for being significantly freaking hot. After Daenerys left him in Essos to go chase her dreams of being the realm's most terrifying villain, Huisman appeared in light fare like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and on TV shows like Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House, and HBO Max's The Flight Attendant.

    11. Sean Bean (Ned Stark)

    Like Harry Lloyd, Sean Bean also got a head start on his post-Game of Thrones after Ned Stark trusted the wrong dozen of obviously treacherous people in King's Landing. Since then, he's starred in planetary themed movies with the Wachowski sisters (Jupiter Ascending) and Ridley Scott (The Martian). He's also starred in shows like TNT's Legends and the television version of Snowpiercer.

    10. Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister)

    After winning countless fans and a shelf full of Emmys for his performance as Tyrion Lannister, Peter Dinklage has leveled up with a handful of high profile projects. He starred opposite Rosamund Pike in the Netflix-acquired indie I Care a Lot last year, and garnered some Oscar buzz this year (unsuffessful, alas) for playing the title character in Joe Wright's adaptation of Cyrano, a role which required Dinklage to branch out into singing. And still to come, he'll be playing the title character in the superhero action comedy The Toxic Avenger.

    9. Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen)

    One of the surest bets coming off  Game of Thrones was that the mother of dragons herself would end up with a big post-Westeros career. Just before the pandemic hit, Clarke co-starred with Henry Golding in the holiday-themed romantic comedy Last Christmas, but the biggest splash is yet to come, with Clarke set to star opposite Samuel L. Jackson in the Marvel series Secret Invasion for Disney+.

    8. Kit Harington (Jon Snow)

    Like Emilia Clarke and Sophie Turner, Kit Harington was another Thrones cast member who had started getting cast in movies well before Game of Thrones was off the air, and while the big-budget disaster epic Pompeii didn't cut it, he was quite promising in off-kilter fare like HBO's tennis comedy Seven Days in Hell. Post-Thrones had been pretty quiet for Kit, until last fall when he co-starred in Marvel's Eternals in a role that, while small (smaller than Richard Madden's, certainly), included a post-credits scene that promises more and bigger things in the MCU to come.

    7. Jonathan Pryce (The High Sparrow)

    Pryce was already a well established actor by the time he was cast as King's Landing's opportunist priest/cult leader the High Sparrow. After Cersei sent him to his green, fiery doom, Pryce picked up his career where he left off, starring opposite Glenn Close in The Wife in 2018, and then receiving his first Oscar nomination the next year for playing one of the title characters in Netflix's The Two Popes. Picking up where fellow Thrones vet Tobias Menzies left off, Pryce is set to take over the role of Prince Philip on the fifth and sixth seasons of The Crown.

    6. Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei)

    Some have gone the indie film route, while other Game of Thrones cast members have made the the lucrative decision to join a massive hit franchise. So it was with Nathalie Emmanuel when she joined the Fast and the Furious franchise with Furious 7, and earned herself a place within Dominic Toretto's globe-hopping, car-driving family.

    5. Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark)

    Even before Game of Thrones ended, Sophie Turner was already one of the cast's biggest crossover stars, taking the role of Jean Grey in both X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men: Dark Phoenix. While her starring role on the Quibi series Survive didn't do much for her, she got high marks in the HBO Max limited series The Staircase, based on the true-crime docuseries of the same name.

    4. Hannah Waddingham (Septa Unella)

    One of the great success stories of Game of Thrones has been that Hannah Waddingham was able to, in just a few short years, go from ringing that bell as the so-called Shame Nun to winning an Emmy Award for her role as football club owner Rebecca Welton on Ted Lasso.

    3. Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister)

    Even before Tywin Lannister was bumped off on the privy by his own son, Charles Dance had a long and distinguished acting career. But now he's a hotter commodity than ever. He joined the cast of The Crown as Lord Mountbatten, and soon he'll play a supporting role in Netflix's adaptation of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman. On film, in addition to roles in Godzilla: King of Monsters and The King's Man, he enjoyed a plum role as William Randolph Hearst in David Fincher's Oscar-nominated Mank.

    2. Richard Madden (Robb Stark)

    The Red Wedding episode was the moment where Game of Thrones jumped into the stratosphere, which is too bad since that's when Richard Madden left the canvas. Still, he did so with a ton of very cool opportunities in front of him, playing handsome princes in stuff like Disney's live-action Cinderella, but also movies like the Elton John biopic Rocketman. He won a Golden Globe for the Netflix series Bodyguard, and this past fall he starred in Marvel's Eternals.

    1. Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo)

    After burning brightly in just one season on Game of Thrones, big stack of beef Jason Momoa successfully transitioned into movie star mode. He took on the role of Arthur Curry/Aquaman in 2016's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Momoa was always the best part of whatever other mess was going on with the Zack Snyder superhero movies. In 2018, Aquaman got his own spinoff movie, the sequel to which is coming out this year. He also scored the role of Duncan Idaho in Denis Villeneuve's Dune, cashed a paycheck in the Apple TV+ series See, and will soon be the new kid in town in the 10th The Fast and the Furious movie.

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    Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: Game of Thrones, Charles Dance, Dean-Charles Chapman, Emilia Clarke, Gwendoline Christie, Hannah Waddingham, Harry Lloyd, Indira Varma, Jonathan Pryce, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Maisie Williams, Michiel Huisman, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Richard Madden, Rose Leslie, Sean Bean, Sophie Turner, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Tobias Menzies