Variety reveals what the highest-paid actors on Game of Thrones earn per episode

Have you ever wondered how much the top-tier talent on Game of Thrones makes per episode? Well, wonder no more, as Variety has released a list of the top paid actors on television, and as you might expect, several actors on Game of Thrones made the cut. The magazine cast a rather large net while conducting its survey, including the actors themselves, entertainment executives, attorneys, the actors’ agents and managers, as well we other representatives throughout the industry.

The figures presented here are estimates based on extensive research to determine talent paydays in the most current seasons of specific series. In some cases, those numbers include backend fees. These numbers do not reflect income that many actors and personalities realize from other projects, licensing and merchandising, and business ventures.

From the list of highly paid drama actors:

Image Credit: Variety

The actors from Game of Thrones that made the list include:

  • Peter Dinklage—$500k
  • Lena Headey—$500k
  • Kit Harington—$500k
  • Emilia Clarke—$500k
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau—$500k

Remember: just because other Game of Thrones actors aren’t included on this list doesn’t necessarily mean they make less than the lowest earning actor listed. This is a survey and not a comprehensive catalog.


Still, that’s a lot of money for a cable show, even one as big as Game of Thrones. But as the era of peak TV continues and television attracts more top-flight talent, salaries are likely to balloon. (It makes you wonder what HBO is paying the likes of Ed Harris and James Marsden over on Westworld.)

Variety also released a survey of comedy actors. Of note, the stars of The Big Bang Theory really tip the scales in regards to payments per episode.

Image: Variety

While the $500k discrepancy between the actors on The Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones may seem ludicrous (a million bucks per episode is what the Friends actors made towards the end of the show), remember that CBS is a primetime network that runs commercials during its shows, while HBO is subscription-based. CBS also records The Big Bang Theory on a sound stage, while Game of Thrones films in locations around the globe and builds massive, complicated sets.

So what do you think? Are the GoT actors paid too much? Not enough? About right? Not our business? Sound off.

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