By James Hibberd
Updated August 13, 2014 at 11:10 PM EDT
Ed Miller/Starz

He may be the perfect Jamie Fraser, but he’s no Jaime Lannister.

Starz’ Outlander star Sam Heughan told Vulture that he auditioned for that other premium cable fantasy drama — HBO’s Game of Thrones — a whopping seven times.

“I auditioned for Game of Thrones seven times!” the actor said. “Loads of times. I auditioned for Renly, Loras, some of the members of the Night’s Watch. And I’d always get so close! I’d be like, ‘Guys, just give me a sword!’ [Laughs.] Everyone was going in for those parts. But you know, it’s funny about those things. You’re up for so many things, and coming from those auditions, and testing on other shows, I had more experience, more experience with the process. And maybe I was more confident. And I don’t know, something about this one just felt right. This part felt different. I knew this character. I felt a connection with him.”

The Scotland-set romantic drama based on a series of novels by Diana Gabaldon series premiered last weekend to solid ratings and continues with its second episode Saturday night.