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They Haven't Acted Since Game Of Thrones Ended. Here's Why

When "Game of Thrones" ended its wildly popular run in May of 2019, the mixed reactions to the finale arguably overshadowed the end of what had been one of the most massive undertakings in television history. It required hundreds of millions of dollars and production in a dozen different countries to create the 73 episodes, each of them almost like a movie unto itself. Showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, however they may have struggled with plotting and dialogue once they ran out of George R.R. Martin's source material to work with, nonetheless managed to navigate one of the most complex storytelling challenges ever to grace the airwaves. IMDb lists 836 credited cast members on the show, making it by far the largest cast in the history of dramatic TV.

As "Game of Thrones" grew into a massive hit, perhaps the last "water cooler show" that television viewers all over the country will be talking about at the same time, it turned many of its little-known stars into household names. Even beyond the stars that made the opening credits, dozens and dozens of cast members have gotten a boost from being on one of the biggest TV shows ever, becoming at least neighborhood names if not household ones. But there are some, surprisingly, who fell off the map in one way or another despite being touched by the show's massive success. Here are the cast members that haven't acted since "Game of Thrones" ended, and why you haven't seen much of them since.

Jack Gleeson - Joffrey Baratheon

A child actor in Ireland from the age of 8, before "Game of Thrones" Jack Gleeson was best known as a small boy with impossibly large eyes in "Batman Begins." In the first chapter of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, he shares a brief, adorable scene with the caped crusader — a role credited as "Little Boy on the Balcony."

In 2011, Gleeson was cast on "Game of Thrones" as Joffrey Baratheon, and quickly became the character viewers loved to hate the most. We watched him grow from the whiny, spiteful, and vengeful Prince of the Seven Kingdoms into the whiny, spiteful and vengeful King of the Seven Kingdoms after the death of his (supposed) father, King Robert Baratheon. His selfish antics cause the death of Arya's friend the stable boy, Sansa's direwolf Lady, and eventually the most shocking death of the first season, the execution of former Hand of the King Ned Stark. This would turn out to be the act of cruelty that famously made it clear that no one is safe from death on "Game of Thrones," not even the lead billed actor in the credits. Jack Gleeson's face would go on to become the embodiment of evil for many "Game of Thrones" fans.

In yet another twist, King Joffrey dies abruptly in Season 4 at his own wedding. As it turns out, Jack Gleeson was glad to leave the role — and stardom itself — behind. At the time, he told Entertainment Weekly, "I've been acting since age 8. I just stopped enjoying it as much as I used to." He's since stayed active in the theater as a producer, co-founding the Collapsing Horse Theatre Company, and attended college at Trinity University in Dublin. After leaving the show, he did return to television in a brief role on comedian Sara Pascoe's series "Out of Her Mind," but even that was a sort of meta commentary on the villainous role that led him to turn away from the spotlight. Gleeson plays the ghost or vision of a pregnancy the main character chose not to carry to term years before — Pascoe told the Independent that she specifically decided to "choose an actor that everyone wishes was dead."

Isaac Hempstead Wright - Bran Stark

Isaac Hempstead Wright had only a few commercials on his CV before landing the part of Bran Stark in "Game of Thrones" at just 12 years old, although he had a part in the horror movie "The Awakening" that had yet to be released. As Bran, he arguably instigated a large portion of the plot of the entire show, since his discovery of Jamie and Cersei Lannister's incestuous affair — and subsequent tumble from a balcony after being pushed by Jamie — was the inciting incident of the pilot.

Bran would go on to weave one of the most unique journeys through Westeros over the course of the show. Paralyzed from the waist down after surviving Jamie's impulsive post-coital murder attempt, he learns to adapt to his new life just in time to escape to the North when Winterfell is captured by Theon Greyjoy. He then hones his ability to "warg" into his direwolf, and is eventually trained by a mystical man known as the Three Eyed Raven in the art of greensight, which essentially means having visions of the past. This enables him to discern the "Game of Thrones" twist that most of the audience saw coming from a mile away — specifically, Jon Snow's true parentage as an heir to the Iron Throne. In a shocking turn that even Hempstead Wright thought was a joke at first, however, it's Bran that ends up on the throne at the story's end. He winds up with a mouthful of a title: "Bran the Broken, the First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Six Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm."

Isaac Hempstead Wright, meanwhile, was struggling to find normalcy behind the scenes while his alter ego took such strange turns on a huge hit TV show. He told Esquire UK that "Game of Thrones" all but ruined his college experience. "My address got published," he said. "I couldn't walk out of my halls without having to take a selfie. Eventually I got assigned a campus police officer." He dropped out, but eventually returned to University College London to study neuroscience. Focusing on his studies, he naturally took a break from acting until appearing in a minor role in the Netflix film "Voyagers" in April of 2021.

Jacob Anderson - Grey Worm

After working steadily in British television and theater since 2008, Jacob Anderson gained prominence with recurring roles on "Broadchurch" and "Episodes" before landing the role of Grey Worm. As the elected leader of the Unsullied, a group of eunuch warriors raised as slaves, he displays a fierce devotion to Daenerys Targaryen for freeing him and all of his brethren, and chooses to fight for her as one of her most trusted lieutenants. Eventually, he has time amidst all the late-season chaos for a doomed romance with Daenerys' advisor Missandei, and sails with the remaining Unsullied to Naath, Missandei's homeland, at the end of the series.

Other than a small part in "Overlord" in 2018, Anderson did no other acting during his time on "Game of Thrones," and hasn't appeared onscreen since the series ended. But don't worry that casting directors are giving this talented actor the cold shoulder — he's stepped out of the film and television spotlight because he's focusing on his music career, as a pop/R&B singer known as Raleigh Ritchie. He followed up his 2016 debut with the 2020 album "Andy," which "exudes bruised optimism," according to NME.

Callum Wharry - Tommen Baratheon

"But wait," you may be thinking, "didn't the actor playing Tommen go on to star in the acclaimed '1917'?" In fact, that was Dean-Charles Chapman, the second actor to play the doomed Tommen Baratheon. Callum Wharry originated the role of Tommen, playing him in eight episodes across the first two seasons. Confusingly, Chapman actually played Tommen's cousin Martyn Lannister in two episodes before returning as the new Tommen.

Wharry played the young Tommen seen visiting Winterfell and cowering with his mother Cersei during the Battle of Blackwater. He didn't appear during Season 3, and when the character eventually returned, the decision was made to recast the role with an actor three years older, to take on the more complex and prominent arc the character would have going forward. Wharry, meanwhile, never appeared onscreen before or since, and it seems there's little evidence online of what he's up to. Presumably he's somewhere enjoying being far older than his former character appeared when he played him, and only occasionally being stopped and asked why he looks sort of familiar.

Kerry Ingram - Shireen Baratheon

Few characters during all of "Game of Thrones" were more compelling — and few deaths more heart-wrenching – than that of Shireen Baratheon. The only surviving child of Stannis Baratheon, she's treated coldly by her father as he pursues the Iron Throne after his brother's death. She doesn't get any more warmth from her mother, who resents her for being partially disfigured from a disease known as greyscale. She finds comfort, however, in her friendship with the kind Ser Davos, who is in her father's service.

Shireen even demonstrates ingenuity at multiple points that aid her father in his various battles and quests across the series. Ultimately, however, he's convinced by the sorceress Melisandre during a desperate moment that a sacrifice of "King's blood" will help turn the tide in his favor, and Shireen is his only option. In a departure from the books that many fans found unnecessarily cruel, poor Shireen is burned on a pyre as her mother cries in anguish and Stannis looks away in tears. (This show really could get pretty dark when it wanted to.)

The English actress Kerry Ingram brought Shireen to life, and unlike her onscreen counterpart, she remains thankfully alive and well. Already the winner of an Olivier Award for starring in "Matilda: the Musical" before "Game of Thrones," she made a few other TV appearances and was a series regular on "Free Rein" during the run of "Thrones," but hasn't had any appearances since it ended in 2019. The pandemic likely played a role, and we'll surely be hearing from a very much not burnt to a crisp Kerry Ingram in the future.

Luke Barnes - Rast

Luke Barnes is primarily a British playwright and screenwriter, with only a single acting role as "Drunk Man" in an episode of "Skins" to his name before playing Rast on "Game of Thrones." Nevertheless, he left an indelible mark as one of several unsavory villains that Jon Snow encounters during his time at Castle Black with the Night's Watch.

A criminal that "took the black" and pledged service to the Night's Watch instead of a worse punishment, Rast is foul from the very beginning of the show as he torments Jon's friend Sam during training, and acts clearly envious of Jon's skill and increasingly prominent role as the months pass. He stabs the honorable Lord Commander Mormont in the back during the mutiny at Craster's Keep, and later even tortures poor Hodor when the mutineers briefly detain him along with Bran Stark. His eventual death at the hands (or rather, paws) of Jon Snow's direwolf Ghost is one of several very satisfying ones over the course of this extremely death-friendly show.

After wrapping his time on "Game of Thrones," Barnes did have a couple small parts in short films, but hasn't appeared onscreen since the show ended. Instead, he's returned to his native Northern Ireland to focus on writing and producing theater once more, including working with prisons to make theater part of the rehabilitation process.

Ben Hawkey - Hot Pie

Like many of the other child actors on "Game of Thrones," Ben Hawkey had just a few small roles before appearing as Hot Pie, friend of Arya Stark– or rather, "Arry," as she was known when disguised as a boy.

An orphan who's been sent to the Night's Watch when they meet, he bonds with Arya as well as Gendry when they're waylaid by Lannister forces and held prisoner at Harrenhal. Eventually they escape, only to be captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners and escorted to the Inn at the Crossroads, where Hot Pie finds a rare happy ending for a minor "Game of Thrones" character — as a baker's apprentice, he's taken on by the owner of the inn to bake bread, giving Arya a loaf of bread shaped like a direwolf as a goodbye present.

Ben Hawkey would act in only one small film during his time on "Game of Thrones," and has turned his role as Hot Pie into a new real-life business: as reported by US Weekly, he's partnered with a U.K. delivery service to bring the direwolf bread to the public with a business incredibly named "You Know Nothing, Jon Dough."

Josephine Gillan - Marei

Josephine Gillan had no professional acting experience before responding to an ad and landing the part of Marei, a sex worker at Littlefinger's brothel. Despite this being a relatively dangerous line of work in King's Landing, she manages to avoid King Joffrey's malice in Season 3, survive the storming of the brothel by the Faith Militant in Season 5, and appear in episodes all the way into Season 8 of the series.  Whether she survived the apocalyptic Battle of King's Landing near the end of the show is unknown.

In any case, Josephine Gillan appeared in one independent film during the show's run, but hasn't acted since it ended. She told the Daily Mail that landing the role turned her life around when she'd been struggling, and hoped to make a real future in the acting business. Here's hoping her career is as long-lived as Marei herself.

Stephen Cole - Kovarro

British actor Stephen Cole was primarily known for five years on the long-running Liverpool soap opera "Brookside," playing Leo Johnson from 1996 to 2001, before being cast as Kovarro in Season 2 of "Game of Thrones" in 2012. After the death of Khal Drogo at the end of Season 1, Kovarro becomes one of Daenerys Targaryen's most trusted bloodriders as she navigates the desert of the Red Waste and the treacherous city of Qarth.

After playing a semi-prominent part in that storyline in Season 2, however, Kovarro never appears again for unexplained reasons. Steven Cole would have minor parts in 2014 and 2018, but has yet to act since "Game of Thrones" ended in 2019. It's not known if the pandemic or personal reasons have kept him off screens. Out of a cast of hundreds, it's possible there's at least one that just has bum luck.

Vladimir Furdik - The Night King

Last but not least, we have arguably the biggest villain of the entire show — the Night King. Commanding an army of white walkers, wights, and eventually even his own dragon, the Night King slowly and surely marches south to invade Westeros, culminating with an epic battle in the Season 8 episode "The Long Night."

Though the Night King was originally played by character actor Richard Brake, he left the show after Season 6 due to a scheduling conflict, and was replaced by stuntman Vladimir Furdik for Seasons 7 and 8. It probably helped the transition that the character's face is a combination of makeup and CGI, and he also never speaks. Furdik has been a stuntman for decades in Hollywood, working on movies like "Dragonheart," "Behind Enemy Lines," and "Thor: The Dark World."

In addition to appearing in five episodes as the Night King, he worked as a stunt performer on 16 episodes of "Game of Thrones" as well, and is credited as a stunt supervisor on the episode "Winterfell." He continues his work as a stunt performer on the Netflix series "The Witcher," but the Night King remains his last credited on-camera role.