“Game of Thrones was never that”: Tamzin Merchant Has No Regrets Losing to Emilia Clarke After Revealing Her True Feelings for the Iconic Role

Tamzin Merchant felt that Game of Thrones was not her story to tell, before she was replaced by Emilia Clarke

tamzin merchant has no regrets losing to emilia clarke after revealing her true feelings for the iconic role

SUMMARY

  • Emilia Clarke almost didn’t play the role of Daenerys Targaryen in the sensational HBO series, Game of Thrones.
  • The unaired pilot of the series had another Mother of Dragons played by Tamzin Merchant. Merchant was initially cast in the role after her performance in another costume drama, The Tudors.
  • However, she has no regrets about losing the role, as she revealed that Game of Thrones was not a story she was excited to tell.
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Emilia Clarke almost didn’t play the role of Daenerys Targaryen in the sensational HBO series, Game of Thrones. The unaired pilot of the series had another Mother of Dragons played by Tamzin Merchant. Merchant was initially cast in the role after her performance in another costume drama, The Tudors. However, she has no regrets about losing the role, as she revealed that Game of Thrones was not a story she was excited to tell.

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Tamzin Merchant in Carnival Row
Tamzin Merchant played Daenerys Targaryen in the unaired pilot of Game of Thrones

Series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss screened the first pilot to a group of writers who gave it poor feedback. Besides Merchant, director Tom McCarthy and Jennifer Ehle, who played Catelyn Stark, was replaced in the original pilot.

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Also Read: Emilia Clarke Wants Fans to Use the Magic Word After Her Miserable Experience That Came With Game of Thrones Fame

Tamzin Merchant Reveals Her True Feelings About Game Of Thrones

Tamzin Merchant in The Tudors
Tamzin Merchant in The Tudors

For Tamzin Merchant, shooting the unaired pilot of Game of Thrones was an unforgettable lesson. In a Zoom interview with Entertainment Weekly, Merchant revealed that her instincts as an actress had warned her not to commit to the project. She even tried to back out from the contract process, but she revealed that “some persuasive people” talked her into signing the contract.

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Merchant shared that she was not at all comfortable filming the series, stating that she found herself “naked and afraid in Morocco.” The Salem actress further added that Daenerys was not a compelling character, nor was Game of Thrones a compelling story for her. However, she praised the performance of Emilia Clarke, who took up the role and made it iconic. Merchant believed that Clarke was excited to tell the story of Daenerys, unlike her. She told EW:

“I didn’t have any training as an actor, I only have my instincts. And what excites me and what drives me is a compelling story and a compelling character. So for me, Game of Thrones was never that. I think it’s a testament to Emilia Clarke for making that role iconic—she was obviously excited to tell that story, and she was epic and excellent. But for me, it wasn’t in my heart to tell it.”

However, it certainly was an unusual experience for her when the series that rejected her became the biggest hit show of the 21st century. Merchant shared that it was “interesting” to travel to auditions on buses that had the Me Before You actress’s face on them.

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Also Read: “I was definitely not ready”: Emilia Clarke Blamed Her Lack of Experience for Her “Catastrophic Failure” After Game of Thrones

Game Of Thrones Team Had The Hardest Time Informing Tamzin Merchant Of The Recasting

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones

According to a source from the Game Of Thrones crew, informing the Carnival Row actress about the recasting decision was one hard call to make. Former HBO boss Michael Lombardo also commented on Tamzin Merchant’s recasting, stating that her scenes with Jason Momoa in the unaired pilot just didn’t work. However, co-executive producer of the series, Bryan Cogman, thought that Merchant did a really good job. Cogman shared:

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“I thought Tamzin did a really good job. It’s hard to say why things didn’t work out. Ultimately, it’s obvious Emilia Clarke was born to play that part.”

Screenwriter Craig Mazin was invited to both the screening of the unaired pilot as well as the premiere of the original series. According to his Scriptnotes podcast, where he interviewed series creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, Mazin’s reaction to the unaired pilot was, “You guys have a massive problem.” However, after the premiere, Mazin commented, “That is the biggest rescue in Hollywood history.”

Also Read: “I found myself naked and afraid”: Original Daenerys Targaryen Actress Had a Miserable Time After Game of Thrones Replaced Her With Emilia Clarke

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Game of Thrones is now available for streaming on Max.

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Written by Hashim Asraff

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 500 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.