HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones begins its seventh season on July 16, 2017.

The sexy, violent, and ruthless program follows dozens of fantasy characters as they battle and scheme, pursuing individual ambitions as greater threats loom on the horizon.

To create this dark, medieval setting, actors undergo significant transformations to play their roles convincingly. Some of these transformations will have you gasping at the striking differences.

Stephen Dillane plays one of the men with the clearest paths to the Iron Throne, Stannis Baratheon.

When he’s not on HBO getting bad advice from the Red Priestess, Melisandre, Dillane looks like he’s about to become the next king of the local Margaritaville. A fedora is pretty much the opposite of a suit of armor—it looks silly, it does nothing to protect you, and it’s undoubtedly not going to help you win any fights.

image
Samuel Kirszenbaum (via IMDb)/IMDb

Dillane, reportedly, didn’t really like playing the role of Stannis and didn’t particularly understand the series. The award-winning stage actor took the gig, “among other things, for the money.”

Lena Headey plays Queen mother and brother lover, Cersei Lannister.

It’s only a mild spoiler to say that at some point in season five, Cersei Lannister goes through some…changes…including a dramatic haircut. It’s still jarring to see actress Headey without a full head of flowing yellow hair, though.

image
HELEN SLOAN/2013 Imeh Akpanudosen (via IMDb)

Here’s a juicy bit of trivia from IMDb:

Headey, before her work on GOT, “Was in a relationship with Jerome Flynn [who plays Bronn] that ended on such bad terms, that when both were cast on Game of Thrones, each had a clause inserted into their contracts that they will never share scenes, and must remain apart on set.”

Gemma Whelan plays Yara Greyjoy, princess of the Iron Islands, although you probably wouldn’t ever think of calling her princess.

image
Helen Sloan – 2016 HBO/Karwai Tang – 2013 Getty Images (via IMDb)

Yara Greyjoy is a swashbuckling ship captain who lives a tough “Iron Born” lifestyle, but in real life, Whelan really seems more like someone who you’d expect to see at a Portland thrift shop.

Jason Momoa plays the fierce Khal Drogo—a strong, silent type—a Dothraki warlord.

It’s funny how tons of eyeliner seems to change one’s appearance. One thing that remains the same, though, Momoa is a total heartthrob.

image
IMDb/Gabe Ginsberg – Getty Images (via IMDb)

The hunk got his start in acting as a Baywatch cast member, believe it or not. While he isn’t in the 2017 cinematic release of the iconic lifeguarding TV show, it’s okay—Momoa will be the title character in the forthcoming Aquaman movie.

Emilia Clarke is Daenerys Targaryen, Queen of the Andals, Protector of the Realm, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons, among other things.

The Mother of Dragons looks a lot more playful in her daily life—almost as if you could pretend that you didn’t see her eat a horse heart that one time.

image
Helen Sloan – HBO (via IMDb)/emilia_clarke/Instagram

Both Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey have played the role of Sarah Connor in reboots of The Terminator.