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Actors Who Almost Starred on Game of Thrones

The HBO show could've looked A LOT different

These Actors Almost Starred on Game of Thrones
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Actors Who Almost Starred on Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones could have looked a lot different than the iconic show it turned out to be -- and a completely different set of actors could have become household names instead of Sophie Turner, Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, and more. 

These are the actors who auditioned, were recast, or turned down roles on the hit HBO show and the roles they would have had. 

Game of Thrones is now streaming on HBO Max.

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Jon Snow

Jon Snow is played by Kit Harington. Here's who almost played the rightful heir to the Iron Throne...

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Nicholas Hoult

Hoult, star of the film Tolkien, told Page Six that he auditioned for the role of Jon Snow while filming Clash of the Titans.

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Cersei Lannister

How could anybody other than Lena Headey play Cersei Lannister? Here's who nearly portrayed the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms...

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Tricia Helfer

In a 2010 tweet, Battlestar Galactica's Tricia Helfer said that she auditioned for the role of Cersei Lannister.

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Melisandre is played by Carice van Houten. Here's who almost portrayed the Red Woman...

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Gillian Anderson

In a 2013 interview with Stylist Magazine, Gillian Anderson said she turned down a role in Game of Thrones because she "can't justify spending that kind of time away from home, unless [she's] working with [Martin] Scorsese."

Many believe that the role Anderson passed on was Cersei Lannister or Melisandre.

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Xaro Xhoan Daxos

In Season 2, Nonso Anozie portrayed Xaro Xhoan Daxos. Here's which Oscar-winning actor almost played the merchant from Qarth...

9 of 40 Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Mahershala Ali

Before winning an Oscar for Moonlight, Mahershala Ali auditioned for the role of the Qarthian merchant Xaro Xhoan Daxos. Game of Thrones casting director Nina Gold told Vanity Fair, "How could I have ever turned down Mahershala Ali?"

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Viserys Targaryen

In the first season, Harry Lloyd played the role of Viserys Targaryen. Here's who could have portrayed Daenerys Targaryen's brother...

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Sam Claflin

Calflin -- who you may remember from The Hunger Games series -- told CinemaBlend that he auditioned for the role of Jon Snow and Viserys Targaryen, Daenerys' brother.

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Daenerys Targaryen

It's hard to imagine the Mother of Dragons as anybody other than Emilia Clarke, but two other actresses were up for the part...

13 of 40 Dave M. Benett, Getty Images

Tamzin Merchant

The Tudors star Tamzin Merchant was originally cast to play Daenerys Targaryen. During reshoots of the Game of Thrones' pilot, Merchant was replaced by Emilia Clarke.

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Elena Satine

After Merchant was dropped from the project, Elena Satine auditioned for the role of Mother of Dragons. Unfortunately for her, Emilia Clarke was cast as Daenerys Targaryen.

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Sansa Stark

Sophie Turner has played Sansa Stark since 2011. Here's who she beat out for the role...

16 of 40 Jon Furniss, WireImage

Izzy Meikle-Small

British actress Izzy Meikle-Small told Huffington Post that she "got to the final two to play Lady Sansa Stark."

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Jaime Lannister

Jaime Lannister is portrayed by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Here's who was nearly cast as the Kingslayer...

18 of 40 Stephane Cardinale - Corbis, Corbis via Getty Images

Jamie Bamber

Battlestar Galactica's Jamie Bamber auditioned for the role.

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Yara Greyjoy

Gemma Whelan plays Theon Greyjoy's (Alfie Allen) sister on Game of Thrones. Here's who almost starred as Yara instead...

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Lily Allen (Allegedly)

In a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" in 2015, Lily Allen said that she was offered the role of Yara Greyjoy, but she turned it down because of some "uncomfortable" scenes with Theon Greyjoy. Theon is played by her brother, Alfie, who later told Vulture that "it's not true."

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Rhaegar Targaryen

Wilf Scolding makes a cameo as Rhaegar Targaryen in Season 7. Someone pretty famous nearly made an appearance as the dead Targaryen instead...

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Charlie Hunnam

The Sons of Anarchy star told the Sun that he was forced to turn down a cameo role -- possibly as Jon Snow's real father, Rhaegar Targaryen -- because of scheduling conflicts.

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Catelyn Stark

Michelle Fairley portrayed Catelyn Stark in the first three seasons of Game of Thrones. She wasn't the first choice for the role of Ned Stark's wife, however.

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Jennifer Ehle

Pride and Prejudice star Jennifer Ehle was originally cast to play Catelyn Stark in the unaired Game of Thrones pilot.

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Renly Baratheon

Gethin Anthony played Renly Baratheon on the show. Here's who almost played Lord Paramount of the Stormlands...

26 of 40 Dia Dipasupil, Getty Images

Sam Heughan

Outlander star Sam Heughan -- who was up for the roles of Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell -- told Vanity Fair that he "auditioned for Game of Thrones seven times."

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The High Sparrow

Jonathan Pryce is the High Septon on the HBO show. Here's who almost portrayed the the High Sparrow...

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Jared Harris

The Crown and Mad Men alum told Vanity Fair that he lost the role of High Sparrow to Jonathan Pryce.

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Mance Rayder

Ciarán Hinds took on the role of the king beyond the wall. Here's who was rumored to take the part...

30 of 40 Desiree Navarro, Getty Images

Dominic West

Dominic West -- who played Jimmy McNulty on The Wire and starred on Showtime's The Affair -- said to Huffington Post in 2012 that he turned down a significant role on the HBO show. It is believed that West turned down the role of Mance Rayder, the king beyond the wall.

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Roslin Tully

Roslin Tully, aka Roslin Frey, was originally played by Alexandra Dowling. Here's who else was offered the role.

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Perdita Weeks

In 2012, The Tudors actress Perdita Weeks told the Daily Mail that she turned down the role of Roslin Tully in favor of a spot on the miniseries The Heretics.

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Magister Illyrio Mopatis

In Season 1, Roger Allam portrays Magister Illyrio Mopatis. Here's who was first cast in the role...

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Ian McNeice

Ian McNeice was originally set to play Magister Illyrio, but his role was recast during reshoots of the pilot.

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A steward in the Night's Watch, Pypar is played by Josef Altin. Here's who auditioned for the part of Pyp...

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Danny Dyer

In an interview with ITV's Jonathan Ross Show, Dyer admitted that he'd been rejected three times by Game of Thrones producers. The only role he publicly said he auditioned for was Pypar.

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Waymar Royce

Waymar Royce -- played by Rob Ostlere -- was one of the first characters to appear on the HBO show. Here's who almost played the Night's Watch soldier...

38 of 40 George Napolitano, FilmMagic

Jamie Campbell Bower

Jamie Campbell Bower, who has been cast in the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series, originally auditioned for the role of Waymar Royce.

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Ray Stevenson

While it's unknown which role he was up for, Ray Stevenson said in a 2015 interview with Movies.com that he rejected a "... four to six-month stint" on the HBO show.

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Brian Cox

In an interview with Vodzilla, Succession star Brian Cox said he had a spot on the show, but that he "stupidly... turned it down because they didn't pay enough money."