Gendry Wasn't The First Game Of Thrones Role Joe Dempsie Tried To Get

Game of Thrones Joe Dempsie Gendry Baratheon HBO
(Image credit: Helen Sloan / HBO)

Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8 are discussed below

Gendry has had an eventful arc on Game of Thrones’ final season. He made a bunch of weapons, survived the Battle of Winterfell, and then proposed marriage to Arya Stark. That last bit did not go over well. The road for actor Joe Dempsie to play Gendry was even more turbulent.

That is because Gendry was not Joe Dempsie’s first audition for Game of Thrones. He tried out for another part before that, and it was a significant one. Dempsie auditioned for the prominent role of Jon Snow. Opening up on that first tryout, Dempsie told Esquire:

I auditioned for the pilot. I had no idea what Game of Thrones was. Didn't get it. Kind of forgot about it. Nobody knew it was going to become the biggest TV show on the planet at that point. It was just another audition.

Game of Thrones did become one of the most popular TV shows on earth, so landing the role of Jon Snow would have been a huge deal for him. To his credit, Joe Dempsie did not give up.

After not getting the part of Jon Snow, Joe Dempsie went out for something Jon Snow adjacent. Another Game of Thrones opportunity came along more than a year and a half after his first audition. This time, he had the chance to test for two characters who were friends of Jon’s. If cast, he would make it to The Wall.

Joe Dempsie shared how that tryout went before revealing the light at the end of the tunnel: when he got his shot to audition for the role of Robert Baratheon’s bastard son, Gendry. As it turns out, that was also an arduous process. Picking back up with his second audition, Dempsie said:

Didn't get either of those and was convinced that they must just think I'm a terrible actor. Then Gendry came along and again I went along to the audition and I think it was three auditions I had. I had one in London, then one in Belfast where I met [showrunners] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] for the first time. And then a final one where David and Dan were there again. And there was like four other producers in the room, too. And I was fairly convinced it was the worst audition I've ever given.

Joe Dempsie thought that his final audition for Gendry was so terrible he could not believe he landed the part. When his manager called with the good news, Dempsie said he thought he was playing a trick on him. It was the real deal.

Some actors may have given up on the pursuit of a Game of Thrones role in the face of one missed audition. Many would have probably given up after two. His willingness to come back for another Game of Thrones audition is quite something. Thankfully, he was rewarded.

Gendry made his debut in Game of Thrones’ first season. He even shared a scene with Ned Stark! After playing a key role in Arya's story for another couple of seasons, he famously dropped out of view following Season 3. With Davos’ help, Gendry escaped Stannis’ dire reach via rowboat. The show didn't reveal what happened to him for years, leading to a whole lot of internet memes about the poor guy just rowing and rowing and rowing.

He reemerged in Season 7 and has gone on to have a pretty swell Season 8. At least, when compared to others. As the last surviving member of the Baratheon bloodline, Gendry is a rarity. Despite that grim outlook, Daenerys offered some hope. She legitimized him and pronounced him as the newly minted Lord of Storm’s End. Thus, bringing House Baratheon back to life.

Have viewers seen the last of Gendry after that rejected proposal? Tune in and find out. Game of Throneslast season continues with its final two episodes. They will air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.