In case you missed it, last week the Game Of Thrones official Twitter account tweeted, apropos of nothing, the simple message, “Winter is coming.”
It’s not just the Stark house words, it’s also a warning to prepare for the coming storm — so… what were they trying to prepare us for? It’s still unclear, but obviously many fans began to speculate on the possibility of a continuation of the series. After all, wouldn’t fans be WAY more interested in a Season 9 — especially if it corrected some of the worst parts of Season 8 — than the umpteen spinoffs and prequels HBO is working on?? (We mean… a Flea Bottom show?? Seven hells…)
In any case, the renewed fervor got us thinking… who REALLY won the Game Of Thrones?? We mean in real life.
This week The Sun released a “rich list” of the estimated net worths of the show’s stars, and you may be surprised who’s on top IRL. Financial expert Gemma Godfrey explained to the outlet how some stars ended up making more bank than others who made same — or much less — on the hit show:
“You can see that some people have cashed in on their talent and success and have continued to build their wealth by pursuing more films. Others have taken the money that they’ve earned and invested it, hoping that it will make more money. The people who set up production companies or invested early have seen their net worth increase the most.”
Who is doing the best? Ch-ch-check out the top 10 (well, really the top 12) in our list (below)!
Gwendoline Christie was a virtual unknown before her role as Brienne of Tarth. But she instantly became a fan fave, and as Godfrey puts it:
“She’s had huge success on the show and she’s leveraging that by going to films in the same genre. She’s going for the films which have bigger and bigger budgets. She’s set herself up as a corporate entity to do so in a savvy way.”
Those projects include the massive Star Wars sequels, in which she played villain Captain Phasma, and now the upcoming Sandman adaptation in which she plays a gender-swapped Lucifer. Hot stuff. According to the paper, Gwendoline and her company, Christie Ventures Ltd, have a grand total of about 5.3 million.
9 (tie). Natalie Dormer
In addition to her role as Margaery Tyrell, Natalie Dormer has had high profile roles in the Hunger Games movies, the TV series The Tudors and Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, and several movies, including Darkness which she co-wrote and produced. She’s also made brand ambassador deals with Crocs and Nespresso. Godfrey says:
“Natalie’s an entrepreneurial one. She’s set up different production companies and has also been doing some brand deals to diversify her earnings.”
All of that has earned her an estimated $6.13 million.
9 (tie). Maisie Williams
Also at $6.13 million we find Maisie Williams, who stole hearts (and faces) as assassin Arya Stark.
Unfortunately the 2-time Emmy nominee hasn’t found another role that both showcases her considerable acting talent AND gets seen on thousands of screens. Mostly she’s been acting in tons of indie films, and her one recent blockbuster attempt was the doomed final Fox X-Men movie New Mutants. Currently she’s filming Danny Boyle‘s Sex Pistols film, in which she’s playing Jordan Mooney, a somewhat forgotten frontwoman credited by many with being one of the inventors of punk rock. Considering the success of music biopics in the past couple years, maybe this could be the next big breakthrough?
However, outside of show business, Maisie is investing in other business, too! She invested at the ground level in a social media app called Daisie which links artists for collaboration. Godfrey explains:
“Maisie is fascinating because she’s branched out into tech. We’ve seen this with Ashton Kutcher investing in Uber. You see people who have built their wealth in one industry and used it to invest. It means you earn money while you sleep.”
It’s good work if you can get it!
8 (tie). Alfie Allen
As Theon Greyjoy, Alfie Allen surprisingly lasted the entire series — making some decent bank in the process. But he’s also been acting since he was 12. His mom is producer Alison Owen, who cast him in historical biopic Elizabeth, and his sister is of course pop star Lily Allen.
Thanks to nonstop roles in everything from John Wick to Jojo Rabbit, he and his production company Kubi Kid have accrued a net worth of about $8 million! As Godfrey says:
“He is from a theatrical family. He may have had good advice from them.”
Not to mention good opportunities. Good thing he’s making the most of them!
8 (tie). Sophie Turner
Just as Sansa Stark deserved the Most Improved Player award by the end of the series, Sophie Turner has transformed from an unknown pre-teen to an international movie star over the course of the decade the show was on, notably becoming a rare bright spot in the ill-fated final wave of X-Men movies. Godfrey notes:
“She’s gone into bigger and bigger films. Going into the X-Men franchise has really helped increase her earnings.”
It certainly raised her profile. As did her love life — she’s now married and has a child with pop star (and gazillionaire) Joe Jonas. Like Alfie, she also has an estimated $8 million — and if you combine that with hubby’s approximate $50 mil?? That kid is going to have a nice education, that’s for sure.
7. Lena Headey
Obviously Lena Headey was one of the more well-known actresses cast in the pilot, having been in movies like The Brothers Grimm and 300, but it was Thrones that really turned her into a household name. If you’re looking for deliciously evil, there’s just no one better right now. And by the end of the show she was getting paid like a Lannister, too — reportedly making over a million bucks an episode the final season!
With her company Peephole Productions, she’s setting up even more great roles for herself, like a TV adaptation of the bestselling novel Beacon 23. She’s already worth just over $9 million, but according to Godfrey she’s got a good chance to make a lot more in the coming years:
“What Lena is doing is going all in on herself. What this latest deal shows is that she is going to be the female lead in a series but she’s also going to executive-produce, which is a very smart thing to do. Where she’s going to make her money is by making sure these projects are a success and she can actually get a cut.”
6. Kit Harington
If anyone could be considered the star of the ensemble, it was Kit Harington; however, as Jon Snow he was still making around a third of what Lena Headey was by the end. Remember, he was an unknown straight out of drama school when the show began, so that’s still a HUGE raise.
After the failure of his blockbuster attempt Pompeii (you know, like Titanic with a volcano), he’s taken the reins of his career. Over the past couple years, he’s been in a lot of diverse projects, from the very silly Andy Samberg sports mockumentary 7 Days In Hell to the historical drama Gunpowder, which he also wrote and produced (the subject, Guy Fawkes co-conspirator Robert Catesby, is one of his ancestors). Godfrey is impressed, saying:
“He’s taken his success from starring in a show to then writing his own show and launching companies. He’s been very savvy. He’s capitalized on his success and he’s used that to branch out into different areas where he can make money.”
Thus far he’s accrued an estimated net worth of over $12.1 million — a number that might get a boost if his stint in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (he’s playing a character called the Black Knight in the long-delayed The Eternals) extends past one film.
5. Emilia Clarke
The other “star” of GoT, Emilia Clarke has had one of the most successful film careers after the success of the show, starring in rom com Last Christmas, the Star Wars prequel film Solo, and more. She also started her own production company called Magical Thinking Pictures.
She’s been successful in her deals with Dior in 2015, Dolce & Gabbana in 2018, and most recently as a global ambassador for Clinique. Godfrey says:
“She’s a breakout star because of her acting but she is now going to try to monetize it in different industries — in fashion, in beauty and jewelry.”
Thus far it’s been working fine. She has approximately 13.1 million all told, and the latest casting news — that she, too, is joining the MCU in the Disney+ show Secret Invasion with Samuel L. Jackson.
4. Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa may only have been in the show for a handful of episodes, but he made sure to make his time onscreen count. After Khal Drogo was killed off (and his Conan reboot bombed hard) he was not doing well. He revealed recently:
“We were starving after Game Of Thrones. I couldn’t get work. It’s very challenging when you have babies and you’re completely in debt.”
But his casting as Aquaman a couple years later changed everything. While Justice League was a big disappointment, the solo film was a HUGE hit, making over a BILLION dollars at the box office and establishing the late Dothraki leader as a bona fide movie star. But he didn’t spend the time unwisely — he’s been working a TON, both in indie films and TV series, much of which he’s producing himself. Godfrey says:
“Jason backed himself in certain projects and it’s paying off. If you’ve seen the bottom and survived it, it gives you confidence to take more risk with your career.”
The risks so far have made him an estimated $14.2 million. He can be seen next in the star-studded cast of the Dune remake — and then of course he’s got Aquaman 2 on the horizon…
3. Peter Dinklage
Peter Dinklage‘s multiple Emmy-winning performance as Tyrion Lannister has won him not just acclaim but also a slew of roles. He’s appeared in both the X-Men and Avengers franchises, as well as award winners like I Care A Lot and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Recently he and his manager David Ginsberg founded a production company called Estuary Films, through which he produced and starred in the post-apocalyptic drama I Think We’re Alone Now. Godfrey says:
“Peter’s been doing this for absolutely years. He’s been very strategic and has had a fantastic career. He’s doing adverts as well. He’s been very savvy. Peter understands the industry after working in it for a long time.”
That time has earned him an estimated $15.2 million so far.
2. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Surprised? While Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is still known in the US almost exclusively as Jaime Lannister, he’s also been a movie star in his native Denmark for over two decades. He even wrote a film, 1998’s Wildside. Godfrey explains:
“He wrote a film so that shows other strings to his bow. He’s had an entire career in Denmark, which meant he had a foundation he could leverage when he did Game Of Thrones. Launching his own production company shows he’s savvy.”
That production company, Ill Kippers, should help him expand on what he’s already earned, an estimated $16.16 million.
1. Sean Bean
Yes, he may not have made it out of Season One of Game of Thrones, but remember: Sean Bean has been killed in a LOT of big projects, for many years. He was a Bond villain in GoldenEye, he was Boromir in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he surprisingly survived Troy… And more recently he’s starred in the TV series Legends and Snowpiercer.
The man has been working for decades, and his bank account shows it; he has an estimated net worth of $27.3 million. Godfrey sums it up:
“Sean is the steady patriarch here, reflecting his character in the show. He has been working hard in the industry for more than 30 years, building up his net worth with some great roles. Sean has also been producing films, putting his earnings to good use and magnifying his wealth.”
Makes cents to us! LOLz!
Was there anyone YOU expected to see on this list? Any surprises for you? Let us know in the comments (below)!
[Image via HBO Max.]