Actor Brian Cox could have starred in Season 1 of Game of Thrones as Robert Baratheon, but the actor passed on the role. Mark Addy got the part and played it memorably until the character’s demise in the show’s seventh episode. Cox recently discussed passing on the show all those years ago, saying he has no regrets, in part because the character died so soon.

“[That] one was only limited, I’d be dead within four episodes,” Cox told GQ. Baratheon actually died in Episode 7, but he was definitely a short-lived character. “So I saw the shortness of that,” Cox added.

Baratheon was not only written to be a short-lived character, but the pay was not very good at the time, Cox said. “It was early days, so the fees were not particularly wonderful. They did very well on it, but initially it was ‘suck it and see,'” he said.

Baratheon was not the only major character from Season 1 to die early on. Eddard Stark, played by Sean Bean, dies in Episode 9 in a shocking development. Plenty of other characters big and small die in the ensuing seasons.

Game of Thrones grew in popularity over its seasons, and so did the pay for its main cast. By the end of the show, the main players–including Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, and others–were earning a reported $500,000 per episode.

The series has ended, but a prequel show, House of the Dragon, debuted in 2022. A second season is now in production but there is no word yet on when it may premiere. Additional Game of Thrones spinoffs are in development, including a show centered on Jon Snow, but there is no guarantee they’ll ever be made.

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