Wait! Emilia Clarke Wasn't Daenerys in the ‘Game of Thrones’ Pilot, and Did Everyone Know This but Us?

Can you even imagine Game of Thrones without Emilia Clarke's silver-haired Daenerys? We can't, and we're glad we don't have to.

But, once upon a time, someone else was cast in the role...and even filmed the pilot as the Dragon Queen. Yep, Pride & Prejudice's Georgiana Darcy (and, more recently, Catherine Howard in The Tudors), aka British actress Tamzin Merchant, was the first star to be cast in the role of the Targaryen queen.

(Fun fact: You know who else was in The Tudors and Game of Thrones? Natalie The Tudors is our next logical binge-watch.)

Merchant played Daenerys in HBO's pilot episode shot in 2009, but left the project for unknown reasons, according to Yahoo TV. The new series was approved for filming in 2010, and since only a few people at HBO had ever seen it, no one knew that a bunch of characters were recast before season one began production.

Clarke had just graduated from Drama Center London, so she probably had no idea the phone call about scoring that part would change her life. But she wasn't familiar with the series before getting the part, and had to brush up on her fantasy knowledge.

"I had never heard of the books" by George R. R. Martin, Clarke told The New York Times back in 2013. "So I spent 48 frantic hours Wikipedia-ing."

Sounds like our own routine after every episode of GoT... The final season premieres on April 14.

Here’s Why George R.R. Martin Turned Down a ‘Game of Thrones’ Cameo

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Roberta Fiorito

Senior Editor, Branded Content + Cohost, Royally Obsessed Podcast

In her 8 years at Gallery Media Group, Roberta has written about fashion, beauty, news, trends and the royal family. She is currently Senior Editor of Branded Content at...
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