You'd expect that prestige television would come with, well, prestige salaries for the actors who perform in these shows. And when it comes to the Game of Thrones cast, you'd be right. HBO is shelling out some serious cash to pay their top actors, and with good reason — despite all the death and boners, the characters are the reason we tune in each week.
According to Variety, which has collected the data, Game of Thrones' main characters make a very comfortable $500,000 (£390,000) per episode. Which means each of them stand to earn around $3.5 (£2.7) million for this 7-episode season alone. Note that only the top 5 starring actors have their salaries listed; Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), and other recurring characters presumably make less.
What is even more interesting is who is earning this income. The top Game of Thrones actors: Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), and Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), are all earning the same $500,000 per episode. Which means the women actors are being paid just as much as the men.
We really shouldn't be surprised that HBO takes equal pay seriously, but Hollywood is notoriously behind the times in terms of this issue. Actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Portman are vocalising their pay disparities in hopes that it won't just change their industry, but will get women in all sectors of the work force thinking about how their salaries compare. Talking about salaries is extremely uncomfortable, we know — but it's only when we speak up that we can chip away at the wage gap.
We applaud companies like HBO who realize that their female talent deserves the same fair pay as their male talent. This makes us feel a little better about Game of Thrones being our most problematic fave.
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