These days, Sam Heughan is synonymous with the role of Jamie Fraser, the red-headed Scottish hero of Starz’s Outlander. But before he landed the role of a lifetime, he was hoping to get onto another popular fantasy show: Game of Thrones. And he tried not once, not twice, but seven times.
In an interview with Vulture back in 2014, Heughan revealed that he “auditioned for Renly, Loras, [and] some of the members of the Night’s Watch.” In honor of his repeated failures, we thought we look at some of the characters he could have played had things gone just a little differently.
Sam Heughan as Loras Tyrell
Loras Tyrell is a famous tourney knight, the lover of Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony), and the brother of Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). There’s something about Loras Tyrell that screams Sam Heughan. Maybe it’s the fact that Finn Jones, who ended up actually playing Loras, has the same luscious locks as Sam, or that Loras’ personality is exactly the type of character I could see Heughan playing.
Given Loras’ skill as a knight, Heughan would have executed the role effortlessly. We’ve seen Heughan on the battlefield in Outlander, and the guy knows his way around a fight.
All in all, of the characters Heughan mentioned auditioning for, I think the Loras is the one I can most easily see him in.
Sam Heughan as Renly Baratheon
I don’t feel quite the same about Renly Baratheon. And yes, a lot of that has to do with the absence of wavy locks, but there’s more to it.
I don’t know if Heughan’s fierce persona would have been a good fit for Renly. In Game of Thrones, Renly never raised a sword in combat, nor did he like blood or violence. I’m probably biased by watching Heughan as Jamie for so long, but I can see why he didn’t land the role of Renly.
But had he managed to land it anyway, he would have figured out a way to make it work! I’m sure Heughan could have reached into his bag of acting tricks and found a way to play this political maneuverer.
Sam Heughan as Yoren
Sam Heughan didn’t mention which members of the Night’s Watch he auditioned to play, but I’d say that (Francis Magee) and Grenn (Mark Stanley) seen like good candidates. As a loyal and trustworthy member of the Night’s Watch, Yoren seems to fit Heughan’s persona more than the somewhat dim-witted Grenn.
As a “Wandering Crow,” Yoren’s job was the recruit men to the Night’s Watch, and of course Heughan would be good at charming people into that job. The character was in Game of Thrones for two seasons before being murdered with a sword to the back of the neck, but it still would have been enough time for Heughan to make an impression. It also would have been fun to see him play scenes opposite Maisie Williams as Arya, as Yoren was the one who helped smuggle her out of King’s Landing after her father’s execution.
Sam Heughan as Grenn
I would have loved to see Heughan as Grenn if only to watch him and Kit Harrington spar together at Castle Black. Seeing as how Grenn lived through the fourth season of the show and spent a lot of time with Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), Heughan would have had a while to make an impression. I’m still Team Yoren, though!
Although Heughan can’t be on Game of Thrones anymore, he might be able to get on spin-off series House of the Dragon. In fact, his Outlander costar Graham McTavish (Dougal MacKenzie) is already ahead of him, having recently admitted to securing a role in the upcoming series.
What’s more, he was giving an interview with Heughan at the time, and Sam sounded like he was holding out hope. “Am I in it?” he joked. McTavish played along: “So far, no. And I have been waiting… I have to say ‘Where is Sam?’ because it’s always in my contract now.”
We can dream…