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10 worst Game of Thrones casting choices

Thursday 1st November 2018

Game of Thrones has become a ratings powerhouse over the years and boasted captivating performances from the likes of Peter Dinklage, Charles Dance, and Dame Diana Rigg. However, for every Tyrion, Tywin, and Olenna, there has been a scenery-chewing actor who just doesn’t cut the mustard.

From forgotten Starks to Sand Snakes, the King of Flowers to the Mother of Dragons, here are the 10 worst Game of Thrones casting choices.

Art Parkinson (Rickon Stark)

Rickon aka the forgotten Stark could’ve probably been played by a tree stump and no one would’ve noticed. Art Parkinson played the curly-haired youngest heir to the Stark dynasty and a character that was sidelined for his more interesting siblings.

Dropping out in season 3, Parkinson returned in season 6 to round off Rickon’s story. By the time the young actor returned, he’d gone full Michael from Lost and been graced with the joys of puberty. Back simply for a shock death, Rickon bowed out how his character lived...forgettably.

Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen)

Don’t shoot us for this one, but despite Daenerys Targaryen being one of the most important roles on the show, there’s no escaping Emilia Clarke’s deadpan acting.

Starting as a sympathetic girl thrust to a position of power, Dany should be known as the Queen of Stares these days. Kit Harington gets plenty of flak for his portrayal of Jon Snow being different to the books, but this pales in comparison to Clarke’s unsympathetic version of Daenerys.

Sibel Kekilli (Shae)

Shae from TV show had much more to do than her character from the books, which makes it even more frustrating that Sibel Kekilli adds nothing to the role of Tyrion’s lover.

Shae was little more than a whiny distraction that led to that big Lannister twist. That being said, If it hadn’t been for Kekilli and her atrocious acting, we might never have got the scene of Tyrion nailing his own father to the crapper with a crossbow.

Ian McShane (Brother Ray)

Let’s start by saying that Ian McShane is a brilliant actor, he just wasn’t right for Game of Thrones. The Deadwood star was a major addition to Season 6 and played a pivotal in The Hound’s resurrection.

After filming his one-episode stint, McShane went on his own Thrones-style rampage and slammed the show’s audience. Ignoring Thrones fandom, McShane said those that watch the show “need to get out more”. Well, don’t mince your words, Ian. There was no love lost between McShane or the Game of Thrones execs.

Michiel Huisman (Daario Naharis)

With a complete departure from George R.R. Martin’s description in the books, Daario Naharis was already a controversial character on the show. However, when Deadpool’s Ed Skrein left the role in Season 3 and was replaced by Michiel Huisman, we were left scratching our heads.

As well as looking nothing like his predecessor, Thrones clearly didn’t know what to do with Dany’s love interest. Huisman’s Naharis was promptly told to stay behind while the Mother of Dragons headed to Westeros -- talk about a burn!

Conan Stevens/Ian Whyte (Gregor 'The Mountain' Clegane)

As fans wait hopefully for Cleganebowl in Season 8, Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane is one of the most formidable forces in the Seven Kingdoms. The purple Hulk is currently Cersei’s private bodyguard, but does anyone remember those who came before Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson?

Played by stuntman Conan Stevens in Season 1, Welsh actor Ian Whyte (Prometheus) played an equally humdrum version of The Mountain in Season 2. Björnsson has taken the character a little further, but as the largely silent protector of Cersei, he hasn’t really had to do much.

Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell)

A floppy-haired Finn Jones portrayed Loras Tyrell from Season 1 until his explosive swansong in Season 6. Basically a plot device who played second fiddle to characters like Renly and Margaery, the Knight of the Flowers was nothing compared to the women of the Tyrell family.

Remembered for getting his backside kicked by Brienne of Tarth and usually scowling into the distance, Jones’ performance bordered on “smell the fart” acting. Safe to say, things didn’t get much better for the 30-year-old in Iron Fist. Maybe TV just isn’t for him!

Keisha Castle-Hughes/Jessica Henwick/Rosabell Laurenti Sellers (The Sand Snakes)

Whatever it was, something went drastically wrong in Season 5 of the show. Among the season’s biggest problems were the Sand Snakes. Promised to be fan-favourites like Pedro Pascal’s Oberyn Martell, the trio of t*ts and tongues blended into one big mess of forgettable faces.

The problems only got worse in Season 7 with the return of Ellaria Sand and her venomous brood. It didn’t take Euron Greyjoy long to cut through the Sand Snakes like a knife through butter and end their reign of mediocrity on Game of Thrones.

Hugo Culverhouse (Stableboy)

Ok, so it’s a tiny part, but that doesn’t mean we should excuse the dire acting of Hugo Culverhouse as Stableboy. It’s amazing to think that a character who doesn’t even have a full name makes this list, but “Stableboy” needs to be made an example of.

Popping up (thankfully) briefly in Season 1, at least Stableboy gets the honour of being the first character Arya kills. Still, the performance is frankly so bad, it's amazing the scene ever made it to air. Thank God that Arya did us all a favour and offed Stableboy before Culverhouse got too comfortable.

Lino Facioli (Robin Arryn)

As Jack Gleeson’s Joffrey Baratheon showed everyone, child actors don’t have to be a one-note brat that you can’t wait to get off the screen. Lino Facioli may be excused for his age and the writing of Robin Arryn as a spoiled sap, but his acting would be better suited to a Christmas pantomime.

The Arryns were unlikeable enough as it was without Facioli hamming it up further. Robin Arryn is currently Lord of the Vale, but here’s hoping the sickly brat stays there in Season 8.

Game of Thrones odds: Who will rule Westeros?

Bran Stark 1/1
Daenerys Targaryen 3/1
Any Child Of Daenerys Targaryen 3/1
Any Child Of Jon Snow 3/1
Jon Snow 7/2
Tyrion Lannister 11/2
Cersei Lannister 9/1
Nights King (Current Leader Of The White Walkers) 10/1
Sansa Stark 12/1
Arya Stark 16/1
Gendry 16/1
Any Child Of Cersei 20/1
Samwell Tarly 33/1
Jaime Lannister 33/1
Lord Varys 50/1
Euron Greyjoy (Crows Eye) 50/1
The Children Of The Forest 66/1
Ser Davos 80/1
Podrick Payne 80/1
Jaqen H'ghar 100/1
Bronn Of The Blackwater 100/1
Grey Worm 100/1
Missandei 100/1
Brienne Of Tarth 100/1
Lyanna Mormont 100/1
Jorah Mormont 100/1
Victarion Greyjoy 100/1
Tycho Nestoris 100/1
Beric Dondarrion 100/1
Tormund Giantsbane 100/1
Theon Greyjoy 125/1
Yara Greyjoy 125/1
Catelyn Stark (Lady Stoneheart) 150/1
Eddison Tollett (Dolorous Edd) 150/1
Meera Reed 250/1
Ellaria Sand 250/1
Ser Pounce 250/1
Illyrio Mopatis 250/1
Hot Pie 325/1
Gilly 325/1
Ed Sheeran 325/1

Game of Thrones odds: Who will rule Westeros?

3. Any Child Of Daenerys Targaryen
8. Nights King (Current Leader Of The White Walkers)
16. Euron Greyjoy (Crows Eye)
17. The Children Of The Forest
33. Catelyn Stark (Lady Stoneheart)
34. Eddison Tollett (Dolorous Edd)
Odds correct as of 11th Apr, 15:37 . Odds are subject to change.
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