In a show where everything was fair game, Kit Harington probably felt somewhat secure being the underdog hero of the story, even when his trajectory wasn’t completely clear at the beginning. So, it must have come as quite a shock when he received a script for the eighth episode of season 1, “The Point End,” that featured a massive fire at Castle Black halfway through the episode, leading to this stage direction:
“When the fire is finally out, we see by torchlight that all of Jon’s hair has been burnt down to the scalp. The skin on the top half of his face has been melted in the extreme heat, blistered and pustulant.”
If you recall, this wasn’t in the episode. This never happened in any episode. But it was in the script that Harington received, which David Benioff and D.B. Weiss thought would be quite the prank to pull on ol’ Jon Snow. Relayed in the book “Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2” by Bryan Cogman, Benioff said of the ruse:
“We assumed that, like most good-looking guys, he likes being a good-looking guy. So while we were shooting the first season, when we distributed new drafts of Episode 108, we gave Kit a copy with these Jon Snow scenes in place of the actual scenes.”
Weiss added that they “told him that HBO was worried the Jon Snow story line was too Harry Potter, and they wanted to do something to make it darker.” The two co-creators couldn’t keep up the charade for too long, as they both started laughing about it when they were explaining the decision to Harington, and they said he was “a good sport.” Frankly, I wonder if he would’ve enjoyed adopting that look.