Despite its many controversies, there are many things for which Game of Thrones receives unanimous appreciation. Perhaps more than any other aspect, the actors in the hit HBO show consistently receive a positive reception.
Many of the show's stars have been able to use Game of Thrones as a platform to share their talent in ways they never could before; Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams and Alfie Allen are just a few examples of actors for whom Game of Thrones was a step up in terms of audience appreciation. However, there are also actors who had been featured in hugely popular franchises prior to their roles in Game of Thrones, albeit sometimes in very minor roles. Lets take a look at how the cast of Game of Thrones infiltrated our favourite franchises before finding their way to a fandom of Ice and Fire.
The Viper: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Before taking on The Mountain in one of the greatest 'trials by combat' ever seen, The Viper (aka Pedro Pascal) was in season 4, episode 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I wonder if those fangs had anything to do with him nabbing his role as The Viper?
Jeor Mormont and Tyrion Lannister: The Chronicles of Narnia
You were probably expecting Jeor Mormont (James Cosmo) to be mentioned for his role in Braveheart. Although the star was in Mel Gibson's famed retelling of Scottish history, Cosmo also played Father Christmas in the 2005 adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Peter Dinklage also featured in the movie, playing the role of Trumpkin.
Lady Olenna Tyrell - On Her Majesty's Secret Service
As if there was any doubt, Diana Rigg (Olenna Tyrell) was just as silver-tongued in her younger years. So much so, in fact, that she landed the role of Tracy Bond, the only woman to have married 007 during his 53 womanising years on-screen.
Honestly, the amount of Game of Thrones actors who have also been a part of the James Bond franchise is staggering. This includes Jonathan Pryce's villainous part in Tomorrow Never Dies and Oona Chaplin's all-too-brief role in Quantum of Solace.
Joffrey Baratheon: Batman Begins
He may have been the most hated character on Game of Thrones, but Jack Gleeson showed nothing but innocence as a small boy in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. He is only on-screen for a few seconds, but Gleeson plays a child who shows his belief in Batman. If only the Dark Knight had known he would grow up to be the Westeros' most despicable character...
Grand Maester Pycelle: Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
Playing Grand Maester Pycelle only adds to Julian Glover's already fantastic resume, which also includes roles the Indiana Jones and James Bond franchises, to name a few. Star Wars fans will surely know that he also played General Veers, one of the unfortunate Generals to converse with Lord Vader.
Khal Drogo: Baywatch
Among the Game of Thrones character that made a massive impact on the show's popularity, Khal Drogo has stayed firmly in our minds ever since Season 1. Having never seen Baywatch (honestly!), I was shocked to discover that one of the show's most terrifying men was, in fact, a 'hunky' Baywatch star. However, once you see Jason Momoa sporting the famed red swimwear it all starts to make sense. As I'm sure everyone is aware, Momoa is also set to join another huge franchise as Aquaman in the DC Extended Universe.
Tywin Lannister: Alien 3
As one of Britain's greatest living actors, it should be no surprise to see that Charles Dance featured in at least one of our favourite franchises. Alien 3 is often regarded as one of the worst in the franchise, but have no doubt that Charles Dance gave another atmospheric performance in the movie. That being said, his role as Clemens is nothing compared to his portrayal of Tywin Lannister.
Catelyn Stark: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Fans of the Harry Potter franchise are about as eagle-eyed and devoted to the franchise as they come, so I'm sure the fact that Catelyn Stark also played Mrs. Granger is no secret. However, those who were previously unaware that Michelle Fairley was Hermione's mother in Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 should still find it interesting. She may be a muggle, but at least she's a Stark.
The Hound: Hot Fuzz
The Hound is without a doubt one of the greatest characters of HBO's adaptation of Game of Thrones. His interaction with Arya made for some great on-screen chemistry between two very different characters. But years before becoming Sandor Clegane, Rory McCann had a physical role in Edgar Wright's Hot Fuzz. As part of the Cornetto trilogy, we can only hope that Rory reunites with Wright, Pegg and Frost for future projects connected to the franchise.
Also the franchises weren't quite large enough to include in the list, it's also noteworthy that Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) starred opposite Gerard Butler in 300, whilst Stephen Dillane (Stannis Baratheon) played Merlin in 2005's King Arthur. I also wanted to mention Black Book to the list, despite not being part of a franchise. It includes two Game of Thrones stars and is an absolutely outstanding war-time drama.
Melisandre and Daario Naharis: Black Book
These examples just go to show the pool of talent that the show is working with. Each and every one of them was able to take part in a franchise before Game of Thrones - and I haven't even mentioned the great Sean Bean. Some of them were under-utilised before shining in their respective role on the show, and some of them had already experienced spectacular careers. Either way, I'm eternally grateful to the casting directors for putting these fantastic actors together in one show.
Of course, these were just the actors who I believe had the most interesting parts in franchises before Game of Thrones. If you'd like to offer another point of view, add another example or simply share your views about the show, let me know with a comment!