Tamzin Merchant opens up about being replaced by Emilia Clarke on ‘Game of Thrones’


Emilia Clarke wasn’t always Mother of Dragons.

Back in 2009, actress Tamzin Merchant starred as Daenerys Targaryen in the pilot for “Game of Thrones.”

Due to multiple issues, HBO wound up reshooting most of the pilot and recast several parts, including having Clarke take over as Khalessi.

Now 12 years later, Merchant is breaking her silence on her experience on the pilot and revealing her thoughts on watching Clarke take over the role.

"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," Merchant told Entertainment Weekly. "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.”

Merchant, who appeared on Showtime’s “The Tudors” and currently stars in “Carnival Row” on Amazon, divulged how she actually tried to “back out” of the role before the pilot was scrapped.

"Shooting that pilot was a really great lesson. 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,” she admitted.

“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."

While GoT went on to be a huge success and made A-list stars out of many of the cast, the 33-year-old also harbors no ill feelings toward Clarke.

“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,” she added. “But for me, it wasn't in my heart to tell it."

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