Last night, I finished reading "A Storm Of Swords" finally, and one of the real tensions of reading the series for me is that I have grown very fond of the cast of "Game Of Thrones," and they've demonstrated such a penchant for killing off characters that I spend pretty much the entire time I read each book clenched and worried now that I'm into material that has not already appeared on the show.

As of the end of the third season of the show, Jon Snow has become a fairly important character simply by virtue of outlasting so many of the other members of his family. Without revealing his fate moving forward, I can say that each and every cast member I've had a chance to chat with has turned out to be very grounded about being part of a phenomenon and I haven't run into anyone yet who has displayed any attitude at all about it. It seems to be a largely diva-free cast, which would seem to be essential if you're trying to pull off something as complicated and large-scale as "Game Of Thrones" on the sort of uber-demanding schedule and budget that they have.

That may serve them well as they all start to move into other projects, and Harington seems to be very matter-of-fact about the demands he faced on Paul W.S. Anderson's new disaster drama "Pompeii." I would imagine you don't sign on after reading that script unless you have a pretty strong sense of just how shirtless and oiled up you're going to have to be for most of it, and the mixture of that and the solid hour of falling ash seems like it could not have been a pleasant shoot.

Harington is still smiling about all of it, though, which should be encouraging to anyone contemplating hiring him. Perhaps part of that is because he ended up playing love scenes with the uber-charming Emily Browning. Perhaps part of that is knowing he's got his smolder all polished up for whatever project hires him next. Perhaps part of that is simply him remembering the truly outrageous work that Kiefer Sutherland does in "Pompeii."

Whatever the case, Harington seems poised for a big career for the next few years, and we'll see how he handles whatever further life he has as Jon Snow and whatever comes after that.

"Game Of Thrones" returns April 6, 2014. "Pompeii" is in theaters Friday.