As our last consensus show, Game of Thrones feels like a relic of a bygone era, before the rise of streaming all but killed event television as we know it. But when it comes to the show’s finances, GoT is far more progressive than any of its counterparts. While the disparity in pay between male and female actors continues to be a contentious issue in Hollywood, a new report from Variety reveals that HBO pays GoT’s five leads the same per-episode salary, regardless of their gender.
Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harrington and Lena Headey were each paid a hefty $500,000 per episode this season, which implies that the network values its five most popular stars equally. And why wouldn’t it? GoT features female characters in positions of real power more than any other show on television. That was never more apparent than in season 7, whose central conflict revolved around Cersei and Daenerys’ battle for the Iron Throne, while Jamie, Jon and Tyrion served them accordingly.
Up north, Sansa Stark was in charge despite Littlefinger’s best efforts to seize control. Though Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams don’t make us much as the show’s five principal leads (their salaries weren’t revealed), we’re going to go ahead and assume that they won’t be going hungry anytime soon.
The news comes just one week after Forbes published its list of highest paid actors, which revealed a huge disparity between what male and female stars earn. If HBO is seen as a place that promotes equal pay, it could help tip the scales even further in television’s favor as the new de facto home for Hollywood’s A-list talent.