Millions of people have loved watching Game of Thrones and we couldn’t imagine it being any different. That being said, would it still have been as popular if different actors played some of the top roles?
There were actually a number of actors that turned down the opportunity to play on the series. I’m sure they regret that decision even today. Here are 15 for your consideration:
- Cersei Lannister (Tricia Helfer)
Tricia Helfer made a splash in the Battlestar Galactica TV series but she also had a shot at the part of Cersei. She talked about the choice to her fans on Twitter, saying she enjoys the books and is sure that George R. R. Martin is due to publish the next installment.
2. King-Beyond-the-Wall (Dominic West)
Could you imagine Dominic West playing the part of Mance Rayder? He couldn’t. It worried him that he would have to spend a lot of time away from his family. Eventually, he regretted the decision but by then, Ciaran Hinds was already cast in the role.
3. Stannis Baratheon (Mark Strong)
Although Strong hasn’t been public with trying out for the series, many fans believe he turned down a shot a Low Winter Sun. That show didn’t make it past the first season but he would have made an interesting addition to Game of Thrones.
4. Daenerys Targaryen (Tamzin Merchant)
Tamzin Merchant was to play the role of Daenerys Targaryen and even filmed the original pilot episode. For some reason or another, she decided not to move forward with the project and chose to be on The Tudors instead.
5. Sansa Stark (Izzy Meikle-Small)
Can you imagine what it would have been like if Sansa had been played by Izzy Meikle-Small? It almost happened but she was turned down. It seems that she wasn’t all that unhappy because her parents would not have been happy about the nude scenes.
6. Catelyn Stark (Jennifer Ehle)
Jennifer Ehle was originally cast as Catelyn Stark but she left the project after the pilot episode. Even though she loved the books, her daughter had just been born and she was more interested in being a mother in real life.
7. High Sparrow (Jared Harris)
Jared Harris was unhappy that the Game of Thrones and Westworld auditions didn’t go his way. HBO decided to go with someone older, leaving Jared looking for his key role.
8. Renly Baratheon / Loras Tyrell (Sam Heughan)
Sam Heughan had auditioned for Game of Thrones 7 times for a number of roles, including Loras Tyrell and Renly Baratheon. He got close but never was able to seal the deal. That being said, he remains a loyal fan.
At least he landed the lead in another drama series
9. Pypar (Danny Dyer)
Danny Dyer tried three times for the role of Pypar but never quite hit the mark. It seems that his accent was the big issue but we aren’t sure how it would have been all that noticeable.
10. Xaro Xhoan Daxos (Mahershala Ali)
Mahershala Ali had a real desire to make it on the show and auditioned for the Qarthian merchant role of Xaro Xhoan Daxos. In the end, he said the auditions were the worst of his career.
11. Waymar Royce (Jamie Campbell Bower)
Jamie Campbell Bower is yet another actor that was in the original pilot but then decided to leave. Nobody knows why but it may have been the fact that his character was doomed to die shortly into the series.
12. Roslin Tully (Perdita Weeks)
Perdita Weeks has a lot of balls in the air and turned down the role on Game of Thrones because she couldn’t fit it into her schedule. She did get some free time and wanted the role but it was already too late.
13. Melisandre, Red Priestess (Gillian Anderson)
Gillian Anderson declined to be on the show but she never told anyone why. Her experience with the X-Files would probably have worked in her favor. Even her daughter was amazed that she turned down the role but Anderson said: “But if I’m going to be spending that amount of time working on something, I would rather be working with a director like Martin Scorsese”
14. Jonathan Pryce
Jonathan Pryce had the chance to join the series from the start but he was ready to step away from the ‘fantasy stuff’. As the show grew in popularity he had a change of heart and said: ”I’m still glad I said no the first time around. I waited for High Sparrow.”
15. Brian Cox
Brian Cox decided against joining the crew because they weren’t paying enough. He went on to say: “Now they have more money. And I was silly. I was silly, it was silly because I’m a complete addict now”