There is no denying the fact that HBO hit the jackpot with Game of Thrones. In fact, they have an abundance of great TV shows on air at the moment, setting a trend that we hope will continue for a long time still.
Combining fantasy and art with brilliant writing and screenplay, Game of Thrones is beginning to redefine fantasy television one episode at a time. Like always with TV shows, the show’s makers needed to first find the right people for the job before any filming started.
Finding the right actors to cast isn’t a walk in the park by any means, especially for a show like GoT. For the most part, fans will agree that HBO got the right people on board, and we should leave it at that. But how different could the show have looked if they got the people they were initially after anyway?
Some would be surprised to know that Dominic West, the alcoholic cop from ‘The Wire’ was originally supposed to play the role of Mance Rayder. He apparently turned down the role because of personal issues and family commitments.
One of the problems was the fact that if he accepted, he had to relocate to Iceland for the duration of the filming, which proved to be a problem for Dominic to begin with. In the end, Ciaran Hinds did a wonderful job bringing this character to life, although we cannot help but wonder how a slightly younger Mance Rayder would have looked like.
Liam was supposed to play the role of the Mad King initially, but the producers opted out of his involvement. They originally shot a few scenes of Robert Baratheon’s Rebellion, an event that took place twenty years before the series’ storyline, a rebellion in which they would have presented us the death of Ned Stark’s brother and father.
In the end, the show’s producers decided not to include these scenes in the final cut, which in all fairness, might be for the best.
You may know Perdita for her role as Mary Boleyn, Henry the VIII’s sister on Showtime’s ‘The Tudors’. She was initially offered the role of Edmure Tully’s bride, Roslin Frey. Nobody knows exactly why this idea didn’t pan out, especially considering the fact that Perdita herself says she wanted it very much.
If we are to believe her, she actually called the producers and begged for the role back. Still, Perdita has a lot on her plate lately in terms of projects and contracts, but she says that she wouldn’t mind if the opportunity to be a part of GoT presented itself again.
Even though this is about a smaller role, it’s still worth mentioning. The role was that of High Septon, the head of ‘The Faith of the Seven’, which is the only religion that is accepted throughout the Seven Kingdoms.
This role ended up being played by an extra, which is something we can understand considering how minor the role is. Even so, Simon Fisher-Becker who people know from shows such as ‘Doctor Who’, was originally supposed to be the one losing his arm as he is dismembered by an angry mob.
This is actually one of those decisions that determine the fate of the entire project. You see, the role of Danaerys Targaryen was originally offered to Tamzin Merchant, an actress you may know from films such as ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
After filming the unaired pilot, Tamzin left the show and was replaced by Emilia Clarke. The reason behind her decision is unknown, even though things worked out pretty well in the end.
Yet another great actor taking up a small role. Originally, Ian was supposed to appear in GoT as Illyro Mopatis, a rich merchant who wants to restore Visery Targaryn to the Iron Throne. The reason why Ian was replaced by Roger Allam was that he had to appear in an episode of ‘Doctor Who’ at the time as Winston Churchill.
In all fairness, Roger Allam is a very distinguished actor himself, having won 4 Oliver Awards throughout his 30 years career.
Jennifer appeared as Catelyn Stark in the show’s pilot, but did not want to continue afterwards. She was successfully replaced by Michelle Fairley, an accomplished actress that appears to have opened up many opportunities for herself thanks to her brilliant performance as Catelyn Stark.
It is believed that Jennifer stopped being interested in the GoT project because of her commitment to her young kid and her family. The actress doesn’t seem to have any regrets about not being part of the major success that GoT is, as she was perfecly aware of the show’s potential when shooting the pilot according to her own words.
You may remember the Night’s Watch Master-of-Arms Alliser Thorne from season one. This unlikeable character was originally supposed to be played by Derek Halligan, an actor who knows exactly how to play unlikable characters and / or evil ones.
Nobody is saying that Owen Teale didn’t do an outstanding job to make the character loathsome as it is, but the role was originally supposed to be played by someone else. According to the show’s staff and producers, Derek left the project because of ‘unspecified reasons’, which is a nice way of saying that he wasn’t interested in the role anymore.