Game of Thrones leapt onto our screens in 2011 and lit up the imaginations of millions around the globe. A world of powerful Houses, deception, death and dragons, the continent of Westeros was full of intrigue—introducing us to unforgettable characters like Ned Stark, Jon Snow and none other than Daenerys Targaryen. While the series finale left most with a bad taste in their mouths, it has to be said that the casting was absolutely top-notch. But are these actors and actresses really how George RR Martin—author of the books the TV show is based on—imagined them when he penned these characters?
Well, artist @msbananaanna on Twitter—who was later on featured in Bored Panda—used AI technology to recreate some of the series’ iconic characters based on their descriptions in the books and the results are pretty spectacular. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Third child of the House Stark, Arya Stark is described as having brown hair, a long face and grey eyes. A strong-willed, smart and tough individual, she can’t be turned away from any task she sets her mind to. Depicted here at roughly nine to 12 years old, she cut her hair short to appear more boy-like and faced bullying from her sister Sansa for looking ‘horse-faced’, but is also described as pretty by several other characters. Ah, sibling love…
Jaime is the eldest son of House Lannister and Lord Commander of the Kingsguard to his incestuous bundle of joy, Joffrey—the son he shares with twin sister Cersei Lannister. He is described as having curly golden hair paired with green eyes and tall as well as handsome. This AI rendition of the character also shares a striking resemblance to his on-screen counterpart Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Casting on point.
Head of House Stark and played by the legendary Sean Bean, Ned Stark shares the typical Stark features with his daughter Arya: a long face, grey eyes and brown hair, however, his solemn look and greying beard make him look older than his actual age. In what seems to be classic Bean fashion—and to many fans’ dismay—his character meets an untimely end in the first season. Tough luck, Sean.
Joffrey Baratheon is the Game of Thrones character that everyone loves to hate. He stirs up enough drama for the whole of Westeros and is absolutely insufferable but, let’s not forget—he eventually gets his comeuppance. He is described as having blonde curly hair, green eyes and pouty lips. Considered handsome by some, his personality tells a very different story.
Jaime Lannister’s other half, Cersei Lannister—played by Lena Headey—is described as having golden hair, emerald eyes, a slender figure and fair skin and is considered by some to be the most beautiful woman in all of Westeros. That being said, there is a prophecy that she will be replaced by a younger, more beautiful queen…
Portrayed brilliantly by Peter Dinklage in the TV show, this AI rendition of the character has done Tyrion dirty for sure. Said to have mismatched green and black eyes, thin, blonde hair so fair it’s almost white, an oversized head and a forehead that juts out, the Lannister prince is brighter and more cunning than he is given credit for.
One of the mainstay stars of the show, Emilia Clarke’s rendition of Daenerys Targaryen once again bears a remarkable resemblance to the AI-generated version. Another win for the casting team. The queen of the dragons is described to have violet eyes, fair skin, long, pale silver/gold hair and a slender frame—everything but the eyes, right? Well, actually, Clarke is seen debuting purple irises in the pilot episode but reportedly couldn’t stand wearing the contacts as they impaired her vision and caused her discomfort. The show stuck with her classic natural blues after that.
Yet another iconic character, Jon Snow is played by Kit Harington and according to the memes, he knows nothing. You’re pretty knowledgeable Jon, don’t worry. Having the most prominent Stark features—grey eyes, long face and dark brown hair—Snow is the bastard son of Ned Stark, but his true lineage is kept a secret even from him… Can you see any Targaryen in there?
Wife to Ned Stark and played by Michelle Fairley, Catelyn is the beauty of the North, with long auburn hair, blue eyes, fair skin with long fingers and high cheekbones. She has five children with her husband and is fiercely loyal to him, standing by his side through any hardship. Now that’s wifey material.
Brienne of Tarth is the first female knight in all of Westeros and the only daughter of House Tarth. Deadly with a sword, she eventually becomes Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. She is described as being unfeminine in appearance and is tall and muscular, not attractive by Westerosi standards, however, her eyes are said to be large and beautifully blue.
The late Brandon Stark was Ned’s brother and the heir of Winterfell before he was killed by the mad king. As with all Starks, he has their traditional feature of grey eyes, a long face and dark brown hair, but was said to be more handsome that his brother.
Known by many names such as the ‘Red Witch’ and the ‘Red Woman’, Melisandre was a Red Priestess in the religion of R’hllor and wielded incredible magic. She is described as terribly beautiful and has dangerous red eyes—once again, we didn’t get to see those in the show—deep copper hair and while around 400 years old, uses magic to appear younger. Watch out, we’ve got a catfish over here.
Not much is known about the deceased Shiera, other than that she was one of the bastard children of King Aegon IV Targaryen. She was known as a beauty and a seductress, her silver-gold hair marking her unmistakably as a Targaryen. She had mismatched eyes—one dark blue and one bright green—but these defects were said to only enhance her beauty. Unfortunately, we’re unsure if we’ll ever see her on-screen rendition.
This AI interpretation of Tywin Lannister, once again, is very similar to his actor, Charles Dance, in the HBO show. Described as having green eyes with gold flecks, a shaved head, a beard and of slender build with broad shoulders, the head of House Lannister was the Hand of the King for three different kings as well as a Protector of the Realm.
Taking after her mother Catelyn, Sansa Stark is said to have high cheekbones, deep blue eyes and light auburn hair. Initially betrothed to Prince Joffrey who is the heir to the Iron Throne, Catelyn believes that even though she takes after her, her daughter will become even more beautiful than she is, a sentiment shared by Tyrion Lannister.
Writers have a way of bringing their characters to life through carefully chosen words—after all, it’s what they live for. That being said, only a few manage to create such detailed universes we’ve all wished we could live in them. Harry Potter, JK Rowling’s series of fantasy novels, is probably the first example that comes to mind, followed by The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Hunger Games.
But when it comes to adapting such complex stories into film, casting the perfect actors who not only look like how the characters are depicted in the books but are also able to give off the same energy is no easy feat. When it comes to Harry Potter for example, Neville Longbottom’s character was said to be blonde in the books. Yet in the movies, Matthew Lewis, who played Longbottom, kept his natural hair colour, brown. It makes you wonder, did the cast of the Harry Potter movies really look like their book counterparts?
It seems like one Vietnamese artist faced the same question, which led her to use artificial intelligence to show the rest of the world the similarities (and similarities) she had found between both. Here are 20 AI-generated images of exactly what the Harry Potter characters should have looked like according to JK Rowling’s words.
In the books, Sirius Black is described as tall, with long black hair and greyish eyes. It’s also mentioned that he was rather good looking—“carelessly handsome,” in fact. Oh, prior to his imprisonment, of course…
In the book series, Severus Snape is a thin man with sallow skin, a large hooked nose and yellow uneven teeth. His hair is greasy and pitch black, grown down to his shoulders. Snape’s eyes are cold, black and he wears flowing robes of black too that gust as he walks, giving him the appearance of an “overgrown bat.”
Ginevra Weasley, or Ginnie, is described as energetic, lively but shy and always blushing in Harry Potter’s presence. JK Rowling also notes that she is tough but not in an unpleasant way, rather in a gusty way. Ginnie is also warm and compassionate. She has freckles dusted over her pale skin and flaming red hair which she wears in a long mane down her back.
Hermione Granger is described to have “bushy brown hair” with brown eyes to match. Her front buck teeth are too large for her face. She has prominent features, externally but also in her personality, shown through her cleverness and logical matter-of-fact way of conducting herself.
Harry Potter has his father’s perpetually untidy black hair, his mother’s bright green eyes and, of course, a lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead. He was written to be small and quite skinny for his age, with a thin face and “knobbly knees” but, by the end of the series, he develops into a tall, handsome young man.
According to the books, Luna Lovegood had straggly, waist-length, dirty blonde hair with very pale eyebrows and “protuberant eyes that gave her a permanently surprised look.” She is quirky in personality and has a serene disposition.
Young Tom Riddle, who then became Voldemort, had jet black hair and was actually rather handsome. His dark eyes transformed later to match an attitude rather than colour, as the whites of his eyes turned permanently bloody after his rebirth. He became tall and skeletally thin, with a face whiter than a skull and a nose that was flat as a snake’s and that had slits for nostrils.
Ron Weasley is described as tall, thin and gangling. Freckles all over his skin, much like the rest of the Weasley family. He had big hands and feet, a long nose and a mop of bright red, messy hair. His humorous personality is reflected in his mannerisms.
Principle Dolores Umbridge, according to Harry’s description of her in The Order of the Phoenix, was large and pale, toadlike. She had a squat figure and a little neck, with a wide and slack mouth. Her eyes were described as large and round, slightly bulging. Lovely…
Dudley Dursley, Harry Potter’s first cousin, was spoiled by his parents. He had not much of a neck but a large pink face and small watery blue eyes. He had thick blonde hair that lay smoothly on his thick head. Described by his mother to look like a baby angel, but by Harry as a “pig in a wig.” We’ll take Harry’s word for it…
Draco Malfoy was described as a slender boy with sleek and blonde, almost white hair. He had cold grey eyes, a pale complexion and sharp, pointed features. JK Rowling pictured him to have haughty good looks. As an older man, his hairline started to recede which further accentuated his sharp features.
The books described Neville Longbottom to have a round face—in fact, he was imagined to be short, plump and blonde. He lacked self-confidence and was quite shy starting out in the first novel, but developed into a bolder and more courageous character later on. Gotta love Neville.
Fleur Delacour was described as stunning. A beautiful girl with golden hair and large blue eyes, she had a light, airy figure. In the books, she comes across as a little arrogant because of her good looks, but she is also kind with a generous heart.
Potter’s eventual sweetheart, Cho Chang was described to be a pretty girl with long, straight and shiny dark hair. She had a freckled nose and was generally described as sweet, well-mannered and easy to get along with.
Nymphadora Tonks, or just ‘Tonks’ is first described in the books as having a pale heart-shaped face, dark twinkling eyes and short, spiky hair that was a violent shade of violet. She is brave, dependable and selfless in character.
The caretaker at Hogwarts, Argus Filch was described as bitter and rather cruel, and seemed to hate the students. He wandered around the school corridors with his cat Mrs Norris, trying to catch students who broke the rules. He was pale in skin tone and had a soft and greasy voice as well as a scrawny body. Funnily enough, his beloved cat was described to look much the same.
Bellatrix Lestrange was described as a tall woman that had long, thick and shining black hair. She had thin lips, dark and somewhat heavy-lidded eyes. More details also painted her as classically good looking, with a strong jaw and features. She was impulsive in personality, thrill-seeking and indulgent.
As a Quidditch enthusiast, and eventually Captain of the team, Cedric Diggory was tall, which was unusual for a seeker. He was described to be extremely handsome with chiselled features, dark hair, and bright grey eyes. His personality was brave, kind and Hufflepuff to a T.
In the books, Gilderoy Lockhart was described to be foppish but also handsome. He had wavy blonde hair and particularly straight and shiny teeth. He was known for wearing flamboyant, flashy and incredibly extravagant robes in a wild array of different colours. He was, however, extremely vain, and like most vain people, he was terribly insecure. Oopsie.
Remus Lupin was described as compassionate, intelligent, tolerant, level-headed, peaceful and, overall, good-natured. He was tall and had brown hair with brown eyes to match. Later, his hair greyed and became a little shabbier but remained unwerewolf-like, which was what he really was, come full moon.