Game of Thrones is one of the most largely watched and talked about TV series at the moment, and is notoriously known for torturing its fans with its tradition of unexpected character deaths. It keeps everyone on the edge of their seats and kills off beloved heroes and villains alike at a merciless and alarming rate, forcing you to keep a very close eye on your favorites and pray that they survive until the credits roll. Given how hugely successful the series is, with its 26 Emmy awards and diehard fan base, there's no doubt that a role in Game Of Thrones can be career changing for an actor -- even if their character doesn't last too long.
There are tons of actors who have used their Game Of Thrones platform to either kick start or reignite their careers, and some who have gone down a different route. So with the end of season 6 bringing the death toll to an all time high, it seems like an appropriate time to take a look at what some of the actors have gone on to do, or what we have to look forward to from them.
15 Sean Bean (Eddard Stark)
You may remember Sean Bean from his role as Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones back in 2011 - or even his character's brutal beheading. If you don't remember him from there but he still looks familiar then don't be surprised, he's been a very busy guy. He may have been acting since 1984, but there is no denying Game Of Thrones contributed to his career reaching the next level.
Since his role in the series, he has appeared in at least ten movies including the likes of Jupiter Ascending, Pixels and the Oscar nominated film The Martian. He also reprised his role from Silent Hill for the sequel Silent Hill: Revelation 3D back in 2012. However impressive this may be, it doesn't stop there. He has also appeared in roles varying from major to minor in six television series from cameos in Family Guy and Robot Chicken, to a bigger part in The Frankenstein Chronicles.
14 Natalie Dormer - Margaery Tyrell
Natalie Dormer is definitely one of the biggest names of the Game Of Thrones cast, given her role in The Hunger Games films, but that certainly didn't grant her character any immunity. Her character was one of the many to make a dramatic exit in the explosive season 6 finale, and many fans are still in mourning. However, despite her character's recent on screen death, Dormer has been keeping busy and has been already signed up for two films, Official Secrets and In Darkness, which are currently in pre-production. As if this wasn't exciting enough, In Darkness was actually co-written by Dormer herself.
But it hasn't all been work for the British actress, who has recently been spotted having fun in two celebrity fueled (but very different) events. She was spotted having fun in Glastonbury music festival in her home country, as well as jetting to France for Paris Fashion Week. Proving herself further in the fashion world, an interview of her was also posted online by Harper's Bazaar the very night her character's death was aired.
We may have lost Margaery Tyrell, but it is safe to say there's a lot more to come from the rising international star that is Natalie Dormer.
13 Richard Madden (Robb Stark)
Cast your mind back to season 3 and you may remember seeing Robb, Talisa and Catelyn Stark being killed within the same minute in a jaw-dropping scene. While his character's death may have been a few years ago now, Richard Madden has shown no signs of going anywhere and has continued to build himself into a big name in the industry. His career has continued to flourish, and in 2015 he landed the role of the Prince is Disney's live action Cinderella, alongside Downton Abbey star Lily James as the fairytale princess. The film went down well with critics, and he is currently working again with Lily James in a production of Romeo And Juliet at the Garrick Theater in London, England.
However, it's not all fairy tales and romance for Madden, as he also starred alongside Idris Elba in the movie Bastille Day this year. The film may have received mixed reviews, but we are sure that Madden will continue to land more leading roles in the years to come.
12 Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo)
Jason Momoa said goodbye to his character Khal Drogo back in 2012 when he was killed off in season 1. After that, he went on to star in a few modest films, including the werewolf flick Wolves and the TV series The Red Road. It seemed that perhaps he had peaked in his Game Of Thrones role and wasn't destined for blockbuster superstardom.
Then 2016 came along, and he cameoed in DC's massive hit Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as the new Aquaman, alongside the likes of A-list actors Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams. His career is now set to blow up more than ever before as he is set to appear in at least two more DC films, including Justice League, which is set for release in 2017 and is set to take the superhero world by storm. Perhaps even more exciting for Momoa, he is set to headline an Aquaman film scheduled for 2018.
11 Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Jojen Reed)
Thomas Brodie-Sangster already had a fairly impressive acting resume before his role in Game of Thrones, having been somewhat a child star in the likes of Love Actually and Nanny Mcphee. He has been in the acting game since 2001, but Game Of Thrones solidified his reputation as a well known actor.
His part in the series came to an end in 2014, though his career has shown no signs of slowing down since then. His biggest part since Game Of Thrones has been in the blockbuster YA film The Maze Runner and its sequel, The Scorch Trials. He is also set to continue that role in the film's third installment, which recently faced trouble when it had to hault filming due to the lead star Dylan O'Brien being injured on set.
After saying goodbye to Game of Thrones, he also said goodbye to his ongoing voice role as Ferb on Phineas and Ferb. However, it seems with every goodbye he moves on to something bigger and better as he recently cameoed in Star Wars: Force Awakens in 2015 (though you may have missed his incredibly brief appearance). That wasn't the only classic he helped in its return to screen that year, as he also lent his voicing abilities to the animated series Thunderbirds Are Go in 2015. All in all, Thomas Brodie-Sangster continues to evolve as an actor, and there is no doubt there will be more to come from him.
10 Zunni (Lady the Direwolf)
So many of the deaths in Game of Thrones have left viewers heartbroken, but when the Direwolf Lady died, there truly was an outpour of grief from fans. Although Lady's death in the first season may now be slightly overshadowed by the much more recent death of her Birewold brethren Shaggy Dog and Summer, all Direwolves after year one were allegedly CGI, and so the dog who played Lady, named Zunni in real life, is one of the few that the fans can still keep up with. Although, her breeder claimed her grandsons did play Direwolf pups at one point in the show.
Although Zunni hasn't seemed to go further with her acting career, the former Westerosi wolf has found a new home and kept up with fellow cast member Sophie Turner. Sophie Turner plays Sansa Stark in the show, and so Zunni played her character's Direwolf before going on to be her dog -- life imitates art!
As far as we know, Zunni is still doing well, occasionally making appearances on her owner's Instagram -- most recently around last Christmas. Whilst her days of performing may be behind her, we are pleased to know she is enjoying her early retirement.
9 Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon)
Jack Gleeson's character had been in the series from its very first episode, and remained in the cast until his character was poisoned in season 4. The young actor had already got some acting credits under his belt prior to the show, having appeared in multiple films -- including Batman Begins. His prior experience combined with his long term performance on the show set him up to be a big up and coming name in show business, and it was assumed he would use his part on the show to go on to claim big parts in TV dramas or even on the big screen.
However, Gleeson had other ideas altogether. Upon leaving the show, he announced he was retiring from acting -- something he had previously hinted at. His previous suggestions implied he would switch from on screen roles to an academic career of sorts, however upon his retirement, he revealed that was no longer on the cards for him either.
Despite his retirement, he hasn't avoided the limelight all together, as he is set to appear at London Comic Con later this month. He has also amused fans on the internet with his recent dramatic reading of Taylor Swift's song "Bad Blood". It looks like being retired at 24 can leave you with a lot of free time.
8 Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell)
Finn Jones was very lucky in Game Of Thrones, his character Loras managed to last from season 1 to 6 in the show before getting killed off. Well, it was bound to happen sometime. However, his talented performance on the series has not gone unnoticed, and despite only being killed off the show this year, he has already lined up some very impressive and very exciting projects that we are sure you will be hearing plenty more from in the future.
He has been announced as being cast as the superhero Iron Fist for an upcoming series from Marvel. The appropriately titled series, and is set to be released on Netflix in 2017, and will also feature actress Jessica Henwick, who plays Nymeria Sand in Game of Thrones. To add to the excitement, a further series titled The Defenders is currently in pre-production and will also feature Finn Jones as Iron Fist.
7 Oona Chaplin (Talisa Stark)
In the same episode where we said a gory goodbye to Robb Stark and Catelyn Stark, a pregnant Talisa Stark received no mercy and was killed too. Actress Oona Chaplin seems to be having much better luck than her on screen character, as her role in the series has proved to be just one of the successes in her career. The same year she left Game Of Thrones she appeared in the British drama Dates, for which her performance went down well with the critics. She has bagged plenty of other film and TV roles since then, including her role in the film adaptation of the Nicholas Spark novel The Longest Ride.
It won't be long until you see more of her either, as she is set to star alongside the actor Tom Hardy series Taboo which is coming to FX soon. The dark drama, set in the 1800s, is already set to be a massive hit. In addition to this, she is also revisiting her Spanish routes in a Spanish TV series titled El Padre De Caín.
6 Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark)
Although Catelyn Stark was killed in the third season of the show, many fans had speculated that she would return in the recent sixth season. Since the season aired and rumors her character was set to be revived were proved false, everyone went back to accepting the character as dead, and that to see Michelle Fairley on screen again, we would have to look elsewhere. Luckily, we don't have to look far.
Her most notable role on television since Game Of Thrones was in Suits in 2013, where she had a recurring role as Dr. Ava Hessington. She's appeared more recently in multiple other TV series such as Crossing Lines and Rebellion. One of her most recent TV appearances saw her alongside the likes of Stanley Tucci and Christopher Eccleston in the series Fortitude. She also turned her talents to film in 2015, when she starred alongside Chris Hemsworth in the feature In The Heart of The Sea, which follows the true story that went on to inspire Moby Dick.
5 Ian McShane (Brother Ray)
Brother Rays character had a spot of bad luck in his short time on the show, he only appeared in one episode and was found hanging from a noose before it had ended. Even for Game Of Thrones characters, that is a short run. But for Ian McShane, it was just one of many high profile appearances. Around the same time he appeared in Game Of Thrones, he also appeared in the Sacha Baron Cohen film The Brothers Grimsby.
And it appears to be onwards and upwards for the English actor, as he is set up for some potentially huge projects in the near future. As well as reigniting his role as Winston for the upcoming John Wick sequel that is set for release in 2017, he is also filming for the highly anticipated TV series American Gods in which he will take a leading role. Keep your eyes peeled for him, his upcoming appearances are set to excite.
4 Kristian Nairn (Hodor)
Most people know Kristian Nairn from his role as Hodor in Game of Thrones. He was in the show right from the start, and was lucky enough to make it to season six before those pesky writers killed his character off. Although he does have other acting credits to his name, what most people don't know about him is that he's also a musician. And not just any musician, a deep house DJ at that.
In fact, before his role on Game Of Thrones, he was apparently quite well known on the Northern Irish deep house scene -- assuming there is such a thing. Since his departure on the show, he has got back to the decks to re-establish his DJ career by going on tour. Using his new found fame to help him get even better bookings, his tour has been in various locations, including clubs in San Francisco. It has been reported that in some of his bookings, they even encourage Game Of Thrones fancy dress. So there you have it, one of the least likely success stories of Game Of Thrones is that of DJ Hodor. Rave Of Thrones anyone?
3 Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell)
Pedro Pascal starred in Game Of Thrones around the same time he starred in hit TV series Graceland, and so he was certainly getting the attention of the TV industry in 2014. After scoring a few roles in little known films, he managed to land yet another great role in a hit series. He recently starred in the smash hit series Narcos, which was first released on Netflix in 2015. The series was a great success, and Netflix has renewed it for a second season which is due to be released in September.
He also recently posed for a very friendly photo with actor Oscar Isaac, in which Isaac appeared to strangely be biting Pascal's ear as they both smiled for the camera. The photo has ignited a series of rumors among fans, speculating everything from an upcoming project together to the pair being the best of friends. Whatever the case, it seems his ear remains fully intact, unlike his characters head.
2 Art Parkinson (Rickon Stark)
Rickon Stark was in the very first episode of Game Of Thrones, and remained a semi-regular (if forgettable) character until his death in the sixth season. Art Parkinson didn't let his part in the series limit his career though, starring in five films during his time in the show, including the hit disaster film, San Andreas. He may have only just been killed off the critically acclaimed drama, but he has already kept the momentum going and confirmed parts in two upcoming projects.
Fans will be lucky to know that they won't be waiting long to hear from him again. Parkinson has a voice part in the upcoming animated family film Kubo And The Two Strings, which is due to be out in September. The film is bound to be a hit, with other voicing talents like A-listers Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron along for the ride. He is also allegedly going to be in the upcoming film Zoo, which is currently in pre production and expected to be released in 2017.
1 Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister)
Charles Dance graced our screens in Game Of Thrones as Tywin Lannister from season 1 through to season 5 before being offed by his own son. As sad as everyone was to see Dance leave the cast, no one had to look far to find him in something else. He had already had success prior to his role in the series, starring in the likes of The Imitation Game, and he's continuing on with his post-Thrones success.
He has since starred in a range of films and TV shows, including the thriller Child 44 alongside fellow Brits Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy. He also had a part in Victor Frankenstein in 2015 alongside more Brits in the form of Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy. He is set to continue starring alongside big names, as he has a part in the new Ghostbusters film starring Kristen Wiig and Melissa Mccarthy, and even the next Underworld. On top of it all, he also had a role in the recently successful Me Before You, alongside fellow Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke.
Are any of the other Game Of Thrones actors that were killed off up to something cool that we missed? Let us know in the comments.