If you’ve been paying attention to Game of Thrones this season, you may have noticed something a little bit off about the sudden emergence of Dickon Tarly.
Namely, the fact that Dickon Tarly looks nothing like we remembered.
It’s not just our imaginations. The role changed hands between seasons. Last year, Bronn’s new favorite mocktoy was played by Freddie Stroma of Harry Potter and UnREAL fame; when we caught up with him again this year, he’d suddenly transformed into Tom Hopper from Merlin and Black Sails.
What’s more, it’s not even the first time the show’s pulled such a casual switcheroo. The Game of Thrones cast might as well start calling themselves the Faceless Men, given how often they’ve swapped faces. Below, a comprehensive history of Game of Thrones‘ recastings, in order of how jarring they are.
1. Daario Naharis
Played by: Ed Skrein (Season 3), Michiel Huisman (Seasons 4-6)
This one may be the most obvious change the show has ever made. Not only was Daario a pretty high-profile character when he was recast, the two Daarios look and act nothing alike. This wasn’t so much a simple recasting as it was a wholesale reimagining of the character.
In addition, you could argue that the character had already been kinda-sorta revamped from the books, since his description (blue-haired, with a three-pronged beard and a taste for flashy clothing) doesn’t come close to matching either of his onscreen counterparts.
Which version is better? Huisman, just look at him.
2. The Mountain
Played by: Conan Stevens (Season 1), Ian Whyte (Season 2), Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (Seasons 4-7)
Ser Gregor Clegane, a.k.a. The Mountain, has the dubious distinction of being the only significant character who’s been played by three different actors. While Björnsson’s held the role the longest, Whyte’s actually appeared in more seasons of the show (albeit in different guises). In addition to Gregor, Whyte has played a White Walker in Season 1, Dongo the Giant in Seasons 3 and 4, and Wun-Wun the Giant in Seasons 5 and 6.
3. Dickon Tarly
Played by: Freddie Stroma (Season 6), Tom Hopper (Season 7)
Which version is better? Stroma, but less because he’s better than Hopper in the role (there hasn’t been enough of either performance to say) than because we care more about Harry Potter, UnREAL, and Pitch Perfect than we do about Merlin and Black Sails. YMMV!
4. Tommen Baratheon
Played by: Callum Wharry (Seasons 1-2), Dean-Charles Chapman (Seasons 4-6)
Tommen was a little kid in early seasons of Game of Thrones, so Wharry didn’t have much to do but sit around and look cute. Indeed, hardly anyone seemed to notice when the character disappeared for the entirety of Season 3.
The character had a much meatier arc in Seasons 4-6, once big brother Joffrey bit the dust and the task of ruling the kingdom fell to Tommen. His new job included marrying Margaery, which meant a more age-appropriate actor was needed.
The production turned to Chapman, who, as it happened, already had some experience playing Lannisters – he portrayed Martyn Lannister in two episodes of Season 3.
Which version is better? Chapman.
5. Myrcella Baratheon
Played by: Aimee Richardson (Seasons 1-2), Nell Tiger Free (Seasons 5-6)
In a similar vein, Myrcella Baratheon took two seasons off from Game of Thrones (the in-story excuse being that she’d been sent off to Dorne to marry Trystane Martell when she came of age) and returned looking much different. Hey, we’ve all had friends who went abroad and came back with entirely new wardrobes and odd new affectations, right?
Which version is better? Richardson, but only because she took news of her termination in such hilariously memorable fashion.
6. Beric Dondarrion
Played by: David Michael Scott (Season 1), Richard Dormer (Seasons 3-7)
You may have noticed a trend by now: Game of Thrones has a habit of recasting characters as they get more prominent. The same thing happened to Beric Dondarrion, who made little impression in Season 1 before getting resurrected as the dashing Richard Dormer in Season 3. They do say death changes people. Sometimes, apparently, it makes them hotter.
Which version is better? Dormer.
7. The Three-Eyed Raven
Played by: Struan Rodger (Season 4), Max von Sydow (Season 6)
Look, if you can recast a role with a gosh-darned legend like Max von Sydow, you recast the role with a gosh-darned legend like Max von Sydow.
Which version is better? Von Sydow.
8. Lothar Frey
Played by: Tom Brooke (Season 3), Daniel Tuite (Season 6)
Poor Tuite. He gets turned into a pie in Season 6, and he didn’t even get to participate in the Red Wedding in Season 3.
Which version is better? Brooke. He got to participate in the Red Wedding and didn’t get turned into pie.
9. The Night King
Played by: Richard Brake (Seasons 4-5), Vladimir Furdik (Season 6-7)
Furdik, a stunt performer who’s been with Game of Thrones since Season 5, also got to play the Night King in his pre-deceased human form during one of Bran’s season 6 flashbacks.
Which version is better? Brake, because he’s the Night King who gave us the instantly legendary image above.
10. Rickard Karstark
Played by: Steven Blount (Season 1), John Stahl (Seasons 2-3)
Since Rickard Karstark was barely a character in Season 1, no one batted an eye when he returned looking like Stahl in Seasons 2 and 3.
Which version is better? Stahl gets more to do.
11. Selyse Baratheon
Played by: Sarah MacKeever (Season 2), Tara Fitzgerald (Seasons 3-5)
Selyse Baratheon’s recasting counts even less than Rickard Karstark’s. MacKeever had an uncredited appearance in Season 1 as a woman widely assumed to be Selyse because of her proximity to Stannis in a key scene. When Selyse became more central to the story, Fitzgerald took over.
Which version is better? Fitzgerald, by default.