The Original Daenerys On ‘Game Of Thrones’ Recalls Being ‘Naked And Afraid’ While Shooting The Disastrous Pilot

Emilia Clarke was nominated for four Emmys for her performance on Game of Thrones as Daenerys Targaryen, one of the most iconic characters in television history. But she wasn’t the first choice for the Mother of Dragons. Tamzin Merchant played Daenerys in the unaired pilot, which has charitably been referred to as a “piece of sh*t.” The actress, whose filmography includes roles in The Tudors, Salem, and Supergirl, had never publicly commented on the recasting until a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.

“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,” Merchant said. “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.” (The horse was too happy.)

Merchant feels no resentment for Clarke, who she called “epic and excellent.”

“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. 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. But for me, it wasn’t in my heart to tell it”

Merchant currently stars on Amazon Prime Video’s Carnival Row and she also wrote her first book, The Hatmakers, an “enchanting fantasy adventure about the importance of bravery, resourcefulness, and following your heart.” You can order it here.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)