Game Of Thrones star Kit Harington: Riding dragon was 'dull as hell'
Kit Harington on final season of Game Of Thrones, how kissing co-star Emilia Clarke was 'really odd'
Riding a dragon and making out with the Mother of Dragons on hit TV series Game Of Thrones (GOT) may sound like a dream for any red-blooded man.
But it was the opposite for the show's leading man Kit Harington, who plays the heroic King of the North Jon Snow.
One of the highlights of last week's eighth season premiere episode - which drew a record 17.4 million viewers in the US - was watching Jon and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) go dragon riding.
GOT airs on HBO (StarHub TV Ch 601/Singtel TV Ch 420) on Mondays at 9am, with a same-day encore at 10pm. It is also available on HBO Go and HBO On Demand.
Not only did one of his testicles get trapped while he was being swung around on the "dragon", it turned out to be an uncomfortable experience that Clarke had previously warned him about.
The 32-year-old English actor said at New York's Mandarin Oriental hotel: "It's like in a theme park, where you're on a roller-coaster ride for one person. It's fun the first couple of times, but you are strapped to it and it is pretty violent. They want as realistic reactions as they could possibly get, so they built a mechanised buck for us.
"In reality? It's mostly boring. And that's what Emilia said. We have a competition to see who can moan the most. She was like, 'I've been on a buck for weeks.' I was like, 'Oh, sorry. You've been in a warm room. I've been out in the freezing cold.'
"And then I got on that buck for three weeks, and I'm like, 'Okay, I get it. She was right. This is dull as hell.'"
The kissing scenes with English actress Clarke, 32, were also uncomfortable for Harington.
He explained: "Usually, you come into a (project) and you develop a relationship with the person playing your love interest . Or you meet them quite early on, so you don't know each other so well when you are being intimate with this other person.
"What happened with me and Emilia was we were best friends over a seven-year period by the time we had to kiss, which is really odd.
"Emilia, myself and my wife Rose (Leslie, who played Jon's first love on GOT), we are all good friends. It's your job, but there is an element of weirdness to it when you are having dinner that evening, the three of you."
He added with a laugh: "I mean, I love Emilia and I've loved working with her. And it's not hard to kiss her really, is it?"
Probably the biggest reveal in that episode was Jon getting to know what fans learnt at the end of Season 7 - that he is the real heir to the Iron Throne because of his secret parentage and his new girlfriend Daenerys is actually his aunt by blood.
Harington recalled: "It was with John Bradley (who plays Jon's best friend Sam) and I was really happy because I love working with him.
"That's life-changing information on a level that none of us will have to ever experience, and I've got nothing to base that on. So it was one (scene) I thought was really important to try and get right, because we, as an audience, have been waiting for it, and Jon has been waiting for it."
The shoot is over and the cast has scattered.
Said Harington: "I have said goodbye to it on set and being with our family out there. Each stage that ends, I let go of it a little bit. I'm terribly sad about it ending. The words 'Game Of Thrones' are going to bring up the fondest feeling for me forever. Yeah, it is emotional, but each time we celebrate it, I feel a little bit of weight lifted and I get to enjoy what we did.
"Thinking about that Kit of eight years ago - he is so different from me. I think you go through something like this and you pick up a level of cynicism, but he was just amazed at everything. I feel like now I've gone through an experience where I walk into rooms like this and I talk to you and I'm on a red carpet and there's flash bulbs and I take it for granted a bit."
Jon's long locks were also cut off as Harington went off to do a play, which "felt weird".
"I was like, 'Right, this is me getting rid of the character a bit.' And they took it off. And I went, 'Oh my, I can feel my neck.' And it did feel like Jon was somewhere there on the floor."
He added with a laugh: "The hairdresser was like, 'Do you want it? Do you want to sell it?"
When he asked the producers if he could keep Jon's sword and costume, he was told no because "it's worth so much now" and he thinks they are "going in a museum".
He said: "I got my gloves and the braces (that go around my forearm) because they couldn't pry them from my hands.
"I've now come to terms with the fact that they are not going to give me my sword so I'm paying the armourer to make me a replica. I've got a fireplace I'm going to hang it above."
The writer is the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a ppnon-profit organisation of entertainment journalists that also organises the annual Golden Globe Awards.