The Game of Thrones cast is arguably one of the most perfect acting ensembles in television today. From Peter Dinklage to Lena Headey to Emilia Clarke, all of the actors play their characters like they were born for these roles. And thanks to their dedication to the story, the character and the actors who play them will live on as icons.
But some of the stars of the show weren’t even initially cast because, as luck would have it, HBO shot an alternative never-aired pilot that initially starred a different Daenerys and Catelyn Stark. Not only were some of the roles originally cast with different actors, but some of the other audition races had pretty stiff competition. Kit Harington and Sophie Turner had to work hard to nudge out the competition and secure their now-iconic roles; they definitely weren’t just handed them from the HBO powers that be.
So, who were the other actors who gave the Game of Thrones cast such a run for their money? Click through our slideshow to find out.