Christopher Catesby Harington (born 26 December 1986), known professionally as Kit Harington, is an English actor and producer. Born in Acton, Greater London, Harington graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama in 2008. While still at drama school, he made his professional acting debut in the National Theatre and West End with the leading role of Albert in the critically acclaimed adaptation of the play War Horse.
In 2011, Harington rose to prominence for his breakthrough role as Jon Snow in the HBO fantasy television series Game of Thrones (2011–2019), which brought him international recognition and several accolades, including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor – Television Series Drama and two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2016 and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2019.
Harington has appeared in several feature films including the historical romance film Pompeii (2014) and the British period drama Testament of Youth (2014), and he provided the voice of Eret in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise.
Early life and ancestry
Harington was born on 26 December 1986 in Acton, London, to Deborah Jane (Catesby), a former playwright, and Sir David Robert Harington, 15th Baronet, a businessman. His full name is Christopher Catesby Harington; his mother named him after Christopher Marlowe, whose first name was shortened to Kit, a name Harington prefers. He did not learn what his full name was until he was eleven years old. Harington’s uncle was Sir Nicholas John Harington, 14th Baronet, and his patrilineal great-grandfather was Sir Richard Harington, 12th Baronet. The Haringtons are an ancient family that once spelled their name Haverington and derived the name from their estate, a lordship in Cumberland. The first person identified with their name was one Robert De Haverington, the son of Osulphus or Oswulf whose manor was Flemingby. Through his paternal grandmother, Lavender Cecilia Denny, Harington’s eighth-great-grandfather was Charles II of England. Also through his father, Harington descends from Scottish politician Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville.
He is related to men who were involved on opposite sides of the Gunpowder Plot. He claims a family connection with the leader of the plot, Robert Catesby, on his mother’s side, while through his father’s side, he is related to King James I (grandfather of King Charles II), the target of the assassination attempt, and to Lord Harington, who was in the Houses of Parliament that Catesby and his co-conspirators tried to blow up. Another relation, John Harington (a different branch of the family), observed at the age of 13 the displayed head of Catesby after his execution and later commented on it.
Harington was a pupil at the Southfield Primary School from 1992 to 1998. When he was 11, his family moved to Worcestershire and he studied at the Chantry High School in Martley until 2003. He became interested in acting after watching a production of Waiting for Godot when he was 14, and he performed in several school productions.
He attended Worcester Sixth Form College, where he studied Drama and Theatre (2003–05). When he was 17, he was inspired to attend a drama school after seeing a performance by Ben Whishaw as Hamlet in 2004. Harington moved back to London in 2005 when he was eighteen after graduating from Sixth Form and, later that year, attended the Central School of Speech and Drama, graduating in 2008.
As of 2015, Harington lives in Canonbury, London. In 2017, he purchased a £1.75 million 15th-century country home in Ipswich, Suffolk.
Harington began a relationship with his Game of Thrones co-star Rose Leslie in 2012. They announced their engagement through the ‘Forthcoming Marriages’ section of The Times on 27 September 2017. On 23 June 2018, the couple married at Rayne Parish Church in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, followed by a reception at the Wardhill Castle.
In May 2019, Harington checked into a wellness retreat to work on some personal problems. Alcohol abuse being among them.
In September 2020, Leslie posed for a magazine photo shoot visibly pregnant.
Harington credits Game of Thrones with giving him some of his closest friends, Richard Madden, and Emilia Clarke in particular, being the one’s most frequently mentioned. Despite the fact the two hadn’t shared any scenes until the latter seasons, Harington has stated on numerous occasions that he, and Clarke have been best friends for years.