But he nailed the Game of Thrones audition for Jon Snow, and the rest, as they say is history.
And how did he do that, we hear you ask? With some very Jon Snow-esque behaviour, actually.
In a recent interview with W magazine, Harington revealed that he turned up to his audition for the HBO show looking pretty run down and with a glaring black eye… after he got into a fist fight in McDonalds (of all places).
“I went into McDonald's with this girl I was sort of dating at the time, and it was late at night and there was no seats,” begins Harington’s epic tale of woe.
“I asked this guy and this girl he was with if we could sit at the same table, and they said yeah. We sat down, and quite quickly, he started being really rude to the girl I was with, you know, calling her names.”
“And then he called her something like an ugly pig, or something worse. And I got up and said, no no no, you can't call her that, get up. So I called him up for a fight, which I had never done before. […] I realised that I had to at that point throw the first punch, otherwise I'd look like a complete wimp. And I got battered."
Poor Jon Snow. Reduced to fisticuffs in the early hours of the morning while a quarterpounder and cheese goes slowly cold in the background.
But the black eye wasn’t for naught, as it lent Harington a smattering of tough guy bravado, something he credits with sealing the deal with Game of Thrones producers. (And something he sorely needed, considering he’s a direct descendant of King Charles II and a member of Britain’s brigade of stiff-upper-lip, cucumber sandwich type actors alongside Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne).
“I think that man who punched me in the face may have helped me get the job,” Harington joked.