Kit Harington: Emotionally, men have a problem, a ‘blockage’ from WWII

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Remember when Kit Harington said really dumb things in every interview? That happened for several years during the heyday of Game of Thrones. I turned it into “Kit Harington Says Words.” Good times. Well, Kit grew up a lot in the final years of GoT, and he’s graduated to saying words which are more thoughtful and interesting than “I’m oppressed when people call me a beautiful hunk!” Nowadays, Kit says words about gender fluidity and… toxic masculinity, I think.

On his mom, playwright Deborah Jane Catesby: “I asked for a Mighty Max and she bought me a Polly Pocket. I asked for an Action Man and I got a doll – it was very gender fluid from the word go. And I went with it.”

He doesn’t want to play strong, silent heroes like Jon Snow anymore: “I feel that emotionally men have a problem, a blockage, and that blockage has come from the Second World War, passed down from grandfather to father to son. We do not speak about how we feel because it shows weakness, because it is not masculine. Having portrayed a man who was silent, who was heroic, I feel going forward that is a role I don’t want to play any more….It is not a masculine role that the world needs to see much more of.”

[From The Independent]

I like that his mom got him a Polly Pocket. The gendered children’s toys are always a hot topic and it starts from birth: the colors you paint the nursery, the baby clothes, the length of hair, the toys, and on and on. Gender is “reinforced” by parents and society from the word go. As for what he says about the “strong silent heroes,”I think that’s more of a thing in the UK – WWII and the Battle of Britain was the trauma which affected that generation so profoundly, and yes, the effects of it are still being felt today.

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17 Responses to “Kit Harington: Emotionally, men have a problem, a ‘blockage’ from WWII”

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  1. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I don’t know. I’m glad to hear his words. But I don’t think WWII was any kind of barometer in a masculinity sense. Men’s behaviors have been handed down throughout history. Any kind of notable social sliding of the scale probably started some visibility in the 60s and Britain led the global pack in that sense for sure.

  2. detritus says:

    Interestingly, there are epigenetic (your genes are changed by the environment) effects from violence and trauma. It is thought that these changes can last up to three generations. If we consider that, we are just getting out of the population level genetic changes a world war causes.

    I know it’s not exactly what he’s talking about, but wars do have huge and lasting impacts.

    If anyone wants to read a bit more, this is a bit of a primer

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      What kinds of epigenetic changes will living through a pandemic bring?

    • Sparky says:

      I have been told that there’s a definite possibility that my bipolar disorder is directly related to the fact that my father is a Holocaust Survivor/epigenetics. (For that matter, my mom was in the Israeli army at age 17 and served in a hospital during an active war.)

  3. KL says:

    As a direct comment on men of certain classes in the UK… personally I think he’s spot-on. There was a shift between the first and second World Wars that cemented into the idea of not just emotional control, but almost complete emotional repression — and even the idea that in the worst of the worst scenarios, you should express emotion completely counter to what you’re actually feeling. England especially never had the reputation for emotional warmth, but WII really did a number, and then the outright nostalgia for that era married its effect to the overall cultural identity.

    It doesn’t surprise me Harrington’s speaking the truth of a very limited sort, however — he’s always been like that, where he’s not WRONG, exactly, but he seems to lack a larger perspective. Whether that’s from limited exposure or willful ignorance, I guess time will tell.

  4. TeamMeg says:

    His hair, though.

  5. Merricat says:

    My dad was the strong, silent type, and he never talked about WWII until he was very old, because it was so traumatic. American. I think there’s some truth to what KH is saying.

  6. cdnKitty says:

    my BF’s first masters thesis went into this topic – we were talking about it just yesterday. Glad that it’s being discussed.

  7. Christine says:

    My mom told me a story about my older male cousin, who one year for his birthday asked for a Barbie. Some family members freaked and tried to talk him out of it, but eventually they did get him a Barbie. He wanted a mom for his GI Joe

  8. Lucy says:

    I loved Polly Pockets! Had a small collection of them. I also sort of love that he’s all like “I don’t want it” when it comes to playing that sort of character again. Classic Snow. But seriously, I like what he’s saying here.

  9. fiber Kit? says:

    Judging by the look on his face perpetually I would say he seems to have a physical “blockage” somewhere

  10. Red Hoodie says:

    Love the idea of Kit as a boy playing with a doll for some reason. His comments on masculinity seem accurate. Anyway, re-watching a lot of movie reruns from ’90s and even ’00s these days and some of those overly macho films and male-gaze films about women just look exceedingly dated.