The original pilot for “Game of Thrones” was virtually unrecognizable compared to the one shown to audiences in 2011.
Everything from hairstyles to actors to major scenes had to be reconsidered after the initial pilot failed to land with HBO executives in the early stages of the show’s development.
Entertainment Weekly published an excerpt from “Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon: Game of Thrones and the Official Untold Story of the Epic Series,” a book written by EW editor at large James Hibberd, ahead of its Oct. 6 release. The book includes interviews with the show’s cast and crew, including showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss.
One of the most sizable changes came with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Khal Drogo’s (Jason Momoa) wedding scene. Tamzin Merchant originally donned the role of Daenerys. The shoot included a scene where Daenerys jumped a fire on a horse, and another where the couple consummated the marriage by a brook, which had to be reshot after an incident on set.
“Suddenly the video guy starts to laugh,” “Thrones” author George R.R. Martin recalls in the book. “The silver filly was not a filly at all. It was a colt. And it was getting visibly excited by watching these two humans.”
Lena Headey, who played the ruthless Cersei Lannister, says the character’s signature chic style originally looked “medieval.” “I looked like a Vegas showgirl in the [original] pilot — furs and massive hair, like a medieval Dolly Parton,” she says. “Not that I’m complaining, I loved it.”
Martin adds that Rickon Stark was almost written out of the show.
“The biggest thing was Dan and David called me up and had the idea of eliminating Rickon, the youngest of the Stark children, because he didn’t do much in the first book,” he says. “I said I had important plans for him, so they kept him. “
The series eventually got the green light from HBO, but the pilot had to be shot again, despite the large sum of money that went into filming and the cost of travel to places like Morocco.
Actor Harry Lloyd, who took on the role of Viserys Targaryen, says in the book, “We were very lucky to be given a $10 million-dollar rehearsal.”