Game of Thrones Season 5 debuts in just over a month. To celebrate, we’ve decided to dig through the vaults and find out what the show’s stars were up to way before they ended up in Westeros. The UK arts scene is a small, incestuous group, and many of the actors had long careers in film and television before George R.R. Martin even began writing A Song of Fire and Ice. So, let’s turn back the clock and take a look at all your favorite Game of Thrones actors before they made it big.
Sean Bean (Eddard Stark)
Here’s Eddard Stark getting his punk rock out in a cop show from 1984 called The Bill. No word on whether he managed to survive the episode.
Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister)
The photo above is from Living in Oblivion (1995), a movie about making a movie. How avant garde for the ’90s! As if the blue top hat isn’t enough, Peter’s character’s name is Tito.
Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo)
It was Jason’s destiny to be a heart throb, but it all started long before Game of Thrones. Before he rode the Dothraki seas, he swam the oceans of Baywatch Hawaii (1999) alongside David Hasselhoff.
Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister)
Here’s a fresh-faced, 20-year-old Cersei in The Summer House (1993), playing a hesitant bride being pushed into a marriage she doesn’t want. Which is just how British society rolled back then.
Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont)
In UK crime show The Fear (1988), Glen plays a thug named Carl Galton who uses (what else?) fear to build a criminal empire in Northern London. Fun fact: Iain was 27 in 1988, which puts a bit of perspective on how gross it is for his character to be chasing after Daenerys Targaryen.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister)
Nikolaj was just starting out as a young Danish actor when he got a leading role in Nightwatch (1994), a creepy serial killer thriller. Let this be a lesson to all men on the importance of good manscaping. A little extra effort goes a long way.
Rory McCann (Sandor Clegane)
The Book Group (2001) was a short-lived romantic comedy from Scotland. It turns out that underneath the Hound’s gruff burnt exterior lives a pretty lovable and funny guy.
Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy)
Alfie’s first movie appearance was in the award winning period piece Elizabeth (1998). A tiny part for a tiny lad. He played the Duke of Arundel’s son for about three seconds. Sadly, that isn’t his sister Lily Allen playing Arundel’s daughter.
Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon)
From Batman Begins (2005), here’s Jack playing the lovable scamp who sees Batman on the rooftops. Later in the movie, a cop shoves him over. Yep, even back then, that’s what his face inspired.
Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark)
Before she was a naggy pain in the royal butt, Michelle played “tired, pissed off UK housewife” in movies like the political thriller Hidden Agenda (1990).
Aidan Gillen (Petyr Baelish)
From The Courier (1988), here’s Lord Baelish about to get his Littlefinger tugged by Gabriel Byrne in a role simply listed as “Boy picked up in alleyway.”
Jerome Flynn (Bronn)
A little less hair and a few less lines on his face, but Jerome Flynn still looks relatively the same in A Summer Story (1988). Of course, any post like this would be incomplete if I didn’t mention Flynn’s ’90s pop career under the name Robson & Jerome.
Julian Glover (Grand Maester Pycelle)
Before he became doddering old Maester Pycelle Julian Glover played General Veers, who led the attack on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Somehow, he managed to make it out of the movie without getting force-strangled by Darth Vader.
Richard Madden (Robb)
Complicity (2000), the King in the North’s first movie role, gives a message of hope to ugly children everywhere: You never know.
Conleth Hill (Lord Varys)
Obviously, I knew Varys had hair (and testicles) in real life. I just wasn’t expecting it to be so damn thick and luxurious. Above, here he is on the the TV show Blue Heaven (1992).