No matter how much George R.R. Martin tried to distance himself from the HBO adaptation of his Game of Thrones, it seems he had more of a behind-the-scenes influence there than many knew. Part of this included a cameo he had in a pilot episode that never aired.
Many Game of Thrones fans may not remember this, mostly because it was mostly never talked about for years. Then fans found out he exerted considerable influence on the show’s finale, not including being a recurring script consultant.
The reason for Martin being shut out of the initial pilot episode was due to a particular flaw in the script. He also never returned to do another because of his schedule.
What was George R.R. Martin’s cameo intended to be?
When the first pilot episode of Game of Thrones was shot, it turned out the writing was a little shoddy. The opening failed to establish family relationships, leaving test viewers confused.
This led to the entire pilot being scrapped and needing to be re-filmed. Before this happened, though, George R.R. Martin ended up being cajoled into a small cameo.
According to Mental Floss, the cameo involved him playing a guest at the wedding of Daenerys and Khal Drogo. Since this pilot never aired, no one really knows if he was readily noticeable in the cameo, or if it was a blink and miss moment.
During the shoot, Daenerys was being played by a different actress before Emilia Clarke took the role. Due to the scenes being re-shot, Martin’s cameo ultimately ended up on the cutting room floor. Where they went after that point is unknown.
George R.R. Martin wanted a more gruesome cameo later
As much as fans might assume Martin wanted to distance himself from the HBO side of his literary creation, he did try to push for another cameo. Martin himself said he wanted something as unglamorous as possible, as in perhaps being a severed head.
Once he found out how much it cost to create believable severed heads on the show, he found out it was not really worth the effort. One can still imagine how this would have gone over with viewers.
Would he have been recognizable as a head on a stick? Seeing the creator of Westeros after a beheading would bring a lot of dripping irony, to say the least. It also might bring a bit of Hitchcock into the equation in providing an ironic cameo in one’s own creation.
Rather than become a new Hitchcock or Stan Lee doing little cameos here and there, Martin bowed out of doing any. Not that the showrunners of the series never tried to get him on there before the show ended.
The attempt to get George R.R. Martin on the finale
By the time Season 8 rolled around, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss tried to persuade Martin to appear in the final season. Unfortunately, Martin relented because he claims he simply had no time.
During the time of filming, he was busy trying to finish his next book The Winds of Winter. Some might suggest this was maybe a ruse since he still has not finished the book at the time of this writing. Nevertheless, he does finally have a target date of 2021, so it appears he has been writing.
Also, it appears quarantine made the difference in getting Martin to finish his book. As far as him ever becoming an actor again (after some cameos years ago in the ’80s The Twilight Zone reboot), it may never be in the cards.
With a prequel to Game of Thrones still on a future slate at HBO, will Martin ever cameo there? Maybe not, but would still be worth the price of a small admission to see his original cameo if the footage ever reaches the light of day.