GAME OF THRONES Actor Kit Harington Attributes ‘Mental Health Difficulties’ to Series’ Intense Content
By Movieguide® Staff
Actor Kit Harington, known for his role on the viral GAME OF THRONES series, recently opened up about how the show’s gross, immoral content harmed his mental health.
The HBO epic spanned eight seasons between 2011 and 2019, but the 34-year-old actor said his mental health struggles directly resulted from the show. After filming concluded for the show’s final season, Harrington checked himself into rehab.
“I went through some mental health difficulties after Thrones, and during the end of Thrones, to be honest,” Harington told Cagle on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show. “I think it was directly due to the nature of the show and what I had been doing for years.”
Harrington added that he took a break from acting after GOT.
“I’m really happy I did that,” he said.
Harington starred as one of the fan favorites on the show, Jon Snow.
“You don’t have to live in that intense place all the time,” Harington said. “Why don’t you do something that takes the weight off? Why don’t you do something fun?”
Harrington is not the only actor involved in the GOT saga to have reservations about its intense and crude content.
Movieguide® previously reported:
Actress Emilia Clarke, who rose to fame after starring in HBO’s Game of Thrones, recently revealed that she was pressured to film scenes naked for the show. She’s not alone – actresses from Evangeline Lilly to Jennifer Lawrence have admitted to either crying or drinking in response to filming scenes with little to no clothing.
Speaking on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, the 33-year-old expressed her disbelief when she first landed the role of Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, which premiered in 2011.
“Obviously, I took the job,” she said in the podcast released late November. “They sent me the scripts and I was reading them and I was, it was like, ‘Oh, there’s the catch.’”
“I have no idea what I’m doing, I have no idea what any of this is, I’ve never been on a film set like this before,” she remembered. “And now I’m on a film set completely naked with all of these people.”
She would dismiss her feelings, have a cry in the bathroom, and then return to filming.
There are countless examples of women in Hollywood who have said they felt uncomfortable or even pressured into sexually explicit content for the big screen. However, excessive material in TV and movies does not only mean sexual-related content.
Shows like GOT contain graphic violence that is just as harmful to viewers.
Dr. Ted Baehr notes the importance of media discernment and the potential dangers of media violence in his book, “The Media Wise Family”:
It’s helpful to look at violence within the framework of the context in which the violence occurs. Looking at the context focuses the research on distinguishing between violence that raises issues of concern and violence that doesn’t. It’s also helpful to use a broad definition of violence, such as violence is anything that involves physical harm of any sort, intentional or unintentional, self-inflicted or inflicted by someone or something else. Verbal violence is of secondary importance.
If violence was removed from all movies, television programs and other mass media, there would never be a documentary series such as THE CIVIL WAR or important movies such as SCHINDLER’S LIST and THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. Portrayals of violence are necessary to tell stories that send anti-violence messages. The issue is not the mere presence of violence and other offensive elements, but the nature of these elements and the context in which they occur. Context is an important key to the determination of whether or not the use of certain otherwise questionable elements is appropriate.
Mass media violence is that violence portrayed by any of the methods of mass communication, including television, movies, video games, toys that are mass produced, comic books, the Internet, CDs, CD-ROMs, DVDs, and computers. Most of the research has to do with television, movies and pornographic materials.
A broad definition might yield a high violence count on a given television program or in a given medium. This is not important since the focus is on whether the violence raises concerns within the context of the show. For example, it’s possible that a situation comedy might yield several scenes of violence, but the context in which it occurs might lead to the conclusion that none of these scenes is inappropriate.
All violence is not created equal. It’s important to distinguish between uses of violence that raise concern and those acts which, because of their nature and the context in which they occur, do not.
It is important to examine the full range of portrayals of violence in the media, including the type of violence your child has been exposed to if your family is at all typical of families in general.