Here's why Dickon Tarly was portrayed by both Freddie Stroma and Tom Hopper on Game Of Thrones. Game Of Thrones originally appeared doomed before it had even begun, with the original pilot by director Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) being regarded as a total mess. It's only when it was almost entirely reshot and re-edited that it clicked. The first season of Game Of Thrones was must-see television, and the HBO series would later become one of the most popular TV shows around the world.
Game Of Thrones recently finished up with season 8, which would prove divisive amongst the fanbase - to say the very least. For some, the final series was much too rushed and the payoff to years of intricate storytelling was unsatisfying. That said, others found season 8 to be a great end to the landmark show, which is likely to be a point of debate in the years ahead, just like the controversial finale of Lost.
Just like author George RR Martin's source material, Game Of Thrones was filled to the brim with supporting characters and subplots. A character who appeared relatively insignificant during their original appearance could prove of vital importance in later seasons. The show had to recast some key roles along the way too, including original Night King performer Richard Brake (Mandy) being replaced in later seasons by Vladimir Furdik, or Michiel Huisman taking over as Daario Naharis from Ed Skrein.
Another key recasting was that of Dickon Tarly, Samwell's younger brother. Dickon became heir to Horn Hill after his father Randyll forced Sam to join the Night's Watch because he felt he was unworthy of his inheritance. Dickon is first introduced during season 6 when Sam travels back to Horn Hill with Gilly and the family reunites for an awkward dinner, where Randyll's hatred of his oldest son hasn't softened. Freddie Stroma (Pitch Perfect) played Dickon during this season, and while he was supposed to return the following year, things didn't work out that way.
The actor was busying filming sci-fi TV series Time After Time when Game Of Thrones season 7 was due to start production, preventing him from reprising the role. Tom Hopper (The Umbrella Academy) took over instead, with the seventh season giving the character much more to do. This includes taking part in a major battle against Daenerys' forces, and later being executed alongside his father for refusing to bend the knee.
This decision comes back to haunt Daenerys in the final season of Game Of Thrones when she tells Sam how his father and brother were burnt to death by her dragon. Sadly, Freddie Stroma only got to play Dickon for one scene in season 6, but he later expressed gratitude for being able to be even a small part of the show.