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The Real Reason Dominic West Refused A Role In Game Of Thrones

For the devoted fans who watched "Game of Thrones" during its initial run on HBO, one of the more exciting pre-season rituals involved speculating who the show would cast in various roles that the narrative had yet to introduce. As the seasons came and went, fans were equally interested in learning which stars had unwittingly turned down parts on the George R.R. Martin adaptation that ultimately became HBO's most popular show of all time (via Entertainment Weekly). 

One such star was actor Dominic West, who shared his experience of passing on a juicy role to The Huffington Post in 2012. West, who was best known at the time as Det. Jimmy McNulty on HBO's "The Wire," explained that "it was a lovely part, a good part" and was unable to recall specific details about the offer. He confessed this was because he hadn't read the books, and therefore could not recall the name of the character.

The Huffington Post speculated the character was Mance Rayder, aka "The King Beyond the Wall," a character eventually played by Ciarán Hinds. The outlet points out that Mance seems to be the likeliest option because West noted that, had he taken the part, he would have been required to shoot "in Reykjavik for six months" — a key location where the series filmed scenes set north of the Wall. So, if this role was as "lovely" and "good" as West pointed out, what prompted the actor to decline it?

Dominic West put his family before potential Game of Thrones fame

It appears, in part, that West didn't quite grasp the potential rewards of a recurring role on "Game of Thrones." He recalled, "I hadn't seen it, but my nephew and his father said, 'Gosh, 'Game of Thrones' is the only great show on!' And I felt terrible because I'd just turned them down."

Additionally, it seems like West would have passed on the opportunity, regardless of the show's popularity, for a very important reason. As he explained to the outlet, "My problem is, I've got four kids, and at the moment, I'm reluctant to be away from home for a long time. I can get a lot of work in London and still be at home." You see, at the time of the interview, the English actor was starring in the BBC miniseries "The Hour," which followed a Cold War-era news team. The series shot in London and thus allowed him to remain much closer to his family than "Game of Thrones."

It doesn't sound like West's decision to stay nearer to home had a negative impact on his career. Between 2012 and 2021, the prolific actor starred in a vast array of popular and widely-acclaimed series, including Showtime's "The Affair," BBC One's "Les Misérables," "The Pursuit of Love," and "Stateless" starring Cate Blanchett (via IMDb). To the delight of fans, he will soon appear as Prince Charles on Season 5 of Netflix's "The Crown."