Game of Thrones has been one of the biggest television phenomena in recent years. Based on the best selling series, A Song of Ice and Fire, the show has pages and pages of material to work with. Unfortunately, not everything in literature translates well to a visual medium and things get dropped or changed.
This list contains 10 of the biggest changes between the books and the movies. Just a warning, this list contains spoilers.
1. The Fake Arya
Show: Weddings are not a joyous occasion in Game of Thrones. On the show, when Sansa finally makes it home to Winterfell, she is engaged to marry the cruel Ramsey Bolton. While he is kind and mannerly before the wedding, afterwards he makes her life a living hell.
Books: Sansa is no where near Winterfell when Ramsey gets married. At the time, she is still pretending to be Petyr’s daughter, Alayne Stone. So who marries Ramsey? In the books Sansa had a friend named Jeyne Poole. She is dressed up in Stark clothing and passed off as Arya Stark.
2. Jeyne Westerling
Show: Robb, King of the North, marries Talisa Maegry of Volantis. They meet when she is working as a nurse within his camp. She soon becomes pregnant and she suggests that, if it is a son, to name him Ned after Robb’s late father. This suggestion is made during the notorious Red Wedding. To the tune of “The Rains of Castamere“, Robb, Talisa, and his unborn child are brutally murdered.
Book: Robb marries Jeyne Westerling. She does not get pregnant and she does not attend the Red Wedding. Soon after, her family forms an alliance with the Lannisters, ensuring their own survival. Jeyne, in a act of defiance against betraying her late husband’s cause, wears a torn dress in the traditional display of mourning.
3. Lady Stoneheart
Show: Robb’s mother, Catelyn Stark, was also at the Red Wedding and killed.
Book: After her death, Catelyn’s body is tossed in a river. The Brotherhood Without Banners find and resurrect her. Some of her flesh is decayed, and she cannot talk because of her cut throat, but that does not stop her from seeking revenge for her murdered family.
4. The Dornish Master Plan
Book: In the books, not only did the Dornish know about Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen, but there are hints they may have helped them escape. But that is only the beginning. The original plan was for Arianne Martell (the heir to the Dornish throne) to marry Viserys. After Viserys is killed, Arianne’s brother, Quentyn, is sent to Meereen to marry Daenerys and bring her to Dorne. However Quentyn arrives too late and Daenerys had already promised to marry a man from Meereen. In desperation to change her mind, Quentyn finds Daenerys’ dragons and attempts to tame them. He is burnt to death by the dragon Rhaegal.
5. Victarion Greyjoy And The Iron Islands
Show: After the death/murder of her father, Yara Greyjoy and her Uncle Euron fight for the right to be the next ruler of the Iron Islands. Euron becomes king without much fight. Yara flees with Theon and most of the Iron fleet to Meereen to form an alliance with Daenerys.
Books: First off, Yara’s name is Asha. Again, Euron becomes king, and he marries Asha off. She goes to Deepwood Motte and later is captured by Stannis. Asha’s other uncle, Victarion, is sent to Meereen to marry Daenerys.
6. The Stark Wargs
Show: Bran Stark discovers that he is a warg, a person who can enter the minds of animals and control them. With this, he often enters the mind of his direwolf, Summer.
Book: It is suggested that all of the Stark children are wargs. Aside from Bran, it is most notable in Arya and Jon. Ayra often dreams of running with a pack of wolves. It is thought that she dreams from the mind of Nymeria, her own direwolf. While in Nymeria’s mind, she pulled her mother Catelyn from the river. Jon has similar dreams, and saw the wildling army through his direwolf Ghost’s eyes.
Show: Benjen Stark at last! After Bran and Meera escape the whitewalker attack on the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven, they are still being pursued through the woods. The long lost Benjen Stark, Bran’s uncle, comes to their aid. He is an ally of the Three-Eyed Raven and is an in-between form of human and whitewalker.
Book: Coldhands appears after Bran, Hodor, Meera, and Jojen go beyond the wall. He acts as their guide in a much less exciting trip to the Three-Eyed Crow. Also, George RR Martin has said that Coldhands in the book is not Benjen Stark. So, book readers are still waiting to find out what happened to this beloved uncle.
8. The King Beyond The Wall
Show: Once a member of the Night’s Watch, Mance Rayder is the King Beyond the Wall. He brought the tribes of wildlings together and marched south to escape the coming Winter. While many of the wildlings are able to find sanctuary south of the wall (many thanks to Jon), Mance is sentenced to death. He was going to be burned, but Jon shoots him in an act of mercy.
Book: The show left out many details about Mance and his life. He had a wife named Dalla and a young son. After Mance’s death, Gilly’s and Mance’s babies are switched, with Mance’s son being brought south with Sam and Gilly. This was to protect Mance’s child from being used by Melisandre for his king’s blood. The biggest change is perhaps that Mance does not die in the books. Rather, Melisandra creates a glamour for Mance, switching his identity as another, sparing him from being burned.
9. Xaro Xhoan Daxos
Show: Xaro Xhoan Daxos is a merchant prince of Qarth. He offers Daenerys gold and ships to cross the narrow sea and take back the Iron Throne, and only requests that she marry him in return. She refuses, and she soon finds her people attacked and her dragons stolen. Once she gets her dragons back, she finds out Xaro only pretended to have gold, so she seals him in his own empty vault.
Book: Again, Xaro Xhoan Daxos offers everything for the simple price of marriage. Daenerys learned that under Qartheen Law, he would be able to claim a dragon as his own if they were wed. Additionally, Daenerys notices that he does not seem to be interested in women at all. Later in Meereen, he visits her with a gift of ships. She refuses, and he leaves behind a declaration of war between Qarth and Meereen.
10. Tyrion’s Traveling Show
Show: Tyrion escapes Westeros and makes his way across the narrow sea. On his way to Meereen, he is captured by Jorah who ironically plans to bring him to Meereen. On the way, they are both captured by slave traders, and eventually brought to Meereen to fight as gladiators on Daenerys’ wedding day.
Book: There is much more to Tyrion’s journey in the books. After escaping across the Narrow Sea, Tyrion is sent with two retainers to meet with Daenerys. One of these retainers is revealed to possibly be Aegon Targaryon, son of Rhaegar. Again he is captured by Jorah, and then by slaves. He and another young dwarf named Penny perform at Daenerys’ wedding as a mock joust.
What other changes between the popular show and books did you notice?
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