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The Surprising Actor Who Refused To Play Catelyn Stark On Game Of Thrones

Whether you love it, hate it, or loved the first several seasons but hated the ending with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns, "Game of Thrones" is one of the most iconic shows of this generation. It combined magic, mysticism, and a deadly, complicated power struggle to rule an entire kingdom — both on the battlefield and off. Also, It had dragons! Dragons that set entire cities on fire! What more could you want? Besides a different ending, that is.

It wasn't just the ending of the series that experienced challenges. Some fans may not be aware that when the show was shooting the pilot episode, it was riddled with difficulties — including a handful of actors who were around to film the initial episode, but disappeared when it was time to film the show proper. Catelyn Stark's original actor was one such individual. And this was a really surprising move on her part, all things considered.

Jennifer Ehle showed up for the pilot but walked away - despite being a huge fan of the books

In an interview with the Daily Beast, Jennifer Ehle explained that her main reason for leaving "Game of Thrones" was centered on her daughter, who was then an infant. "My daughter was seven months old when we did the pilot. It was too soon for me to be working, emotionally and bonding-wise," she told the publication. In this day and age, especially with a demanding career like acting, work-life balance is hard to achieve. But she made the decision she felt was best at the time, and you can't really be mad at her for that, can you?

Even though she stands by her decision, it was a bittersweet choice that came with some minor regrets. In that same interview, she gushed about how much she loved the first and second books. She basically binge-read her way through well over a thousand pages of "A Song of Ice and Fire," and she did it in the days leading up to and after her daughter's birth.

Regardless of the other last-minute casting decisions, Ehle is at peace with her decision. And the actor who did end up playing the role of Catelyn — Michelle Fairley — delivered a solid performance. So all's well that ends well, right? Plus, there are multiple "Game of Thrones" spinoffs in the works. Ehle could still find her place in the fantasy universe she loves so dearly if she decides to give it another go. It would be a fitting end to her "Game of Thrones" journey, we think.