Game of Thrones character Jon Snow’s newfound leadership role was tested on Sunday night’s episode. A barbaric act was committed at the hands of the character, and now the actor behind the role is explaining why he found it difficult to film the latest of one of the show’s many violent scenes.
Snow, played by Kit Harrington, was forced to behead a character that disobeyed a direct order to preserve power and respect. While filming the scene last year, the actor told Entertainment Weekly Monday he was uncomfortable due to around-the-clock news coverage at the time of beheadings at the hands of Islamic State militants.
The episode “HIgh Sparrow” aired Sunday on HBO, and in it, the newly elected Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch was publicly challenged when character Janos Slynt refused a direct order. Snow ordered Slynt to take command of an abandoned castle and fortify the position, but Slynt refused, and Snow was forced to do away with him.
“It felt really dark because of the current news, what was going on in the news at the time,” Harington told EW of the beheading, which was filmed during highly publicized beheadings by ISIS. “And I’m doing this on camera. It really didn’t sit well.”
In addition to struggling with the beheading, Harrington is also adjusting to Snow’s new direction:
“There’s a great juxtaposition there from when [in season 2] Jon’s captured Ygritte and he knows he should kill her but he can’t do it because he’s too good of a person… He had that moment again here. He’s thinking: ‘Can I kill a man in cold blood?’ And this time he does it. That’s a big change for Jon.”
Harington also told the site Jon Snow may have been getting some for his father, Ned Stark, in the scene, whether he knew it or not.
“I feel like somehow Jon knows, somehow deep down, that Slynt is an unjust man who’s done bad things and that’s what gives him the power to do that,” he said.