Season eight of the award-winning HBO fantasy series “Game of Thrones” starts in just over a month. Much to the lament of fans, it will also be the final season.
The show – based on author George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series – has captured fans’ hearts with its ensemble cast of characters and a fantasy plot packed with intrigue, betrayal, and sharp dialogue. Even though meat, dairy, fur, and leather are all part of the lifestyle in Westeros and Essos, a few cast members follow a vegan diet and many speak up for the welfare of animals.
Animal-Loving ‘Game of Thrones’ Stars
1. Peter Dinklage
Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning actor Peter Dinklage, who plays the cunning Tyrion Lannister was a vegetarian for 15 years before going vegan in 2014, according to INSIDER. The “Game of Thrones” fan favorite has used his platform on multiple occasions to advocate for better treatment of animals. He was a celebrity ambassador for Farm Sanctuary, the first and largest animal sanctuary in the nation, in 2012.
In April 2014, Dinklage partnered with international animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) called “Face Your Food” to reveal the realities of factory farming. “The images you’re about to see might make you want to turn away, but this is what you pay for every time you buy meat, eggs, and dairy products,” he said.
As a pet parent to a dog named Kevin, he has also advocated for adoption over buying animals from breeders.
The highly acclaimed American actor also partnered with the non-profit organization Cruelty Free International as an ambassador in 2012 and in 2015, helped to promote the Humane Cosmetics Act to end cosmetic animal testing: “Testing cosmetics on animals is a cruel, outdated, and unnecessary practice. I am proud to join Cruelty Free International in supporting the Humane Cosmetics Act to end cosmetics testing on animals in the United States.”
2. Nathalie Emmanuel
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English actor Nathalie Emmanuel, who plays Missandei, trusted advisor and interpreter to Daenerys Targaryen, has been vegan since 2012. Emmanuel is an advocate of a mostly whole foods, plant-based diet – “I try to stay away from processed foods,” she told Self in August 2017 – but is also a big fan of dairy-free chocolate. “Good vegan chocolate has become a thing with me. The more you silence your cravings, the bigger they become, so I prefer to have a little bit and get on with my day,” she said. She also has an appreciation for yoga and boxing.
Emmanuel is also an animal-lover. Earlier this month, she advocated for her fans to stay away from elephant tourist attractions such as rides after a trip to the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand. Her Instagram also regularly features photos of cats and dogs – both her own and those she meets. In January 2017, she joined The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International’s campaign against cosmetic animal testing.
3. Jerome Flynn
Friends, please check out this little video I made for P.E.T.A. with love J xhttps://t.co/LFYqQmppZx
— Jerome Flynn (@JeromeFlynn) January 22, 2019
British actor Jerome Flynn – who plays sellsword and ally to Tyrion and Jamie Lannister, Bronn – is the most recent addition to the vegan “Game of Thrones” cast. Earlier this month, he appeared in a PETA ad, stating that there is no such thing as humane meat. “British farmers would like us to imagine their animals in green pastures and barnyard scenes of years gone by. But I’m sorry to say that the reality is far from idyllic,” he said, advocating for a vegan diet at the end of the video.
Vegan co-star Dinklage may have played a role in helping Flynn cut animal products out of his diet. “[W]e talked about how much being vegetarian or vegan matters. It’s very important,” he told UK-based animal rights organization Viva!, of which he is a patron, in 2016. In the same interview, he revealed that he’s a big fan of Violife’s vegan cheese.
4. Maisie Williams
Masie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, joined Emmanuel in advocating for an end to cosmetic animal testing with Cruelty Free International and The Body Shop. She has also spoken out against SeaWorld’s treatment of its captive animals. In response to a tweet that read “How can we tell if our animals are happy? The same way you know if your dog is happy” Williams wrote, “@SeaWorld yes, because dorsal fins look sooooo happy and healthy. #dontbecaptivatedbycaptivity.”
A glance at her Instagram reveals that she might have recently adopted a vegetarian diet – she doesn’t seem to be eating any meat.
5. Alfie Allen
Alfie Allen plays Theon Greyjoy, heir to the Iron Islands, who has gone from antagonistic to sympathetic in the series’ seven seasons. According to PETA, his pup Abby is adopted. She joined him at Comic-Con ’17, where she napped peacefully in his lap during a panel.
6. Lena Heady
Award-winning actor Lena Headey plays former queen regent and sister to Tyrion and Jamie Lannister, Cersei. Although Cersei is known for her cutting words and lack of empathy towards others, Headey has a place in her heart for animals. In September 2008, she worked with PETA to urge fans not to support animal circuses. “No one deserves to be beaten and forced to perform against their will,” she said.