Why Game of Thrones Recast Tamzin Merchant

Did you know that Emilia Clarke wasn’t the mother of dragons from the onset?

In the Game of Thrones pilot that aired in 2009, Tamzin Merchant starred as Daenerys Stormborn Targaryen.

However, several issues strong-armed HBO into recasting several roles and Clarke ended up being the new Khaleesi.

Twelve years later, Tamzin Merchant broke the silence about the pilot and her feelings about Clarke’s portrayal of Daenerys Targaryen.

But do you know why HBO recast her role and gave it to Emilia Clarke?

Let’s find out why Game of Thrones producers replaced Tamzin Merchant with Emilia Clarke below!

Tamzin’s career peaked in 2010 after she starred as Catherine Howard on the Showtime series The Tudors.

However, months before filming began for Game of Thrones, Merchant was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The actress had to drop out of the show due to her illness. Also, there were rumors that HBO wanted a sexier Daenerys Targaryen because they thought Tamzin wasn’t fit enough.

But Merchant refuted claims by saying it was just “rumor.”

She maintained that she doesn’t have any hard feelings about being replaced, but if given another chance then she would’ve performed better!   

RECOMMENDED: Did Charles Dance Really Skin a Deer on “Game of Thrones”?


Game of Thrones filmed all over the world, but the most instagrammed shooting location is Krka National Park, a popular tourist attraction in southern Croatia that’s known for its stunning waterfalls.

Since 2009 when fans first saw Tamzin Merchant in Game of Thrones, Clarke’s career has skyrocketed!

Emilia almost didn’t get the role because she had only done period dramas. However, her audition tape landed her a meeting with showrunners David Benioff and D.B Weiss who were blown away by Emilia’s acting skills.

The stars aligned for Clarke when HBO decided to replace most lead characters with “sexier” actors. So, they gave it to Emilia since she was already on their radar thanks to her brilliant performance as Daenerys Targaryen.

Why Did Game of Thrones Replace Tamzin Merchant

Tamzin Merchant lost her role as Daenerys Stormborn Targaryen because she didn’t have acting experience. In an interview, the actress broke her silence on how she lost her role to Emilia Clarke. She said:

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. 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 admitted that she doesn’t have any bitter feelings for leaving the show. However, she reckons it was a great opportunity to progress her career. Indeed, Game of Thrones was a prosperous project that was appreciated and watched by many across the world.

In an astonishing turn of events, Merchant revealed that she attempted to get out of the role in the first place. However, her close friends told her it was a great role that would propel her career to new levels. And she agreed, getting involved in shooting the pilot.

Merchant doesn’t have any regrets leaving Game of Thrones. In fact, she recalls that leaving was the best thing to happen to her career. In an interview, she revealed that had she not left Game of Thrones, she wouldn’t be the creative actress she is at the moment.

What Does Tamzin Merchant Do Now?

Currently, Tamzin is involved in several projects. She starred in The Tudors, an ongoing project. Tamzin also stars in Amazon’s Carnival Row. However, it is clear that had she remained on Game of Thrones’ cast, she would have landed some major roles by now. Still, you can never know what the future holds!

As you can see, the talented actress proceeded to other roles that have been illuminating for her career. It is now only a matter of time before she lands a blockbuster role that will propel her career to new heights!