MCM: The Boys of Game of Thrones in Historical Costume Movies


Game of Thrones — it’s not a historical costume TV series, so what is it doing here? It’s fantasy, right? But what you may or may not know is that many of its actors have had (or are about to have) some very historical and very hot roles in costume movies and TV shows.

Let’s count ’em down, from minor to major historical hottie:


Joe Dempsie

Most of us know him as Gendry, bastard son of Robert Baratheon.

Joe Dempsie

Promising, especially if I were 17!

Well, he’s currently playing Ned in late 17th-century TV show New Worlds (set in the American colonies and England).

New Worlds

The wig isn’t yanking my chain, but I’m reserving judgement.


Stephen Dillane

He doesn’t really do it for me as Stannis Baratheon:

Stephen Dillane

Nice, but not fanning myself.

Nor did I love him opposite Sophie Marceau in Firelight (1997):



But he cleans up QUITE nicely as Thomas Jefferson in John Adams (2008):

John Adams


John Adams2



Charles Dance

“I’m sorry, what?” you may say when you hear me mention Big Ol’ Meanie Tywin Lannister:

Charles Dance

Father of the Year

Well, rewind a few decades and you get Guy Perron in The Jewel in the Crown, set in World War II India:


Well hello there!

And as Raymond Brock, Meryl Streep’s husband, in World War II amazingness Plenty (1985), SUCH an stunning movie:




Harry Lloyd

He was the jerk-of-all-jerks as Viserys Targaryen, brother to Daenerys.

Harry Lloyd

“Hi. I am a prick.”

He currently plays Harry Percy in Wolf Hall … but it’s not a good look:

Wolf Hall

The hat. The hair. It’s SO unflattering. At least it’s not an unfortunate biggins.

Luckily, he was much hotter as Prince Rupert in The Devil’s Whore:

Devil's Whore

Now THAT is some good hair. At least on a hotness scale.

And as Richard Mason, ruiner of weddings and brother of the madwoman in the attic, in 2011’s Jane Eyre (the one with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender):

Jane Eyre

Nice smolder

And as all-around cool guy, Herbert Pocket, in 2011’s Great Expectations (the one with Gillian Anderson):

Great Expectations2



Iain Glen

You know him as noble, reformed baddie Ser Jorah Mormont:

Iain Glen

“Khaleesi, I’d really really really like to kiss your anything.”

You probably also caught him as Sir Richard Carlisle, who almost married Lady Mary, in Downton Abbey:

Downton Abbey

Naughty schemer — seems to be a trend for him!

But I know him as creepy-yet-hot Mr. Preston in 1830s-set Wives and Daughters (1999):

Wives and Daughters

“I will blackmail you into marrying me, but at least I’m hot.”

Wives and Daughters


Tobias Menzies

Remember Edmure Tully, younger brother of Catelyn Stark and the one who couldn’t aim an arrow at his father’s funeral barge?

Tobias Menzies

“I’ll get it this time!”

Well, he played William Elliot, estranged heir to Sir Walter and failed suitor of Anne Elliot (played by Sally Hawkins) in 2007’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.


“I don’t know why I like her either. Oh wait. Money!”

He also broke poor Caesar’s heart in HBO’s Rome (2005-2007) as Brutus:

Rome tobias-menzies

Et tu?

But he’s probably at his hottest right now, playing the dual roles of Frank Randall (Claire’s 1940s husband) and Black Jack Randall (18th-century villain) in Outlander:


Frank of the sweet heart and dapper fedoras!


He’s evil! He’s hot! I’m so conflicted!


Michiel Huisman

Everyone’s go-to modern, hipster hottie. He’s far better than the original romance-novel-cover Daario Naharis, although I don’t know if he totally suits the world of Westeros:



He also has a small, yet cute, role as Albert’s brother Ernest in The Young Victoria (2009).

Young Victoria

That’s him on the left, behind Albert.


Peter Dinklage

People have finally grasped his talent and hotness, thanks to his star turn as Tyrion Lannister:

Joffrey's Name Day. A joust fight is in progress. Tyrion returns from battle . Intrp Ser Dontos.

HELLO. I am here to kick all your asses, metaphorically.

He hasn’t done ANY historical costume films… yet. I’m hoping. The closest I can get is his hilarious role as Hung in LARP movie Knights of Badassdom (2013):


The do-rag detracts from the overall look.

You can do better, Hollywood.


Kit Harington

Oh, Jon Snow. So cute. So noble. Such good taste in the laydeez.

Kit Harington

You know nothing.

He certainly doesn’t know enough to NOT take the role of Milo in Pompeii (2014):


Supposedly a terrible movie, but this is an acceptable look.

And he’s about to play Roland Leighton, World War I soldier, in Testament of Youth:




Very promising!


Ciarán Hinds

Currently taking over the North as Mance Rayder:

Ciarian Hinds

“Winter is coming and things are about to get F’ed Up.”

He’s done a number of period films (including HBO’s Rome, as Caesar), but these are his three hottest roles:

As debonair Joe, who romances Frances McDormand in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008):

Joe in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Dapper! Rich! Can spot a good heart a mile away!

As crusty-but-lovable Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre (1997):

ciaran hinds rochester jane eyre

I’d try to fix him too, Jane.

And, most importantly, significantly, and HOTLY, as Captain Wentworth in Persuasion (1995):






Aidan Gillen

I struggle with Littlefinger, because he’s hot! But he’s creepy!

Aidan Gillen

So schemey! So untrustworthy!

But then I was looking him up and discovered he plays a supporting role as THE CUTEST BOYFRIEND EVER in 1950s Ireland-set Circle of Friends (1995):

Circle of Friends

“I’ll hold it, but I won’t jiggle it about, you hear?”

He also played the villain in Shanghai Knights (2003), the 19th-century-set sequel to Jackie Chan/Owen Wilson comedy Shanghai Noon:

Shanghai Knights1

Clearly modernized, but still hot!


Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

As golden boy Jamie Lannister:

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Hello, laydeez.

Surprisingly, no historical costume movies in his filmography, but he’s currently filming Gods of Egypt, co-starring Gerard Butler (YES PLEASE):

Gods of Egypt

Where do I sign up?


Richard Madden

Oh, Richard Madden. My favorite Game of Thrones hottie, now sadly gone.

Richard Madden

I love them dark haired and noble.

Previously, he did two World War I era films — first as Captain Weir in Birdsong (2012):

Cute, but let’s ditch the ‘stache. It’s VERY WWI, but it’s just pornstar to me.

Cute, but let’s ditch the ‘stache. It’s VERY WWI, but it’s just pornstar to me.

Then as Friedrich Zeitz in A Promise (2013):


Very debonair!

A Promise2

Steaming up the car.

And it’s not a historical costume movie, but I don’t care, we get to see him and his super-blue eyes in the 2015 live-action Cinderella:


Very charming.


Nice jacket, too.


Sean Bean

Oh, Sean Bean. Sighs. We miss you as Ned Stark:

Ned Stark in Game of Thrones

Getting a little grizzled, but that’s okay.

But I’m glad we still have him plotting as evil Lovelace in Clarissa (1991):





Saving the day as Regency-era soldier Sharpe in all the Sharpe TV shows (1993-2008):

ITV Archive

A little mullet-y, but I’m giving him a pass.

Getting it ON as Mellors in Lady Chatterley (1993):

Lady C

All rugged and handsome and shit!

Lady C2


Lady C3


And, most importantly, emoting nobly as Vronsky in the only Anna Karenina you need to watch (1997):






Which of these Game of Thrones actors in historical costume movies is your favorite? Did we miss any?


About the author



Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

37 Responses

  1. Stephani

    Urgh! I can’t believe I’m missing Ciaran Hinds in GOT!!! (I stopped watching after they killed Sean Bean. Couldn’t take it.) So I might have to play some serious catch-up just to see my wonderful Capt. Wentworth/Joe. Loved him in both those roles.
    And the glorious Bean… I’m currently binge-watching the Sharpe series with a friend. Round two must happen soon. LOVING that His Beanness does not die! And it’s a pretty set of stories, too.

  2. LydiaR

    I’m skipping over GOT entirely, but the man candy is awfully tempting!

    I adore Ciaran Hinds – his Captain Wentworth is one of my ultimate fictional crushes. I also love him as the evil-but-ultimately-redeemed-by-love Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert in the 1997 version of Ivanhoe. So scheming, so rugged, so secretly soft inside!

    • Stephani

      Though his face may be said to be the color and texture of a macaroon, I think he is perfectly weatherbeaten and the perfect Capt. W! Will have to check out that series of Ivanhoe, too!

  3. joyce

    Sean Bean is the reason I watched all of Sharpes Rifles, and read all the books. :)

    • MoHub

      Harry Lloyd was also Will Scarlett in the regrettable 2005 Robin Hood and played a turn-of-the-twentieth-century baddie in the NuWho story “Family of Blood.”

      • Dana

        ^^^This. I was going to comment about Harry Lloyd in Doctor Who if someone else hadn’t said it. That was the first thing I saw him in and the story takes place RIGHT before WWI. As a student in an all-boys’ boarding school, he was very much in period costume. Don’t know how accurate it was though. And, as always, he played a douchebag. (Sad, because he’s pretty, and I really wish people who make shows and movies would branch out once in a while and NOT cast to “types”.)

  4. Karen Lavoie

    Since I haven’t had time to binge-watch GoT yet, I appreciate the “Dude Synopsis” here. Well done! And having only recently watched Sean Bean in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, I am berating myself for having not had that in my memory banks for lo these many years. (Don’tcha love the rewind button?) But moving on to the new crop of hotties, from the photos posted here I am nominating either or both Michiel Huisman and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau for the “Sean Bean-ness Award.” Both are promising. And on a sartorial note, did anyone else love the green jacket on Richard Madden in Cinderella? If you look closely at the embroidery, you will notice how cleverly they created/extended the leaf motif done in gold thread to emphasize the cut of his jacket. I would travel a good bit to have someone teach me how to use my embroidery machine that well.

  5. Sarah F

    I’ll admit I have never been a big Kit fan; his expression is often so…pouty. Its as though he is always seconds away from stomping off and sulking somewhere. Peter D was also rather dashing (in a snarky, eye-patch way) in Penelope. Richard is certainly the age appropriate swoon, but Sean Bean forever. I fell in love with that face -and that VOICE- when I was 12. They are re-making Lady Chatterley’s Lover and I don’t even need to know who they cast- they won’t bring it like Bean.

  6. Carolyn

    Iain Glen was in an adaptation of R.L.Stevenson’s Kidnapped. So-so program, but he was super-super-hot in 18th c. Scottishness.

    Aiden Gillen was pretty steamy as the villain (can’t remember his name) in an early to mid 90s Lorna Doone. I woulda totally chosen him over the actual hero – except that whenever I see Aiden Gillen all I can think is “Stewart Allen Jones…’re such a twat” in a Manchester (?) accent, lol.

  7. Carolyn

    Also, Ciaran Hinds is my favourite Rochester ever. I have such a soft spot for him in general.

  8. West Coast: Super, Natural

    Bean was awesome as Boromir, too…which is kind of a historical role, right? Armour and swords and mighty battles–though it is another where he typically dies in a tragic but heroic way!

  9. Katy

    I approve of this excellent post!!

    P.S. Am I the only one that doesn’t find Kit Harrington attractive? I just don’t like his babyface.

  10. Traci M.

    Sean Bean is a superior actor. It’s so refreshing to see him get his dues in roles he’s done in the past. His Vronksy in Anna Karenina is vastly superior to the fop in the latest remake. But all his roles are worthy because of the caliber of his acting. A true gem of the acting profession. By the way, he’s currently filming another historical role as an Investigator in a new series called “The Frankenstein Chronicles” for ITV. Thank you for a great article.

  11. Loren

    Nikolaj Coster-Waldau AND Gerard Butler in Gods of Egypt, how did I miss that?! Sounds like one damn fine MANwich!

  12. maryndir

    For more historical Ciarán Hinds hotness, check him out as Brian de Bois-Guilbert in the Ivanhoe mini-series from 1997!

  13. operakullan

    I can’t find any pictures now, but Nikolaj Coster-Waldau did star in the Norwegian/Swedish/Danisn film “The Kautokeino Rebelleion” that is about Sàpmi discrimination and religious awakening in 19th century Norway.

  14. Adina

    There’s also Jerome Flynn (Aka Bronn) in Ripper Street, in excellent 1880’s menswear.

      • Adina

        What about Mathew MacFayden?
        He was always in these beautiful wool suits, with the bowler hat, looking all put together and fabulous.

  15. LE

    Nikolaj played the titular character in New Amsterdam, a tv in which he played an immortal New Yorker and therefore wore costumes from the 17th, 18th, 19th and of course 20th century (especially the teens and forties).

    Harry Lloyd was also in the hollow crown.

    And of course Peter Dinklage was all 1970 Ed for the most recent xmen movie.

  16. AvA Candide (@AvA_Candide)

    Nicolaj Coster Waldau actually played in a period movie: it’s called “Der Henker” (Shadow of the sword 2005) it is set in 16th century Austria (Tyrol, Innsbruck)

  17. Emms

    Iain Glenn played Hamlet in the film of Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and was pretty tasty.

  18. ladylavinia1932

    Harry Lloyd was in the WGN series set during World War II, “MANHATTAN”. Peter Dinklage was in the second Narnia film produced by Disney, “PRINCE CASPIAN”. Aidan Gillen had portrayed a doomed 1920s painter in the “POIROT” movie, “FIVE LITTLE PIGS”. And Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was in the World War II drama, “ENIGMA”.

  19. Justme

    Kit harrington in pompeii–finally, someone has taken hollywood female battle armor and put it on a man! Fair play, bitchez!!! I’m so glad that one arm and pectoral muscle will be protected, though.

  20. OcarinaSapph1r3 -24

    Ian Glenn was my first ‘villain-crush’; it’s terrible I know, but I felt a certain amount of sympathy for him, I thought Cynthia was a bit of a btch, tbh – I absolutely loved ‘Wives & Daughters’, but Francesca Annis’ character *really grated on me & to a lesser degree the Brownings’ sisters, but I loved Rosamund Pike & awesomely bitchy Lady Cumnor (it took me ages to realise she was the b*tch aunt to Darcy in the ‘P&P’ series… I am ashamed of that)- so I guess, job well done?

    Aiden was also the villain in ‘Lorna Doone’ (previously played in another adaption by Sean Bean- & Richard Madden also took on a Sean Bean role with the recent ‘Lady C’, opposite Holliday Granger – Sean Bean has played a few dastardly historic-set roles; ‘Scarlett’ [that ‘GWtW’ sequel- I have rose-tinted childhood glasses for the costumes in that] & he was a baddie in some Catherine Cookson movie I saw a lifetime ago- & I think ‘Ser Aliser Thorne’ might have been in it, as a good guy [he was also in ‘The Last Legion’, with Colin Firth & ‘Jojen Reed’… don’t judge me, I was bored!]), with my boy Jesse Spenser alongside, as a minor upper-crust villain- I recall he had a nice wig early on, but his hair near the end is an absolute riot, in terms of historical accuracy – it also was made to feel a bit like a mini-GoT reunion, as it had ‘Maester Aemon’ as Granddad Doone (& a semi-bad guy) & Anton Lesser as Carver’s dad.
    It also had a baby-faced James MacAvoy & a fabulous (but underused) Martin Clunes & ‘Foyle’ as the infamous ‘Hanging Judge Jeffries’.

    ‘Ripper St’ had a couple of the GoT boys pop in for cameos, I believe- one being my adored ‘Ser Barristan’… as a bit of a bastard, apparently (I was moving house that year, so I missed a lot of the season).

  21. Angie Wilson

    Charles Dance also played the Phantom in a 1990 miniseries based on the Yeston/Kopit Phantom musical with Teri Polo.