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AI artist shows what ‘Game of Thrones’ characters should’ve looked like according to books

By Sam Wareing

Jun 8, 2022

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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?

1. Arya Stark

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…

2. Jaime Lannister

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.

3. Ned Stark

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.

4. Joffrey Baratheon

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.

5. Cersei Lannister

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…

6. Tyrion Lannister

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.

7. Daenerys Targaryen

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.

8. Jon Snow

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?

9. Catelyn Stark

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.

10. Brienne of Tarth

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.

11. Brandon Stark

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.

12. Melisandre

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.

13. Shiera Seastar

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.

14. Tywin Lannister

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.

15. Sansa Stark

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.