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Actor who plays John Snow looks exactly like a young George RR. Martin

Few programmes in the history of television have enjoyed the astonishing continued success of Game of Thrones.

In an intensely competitive industry - perhaps now more fiercely so than at any other point in history due to the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime - the winners win big, and the rest are left dissecting exactly how they did it.

Not that there can be said to be any magic formula for success in television. Game of Thrones is a vastly different show to Breaking Bad for example, though both have enjoyed immense popularity and critical acclaim.

Due to the success of Game of Thrones, now, with each passing episode, minute, freeze-frame details are examined with a forensic precision, as fans and critics look for clues on what is to follow.

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In all of the intricate details that have been uncovered, all the ingenious fan theories than have uncovered potential plot threads and explained seemingly disparate elements of the show, though, one rather large detail seems to have escaped the notice of fans. Until now.

As this season draws to a close, someone has noticed that one of the stars of Game of Thrones looks remarkably like the show's creator - and author of the books - George R. R. Martin.

A tweet by Ryan Broderick has clearly captured the imaginations of Game of Thrones fans on the internet, after he posted a side by side photograph of Kit Harrington, who plays Jon Snow, with a picture of a young George R.R. Martin. His conclusion? They look almost eerily similar. See what you think.

Though it remains unclear exactly how old Martin was in the photograph, it seems likely that he was a similar age to that of Kit Harrington, and the pair's shaggy locks, glasses and affable expressions certainly appear more than a mere passing semblance.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, fans on Twitter have been knocked sideways by the revelation, with many wondering how they had missed the resemblance themselves.

One user appeared to sum up the general hysteria with the entirely capitalised tweet "WE KNEW NOTHING", while another noted, "Heh, we've all been debating whether or not Rhaegar was his father but it was G.R.R.M all along!"

It seems that Game of Thrones' surprises are not limited to on air drama after all. With one episode left in the current season before the big finale season to follow, fans will be hoping that answers to several open questions will be provided before they have to wait for the series to return.

There is a lot at stake in the finale to this season's drama, and tensions are simmering in Westeros. The idea of John Snow and Daenerys getting together has been causing quite the reaction amongst fans. You can get a sense of the drama with this list of outstanding and hilarious Game of Thrones memes.