These days, a lot of women have equal pay on their minds. April 2 was Equal Pay Day, an annual holiday marking how much further into the year the average woman must work to make as much as her male counterpart did the previous year. So it’s no surprise that some have questioned why Turner is unbothered to be making $175,000 USD an episode compared to some male counterparts making $500,000 USD. However, the situation is more complex than it seems.
According to Harper’s Bazaar, Turner is an advocate for gender equality and insists on an inclusion rider in all her contracts to ensure a 50:50 male-female workforce. But when it comes to equal pay, Turner is the first to admit it’s “a little tricky.”
Turner confirmed that Kit Harington, the actor portraying her brother, Jon Snow, got paid more money than she did, but adds that he had a bigger storyline. “For the last series, he had something crazy like 70 night shoots, and I didn’t have that many,” Turner told Harper’s Bazaar. “I was like, 'You know what...you keep that money.'"
To be clear, Turner isn’t the only actor making this figure. Maisie Williams (who plays her little sister, Arya Stark, in the show) also is reported to make the same amount. And it's not only male actors who are making $500,000 an episode. According to Variety, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, and Lena Headey all make that amount per episode, suggesting that gender isn’t a deciding factor when it comes to pay on Game of Thrones.
Instead of feeling shortchanged, Turner says she’s glad people are having conversations about pay more often. She’s also hopeful, as she feels that executives are "more willing to listen to people saying, 'I want the same amount of money.’” That said, she acknowledges that things may take a while to truly change.