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Game of Thrones cast salaries revealed after gender pay gap row

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Kayleigh Dray
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Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones

Sophie Turner knows that co-star Kit Harington made more money than her on Game of Thrones, but she’s defending the pay gap between them.  

Ahead of the eighth and final season of the HBO drama series, which is due to premiere on 14 April, Sansa Stark actress Sophie Turner has opened up about the fact that Kit Harington, who plays her brother/cousin Jon Snow, commands a higher paycheck than her.

“Kit got more money than me, but he had a bigger storyline,” Turner said.

“And for the last series, he had something crazy like 70 night shoots, and I didn’t have that many,” she explained.

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In the same Harper’s Bazaar interview, Turner added, “I was like, ‘You know what … you keep that money.’”

However, while there is an (easily explained) difference between Turner and Harington’s salaries, the same cannot be said of the rest of GOT’s stars.

In 2017, it was revealed that only a third of the BBC’s top earners were women – and that its highest-paid male star, Chris Evans, earned a whopping £2.2 million last year in comparison to the highest-paid woman, Claudia Winkleman, who made £450,000.

It was a shockingly huge disparity, there’s no doubt about it. And yet, sadly, the news was not all that surprising: in the UK alone, the gender pay gap is reportedly sat at over 29% – the lowest on record.

That same year, though, saw the wages of Game of Thrones’ biggest stars published in Variety’s 2017 salary survey (a “sampling of estimates” for the pay cheques of TV’s most notable stars). It featured the likes of Emilia Clarke (Daenerys), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), Harington (Jon Snow) and Lena Headey (Cersei) and confirmed that, somewhat surprisingly, all five stars made the exact same amount per episode in season seven: $500,000 (approximately £390,050).

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Yes, you read that correctly: Clarke and co are said to get paid half a million for each and every single episode they star in.

Which means that they each banked a cheque for around $3.5 million in the last season (which featured just seven episodes) alone. Phew.

To be honest, we’d expect nothing less from the fantasy drama. While there have been grumblings of misogyny in the past, there’s no denying that the show has put women at the front and centre in its most recent seasons They’ve defied gender stereotypes to get exactly what they want, by whatever means possible. They’ve been fully realised characters, with flaws, strengths and detailed back-stories. And they’ve dealt with real issues (as well as fantastical ones), including but not limited to: mansplaining, genital mutilation, oral sex, infertility, slut-shaming, and sexism in survival situations.

Don’t believe us? Well, we’re not the only ones singing the show’s feminist praises: Emilia Clarke recently said “there’s not one part of the show that I would go back and redo” when asked if she regretted appearing nude in the HBO show. 

“People ask me the nudity question all the time,” she said. “But the short answer is no, I would never change anything.

“You had to see those sex scenes, as they couldn’t just be explained.”

Gwendoline Christie (aka Brienne) has similarly defended Game of Thrones from misogyny claims, insisting that she knew it was going to do something incredible for women from the very first moment she read her script.

“This was a television show that would put women at the forefront,” she said. “We were going to explore female characters in a way that conventionally doesn’t happen.

“We were going to look at them in a three-dimensional way.”

Christie continued: “We would explore their darkness, we would find them complex. And we would spend more time on them. 

“They wouldn’t simply exist as the mother role, the girlfriend role, the wife role or the sister. They would be people in their own right.”

She added: “I think putting women to the fore is what has changed the platform for television now.”

Images: HBO

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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