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Tamzin Merchant, the Original Daenerys in 'Game of Thrones,' Talks About Being Replaced by Emilia Clarke

Tamzin Merchant, the Original Daenerys in 'Game of Thrones,' Talks About Being Replaced by Emilia Clarke

Did you know that Emilia Clarke wasn’t the first actress to play Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones?

The role was played by actress Tamzin Merchant in the show’s 2009 pilot and she was recast when the show was picked up by HBO.

Tamzin is now speaking out for the first time about Emilia taking over the role and how she felt about losing the role, which became one of the most iconic characters in television history.

Click inside to read what she had to say…

“Shooting that pilot was a really great lesson,” Tamzin said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “It was an affirmation about listening to my instincts and following them, because I tried to back out of that situation and, during the contract process, I did back out. I was talked back into it by some persuasive people. Then I found myself naked and afraid in Morocco and riding a horse that was clearly much more excited to be there than I was.”

“It was a lesson that if my guts are telling me a story isn’t something I’m excited to tell, then I shouldn’t try to be excited just because other people are telling me that I should be excited,” Tamzin continued. “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.”

Tamzin also talked about what it was like to watch the show’s success unfold.

“It was kind of funny riding to auditions on buses with Emilia Clarke‘s face on it,” she said. “Like, ‘oh my mode of transport is quite interesting today!’ It’s been a thing I felt like I watched unfold and it’s been fantastic for the film industry in Northern Ireland and Croatia, and that has been really great.”

HBO executive Michael Lombardo talked about replacing Tamzin. He said, “There was a piece of casting we had to rethink, [a role] that was compromised. We all knew Daenerys’ journey was critical. Her scenes with Jason [Momoa] just didn’t work.”

Tamzin played the role of Catherine Howard in The Tudors, Anne Hale in the series Salem, and most recently starred as Imogen Spurnrose in Carnival Row.

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones, Tamzin Merchant

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