George R. R. Martin knew the ‘perfect’ actors for two iconic Game of Thrones roles before the casting call even went out.

Whilst Martin’s original dream cast sadly got too old to play the required roles, the author knew that these two actors would be perfect for Game of Thrones.

Little finger holds a knife to ned stark's throat
Game of Thrones/HBO Entertainment/GameofThrones YouTube channel

George R. R. Martin didn’t need auditions to cast two major roles

When George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones novel was published in 1996, he already had an idea as to who could potentially play some of his favorite characters in a live-action adaptation.

In a recently resurfaced on-stage interview, the acclaimed author revealed that “Back in 1996 when the first book came out, people would say ‘If this is made into a movie, who would you like to see playing a role’ and I would say well it can’t be made into a movie so I really don’t have to wonder about that.”

“I had a dream casting in 1996 but unfortunately, many of those people from 1996 got older in the interim instead of staying exactly how I remembered them from ’96. By the time that we actually went into production on this, they were too old to play the roles.”

Martin then revealed that when showrunners David Benioff and Dan Brett Weiss first started adapting A Game of Thrones into the legendary TV show for HBO, there were only two actors who they knew were perfect for the roles before the casting call went out.

“We knew that Sean Bean would be perfect for Ned Stark, and he was great. And for Tyrion, Peter Dinklage. That was the one role where we didn’t audition anybody, we didn’t read anybody, there are no tapes of other people reading Tyrion’s role that will ever surface anywhere because we made no auditions – we just said, ‘we got to get Peter Dinklage’ and we went out and made an offer and we persuaded him to take the role and that’s worked out well.”

The team did test out some potential alternatives for Sean Bean, “just in case we couldn’t get him but thankfully we were able to get Sean.”

However, Martin acknowledges how after Ned Stark and Tyrion, “The other roles, that was trickier, that was more ambitious. We had to read a lot of people and searched all over the world.”

Some of the stars who had auditioned, but weren’t cast in Game of Thrones included:

Whilst most fans could never imagine another cast portraying their favorite Game of Thrones characters, it would have been fascinating to see how the fanbase would have reacted to these alternative cast members.

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