Here’s What the Stars of 'Game of Thrones' Are Really Worth
Game of Thrones has one of the biggest and most accomplished casts on television. The dozens of cast members range from first-time actors to Tony and Emmy winners. So, when you’re on the biggest TV show in the world (which itself is a behemoth of pop culture history), what does that mean for your bottom line? From the lowborn but loyal Hodor to the ruthless Tywin Lannister, here’s what the stars of Game of Thrones are really worth.
British actress Nathalie Emmanuel enjoyed several successful years on the long-running Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks before being cast on Game of Thrones in 2013 as Missandei, a slave interpreter who becomes Daenerys Targaryen’s trusted advisor. Now, thanks to the show and roles in several big Hollywood franchises, she’s worth a reported $1 million.
Emmanuel, who joined the show in its third season, was listed as a recurring character for over a dozen episodes and eventually promoted to the main cast starting in 2015. In between seasons she landed a small role in the Hollywood adaptation of the Maze Runner series, which ended in 2018, and appeared as a hacker in The Fate of the Furious.
When he made his stage debut in Hamlet back in 1994, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau couldn’t have predicted he’d one day be among the highest-paid actors on TV. Since signing on to play the complicated Jamie Lannister on the hit HBO series, Coster-Waldau, who also works as a producer and screenwriter, has watched his fortune grow to an estimated $16 million.
Along with several of his main cast members, Coster-Waldau makes a cool half-million dollars per episode, which sort of makes up for all those night shoots and an ungainly prosthetic hand. And though his film career predates his work on Game of Thrones (he made his Hollywood debut in 2001’s Black Hawk Down), Coster-Waldau has continued working on the big-screen in films like Gods of Egypt and Shot Caller.
In 2010, Maisie Williams beat out 300 other actresses to win the role of pint-sized assassin Arya Stark on Game of Thrones – even though she had zero experience in front of the camera. Now, she’s an Emmy-nominated actress, a favorite of the show’s passionate fanbase and worth an estimated $6 million.
Williams, whose real name is Margaret, earns $175,000 per episode; for the final, eight-episode season she’ll pocket a cool $1.4 million. In her downtime from filming Game of Thrones, she’s appeared in several British TV series and movies, and in 2015, she upped her pop culture cred with a recurring role on Peter Capaldi’s iteration of the long-running BBC series Dr. Who.
Coming into the final season of Game of Thrones, a common refrain was “Don’t let anything happen to Tormund,” which goes to show how beloved Kristofer Hivju’s portrayal of the charismatic Wildling Tormund Giantsbane has become since joining the show in 2013. Between his work on the HBO show and a memorable role in The Fate of the Furious, it’s estimated the Norwegian actor is worth close to $6 million.
Hivju grew up in Oslo, Norway and graduated from acting school in 2004. One of his first major roles came in 2011 when he was cast as a research scientist in the sci-fi horror prequel The Thing. Since being promoted to the main cast of Game of Thrones in 2014, Hivju has appeared on the hit Norwegian drama Lilyhammer and starred alongside Charlize Theron in The Fate of the Furious.
When she landed the role of the coldly calculating Cersei Lannister, Lena Headey was best known for her roles in Zak Snyder’s historical epic 300 and the short-lived TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. But it’s safe to say it’s the conniving queen of Kings Landing that made the British actress a star worth a reported $9 million.
After being encouraged to audition for the show by her longtime friend Peter Dinklage, Headey landed a deal worth an estimated $300,000 an episode, and in 2014, she renegotiated her contracts for the final two seasons to make $500,000 an episode. She’s kept busy in her downtime from Game of Thrones with roles in films like The Purge and a voiceover part in the Netflix series Trollhunters.
Few characters on Game of Thrones inspired as much devotion as Hodor, the gentle giant who protects Bran Stark after fleeing Winterfell. And though he’s a man of few words (literally – the only word he knows is Hodor), Irish actor Kristian Nairn boasts he developed more than 70 ways to say the simple yet powerful phrase.
Nairn, who left the show in 2016, has continued acting in shows like The Rookie, but is now focused on his DJ career, which is worth a reported $500,000. The former Belfast resident DJ travels the world playing progressive house; in 2014 he paid homage to the show with a Rave of Thrones tour that sold out clubs across the country.
Natalie Dormer has a thing for tragic queens. The British actress first gained notice in 2007 as Anne Boleyn on The Tudors; then came Margaery Tyrell on Game of Thrones, who tried (and failed) to navigate the machinations of Cersei Lannister. The upside of all that death? A thriving career worth an estimated $6 million.
During her four-year stint on the series, Dormer branched out with a role in The Hunger Games two-part Mockingjay finale and maintained a recurring role on the CBS drama Elementary. After leaving the show in 2016, Dormer returned to the stage in London in a production of Venus in Furs and was cast in the limited series Picnic at Hanging Rock.
When Game of Thrones premiered in 2011, Sean Bean was by far the biggest star on the show, which is why his death at the end of the first season was so shocking. But this isn’t his first rodeo. Besides, when you’ve got a reported $20 million in the bank, what’s there to be upset about?
Bean, who grew up in Yorkshire, spent his early career on British TV before making the jump to Hollywood with a role as an Irish terrorist out for revenge in 1992’s Patriot Games. He cemented his action-star status with roles in GoldenEye and Ronin before landing a breakout role as Boromir in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He’s since added the doomed Ned Stark to his list of memorable deaths.
Some actors get lucky right out of the gate. Even before she joined Game of Thrones as Ygritte, Rose Leslie had won a BAFTA and appeared in the first series of Downton Abbey. Add in her newest role on the CBS All-Access series The Good Fight, and Leslie is now worth an estimated $4 million.
The Scottish actress appeared on Game of Thrones from 2012 to 2014 as Ygritte, a headstrong Wildling warrior who eventually falls in love with Jon Snow (and the actor who played him – Leslie and Harington married in 2018). After leaving the show, she landed roles in The Last Witch Hunter and the Idris Elba detective series Luther. She has also been on The Good Fight since 2017.
The most shocking thing about Conleth Hill? He’s not actually bald. The Northern Irish actor who plays Daenerys’ sage advisor, Varys, was required to shave his head during filming. It’s a small price to pay for playing Varys, the cunning court spymaster known as Master of Whisperers, a role that helped make Hill worth a reported $2 million.
Hill was already a well-known stage actor in Ireland who occasionally crossed over to television when he was recommended for the role of Varys by none other than George R. R. Martin himself. And working on Game of Thrones is a family affair; Hill’s younger brother is an Emmy-winning sound engineer on the series.
Though she wasn’t as well-known as co-stars Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, was among the most veteran actors in the original cast of Game of Thrones. The Northern Irish actress had over two decades worth of theater, TV and film credits behind her, all of which add up to a career worth a reported $3 million.
Fairley portrayed Catelyn, the fiercely protective matriarch of the Stark family, for the first three seasons of the show. Her last episode, The Rains of Castamere, is regarded as a high point (or low point, depending on your tolerance for violence) of the notoriously brutal series. Since then Fairley has appeared in recurring roles on TV shows such as Suits and 24: Live Another Day and starred in a London revival of Julius Caesar.
Like many of her co-stars, Sophie Turner had no idea what she was getting herself into when she joined the cast of Game of Thrones. The then-14-year-old Turner had appeared in local plays, but had never acted professionally before taking on the role of Sansa, the eldest of the Stark daughters. Now, thanks to the hit HBO show and other gigs, she’s worth an estimated $6 million.
Turner takes home just $175,000 per episode, but that doesn’t mean she’s being left high and dry. The newly minted Mrs. Jonas (yes, she married Joe) landed the role of Jean Grey in the newest iteration of the X-Men franchise and has worked with brands like Wella Hair and Karen Millen.
It’s almost hard to believe that Jason Momoa was only on Game of Thrones for ten episodes, considering how his charismatic, intimidating Dothraki leader Khal Drogo still looms large almost six seasons later. But for the Hawaiian-born actor and model, it was just a stepping stone to becoming a certified superhero superstar worth a reported $14 million.
Momoa had spent several seasons on the sci-fi show Stargate Atlantis before joining Game of Thrones, but the HBO show’s popularity catapulted him into a whole new level of fame. After leaving the show in 2013, Momoa wrote, directed and starred in the film Road to Paloma and landed a spot in the DC Universe as Aquaman; his standalone film in 2018 made over $1 billion worldwide.
Even in the sprawling world of George R. R. Martin’s books, Brienne of Tarth stands out; she’s described as being unusually tall and plain-looking, a woman built for fighting in a world that views such a thing as abhorrent. Gwendoline Christie knew she was the perfect actress for the part and has parlayed her success into a career reportedly worth $3 million.
Christie, who is six feet three inches tall and cites Tilda Swinton as one of her inspirations, made her debut as the loyal Brienne in the show’s second season and quickly became a fan favorite. Outside of the HBO show, the British actress has landed roles in other major franchises such as The Hunger Games and Star Wars, where she plays the villainous Captain Phasma.
Imagine auditioning for the biggest job of your career just three months after graduating from drama school. That’s what happened to John Bradley who had just received his B.A. from the Manchester School of Theatre when he went out for the role of Samwell Tarly on Game of Thrones. Now eight seasons later, Bradley is recognized all over the world and worth a reported $4 million.
Bradley’s only role prior to joining Game of Thrones was the epic drama The Borgias, where he portrayed Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici for half a dozen episodes. His portrayal of Samwell, a shy bookworm who becomes one of Jon Snow’s closest friends, is a fan favorite. He’s also branched out into voice acting with a role in a World of Warcraft expansion and landed a recurring role on Shameless.
In 2006, British pop star Lily Allen wrote a song chiding her younger brother Alfie for being a carefree lay about. That sibling tough love must have worked because a few years later Alfie went from small parts in films like Atonement and The Other Boleyn Girl to the major role of Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones. And now he’s worth a reported $6 million.
It’s no surprise that Allen became an actor: his mother Alison was a film producer, while his father was a veteran TV and film actor. He originally auditioned for the role of Jon Snow but accepted the role of Theon, a ward of the Iron Islands taken in by Ned Stark, and appeared in all eight seasons of the show. In between seasons, he appeared in the first John Wick film and in the 2018 reboot of The Predator.
Aidan Gillen is no stranger to being on a beloved HBO show. From 2004 to 2008 he portrayed Baltimore mayor Thomas Carcetti on The Wire. But it’s his six seasons as Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, a character so conniving and manipulative he gives Cersei a run for her money, that most fans associate with the Irish actor, who is worth a reported $8 million.
Gillen, who grew up in Dublin, was nominated for a BAFTA in 2000 for his role as Stuart Jones on the BBC series Queer as Folk. His long stage career includes a Tony nomination in 2004 for the Harold Pinter play The Caretaker and he’s narrated several audiobooks of Irish poetry and prose.
Jon Snow does know one thing – how to get paid. Harington graduated from the prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama in 2008 and spent several years performing on stage in London before landing the role of the conflicted, but loyal, Jon Snow in 2010. Now, thanks to Game Of Thrones and several fashion endorsements, Harington is estimated to be worth $12 million.
Like his other main cast colleagues, Harington has seen his per-episode rate skyrocket to $500,000. (Not bad for someone who had never been on television before!) His growing popularity on the show helped him land other high-profile gigs, too. He’s the voice of a charmingly shady Viking in the How To Train Your Dragon franchise and he’s been featured in ad campaigns for major brands like Jimmy Choo, Nissan and Dolce & Gabbana.
There are Tony nominees and Emmy winners galore in the talented cast of Game of Thrones, but only one has a Silver Bear Best Actor Award. (That’s the highest honor for acting at the Berlin International Film Festival!) Iain Glen, who plays Daenerys’ loyal confidant Ser Jorah Mormont, is worth an estimated $6 million.
The Scottish actor, who appears in all eight seasons of Game of Thrones, brought more than 20 years of stage and screen experience to his role as Ser Jorah, a disgraced former lord who helps Daenerys fight her way through Westeros. He’s also been nominated for several prestigious theatrical awards, appeared in several episodes of Downton Abbey and landed a recurring role in the Resident Evil franchise.
When Clarke signed up to play the fiery Daenerys Targaryen in 2010, the British actress was far from being a household name. She’d just graduated from the drama school at Central Saint Martins in London and her résumé consisted mainly of theater performances and random TV and movie roles. Now, she’s worth an estimated $13 million and one of the biggest stars in the world.
Over the course of the show, Clarke has upped her per-episode pay several times, and before the start of the seventh season, she signed a deal with HBO worth a cool $500,000 per episode. (No word on whether that includes CGI-dragon hazard pay). In addition to the millions she’s made from the show, Clarke has signed lucrative endorsement deals with major fashion brands Dior and Dolce & Gabbana and branched out with lead roles in Terminator Genisys and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Veteran Irish actor Liam Cunningham joined Game of Thrones in its second season as Davos Seaworth, a smuggler with a heart of gold. Over the course of eight seasons, he’s become a fan favorite character. (It’s a far cry from his early years working as an electrician). After two decades, the award-winning actor is estimated to be worth around $4 million.
It took a few years for Cunningham to pursue his dream of acting, but by the mid-1990s he’d began working steadily in films like A Little Princess and appeared on several British TV series. He followed up his award-winning performance in the 2008 film Hunger with high-profile films, such as War Horse and Clash of the Titans, and won a BAFTA in 2011 for his debut short film Pitch Black Heist.
As Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, Scottish actor Rory McCann is one of Game of Thrones’ most cynical – and compelling – characters. After surviving a horrific climbing accident in the 1980s, McCann became famous in Scotland with a starring role in a breakfast ad campaign. Now he’s appeared in almost every season of Game of Thrones and is reported to be worth nearly $6 million.
McCann, who initially studied to be a painter, trained in a desert boot camp for Oliver Stone’s epic Alexander and showed off his comedic side in the buddy-cop satire Hot Fuzz and the BAFTA-winning sitcom The Book Group (which partly took inspiration from his well-publicized accident). Since joining the HBO show he’s also appeared in the drama Slow West and in the third film in the Xander Cage series.
Maybe you knew him as the cynical bit player in the 1995 cult indie hit Living in Oblivion, or from his breakout role as the railroad-obsessed Fin in The Station Agent. But the character that defines Peter Dinklage now is his Emmy-winning performance as Tyrion Lannister, which helped boost his estimated worth up to $15 million.
Dinklage had never read the books from which the show is based on, but jumped at the chance to play Tyrion, whose dry wit and scheming intelligence appealed to him. In fact, he was the first actor to sign onto the show, and for the last two seasons he pulled in $500,000 an episode. When he’s not scheming with a wine cup in his hand, Dinklage can be seen in big-screen blockbusters like X-Men: Days of Future Past and Avengers: Infinity War.
Carice Van Houten
Carice van Houten starred in the most successful Dutch film ever, Paul Verhoeven’s World War II drama Black Book, but it took appearing on Game of Thrones to make her a household name. Her role as Melisandre, an enigmatic priestess who serves the mysterious Lord of Light, helped make the award-winning Dutch actress worth a reported $5 million.
Van Houten, who joined the show in 2012 and remained a main cast member until leaving the show in its final season, might also be familiar to American audiences from her role opposite Tom Cruise in Valkyrie. But while van Houten has been candid about her desire to work in Europe, she’s starred in U.S. productions Race and Incarnate, as well as done voiceover work for The Simpsons.
Isaac Hempstead Wright
Isaac Hempstead-Wright was just 11 years old and had only acted in a single commercial when he was cast on Game of Thrones as Bran Stark, whose injury at the hands of Jaime Lannister has repercussions that ripple down through the years. He’s one of the few main cast members to still be on the show, and it’s estimated Wright is worth around $4 million.
An integral part of the first four seasons of the show, Wright returned in Season 6 and is a major player in the shortened final season, where he reportedly makes $175,000 per episode. On his downtime from the show, he’s appeared in several films and lent his voice to an episode of the animated series Family Guy.
40 years after her heyday in the British spy series The Avengers and the classic 1969 Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, actress Diana Rigg gained a new generation of fans with her role as the imperious and wily Lady Olenna Tyrell. It was a fitting third act for the critically-acclaimed actress, whose worth is estimated at $10 million.
Rigg received four Emmy nominations for her role as Olenna, whose sharp wit and barb-tongued bon mots earned her the nickname “The Queen of Thorns” and made her a highlight of the show’s Kings Landing storylines. After leaving the show in Season 7, she starred in the 2018 Broadway revival of My Fair Lady as Mrs. Higgins, which garnered her nominations from both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards.
Landing two-time Tony winner Jonathan Pryce as The High Sparrow was a major casting coup for Game of Thrones, and his portrayal of the cunning religious priest in Seasons 5 and 6 showcased the veteran actor’s versatile talents. It also didn’t hurt that it helped bump the British actor’s net worth up to an estimated $6 million.
Pryce’s career spans four decades across film, TV and theater. He landed his breakout role in 1985 as paranoid bureaucrat Sam Lowry in Terry Gilliam’s paranoid classic Brazil, and has worked with other high-profile directors like Terrence Malick (The New World) and Martin Scorsese (The Age of Innocence). His Emmy-nominated TV work includes the ‘80s-set Barbarians at the Gate and the historical epic Wolf Hall.
Leaving a hit TV show can sometimes be bittersweet, but Richard Madden, who portrayed Robb Stark in the first three seasons of Game of Thrones, doesn’t have too much to complain about. In 2019, he won a Golden Globe for his role as a war veteran in the BBC crime thriller Bodyguard and he’s now worth a reported $6 million.
For Madden, the role of Robb Stark was the most high-profile one of his career to date. Up until then he’d landed small roles in British TV series and the odd film or two. Since leaving in 2013 he’s appeared in several West End productions and starred alongside Dustin Hoffman in the historical series Medici: Masters of Florence.
Most actors would be crushed at the thought of leaving a show like Game of Thrones midway through its hugely successful run, but for Dutch actor Michiel Huisman, his three-season stint on the series as Daenerys’ loyal commander Daario Naharis was just another role in an impressively varied career worth an estimated $3 million.
Huisman got his start acting in the 1990s on a long-running Dutch soap opera and made the transition to American-language TV and film with roles on shows like Treme and Orphan Black and the films World War Z and The Age of Adaline. In 2018, he starred as writer Steven Crain in the hit Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House, based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name.
As the tyrannical Tywin Lannister, Charles Dance struck fear into the hearts of his children Jaime, Cersei and Tyrion, as well as audiences around the world. It’s a fitting role for the veteran British actor who made his TV debut back in 1974 and is now worth an estimated $5 million.
Dance, who was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2006, joined Game of Thrones in 2011 and remained a key figure in several storylines through Season 5. He’s since appeared in the high-profile 2016 Ghostbusters reboot and in the 2018 TV adaptation of John Le Carré’s spy novel The Little Drummer Girl.