Re: Game of Thrones (book/show) newbie (please no spoilers!)
Peter Dinklage was the only actor who was offered the part of Tyrion, no one else was auditioned for it and the producers never thought of anyone else for the role.
Other actors were auditioned for Ned, but only in case Sean Bean refused. He was the producers' first choice for Ned.
I don't suppose you know what other actors were auditioned for Ned, or have they kept the names quiet?