Kit Harington: ‘I Do My Own Training’ to Play Jon Snow on Game of Thrones

03/20/2015 at 02:09 PM ET

Kit Harington GoT
Ian West/PA Photos/ABACAPRESS

Game of Thrones Jon Snow might “know nothing,” but he does know how to wield a sword with conviction.

“It’s quite physically demanding,” Kit Harington, the actor who plays Lord Snow, tells PEOPLE  at the GoT season five world premiere on Wednesday.

“You want to be able to be putting your full weight behind a sword,” he explains of his work ethic. “You can do three days into three night shoots and they are quite heavy things.”

The Stark warrior clearly has no intention of putting his heavy sword down to rest anytime soon — in fact, things are just getting interesting for the brooding Snow as the first episode shows him taking more control than ever in his position on The Night’s Watch, acting as a negotiator.

“He has to step up to a place of command; the Wall has been left with no real commander, so Jon has to really step into that role and start trying to be a politician and a leader,” he reveals.

While many actors rely on a celebrity trainer to get them in shape for their film roles, Harington prefers to keep things simple. “I do my own training for it,” he says, although he admits it’s a work in progress. “You get better with each season. It’s like Jon, the first time he kills, it’s a shocking thing, but the next time it’s natural. So I learn as he learns.”

As for becoming a heartthrob for legions of female fans around the world (not to mention the face of Jimmy Choo’s latest ad campaign), the Brit says he takes it all in stride. “It’s lovely, I’m glad I don’t play Joffrey because everyone used to give Jack [Gleason] a load of abuse in the street and I get, ‘Ah, Jon Snow!’ It’s nice, I like it.”

One thing he doesn’t like: the shoes. “They are paper-thin and it’s freezing cold — not fun! I nearly got frostbite a couple of times.”

–Monique Jessen

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