One’s a sprawling fantasy saga filled with magic, monsters and epic battles – and the other’s the same, but with lots more gore and nudity.
And that’s not all that unites the worlds of JK Rowling and George RR Martin: here’s our line-up of actors who made the journey from Hogwarts for Westeros, and lived to tell the tale. (Well, two of them did, anyway.)
Half-blood witch Nymphadora Tonks attended Hogwarts in the 1980s, before joining the Ministry of Magic. She didn’t like being called Nymphadora – and who can blame her? Natalia Tena played the character in four Harry Potter films, before joining Game of Thrones as Osha, the wildling who helps Bran and Ricka escape from Theon Greyjoy.
FYI Born in Britain to Spanish parents, Tena is also the lead singer and accordionist with the band Molotov Jukebox. Here they are in action:
If you thought he was unpleasant as Argus Filch, the foul-tempered caretaker of Hogwarts, it’s nothing compared to David Bradley’s brilliantly appalling turn as Walder Frey, the Lord of Riverrun, infamous throughout Westeros for siring endless rather plain daughters and shedding gallons of Stark blood at the legendary Red Wedding massacre.
FYI Bradley also appeared as the ruthless space pirate Solomon in Doctor Who, and played First Doctor actor William Hartnell in Mark Gatiss’ fabulous docu-drama An Adventure in Space and Time.
It’s the mother of all franchise crossovers: as if being Catelyn Stark – Mistress of Winterfell and proud matriarch of the Stark clan – wasn’t impressive enough, Coleraine-born Fairley also briefly appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 as Hermione Granger’s mum (a Muggle dentist). She obviously has very good genes.
FYI Fairley replaced Jennifer Ehle, who played Catelyn Stark in the Game of Thrones pilot. Jennifer Ehle hasn’t been in Harry Potter, but she was in The King’s Speech with Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew) and Dumbledore himself, Michael Gambon.
Welsh actor and stuntman Whyte is a former basketball player who measures 7ft1 in his stocking feet. He’s played numerous lofty sorts on Game of Thrones, including a speaking role as The Mountain (in season 2), the giant Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun and a couple of White Walkers. In Harry Potter, he played Madame Olympe Maxime, headmistress of Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. And if that sounds like strange casting, it’s because he only played the lanky lady in long shots – Frances De La Tour handled the speaking bits.
FYI Whyte is best known for playing the Predators in the Aliens vs Predator films. He also played an ‘Engineer’ alien in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.
In Harry Potter, Ineson played Death Eater Professor Amycus Carrow, the Deputy Headmaster of Hogwarts who enjoyed nothing more than torturing students (we’ve all known a few teachers like that). In Game of Thrones, he was Dagmer Cleftjaw, the ruthless Ironborn reaver who betrayed Theon, and was flayed alive by Ramsay Bolton for his troubles. That’ll learn ’im.
FYI For many, Ineson is still best known as nasty sales rep Chris “Finchy” Finch in The Office.
As Mr Borgin – purveyor of antique wizarding artefacts at Borgin and Burkes, Knockturn Alley – Tudor-Pole helped the Death Eaters gain access to Hogwarts, and was thus instrumental in the death of Albus Dumbledore. He played a less pivotal role Game of Thrones season 2 as “protester in crowd”. Probably still good for signing events, though.
FYI Finding fame as the lead singer of punk swashbucklers Tenpole Tudor – who scored a top 10 hit with the anthemic Swords of a Thousand Men – Tudor-Pole later replaced Richard O’Brien as host of TV’s The Crystal Maze. His grandfather extended the family name of Pole after unearthing a royal connection to the House of Tudor. Check out the video for Swords of a Thousand Men, which feels a bit like an early attempt at a budget Game of Thrones musical:
BONUS MUSICAL ROUND Other musicians who have appeared in Game of Thrones include Coldplay drummer Will Champion (who played in the band at the Red Wedding), Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody (a musician among Roose Bolton’s men) and ex-Dr Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson, who played executioner Ser Ilyn Payne in seasons 1 and 2.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, he had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him cameo as Bob, a wizard colleague of Arthur Weasley at the Ministry of Magic. (He’s the bearded fellow with the burning box.) In Game of Thrones, Blane was the Spice King – resident of the city of Qarth and one of The Thirteen rulers who came to a sticky end at the hands of Xaro Xhoan Daxos.
FYI One of Blane’s early TV appearances was opposite Sean Bean in Sharpe’s Challenge. Sharpe was a rare series in which Bean actually managed to survive until the end credits.
As Will – the ranger in the Night’s Watch who flees in terror from the White Walkers in the icy wastes north of the wall, only to be executed by Eddard Stark as a deserter – Webb was one of the very first people to appear in Game of Thrones. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, he’s a Slytherin acolyte of Draco Malfoy who, when Harry pelts him with snowballs from under his invisibility cloak, flees in terror. Again. Maybe he just really hates snow?
FYI Webb reunited with Daniel Radcliffe and GoT’s Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister) in the film Viktor Frankenstein.
Hailing from a family that was ‘big in the Ministry’, Cormac McLaggen was the Hogwarts student who hit on Hermione at Professor Slughorn’s Christmas party, and sent Gyffindor crashing to an embarrassing Quidditch defeat when he hit Harry over the head with a beater’s bat. What a doofus. In Thrones, Stroma played Dickon Tarly, Sam’s younger, more popular brother, who became heir to the family title after Sam was disinherited. Boo, hiss, etc.
FYI Born in London to a Swedish father and German mother, Stroma will star as HG Wells in ABC’s upcoming TV series Time After Time. Here he is dancing to Lady Gaga in his underpants, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear: