Actress Kae Alexander took over the role of Leaf from Octavia Alexandru in Game of Thrones season 6 - but what was the story behind the recast? The member of the Children of the Forest only made one short appearance in season 4 before she returned for a bigger role in season 6. In total, Leaf appeared in five episodes in Game of Thrones before meeting her demise.
When Bran Stark and his group were searching for the Three-Eyed Raven beyond the Wall, they were attacked by a horde of wights. Leaf and other members of the Children of the Forest came to their rescue, using their powerful magic to fight off the undead. Leaf had the ability to throw flaming fireballs to hold off many of the wights, but they lost Jojen in the battle. The Children were able to lead Bran and his group down into the cave to the base of the heart tree. The Three-Eyed Raven resided in the cave, so Leaf led Bran to the mysterious man.
Young Alexandru portrayed Leaf during that short sequence in the Game of Thrones season 4 episode "The Children". By the time Bran's story was continued in season 6, Leaf was portrayed by Kae Alexander, and the character had a dramatically different look. The Children of the Forest were known to be a non-human race with a plant-like appearance. They were small in stature and had faces similar to that of children which was shown with Leaf's first appearance.
When Alexander was recast in Game of Thrones season 6, the character was much more distinguishable. Leaf looked a little more mature as if she was some type of leader within the Children of the Forest, which is possibly why the producers wanted an older actress to portray her. The role was also expanded when the character reappeared in the series, which must have called for a more established actress in the part of Leaf.
Leaf was present during Bran's transformation into the Three-Eyed Raven in Game of Thrones. During Bran's mentorship, he learned of the Children of the Forest's involvement in creating the Night King. Leaf later informed him of the White Walkers' origin which was portrayed through a flashback scene. Bran's powers ultimately attracted the Night King to the group's location. Leaf and the Children fought off the wights that infiltrated the cave before bravely sacrificing herself to save Bran and Meera.
Leaf's role in Game of Thrones was short-lived, but it played an integral part of the series' lore. It's very possible that Leaf could reappear in Game of Thrones' prequel series considering how much the Children of the Forest were part of Westeros' early days. If Leaf is involved, it will be interesting to see if Alexander reprises her role or if the part is recast for a second time.