Game of Thrones has helped to build the careers of new actors, and cause a resurgence of interest in old ones. The show plucked people like Emilia Clarke and Kit Harrington from obscurity and turned them into some of the biggest stars in the world. While actors like Peter Dinklage and Carice van Houten had won awards in the past, it took the success of Game of Thrones for them to receive the fame that they deserve.
The land of Westeros didn’t make its way to our screens until 2011. As such, many of the actors on Game of Thrones had roles in other TV shows and movies. Being a professional actor is hard work and most of them cannot afford to be picky about the roles they take, or the jobs they must do. We are here today to look into the cringeworthy past roles of the actors who became stars on Game of Thrones. From Daario’s horrible rap career to Tyrion talking to dogs.
Here are 15 Embarrassing Careers of Actors Before They Joined Game of Thrones!
15. Daario Naharis Had A Terrible Rap Career
Daario Naharis first appeared in the third season of Game of Thrones. He was originally played by Ed Skrein, who portrayed the character for a single season, before leaving the show. Skrein’s reason for leaving has never been revealed, though most speculate that it was due to him being offered the lead role in the Transporter reboot. The part of Daario was recast in season four, with Michael Huisman taking over the role.
Ed Skrein originally started out as a musician, or rather, a rapper. So what did Skrein choose to rap about exactly? Did he talk about gunning down other gangsters, or selling drugs, or being a pimp?
Not exactly. Ed Skrein chose to rap about the importance of joining a running club.
There is an established running club in London, called “Run Dem Crew”. Ed Skrein chose to rep for them in the form of music. Luckily for Skrein, his amazing performance in Deadpool might be enough to make people forget about his musical past.
14. Brienne Of Tarth Is The Operator
Brienne of Tarth debuted in the second season of Game of Thrones. She started out as a member of Renly Baratheon’s Kingsguard and would go on to become one of the main characters of the show. This role helped propel Brienne’s actress, Gwendoline Christie, to stardom. She would go on to appear in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, where she did nothing, except vaguely look like Boba Fett.
In 2010, the BBC released a documentary series, called Seven Ages of Britain. The show was presented by David Dimbleby, as he showed off important pieces of artwork from the history of Great Britain.
For some bizarre reason, the BBC asked Nathaniel Mellors (a famous artist) to create a piece of “modern art” to promote the final episode of Seven Ages of Britain. This resulted in a trailer, where a silicon mask of David Dimbleby’s face was held up by Gwendoline Christie, who was dressed in a golden gimp suit. Christie played “The Operator”, in a weird scene that involves her chastising a warrior named Kadmus. We’re still not quite sure what this trailer has to do with a documentary about old British artifacts.
13. Thoros Of Myr Asked Some Childish Questions
Thoros of Myr debuted in the third season of Game of Thrones, as a member of the Brotherhood Without Banners. He is a priest of Rhollor, though he never truly had faith in his god. This all changed when Thoros gained the ability to bring his friend, Beric Dondarrion, back from the dead. Thoros has a much larger role in the books, where he does some awesome things that never made it into the show, and that we won’t spoil for you here.
The role of Thoros was given to Paul Kaye, who had mainly played comedic roles in the past. Paul Kaye started out as “Dennis Pennis”, an abrasive interviewer, who used to ask rude questions to celebrities at movie premieres. The character would have guest appearances on different shows, before getting one of his own. The Dennis Pennis act was a direct lift of the Stuttering John segments of the Howard Stern Show, except without the humor or satire that made the original work so well.
12. Jorah Mormont Battled Lara Croft
Jorah Mormont has been in Game of Thrones since the first episode. He is the former lord of Bear Island and the current ruler of the Friend Zone. The Khaleesi has spent six seasons ignoring his advances, much to the chagrin of the audience. In the books, Jorah is described as being an ugly guy. When it came to making the TV show, the producers hired Iain Glen to play the role. Iain Glen is a sexy English character actor, who is a big hit with women who have daddy issues. The Khaleesi keeps rejecting him, however, much to the annoyance of the show’s jealous female fanbase.
Iain Glen has been appearing in TV shows and movies since the ’80s. His worst role was in the first Tomb Raider movie, where he played Manfred Powell. Iain Glen was the villain of the film and would engage in wholly unrealistic fisticuffs with Angelina Jolie. The movie was a big hit at the box office, despite being savaged by critics.
11. Bronn Had A Terrible Pop Music Career
The creators of Game of Thrones have been open to expanding the role of a minor character if the actor manages to impress them. While Bronn was an important character in the books, his role increased dramatically in the TV show. This is due to Bronn’s actor, Jerome Flynn, becoming a fan favorite. Bronn starts out as Tyrion’s wisecracking sellsword companion and slowly manages to worm his way into a knighthood.
Jerome Flynn will be familiar to any British person who was around in the ’90s. He became a household name in the UK, due to his role in a show called Soldier Soldier. Flynn would go on to form a musical duo with one of his co-stars, and they would achieve several number one hits. The two would mainly release covers of love songs, such as “Unchained Melody” and “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”.
The nadir of Jerome Flynn’s career came in the form of a music video for a cover of “Saturday Night at the Movies”. If you ever wanted to see Bronn style his hair into a pompadour, before going off to fight a cowboy who is macking on his girl, then this video has you covered.
10. Tywin Lannister Danced Like A Stripper
Tywin Lannister is one of the most important political figures in Game of Thrones. He is a man who can command kings and armies, yet he is unable to control the people in his own immediate family. Tywin was played by Charles Dance, who has been acting in TV shows and movies since the ’70s. Before Game of Thrones, Dance was mainly known to international audiences as the villain in Last Action Hero.
Before Sacha Baron Cohen made Borat, he was famous for playing a different character, named Ali G. When an Ali G movie was being produced, it was decided that the mockumentary format of the show would be abandoned, and replaced with a more conventional narrative. Ali G Indahouse turned out to be an unfunny movie, that lost everything that made the character interesting.
Charles Dance played the Deputy Prime Minister in Ali G Indahouse. Dance’s most famous scene in the movie involves Ali G forcing him to dress like a stripper, and dance for him. This scene exploded in popularity online, after the success of Game of Thrones.
9. Jamie Lannister Was An Immortal Detective
Jaime Lannister has been one of the main characters in Game of Thrones since the start. He was actually made more important in the show, as it takes until the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series for Jaime to become a protagonist. The story of Jaime changing from an asshole into a compassionate human being helped to change the opinion of many fans towards him. All of his character growth makes you forget that he pushed a kid out of a tower window in the first episode.
The character of Jaime Lannister is played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Before Game of Thrones, Waldau appeared in several movies and TV shows. His first starring role was in New Amsterdam, where he played an immortal detective, named John Amsterdam. In 1642, he saved the life of a Native American girl, who granted him the gift of immortality. Amsterdam will not age until he discovers his one true love. He exists in the current day as a homicide detective and uses his centuries of experience to help catch criminals. The show was basically Highlander without the cool sword fighting. New Amsterdam was canceled after a single season.
8. The Hound Bares All For Porridge
Sandor Clegane, also known as The Hound, is one of the most tragic characters in Game of Thrones. Due to his disfigurement at the hands of his own brother as a child, Clegane would grow to loathe the violence that he was sworn to commit at the orders of his king. After abandoning his post during battle, Clegane would flee King’s Landing. He initially tried to help Arya return to her family, before being left to an ambiguous fate.
The Hound is played by Rory McCann, who appeared in numerous TV shows and movies before Game of Thrones. Due to The Hound’s injuries, he was not presented as an attractive character. This was definitely not the case throughout McCann’s career, as he once played a sexy Scotsman in a commercial.
Porridge might be the least sexy food of them all. The makers of Scott’s Porage Oats decided to change this, by featuring an almost nude Rory McCann bathing in a lake. Two ladies find his clothes in the forest and decide to perv on him as he rises from the water. Then he eats the porridge.
7. Roose Bolton Told Terrible Jokes
Roose Bolton might be one of the evilest characters in Game of Thrones. The White Walkers might be assholes, but at least they don’t torture people and skin them alive. Roose Bolton betrayed his own king and was one of the architects behind the Red Wedding, which led to thousands of northern soldiers being massacred. He would go on to become the new Warden of the North, before being killed by his own son.
The character of Roose Bolton was played by Michael McElhatton, who is both an actor and a writer. It might come as a surprise to the people who know McElhatton from Game of Thrones to learn that he has written and appeared in several sitcoms. That isn’t to say any of these comedy shows were actually funny, however, and they were only shown on Irish TV networks. The worst of these is Your Bad Self, which mainly consisted of jokes about Ireland. McElhatton appeared in sketches that made jokes about various hilarious subjects, like having cancer.
6. Robert Baratheon Killed The Flintstones
Robert Baratheon only appears in the first season of Game of Thrones, though the effects of his life and death are felt throughout the show. Throughout the first season of the show, King Robert initially comes off as a drunkard, who doesn’t care about ruling his own lands. After he dies, we realize that his presence was the only thing keeping the Seven Kingdoms together.
The role of Robert Baratheon was played by Mark Addy, who had appeared in award-winning films like The Full Monty before Game of Thrones. Like most of the Game of Thrones cast, Addy is from the United Kingdom. Despite this, he was chosen to play Fred Flintstone in the second live action Flintstone’s movie; The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas.
Viva Rock Vegas is widely considered to be the worst thing ever associated with The Flintstones. The movie was savaged by critics and bombed at the box office. This isn’t totally Addy’s fault, though it certainly didn’t help that he could barely do Fred Flintstone’s accent.
5. Melisandre Was A Cat
Melisandre was introduced in the second season of Game of Thrones, as the woman who was manipulating Stannis Baratheon. It quickly became apparent that Melisandre was one of the few people in the show who possessed genuine supernatural abilities. She demonstrated this by giving birth to a shadow monster and using it to kill Renly Baratheon.
The role of Melisandre is played by Carice van Houten, who was one of the most acclaimed actresses in the Netherlands, before finding international fame in Game of Thrones. It wasn’t all nudity and shadow monsters in Carice van Houten’s career, however, as one of her early film roles was an adaptation of a children’s book. Carice van Houten appeared in a film called Undercover Kitty, in which she played a cat, who was turned into a human after eating toxic waste (which is the premise of the movie, and not the origin of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle character). If the “human pretending to be a cat” shtick hasn’t been worn out for you (either by Red Dwarf or Cats), then you might be able to squeeze some enjoyment out of an amazing actress like van Houten being reduced to meowing on film.
4. Missandei Taught Us How To Sext & Send Nudes
One of the biggest changes from A Song of Ice and Fire to Game of Thrones involved increasing the ages of most of the characters. This was a necessary change, especially considering the sexual nature of the show.
In the third season of the show, Daenerys is joined by a former slave, named Missandei, who has the ability to speak many different languages. Missandei had her age drastically increased in the show, as she is only 10 years old in the books. She is played by Nathalie Emmanuel, who appeared in several different UK TV shows, before landing a role in Game of Thrones.
Before appearing in Game of Thrones, Nathalie Emmanuel presented a BBC documentary, called Websex: What’s the Harm? This mainly involved her talking to London twenty-somethings, about the importance of sending nudes, sexting and meeting up with strangers from the Internet. If you were looking for an in-depth discussion on the dangers of seeking sexual partners on social media, then this isn’t the show for you. Websex comes off more as gossip-mongering than actually being about giving good advice.
3. Khal Drogo Saved Babes On The Beach
If you are going to make Aquaman into a cool character, then you will need the manliest man on Earth to play him. Fortunately for the Justice League movie, Jason Momoa and his muscles exist. While he had a career in television before Game of Thrones, Momoa found stardom with his brief appearance as Khal Drogo. Despite only speaking a few words of English in the show, Jason Momoa stole every scene he was in. You could believe that this man was the leader of a Mongol horde.
The fans of Game of Thrones were almost deprived of Jason Momoa’s performance, as his career was nearly derailed by an appearance in Baywatch Hawaii. Momoa played the role of Jason Ioane, the show’s resident hot guy (as the producers must have assumed that people watched Baywatch for the sexy dudes). Jason Momoa has gone on to claim that this role almost ended his career, as he couldn’t get work for years after it finished, due to no one taking him seriously.
2. Varys Wore A Dress For Comedy
It must be hard to be Conleth Hill. He has played the role of Varys since the first season of Game of Thrones and continues to be one of the best characters on the show. Despite this, he has never won any awards for his performance. This wouldn’t be so bad, if his brother, Ronan Hill, hadn’t won three Emmys for doing the sound mixing on the show.
The reason shows like American Idol were brought to America in the first place was due to similar shows (like Pop Idol) being a huge hit in Britain. A famous English comedian, named Peter Kay, decided to parody the numerous TV talent shows with a two-part special, called Britain’s Got the Pop Factor… and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice. The main character was Geraldine, a transgender woman who was set to win the contest. Her mother was played by Conleth Hill in drag, who had disowned her in the past. Britain’s Got the Pop Factor was criticized upon release, due to it not being funny. Time has been less kind to the show, due to its attitudes towards transgender people.
1. Tyrion Lannister Talks To Dogs
Peter Dinklage is one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood. While he certainly had many acclaimed roles before Game of Thrones, it was the part of Tyrion Lannister that made him a household name. If there is one actor who is irreplaceable on the show, its Dinklage. The role of Tyrion has made Peter Dinklage one of the highest paid actors in television, and frankly, he’s earned it.
While we all love Peter Dinklage, there is no denying the fact that he has given a few bad performances in his career. The fact that his role in Destiny was completely removed and replaced with work done by Nolan North is proof of this.
The worst on-screen performance of Peter Dinklage has to be in Lassie, where he acted alongside dogs. It’s a sad state of affairs when a canine’s acting performance is more believable than Peter Dinklage’s Irish accent.