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A Game of Stardom: The Ten Most Successful Game of Thrones Actors

"Who will conquer Hollywood?"

Game of Thrones is to come back on air on Monday with its fifth season. Based on George R. R. Martin’s novels, the TV series has become one of HBO’s biggest hits, earning critical praise, numerous awards and growing viewership with each season, as well as earning the distinction of being the most pirated TV show. The show has had a trickledown effect on the Northern Irish film industry, leading to a creation of more film companies and the province becoming a more attractive place to film.

Many actors have appeared on the show with successful actors like Sean Bean, Charles Dance, Lena Headey, Diana Rigg, Ciarán Hinds and Iain Glen having major roles. There have also been many actors who had have their first major role on the shows or have found new fame. As the battle for the Iron Throne is set to continue we at Entertainment Fuse will look at the actors who have had the most successful careers outside Game of Thrones.

10. Nathalie Emmanuel
nathalie emmanuel in game of thrones

Nathalie Emmanuel’s biggest role before earning the role in Game of Thrones was in the British teen soap Hollyoaks – a show derided in the UK for its poor acting, actors cast because of their looks and ridiculous storylines. Emmanuel’s character Sasha suffered from a heroin addiction and having a relationship with an older man who was also her brother’s enemy. Earning the role of Missandei was a coup for Emmanuel where she gained a fan base and now has two main film projects to her name. She joined the Fast and Furious ensemble as the super talented, super attractive hacker Ramsay in Furious 7 and she is set to appear in The Maze Runner sequel The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, along with Game of Thrones alumni Aidan Gillen.

9. Natalie Dormer
natalie dormer hunger games

Before starring in Game of Thrones in the second season, she was best known for playing Anne Boleyn in The Tudors and had been successful on TV, appearing in British shows Silk and The Fades. After gaining the role of Margery Tyrell she had small roles in Rush, The Counselor and The Riot Club and won the supporting role of Cressida, The Capital defector and Katniss’ personal PR woman in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, even shaving half her hair for the role. She also appeared in six episodes of Elementary, playing Sherlock Holmes’ love interest Irene Adler and is set to star with former Doctor Who star Matt Smith and Stanley Tucci in the horror movie Patient Zero.

8. Richard Madden
richard madden - cinderella
Scotsman Richard Madden has been acting since he was 11, acting in the children’s programme Barmy Aunt Boomerang. Madden had a three season stint in Game of Thrones as Robb Stark, rebelling against the Seven Kingdoms and during his time on the show he also appeared in the British comedy drama series Sirens and in the BBC’s adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong – appearing with Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne. When he left the show he led the Discovery Channel’s miniseries Klondike, played the prince in Disney’s live-action adaptation of Cinderella and going to star opposite Idris Elba in the upcoming action film Bastille Day.

7. Maisie Williams
maisie williams - game of thrones
Born in Bristol and growing up in the South West of England, Maisie Williams is a West Country lass who is quite good, playing one of the show’s most popular characters Arya Stark. Since starring as Arya, Williams has become an award winning actress, winning a EWwy Award for Best Supporting Actress in the Drama category and the Shorting Stars Award at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival. As well as appearing in Game of Thrones, Williams was in the three part BBC series The Secret of Crickley Hall and in the one off TV drama for Channel 4 Cyberbully, earning praise from critics for her near solo performance. Fans of Doctor Who will see Williams guest star in a two part episode. In cinema Williams has starred in the low budget drama The Falling and she has been linked to play Elle in the film adaptation of the critically acclaimed post-apocalyptical set computer game The Last of Us.

6. Kit Harrington
kit harington spooks
Game of Thrones was Kit Harrington’s first onscreen role having worked as a stage actor before landing the role of Jon Snow. Since appearing in Game of Thrones Harrington has been nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television and won the Young Hollywood Award for Best Actor. As well as starring as Jon Snow, Harrington has also made the jump to cinema, making his movie debut in the horror sequel Silent Hill: Revelation 3D and has starred in Paul W. S. Anderson’s Pompeii and opposite Alicia Vikander in the historical drama Testament of Youth. Harrington provided his voice for How to Train Your Dragon 2  and he is set to star in the Spooks film spin-off Spooks: The Greater Good.

5. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
nikolaj coster-waldau - headhunters

Before starring in Game of Thrones as Jaime Lannister Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau had a solid career in supporting roles in movies like Black Hawk Down, Wimbledon and Kingdom of Heaven as well as roles in European productions. His biggest role before the HBO series was in the TV series New Amsterdam which lasted eight episodes. Since finding fame in Game of Thrones Coster-Waldau has found plenty of movie roles in Hollywood and Scandinavia – starring as the villain in the excellent Norwegian thriller Headhunters, starred alongside Jessica Chastain in the horror flick Mama and has three women on the go in the rom-com The Other Woman. He also had a small role in the sci-fi movie Oblivion and is set to play the god of the sky and war Horus in the Egyptian mythology movie Gods of Egypt.

4. Jason Momoa
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Jason Momoa was in Game of Thrones for one season as the nomadic barbarian leader Khal Drogo and his star has been rising since appearing in the show. Momoa’s biggest role before Game of Thrones was in Stargate Atlantis and since stardom in the fantasy show he landed another fantasy role, Conan the Barbarian. He starred as the main antagonist in the Sylvester Stallone movie Bullet to the Head and made his directional debut with Road to Paloma. He was linked to play Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy, but turned it down and is now set to be Aquaman in DC’s cinematic universe.

3. Emilia Clarke
emilia clarke terminator poster

Before starring in Game of Thrones Emilia Clarke starred in an episode of the British soap Doctors and in the lowly rated TV movie Triassic Attack. Game of Thrones was Clarke’s first major role and quickly become a fan favorite as Daenerys Targaryen, the Khaleesi and mother of dragons. And Clarke was not even the first choice for the role, with Tamzin Merchant playing Daenerys in the original pilot. Since starring in Game of Thrones Clarke has been active in films, TV and on the stage, starring on Broadway in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, played Jude Law’s daughter in the crime comedy-drama Dom Hemmingway, appeared in the British independent film Spike Island and offered her voice in an episode of Futurama. Her biggest role is yet to come, taking on the iconic role of Sarah Connor in the reboot of the Terminator series, Terminator Genisys, a role her co-star Lena Headley played on TV. Despite the awful title and the big question of do we even need a new Terminator movie, Clarke looks impressive as the famous action hero.

2. Sophie Turner
sophie turner
Sophie Turner was 15 when she was cast in Game of Thrones as Sansa Stark, the effeminate older daughter of the Stark family and betrothed to the biggest bastard on the show (which is a hell of an accomplishment considering the show) Joffrey Baratheon. Since being on the show was nominated for a Young Artist Award for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series. Her credits outside Game of Thrones have been limited, starring in a Spanish-British horror movie Another Me and a supporting role in the BBC TV film The Thirteenth Tale. It’s her upcoming slate of movies that will push Turner to the next level. She will star alongside Hailee Steinfeld as a teenage assassin in the action-comedy Barely Lethal and she has been cast as the writer Mary Shelley in the bio-pic Mary Shelley’s Monster. Her biggest role will be as Jean Grey in the superhero sequel X-Men: Apocalypse, beating the likes of Saoirse Ronan, Chloë Grace Moretz and Elle Fanning for the role of the powerful mutant.

1. Peter Dinklage
peter dinklage as bolivar trask

Peter Dinklage is the breakout star of Game of Thrones, starring as one of the shows most popular characters, Tyrion Lannister. Before being cast in Game of Thrones Dinklage had a respectable career, his biggest movie being in the critically acclaimed comedy-drama The Station Agent. He also had roles in movies like Elf and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and the CBS sci-fi show Threshold. But let’s be frank, roles for actors with dwarfism can be limited and can lead to actors being easily typecast. Dinklage was the first actor to be cast in Game of Thrones and it was the role that made him a star, winning an Emmy and Golden Globe for his work.  Since then Dinklage voiced Captain Gutt in the fourth Ice Age movie Ice Age: Continental Drift, being unrecognizable as the inventor of the Sentinels Bolivar Trask in X-Men: Days of Future Past and lent his voice for the computer game Destiny. Dinklage has also appeared in lower budget affairs like Knights of Badassdom and The Angriest Man in Brooklyn. We are set to see him in comedy movie Pixels and has a voice role in the film adaptation of Angry Birds. Captain America screenwriter Christopher Markus considered Dinklage as his preferred casting choice to play the villain MODOK during the early development of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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