Game of Thrones stars, from season 1 through today

You'll hardly recognize Arya and Bran from the first season until now.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Cooper
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Arya then

Arya Stark in the first season of Game of Thrones. English actress Maisie Williams was just 13 when she filmed the initial season, and it was her first professional acting role.

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Baby-faced Arya

Second-season Arya's baby face shows few signs of the fierce warrior she'll become.

3 of 57 Helen Sloane/HBO

Arya now

A more confident Arya in a photo from season 8. Maisie Williams is now 21, and has grown up with the character.

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Bran then

Isaac Hempstead Wright plays Bran Stark, who was paralyzed in the first season after Jaime Lannister tossed him out a Winterfell window because he saw Jaime and his twin sister in an intimate moment. He was 11 when he filmed the first season of Game of Thrones. 

5 of 57 Helen Sloane/HBO

Bran now

Isaac Hempstead Wright is now 19, and like Maisie Williams, grew up on the set of Game of Thrones. Bran, his character, never regained the ability to walk, but he did acquire some strange new powers.

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Hodor and Bran then

Bran looks like a baby in the first season, and Hodor looks younger too.

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Hodor later

Hodor's aged a great deal by his final tragic appearance in season 6. 

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Sansa then

Sophie Turner was just 14 when she was cast in her first television role as 13-year-old Sansa Stark. She dyed her blond hair red for the part, but later wore wigs.

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Sansa and Lady

Sansa and Lady, her doomed direwolf.

10 of 57 Helen Sloane/HBO

Sansa now

Sophie Turner is now 23. Her character, Sansa, has transformed from a sheltered young girl dreaming of romantic love and becoming a queen to a young woman who's been brutally used by almost everyone who came in contact with her.

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Cersei then

Lena Headey as Queen Cersei in the first season, when she still had long hair and three living children.

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Cersei in fur

Queen Cersei was always plotting something.

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Cersei and Joffrey

Cersei and her horrible tyrant son, Joffrey, played by Jack Gleeson. Gleeson retired from acting after his stint on the show ended.

14 of 57 Helen Sloane/HBO

Cersei now

Now short-haired, Queen Cersei has lost her children, her husband and much more.

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Daenerys then

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) started the first season as a naive virgin whose brother was essentially selling her into marriage to further his own dreams of power.

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Daenerys and one heck of a braid

Daenerys is shown during the first season, before she came into her own.

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Young Dany with Jorah

Scottish actor Iain Glen, seen here in the first season with Emilia Clarke, plays Jorah Mormont, who's had a complex relationship with Dany.

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Dany and Drogo

Daenerys was married off to Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) but a marriage of convenience turned into a love match.

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Dany and her Silver

Daenerys' white horse, a wedding gift, matches her icy white-blond hair.

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Daenerys now

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys in a photo from the eighth and final season. Clarke recently revealed to The New Yorker that she suffered two aneurysms early in the filming of the show.

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Jaime then

Jaime Lannister, played by Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, is a complicated character. In the first season, he blithely pushed young Bran out a window, thinking he'd die. 

22 of 57 Helen Sloane/HBO

Jaime now

Jaime Lannister has lost a hand -- and plenty of his illusions -- since the first season.

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Jon Snow then

Jon Snow (Kit Harington) was thought to be Ned Stark's bastard son in the first season. Unwanted by Stark's wife Catelyn, he left to join the Night's Watch with his Uncle Benjen Stark.

24 of 57 Helen Sloane/HBO

Jon Snow now

Jon Snow has lived, loved and even died in the years since he left Winterfell.

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Tyrion then

In the first season, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) had an unscarred face, and was as witty as ever.

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Tyrion and his shield

Many battles were ahead for Tyrion, shown again in the first season.

27 of 57 Helen Sloane/HBO

Tyrion now

Tyrion was scarred horribly in the Battle of Blackwater, but it was worse in George R.R. Martin's books, where the character lost half his nose.

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Theon then

Theon looking young and strong in the first season. 

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Theon now

Theon may have redeemed himself by season 8, but you wouldn't have wanted to endure what he went through.

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Jorah then

Jorah was already a seasoned warrior by the time he shows up in the first season.

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Jorah now

Battles with greyscale and unrequited love aged Jorah by the Battle of Winterfell.

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Catelyn then

Catelyn Stark started the show as a calm and loving wife and mother, but things went downhill fast.

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Catelyn later

Poor Catelyn met an early end during the Red Wedding. In the books, however, she has another, very creepy after-death persona.

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The Hound then

The Hound never looked really great, thanks to the facial burns his brother gave him, but he gets a lot worse.

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The Hound now

The Battle of Winterfell involved one of The Hound's least-favorite things: fire.

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Littlefinger then

Littlefinger looked a lot younger in the first season. Maybe treachery keeps you youthful.

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Littlefinger later

Littlefinger still looked pretty good, up till that infamous moment in season 7 when Sansa and Arya turned the tables on him.

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Joffrey then

We can almost see why a naive young Sansa fell for Prince Joffrey. Almost.

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Joffrey later

By his wedding to poor Margaery Tyrell in the fourth season, Joff just looked meaner. Maybe it was just because we knew him better.

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The Wall, then

Even back in season 4, The Wall was looking pretty solid.

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The Wall, with dragon

This Wall can withstand anything! Um...

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The Wall, later

Yeah, that's gonna leave a mark.

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Gendry, then

Gendry appeared early in the series, then rowed off, only to return.

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Gendry, now

Gendry in the final season is tough as nails and always ready to defend Arya.

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Sam then

Chubby Sam was soft and had never won a fight when he met Jon in season 2.

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Sam, now

He's still no Jaime or Jon, but by the final season, Sam has grown up a lot and learned to fight.

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The dragons, then

Here's Khal Drogo and Daenerys with one of the dragons before it even hatched, in season 1.

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The dragons as hatchlings

Daenerys' favorite dragon, Drogon, is seen here as a hatchling.

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Tyrion meets a dragon

Tyrion tries to befriend a dragon.

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Drogon lights things up

A full-grown dragon is an incredible weapon of war.

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Jon meets a dragon

Jon Snow's Targaryen blood allows him to become a dragonrider.

Game of Thrones, temporada 8
52 of 57 Helen Sloan/HBO

Impressive wingspan

From egg to hatchling to this. Impressive.

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Daenerys, Jon and the dragons

In case you're wondering just how much bigger the dragons are than humans, here's an idea.

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Poor Viserion

Viserion was killed and resurrected by the Night King, then became an ice dragon.

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A girl's best friend

Drogon remains Daenerys' favorite.

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The direwolves, then

Robb and Bran Stark hold their direwolves as puppies. Robb and his pet would meet gruesome ends.

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The direwolves, now

Jon Snow's direwolf, Ghost, was seen briefly at the Battle of Winterfell.

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