Money

The male 'Game of Thrones' stars don’t make more than the female leads—here’s who gets paid the most

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jamie Lannister, both among the highest paid "Game of Thrones" actors
Macall B. Polay | HBO
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jamie Lannister, both among the highest paid "Game of Thrones" actors

If everything goes as planned on Sunday's season finale of "Game of Thrones," the show's biggest competitors for the Seven Kingdom's will finally meet in King's Landing, something viewers have been waiting for all series.

The show is a constant struggle for power. But what about in real life? Who does HBO financially value the most?

According to Variety, the five main actors each make the same amount: $500,000 per episode. That includes: Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) and Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister).

To see the other female leads, Headey and Clarke, get paid the same as their male co-stars is refreshing. Historically, women have been paid less in Hollywood and in other industries.

Notably, it is somewhat surprising that Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), a "Game of Thrones" fan-favorite with considerable screen-time, is not with the others in the top-tier. Reports, however, have suggested that is because of her age (she's only 20, after all).

Helen Sloan | HBO

In 2016, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was the world's highest paid actor, making $64.5 million, and Jennifer Lawrence was the top-paid actress, banking $46 million, according to Forbes. She famously decried the disparity when she was paid less than her male co-stars, Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale, in 2013's oscar-nominated "American Hustle."

Top actresses, like Natalie Portman and Meryl Streep, have also spoken publicly on the issue.

"Women's films don't sell, they tell you," Streep said on BBC Radio 4 Today. "There is this ancient wisdom that is difficult to move through."

Portman told Marie Claire: "Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents. In Hollywood we are making 30 cents to the dollar."

And just last week, Amy Schumer asked Netflix for a raise when she found out what fellow comedians Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle made for their specials. In an Instragram post, she acknowledged that she might not deserve as much as "two of the greatest comics of all time," but did point out that she has been selling out stadiums, "something a female comic has never done."

However, in general, the pay gap in television is less severe. It will be interesting to see if Sunday night's episode of "Game of Thrones" affects that. After all, George R. R. Martin is notoriously trigger-happy.

Even if it means losing one of television's highest paid actresses, most fans probably wouldn't mind seeing Cersei go.

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