Game of Thrones: 20 facts you didn't know

Ehle and Merchant weren’t Game of Thrones’s only could-have-beens. Gillian Anderson turned down an unspecified role on the show, as did The Wire's Dominic West. (Judging by the fact that, per West, the role would have involved shooting “in Reykjavik for six months,” it was probably Mance Rayder, a role that eventually went to Ciarán Hinds.) The Hunger Games franchise’s Sam Claflin auditioned for Jon Snow and Viserys Targaryen, and Outlander star Sam Heughan auditioned for a variety of roles, including Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell, seven times.

3. THERE WERE A BUNCH OF OTHER CASTING CLOSE CALLS.

After the pilot was picked up, David Benioff pranked Peter Dinklage by calling him and telling him the show had been canceled. It was six hours before Dinklage learned the truth.

4. PETER DINKLAGE THOUGHT THE SHOW HAD BEEN CANCELED.