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On one hand you've got some very seasoned actors like Sean Bean, Lena Headey and Natalia Tena who have been in other TV series as well as some big Hollywood films.

And on the other hand you've got some actors who have done almost nothing before. Such as Emilia Clarke (in one of the biggest parts in the series) and Sophie Turner.

Is there a reason for such a massive discrepancy in experience among the cast?

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1  
Many of the actors in the show have stage experience. Which probably explains why they're so good with little known past experiences. –  System Down Aug 3 '13 at 14:37
    
Seems this question needs to be edited to match the answer better (unknown vs. inexperienced) –  DA. Feb 5 at 0:31

3 Answers 3

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Actors are usually hired if they fit the role they are supposed to play.

In case of GOT, some of the characters can be visualized with existing actors. As you can notice, none of the star or lead characters (Jon Snow, Arya Stark, Daenerys etc.) are known faces.

Senior actors are roped in because they either fit the role or lend some good acting in the scenes. Sometimes, when the character is important, mature actors are often cast as they have a better knowledge to face the challenges required in the role.

In case of GOT, the number of characters and roles is phenomenal. The costs alone for more known actors would have increased the budget several times. Also, the actors that play the character are definitely good in their roles.

Having new faces in the series also makes it more immersing for the fans as they can visualize the characters with the actors. Most fans might not recognize the previous works these actors have done, and hence recognize them only by their GOT persona.

Hence, the producers and directors many a times go for newer faces and fresher talent.

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I suppose it's also a factor that some of the bigger names are killed they only have to sign the contracts for a few seasons... –  Liath Jul 31 '13 at 19:12
    
Nevermind the fact that many of the roles require less-than-hollywood-perfect beautiful people. Yes, it's filmed in Britain and Ireland with UK actors, but still. The film industry is full of people who have spent their entire careers being judged mostly on their appearance. So you're really not going to find a lot of well-known actors who are little people or very tall, freakishly strong, broken-nose, crooked teeth ugly women, the way Brienne is portrayed in the books. –  Ernie Mar 13 at 18:46

Don't know this as fact (no references) in this case, but many productions use some high paid actors as the draw, then fill in the rest of the characters with lesser known actors as a means of limiting production costs. It comes down to economics.

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GoT has a larger than average cast but, yes... pretty much every TV show in the entire world has maybe one or two famous person/s and everyone else is relatively unknown. Most people think of shows having famous casts because the talent became famous from being on the show. –  Catija Feb 5 at 0:36

Emilia Clarke:

Clarke's early work includes two plays at St. Edwards, ten plays at Drama Centre London, and the 2009 Company of Angels production of Sense

Sophie Turner:

Sophie was just 13 when she was cast as Sansa, the eldest daughter of the ill–fated Stark family. But she was already an experienced member of Warwick–based Playbox Theatre.

“I first started acting when I was three and joined Playbox Theatre. That was how my obsession grew. I am still in Playbox.

“My first lead was in a production called Scary Play directed by Stewart McGill, who is amazing,” she explains.

“Playbox is a fun environment. It’s not just a place for kids to hang around and be silly. We are all very serious about acting. They do not mould you into the actor they want, but let you be yourself.”

Both actresses are also portraying young characters, even though they're aged up for the series (in the books Daenerys Targaryen is 14, Sansa Stark is 12): inevitably the makers have to cast people who don't have the same experience as actors and actresses who are years older.

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