Emilia Clarke is known worldwide for her role as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, however, Tamzin Merchant was the first choice to play the role of the Mother of Dragons.
English actress Emilia Clarke played the role of Daenerys Targaryen for all eight seasons of Game of Thrones, however she wasn’t first choice. Fellow English actress Tamzin Merchant was initially cast to play the Mother of Dragons for the HBO show that’s based on the A Song of Ice and Fire books by George R.R. Martin. Merchant solely ended up playing the role of Daenerys in Game of Thrones’ unaired pilot before she was recast, paving the way for Clarke to flourish as Daenerys.
Clarke was a newcomer when she started her Game of Thrones journey in 2011. Fresh after her graduation from drama college, Clarke took a number of minor gigs prior to landing the role of a lifetime in Game Of Thrones. For practically a decade, Clarke played Daenerys, which garnered her a lot of awards and accolades.
As a result of her Game Of Thrones popularity, Clarke was cast in Terminator Genisys and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Though Clarke most certainly would have found success if it wasn’t for the Game of Thrones, it is unclear which route her profession would have taken her if the original pilot wasn’t completely scrapped.
The original Game of Thrones pilot was filmed in 2009 however was by no means made public. Game of Thrones creators reveal that the original pilot was a “Piece of Sh*t”. Here’s what Weiss said about the original pilot:
“Watching them watch that original pilot was one of the most painful experiences of my life. As soon as it finished, Craig said, ‘You guys have a massive problem.’ ”
Aside from redoing the script, the show recast roles like Catelyn Stark and Daenerys Targaryen. It wasn’t fully made clear why Merchant left the show and whether or not it was her decision or that of HBO. Benioff and Weiss, nonetheless, have been outspoken about Clarke being the one actress capable of carrying the character. It appeared that Merchant simply wasn’t a match for Daenerys and her potential.
The scrapped Game of Thrones pilot might have given Benioff and Weiss a chance to go after the candidate they initially wished from the start. Either ways, Merchant discovered alternatives elsewhere. The Pride & Prejudice star had a number of film gigs, however primarily targeted on TV.
She played the lead role in hit show The Tudors for a number of seasons before working on Salem and Supergirl. Most lately, Merchant appeared in Carnival Row as Imogen Spurnrose. Clarke, in the meantime, is exploring her profession outdoors of the realm of Westeros.