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What these Game of Thrones stars look like without their beards

The dragons, the magic, the battles… the beards! Many things about Game of Thrones have kept fans enthralled well into the show's eighth and final season. But maybe one of the most prominent — and least discussed — has been the face follicles of some its male stars. As the show has progressed, various characters have presented us with looks ranging from well-manicured to wild and woolly. We've also seen some of our favorites go from being baby-faced to downright shaggy. It shouldn't be surprising, though. After all, when one is fighting to sit atop the Iron Throne or trying to protect the world of men from an oncoming army of the dead, there isn't always time to grab a razor. So in honor of Westeros' wildest whiskers, we take a look at what some of your favorite GoT characters look like without their facial hair.

Peter Dinklage/Tyrion Lannister

Game of Thrones fans have come to know Tyrion Lannister as a wizened advisor to a number of different rulers, a man whose beard is as much a symbol of his perilous journey throughout Westeros as it is a sign of his advancing age. But back in the beginning before he was offering advice to the Mother of Dragons, Tyrion was simply the hard-drinking, womanizing black sheep of the Lannister family. He was also quite clean-shaven. Since then, as his influence has grown, so has his beard. Maybe there's wisdom in his whiskers — though some of his faulty advice in recent seasons would undermine that theory. Even still, while it might not compare to some of the longer chin manes found around the Seven Kingdoms, there's something pretty distinguished about it. Perhaps that's why actor Peter Dinklage has held fast to at least the goatee as his look of choice in recent years.

Kit Harrington/Jon Snow

You know nothing, Jon Snow… except how to rock a pretty stylish beard. The man we once knew to be Ned Stark's bastard son always drew rave reviews for his fashionable bedhead, but we'd be remiss if we completely overlooked his constantly well-groomed chin curtain. That's no small accomplishment considering Jon's time guarding the Wall as part of the Night's Watch as well as his time north of the Wall roaming with the Wildlings. Those aren't exactly the sort of environments where one would expect to find barbers on call. As for Kit Harington, he adopted the bearded life for himself after becoming an internationally recognized star — even sporting the full-on Jon Snow look for his wedding to actress (and former GoT co-star) Rose Leslie. That might be for the best — without the facial hair, he might have a hard time convincing people he's worthy of being crowned King of the North.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau/Jaime Lannister

Jaime Lannister is known as the Kingslayer, but he should also get some kudos for killing the beard game as well. That wasn't always the case, though, as the eldest of the Lannister boys was pretty smooth-faced way back when he wickedly shoved a peeping Bran Stark from a tower window. Over time, the evolution of Jaime Lannister's man mane has almost followed the character's story arc. As the man has grown emotionally, so has his beard — going from a devilishly handsome 5 o'clock shadow to designer stubble to the type of scruff that indicates a man who has realized that everything and everyone he believed in turned out to be a lie. But give him credit for doing it with some facial flair. In real life, the many faces of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau have mirrored those of his Kings Landing alter ego. Yet we'll always remember the baby-faced Lannister lion we loved to hate (and eventually just loved) all those seasons ago.

Iain Glen/Jorah Mormont

When it comes to permastubble, there might not be anyone in the Seven Kingdoms who wears it better than Ser Jorah Mormont. The former hand of Daenerys Targaryen survived the scourge that is Greyscale but apparently has never had to battle the torment of ingrown hairs while looking like a swarthy traveler who could handle himself in nearly any situation. With nary a razor to be found, Ser Jorah managed to keep his crop somewhere between a 5 o'clock shadow and a full-blown beard. Maybe he was handier with a sword than we've been led to believe. How else could he keep that facial hair at a consistent length through all of his adventures? Offscreen, however, actor Iain Glen has been a little more varied with the length of his follicles — including going clean-shaven on occasion. Ser Jorah might be set in his whiskery ways, but Glen has decided that variety is the spice of Beard Life.

Julian Glover/Grand Maester Pycelle

You would be forgiven if you thought Santa Claus had taken a side hustle as part of the small council in Kings Landing and a loyal adviser to the Lannister family. Actually, the man under that majestic beard is Grand Maester Pycelle, who lived a life of great influence to multiple rulers who sat upon the Iron Throne… until being stabbed to death moments before the destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor. Having a large white beard may confer an air of wisdom, but it doesn't offer much in the way of protection against knives. Nonetheless, Pycelle's neck beard was fitting of a man possessing vast amounts of knowledge. In real life, Julian Glover has tended to favor a more manageable facial hair situation. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Glover was the goateed Walter Donovan, while he went totally clean to play General Veers in Empire Strikes Back.

John Bradley/Samwell Tarly

In some cultures, being able to grow a beard is a sign that a boy has become a man. Perhaps the hope that he could earn respect from his continually disapproving father led Samwell Tarly to grow the chinstrap that highlighted his look. It's not certain that Sam's bristle strategy worked to great effect — he was continually bullied during his time at Castle Black. If only some of the Night's Watch had been there to see him kill a White Walker. Eventually, Samwell grew into his beard by making his way to the Citadel and beginning his studies to become a maester. After all, what's a keeper of the secrets of men without an awe-inspiring beard? Maybe Sam's face warmer hasn't quite reached awe-inspiring status, but it's a start. It's also become the preferred look for actor John Bradley, which might be for the best. Without it, it's hard to imagine he'd be able to buy an adult beverage without drawing suspicion.

Liam Cunningham/Davos Seaworth

If beards could talk, the chin mane of Ser Davos Seaworth would likely spin a riveting tale of a man who has seen the highest peaks and lowest valleys of the fight for the Iron Throne. The grey and grizzled follicles would tell the story of someone who worked his way from the poorest slums of Westeros to being an advisor to a king only to find himself in the midst of a mutiny before ultimately landing as a chief confidant to Jon Snow in the battle against the army of the dead. It's quite a fanciful yarn from quite a weathered beard. Liam Cunningham's personal story probably isn't quite as fraught with peril, however, he's maintained the same type of beard as his onscreen persona for some time. The good news is that even without the scruff, Cunningham looks just as distinguished… just without the stress of the Red Witch.

Rory McCann/Sandor "The Hound" Clegane

It's been a hard life for Sandor Clegane. Anytime you end up with a nickname like "The Hound," you've probably had some breaks not go your way — like when your much larger, stronger brother pushes your face into a fire, leaving you disfigured for the rest of your life. Or when the young traveling companion who frequently threatened to kill you eventually robs you and leaves you for dead in the countryside. Such a haggard life calls for a haggard beard, and Sandor Clegane delivers that in spades. The Hound sports a flavor saver that has seen its share of difficult days but endures nonetheless. In real life, Rory McCann's visage isn't quite as grizzled as his Game of Thrones counterpart, which is undoubtedly a good thing. Still, it's rare to see a clean-shaven Rory McCann. But when you do, it's worth acknowledging. Like a smile from the Hound.

Jerome Flynn/Ser Bronn of the Blackwater

The bearded Ser Bronn of the Blackwater has made his way through Westeros as a mercenary working for the highest bidder. It's earned him bedfellows as strange and diverse as Catelyn Stark and the Lannister family. Yet through it all, Bronn has maintained a pretty sharp chinstrap and soul patch. Perhaps it's the influence of Jaime and Tyrion Lannister, who encouraged Bronn to live a life of luxury which likely came with its share of groomers. Of course, dealing with the Lannisters is usually a devil's bargain, and for Bronn, it comes in the form of being asked to hunt and kill his former friend Jaime. Regardless, he seems willing to undertake the task with his normal level of scruffy style. Or is it stylish scruff? Either way, actor Jerome Flynn isn't likely to share his alter ego's follicular choices. While Flynn has been seen sporting Bronn's signature look, he can frequently be spotted showing off a prominent, yet unshaven, chin.

Kristofer Hivju/Tormund Giantsbane

It's hard to find a character who is more of a fan favorite than the gregarious Wildling Tormund Giantsbane. It's also hard to find a Game of Thrones character that sports a better chin pelt. Tormund's big bushy red beard is befitting a man who claims to have nursed at the breast of a giant that he widowed — and one who has tried endlessly to bed Brienne of Tarth. Then again, if one is going to survive the harsh winters among the free folk north of the Wall, it probably behooves you to grow a bit of a neck sweater to keep warm during the long cold spells. There is certainly no way any of us could imagine seeing Tormund without his trademark red mane, but seeing his real-life avatar Kristofer Hivju without his face-fro is just straight up jarring. But it does let us know that underneath all of that hair is hiding a pretty strong Scandinavian jawline.

Jason Momoa/Khal Drogo

It's been a while since Khal Drogo made his presence known as the leader of the Dothraki hordes and the first husband of a then-timid Daenerys. It shouldn't be a surprise that the chieftain of a wild band of marauders would have an intimidating batch of facial hair. The hairs on his chin were nearly as intense as the ones on his head — and both were similarly styled as well. But all that hair was as much a trademark for actor Jason Momoa as it was Khal Drogo. Or Arthur Curry. Which made it even more shocking when Momoa shaved it all off as part of a campaign to raise awareness for the danger of water in plastic bottles. It marked the first time Momoa had been shorn since 2012, leaving fans to wonder when and if he'd make a return to being the bearded wonder that won people over with a scrunchie at the 2019 Academy Awards.

Mark Addy/Robert Baratheon

Once upon a time, the Seven Kingdoms were ruled by a man named Robert Baratheon — a jolly fellow who was fond of wine, women, and song. It was all good until a hunting accident with a wild boar led to Robert's death and the appointment of Ned Stark as Lord Regent and Protector of the Realm, basically starting the entire Game of Thrones. But while Robert himself may have had some shortcomings as a monarch, his facial hair was quite majestic. As a warrior and general outdoorsman, Baratheon laid claim to a face fleece that could stand among the best in all of Westeros. That's not something you'd be likely to see from Mark Addy, who is quite capable of growing a hefty beard but generally appears with his face fully clean. While it makes for a likable onscreen personality, it's hard to imagine it carrying the same level of respect when dealing with the the subjects of Kings Landing.