Differences between books and TV series

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Major plot differences between the Books and the TV Series.

Game of Thrones

  • Point of View: Since the plot in the novels is told from the viewpoints of the principal characters (Eddard, Bran, Daenerys, Arya, Sansa, Tyrion, Jon, Catelyn), the TV show mimics similar structure fleshing out certain key scenes but adding others that are either absent from the book, implied, or talked about in other chapters to provide backstory and try to confirm certain suspicions of the book readers. The exception is the prologue, which sets up the novel from a character-independent perspective.
  • Character appearance: Certain characters within the series have been played by actors who do not share the same physical traits as the said characters. D. B. Weiss explained that the actor who plays Asha (renamed Yara to avoid confusion with Osha), for instance, looks nothing like the description in the books, but captured the role so perfectly that he could not imagine anyone else playing it. Additionally, many of the children have been aged several years in order to match the forced aging of Daenerys, who was aged due to her sexual relationship with Khal Drogo. (Indeed, the producers of the comic book adaptation expressed concern about running afowl of child pornography laws in adapting the scenes between Daenerys and Drogo.)
  • The Others / White Walkers: Although there are a few references to the name "White Walkers" in the books most notably from Old Nan's stories, the White Walkers were more commonly referred to as "The Others" in a Song of Ice and Fire. The term "The Others" is not used in the show, presumably to avoid confusion with their minions, "wights" and with the Others in the TV series Lost.

First season

These differences can be found between the first season of TV series and the first book "A Game of Thrones" of the Song of Ice and Fire.

Timeline, Events of the TV series are seventeen years after Robert's Rebellion instead of fourteen years as in the books. The main reason in adding the two years was to allows the younger characters to be aged-up, while not affecting the timeline too much beyond the immediate past.

  • The Stark Children Robb and Jon are 17 instead of 15. Bran is 10 instead of 7 and Rickon's age is increased from 3 to 6. Sansa 13 instead of 11 and Arya is 11 instead of 9.
  • The Royal children are older: Joffrey is 16 instead of 13, Myrcella is 12 instead of 8 and Tommen is 10 instead of 6. Daenerys is 16 instead of 13.

Winter is Coming

Extra scenes were added to give some backstory
  • ​A sex scene, between Ros and Tyrion, to introduce Tyrion directly. He is far more handsome than how he is described in the book i.e. Deformed Dwarf, with mismatched eyes and hair that is both blonde and black.
  • A scene, introducing Daenerys, Drogo and Ser Jorah, including their wedding scene, in the book, she is introduced, after Eddard Stark gets the news about Jon Arryn's death.
  • A scene, introducing Sansa with Lady Catelyn, in the book, Sansa is introduced, on their way to Kings landing.
Misc
  • The Prologue: Ser Waymar Royce is killed in a suprise attack, while in the books, he has a duel with Others. Also it is Will who escapes the encounter and later executed by Eddard Stark for desertion instead of Gared.
  • Arya is shown to be an accurate archer, while in the books, she doesn't know how to fire a bow and wishes she could learn.
  • Jon Snow doesn't attend the feast, avoiding the shame, meets his uncle Benjen outside, when he is practising with a sword instead.
  • Upon receiving Lysa's message about Jon Arryn's death Catelyn argues with Ned against accepting King Robert's request to become the King's Hand, while in the book, she encourages him to go to King's Landing.
  • In the book Cersei and Jaime are both naked when Bran finds them in the tower. In the series, they are both dressed.
  • Ros is not named in the book. She is probably the mentioned "red haired whore."

The Kingsroad

Extra scenes were added to give some backstory
  • A scene, where Cersei visits Catelyn in Bran's bedroom and speaks about her first child. In the book, this scene did not take place and there is no evidence of this child being born to Cersei and Robert. Presumably it was added to make Cersei a bit more human and sympathetic.
  • A scene, where Catelyn searches the old tower and finds a golden hair, leading her to suspect the Lannisters involvement in Bran's accident, before the Valyrian dagger is identified.
  • ​A scene, between Ser Jorah and Prince Viserys, speaking about slavery.
  • A scene, which shows the making of the sword Needle and a conversation between Jaime and Jon Snow about the Night's Watch.
Misc
  • The questioning scene following Joffrey being attacked by Arya's direwolf happened at the Crossroads Inn, instead Castle Darry as in the books.

Lord Snow

Extra scenes were added to give some backstory
  • A scene, between Eddard and Ser Jaime, at the Red keep, where Jaime explains why he is called the Kingslayer.
  • A scene, between Queen Cersei and Prince Joffrey, about what it will mean when he is a king.
  • A scene, providing a lot of background info on Robert with Barristan and Jaime.
Misc
  • Tyrion rescues Jon from a beat down at the hands of his fellow recruits. In the book, Castle Black blacksmith Donal Noye is the one who sets Jon straight.
  • Catelyn and Ser Rodrik arrive to King's Landing riding down the Kingsroad. In the book, Catelyn and Ser Rodrik arrive by ship from White Harbor arriving before Eddard.

Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things

Extra scenes were added to give some backstory
  • A scene, between Viserys and Doreah taking a bath together and Viserys tells Doreah about dragons. Most of the dragon names are entirely made up, except for the three great dragons of Aegon and his sisters.
  • A scene, between Septa Mordane and Sansa about Sansa's future, Prince Joffrey and the iron throne.
  • A scene, where Bran introduced to the three eyes at the entrance to the tombs in winterfell.
  • A scene, between Ned and Cersei attempts to nudge Eddard towards leaving, tries to explain Cersei actions with the direwolves in terms of her extreme devotion to the safety of her children.
Misc
  • The tournament of the Hand is a lot shorter in the series.
  • Littlefinger tells Sansa the story about the Clegane brothers. In the book, the story is told by Sandor himself. Which many fans considering the first step in their special kind of relationship.
  • Gendry's character is aged like the stark kids, he is 20 instead of 16.
  • Ser Alliser often calls Sam 'Lady Piggy' instead of Ser Piggy used once in the books.

The Wolf and the Lion

Extra scenes were added to give some backstory
  • A scene, involving Ser Loras and Lord Renly. This scene confirms that they are lovers, which was merely hinted at in the books.
  • A sex scene, between Theon and Ros, which later give backstory about House Greyjoy.
Misc
  • Robert Arryn is renamed Robin Arryn, probably to avoid confusion with King Robert Baratheon.
  • Chataya, the owner of the brothel in which many events take place, was not cast. The brothel belongs to Littlefinger instead.
  • Ned and Jaime cross swords, probably because it is  more exciting to have these two face-off at least once, instead of Ned falling from the horse as in the books.

A Golden Crown

Extra scenes were added to give some backstory
  • A scene, involving Syrio and Arya, coining the phrase "Not today".
  • A scene, involving Viserys and Jorah, Viserys tries to steal Dany dragon eggs, until Jorah stops him. Viserys suggests that Jorah is in love with Daenerys, a fact that is never discussed or considered by Dany prior to the second novel.

You Win or Die

  • Tomard, one of the guards at Winterfell, is sent to Dragonstone with a letter informing Stannis Baratheon that his brother has no rightful heirs, making him next in line to succession. In the books, Eddard attempted to send a letter to Lord Stannis but the letter never leaves King's Landing. Stannis sends his letters based on his investigation with Jon Arryn, rather than a message from Stark as in the show.

The Pointy End

Extra scenes were added to give some backstory
  • A scene, in which they wights are burned, with some new information and events that possibly could have happened in the books but never did.

Baelor

Extra scenes were added to give some backstory
  • A scene, in which Tyrion play games with Shae and Bronn, providing us background info on all of them.
Misc
  • Shae is not common-born and was made more subtle and mysterious character.
  • In the books, when Ser Barristan Selmy is dismissed from the Kingsguard he announces that he will search for the rightful heir. He later kills two members of the city watch when they attempt to detain him for questioning.
  • In the books Robb sent the Green Fork, approximately 16,000 men against the Lannister 20,000. Instead the show 2,000 vs 30,000 suicidal rate. Later at the whispering woods he captures Ser Jaime unawares with a small detachment and then continues to hit the main Lannister force split between three camps. Instead of defeating Ser Jaime's and the majority of the Lannister host in open battle as in the show.

Fire and Blood

Extra scenes were added to give some backstory
  • A scene, between Catelyn with Robb following the news of Eddard’s death, showing them grieving.
  • A scene, between Littlefinger with Varys, to show their animosity toward each other.
  • A sex scene, between Pycelle with Ros, providing information about past kings.
  • Catelyn Stark become a dutiful supporter of her son and thirst for vengeance, instead of playing the role of the mother thinking first of her daughters suffering the emotional cost in silence, as she goes at her duty.
  • Marillion loose his tongue after preforming before King Joffrey, in the book it was an unnamed singer and Marillion continues to appear in the rest of the series. Its unlikely that he will make appearance in the show now.
  • Daenerys is as naked as in the novel, although her hair wasn't burnt away, presumably to make her prettier for the camera.

Second season

These differences can be found between the second season of TV series and the second book "A Clash of Kings" of the Song of Ice and Fire.

Characters
  • Neither Robb Stark nor Jaime Lannister is a point of view character in the book A Clash of Kings.
  • Asha Greyjoy, sister to Theon had been renamed Yara Greyjoy, to reduce confusion with Osha, the wildling captured in Season 1.
  • Salladhor Saan has had a race change from being described as "tan" in the books to black.

The North Remembers

Extra scenes were added to give some backstory
  • A scene, between Robb and Jaime, just before he dictates terms to the lannisters.
Misc
  • In the books, after greeting Joffrey at the joust, Tyrion inspects the walls of King's Landing where Joffrey has mounted the heads of Eddard Stark and his household. Tyrion's first act as Hand is to order them taken down.
  • Tyrion replaces Janos Slynt with Bronn, instead another officer of the City Watch, Ser Jacelyn Bywater, as in the books, to simplify the plot.
  • In the book Ser Dontos the Red was indeed drunk, but it was joust not a melee and he was chasing his horse, wearing only his breastplate and helm with his "manhood" flopping around.

In the books

  • Daenarys leading her khalasar into The Red Waste to avoid the khalasar, in the book, she follow the red comet. Her horse, Silver, dies in the show , but lives in the book long past this point.
  • Melisandre's and Stannis' physical relationship is never shown/discussed in A Clash of Kings, it might be interpreted later on. Stannis's wife haven't made an appearance and his daughter, Shireen, and her fool, Patchface seem to be dropped off.
  • Nights Watch ranging starts with their arrival at Craster's Keep, skipping few events from the books.

The Night Lands

What Is Dead May Never Die

  • The Tickler's role is greatly reduced. In the show, Arya chooses the Tickler as Jaqen H'ghar's first victim. In the novel, Arya kills him herself at a later point in the story.


Garden of Bones

The Ghost of Harrenhal

The Old Gods and the New

  • In the novel, Jon Snow cannot bring himself to kill the wildling Ygritte, lowers his sword and lets her go. In the show, he swings the sword but misses her on purpose she then tangles with him and escapes. Jon follows her, recaptures her, but somehow mange to get separated from the other Rangers.
  • In the show as the two Reed children were cut off from the plot all together.
  • In the show, Daenerys' dragons are taken from her in Qarth and many of her followers are killed. In the books, it never happens she sets out to the House of the Undying to learn about her fate, not to look for her dragons.
  • In the show, Osha comes to Theon bed chamber and seduces him. While in the books she impresses him with her skills in disarming one of his man and yielding a spear.(she is a spear wife)

A Man Without Honor

Extra scenes were added to give some backstory
  • A scene, between Tyrion and Cersei, where Cersei confides in Tyrion about her worries about her son's personality and sanity, who feels bad for his sister in a rare moment of truth and honesty, very rare as Cersei confiding in Tyrion is not a very likely event in the books.

The Prince of Winterfell

Blackwater

Valar Morghulis

References and Notes

See also westeros analysis of the Episodes.

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