Tamzin Merchant Opens Up About Playing Daenerys Targaryen in Scrapped Game of Thrones Pilot

It's difficult to imagine anyone other than Emilia Clarke portraying the Mother of Dragons on Game of Thrones — but the now iconic role of Daenerys Targaryen was first played by Tamzin Merchant.

Merchant, known for roles in The Tudors and Carnival Row , played Daenerys in the original pilot for Game of Thrones in 2009.

Daenerys was recast, and Clarke took over — going on to earn four Emmy nominations for the role throughout the HBO series' run.

"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," she added, referring to the nudity in Daenerys' marriage scene shown in the pilot.

"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.

Merchant told EW that if she hadn't been released from her Game of Thrones contract, "I think it would have taken me to a place far from the creative person that I am today."

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