'Game of Thrones' cast then and now: Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington and more stars' transformations from season 1 to season 8

After eight years of sex, war and gore, "Game of Thrones" is finally coming to an end.

While it'll be hard to say goodbye to fan-favorite characters, the actors certainly aren't going anywhere: "Game of Thrones" launched its leading cast into superstardom, putting names like Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke on the map. (Not the map of Westeros. The real map.)

Several stars were just kids when they joined the HBO hit, like Maisie Williams, who was 13 when she was first cast, and Isaac Hempstead-Wright, even younger at 11. 

PHOTOS: Each "Game of Thrones" star in 2011 and 2019

Game of Thrones cast evolution from season 1 to season 8
See Gallery
Game of Thrones cast evolution from season 1 to season 8
Emilia Clarke, 2011
Emilia Clarke, 2019
Kit Harington, 2011
Kit Harington, 2019
Isaac Hempstead Wright, 2011
Isaac Hempstead Wright, 2019
Sophie Turner, 2012
Sophie Turner, 2019
Maisie Williams, 2012
Maisie Williams, 2019
Lena Headey, 2011
Lena Headey, 2019
Peter Dinklage, 2011
Peter Dinklage, 2019
Gwendoline Christie, 2012
Gwendoline Christie, 2019
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, 2011
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, 2019
Jason Momoa, 2011
Jason Momoa, 2019
Alfie Allen, 2011
Alfie Allen, 2019

Although "GoT" kick-started a number of careers when it debuted in 2011, producers wisely also recruited a select few already-famous faces. Creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss knew from the start they wanted Peter Dinklage, who'd already made a name for himself on the Hollywood scene. Dinklage then suggested that they consider Lena Headey for another leading role, and she was plucked to play Cersei Lannister.

As the show draws to a close, several of its stars are making clear efforts to broaden their careers beyond their most-known characters. Clarke starred in 2016's "Solo: A Star Wars Story," adding another massive franchise to her resume, while Jason Momoa joined the DC superhero universe with "Aquaman."

PHOTOS: Jason Momoa out and about

Jason Momoa out and about
See Gallery
Jason Momoa out and about
Jason Momoa, a cast member in "Justice League," arrives with his wife, actress Lisa Bonet, at the premiere of the film at the Dolby Theatre on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 12: Jason Momoa is seen arriving at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Aquaman' at the Chinese Theatre on December 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG017/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 03: Lisa Bonet and Jason Momoa attend the 'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere on April 03, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage,)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 12: Actor Jason Momoa and wife/actress Lisa Bonet arrive for the Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Aquaman' held at TCL Chinese Theatre on December 12, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
Jason Momoa during the filming of the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6 Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening. (Photo by Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images)
Photo by: John Nacion/STAR MAX/IPx 2018 12/3/18 Jason Momoa is seen at BUILD Series in New York City.
NEW YORK, NY - December 03: Jason Momoa seen at Good Morning America promoting his new movie Aquaman on December 03, 2018 in New York City. Credit: RW/MediaPunch /IPX
Photo by: KGC-138/STAR MAX/IPx 2018 11/26/18 Jason Momoa at the premiere of "Aquaman" in London, England.
Photo by: zz/GOTPAP/STAR MAX/IPx 2018 7/21/18 Jason Momoa is seen signing autographs for fans at Comic-Con International 2018 in San Diego, CA.
Jason Momoa, a cast member in the upcoming films "Justice League" and "Aquaman," addresses the audience during the Warner Bros. Pictures presentation at CinemaCon 2017 at Caesars Palace on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Jason Momoa attends “The Bad Batch” premiere on day 6 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the Ryerson Theatre on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, in Toronto. (Photo by Jesse Herzog/Invision/AP)
Actor Jason Momoa poses for photographers upon arrival at the European Premiere of Suicide Squad, at a central London cinema in Leicester Square, Wednesday, Aug 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)
Jason Momoa arrives at the premiere screening of SundanceTV's "The Red Road", on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision for SundanceTV/AP Images)
Cast member Emilia Clarke, right, and Jason Momoa pose together at the premiere for the third season of the HBO television series "Game of Thrones" at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Monday, March 18, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles /Invision/AP)
Actor Jason Momoa attends the "Bullet To The Head" premiere at AMC Lincoln Square on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet attend the Cinema Society premiere of "The Skin I Live In" on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.