Throughout the last five years, Game of Thrones has increasingly become one of the most talked about fantasy series’ of all time. With the premier of season five last Sunday, it’s clear fans of the show aren’t getting bored. An astounding 8 million people tuned in to the first episode, which is over a million higher than last year’s premier and 800, 000 higher than any other episode. But though the show continues to grow without showing signs of slowing down, and the books approach the 30 million mark in sales, there often exists a border between fans of the series.
As with all adaptations, there are those who were die-hard fans of the books before they became movies/TV shows, and refuse to pay heed to anything but the scripture penned by its’ original author. And there are also those who aren’t necessarily attracted to 1,000 page epics and prefer the pretty visuals and dazzling performances. These fans get to watch ten episodes a year of some the finest television currently offered, without stressing over changes from the source material. However, because of time and money constraints, as well as practicality, fans of the show do tend to miss out on some pretty intriguing and important storylines that only the book can offer. That’s where fans come into the picture. Fans who read every word of the series like it’s brain food in a worldwide brain food drought, but also thoroughly enjoy the way it was brought to the screen. So for the fan who hasn’t had a chance to read George R. R. Martin’s dazzling series, here are 10 story arcs that didn’t quite make it into the HBO adaptation.
11. Tyrion Lannister is Butt Ugly
Sure, Tyrion is a dwarf, and yea, he does walk with a bit of a waddle, but he is nothing compared to the way Tywin Lannister’s youngest is depicted in A Game of Thrones. One thing fans have almost universally agreed upon is how handsome Peter Dinklage is, whereas his knowledgeable-to-a-fault character is a horrifying sight in the book, with mismatched eyes, a glaringly bulbous forehead, and mixed colours in both his hair and eyes.
After the Battle of Blackwater, Tyrion inherits a bit of a nasty scar on his face, but even that was dolled up for the show. But I suppose that’s a bit easier than removing most of his nose along with half of his mouth in post-production for every episode.
10. The Kids Aren’t Quite Kids
A Song of Ice and Fire is centered around the aftermath of Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark’s rebellion. In the books, we meet the characters 14 years after Robert usurps the throne, giving the children we follow ages that might be shocking for modern audiences. People often forget the way things were in the middle ages, when kings were 12 and many prostitutes were preteens. This is why creators of the show opted to begin their timeline 17 years after the rebellion, adding two to three years to the younger characters so as to appease the general public.
- Robb and Jon Snow are 17 instead of 14.
- Sansa is 13 instead of 11.
- Arya is 11 instead of 9.
- Bran is 10 instead of 7.
- Rickon is 6 instead of 3.
- Joffrey is 16 instead of 12.
- Myrcella is 11 instead of 8.
- Tommen is 10 instead of 7.
And possibly most shocking of all, Daenerys Targaryen is 16 instead of 13. Have fun re-imagining all those scenes.
9. Arya isn’t THAT Deadly
Over the years Arya Stark has become a fan favourite. Not only because she witnessed her father’s execution and travelled across half of Westeros dealing with some of the maddest and most dangerous minds ever to grace the continent, it’s in the way she does it. This 11 year-old-girl believes her entire family to be dead, and instead of sobbing in a corner and begging for food scraps, she fights for her life and thinks about revenge night after night.
Though she does manage to exact revenge on several people featured on her famous kill list, she’s not quite as savvy as the show depicts. Most notably, in the novels Arya has never even shot an arrow. She expresses her desire to be able to, but admits she doesn’t know how. When Arya gets her revenge, it’s not always through clean precise murder, but sometimes a little messier.
8. Robb’s Wife Never Attended the Wedding
The Red Wedding that is. You know it. You’ve heard of it. It’s One of the most famous scenes from any show this decade. Walder Frey is known as one of the most cunning, evil men, and the show does a good job of portraying that. But when he betrayed the Starks in his castle after Robb broke a marriage pact, the show’s creators made a few changes. Firstly, the massacring in the novel began after the wedding ensemble played ‘The Rains of Castamere,’ but the show executed the Starks after Frey’s speech.
Most importantly however, is the fact that Robb’s wife was never even there. A pregnant Jeyne Westerling was stabbed repeatedly in her stomach before Robb gets shot with a bevvy of arrows. According to George R. R. Martin though, Jeyne was left back in Riverrun so as not to parade her marriage with Robb, who was pledged to one of Frey’s inbred daughters. She was later given a pardon and left to reconcile with her family.
7. The Targaryens Aren’t Just Known For Their Silvery-Gold Hair
What helped set Daenerys and Viserys apart for fans early on was their distinct looks. With baby smooth skin, beautifully sculpted faces and glorious hair, it was very easy to remember this duo early on. One thing that didn’t seem to work out for the show was possibly the most famous feature of the Targaryen bloodline: their violet eyes.
Supposedly the show tried using purple contacts in the first few episodes, but soon changed their mind realizing the actors were having difficulty with them. In the lore of the novels, it’s suggested the purple eyes were sometimes a detriment, as going undercover proved difficult; even after shaving their godly hair.
6. Cersei has Robert’s Bastards Killed, Not Joffrey
So, Robert Baratheon wasn’t exactly the best king… in many ways it seems. Instead of properly ruling his kingdom, he drank and ate until he couldn’t possibly fit anything else in his stomach. He spent the kingdom’s money on tournaments instead of paying debts. But worst of all he impregnated nearly half of King’s Landing, leaving behind dozens of children unaware of who their father is.
In the show, Joffrey finds out and is disgusted. The boy-king sends out his personal guard to search for these children and eliminate them, before his father’s name is tarnished. In the book, however, Cersei issues the order to have them killed. She does this partly so the ignorant public won’t wonder why her current three children look nothing like Robert and his estranged children, and partly to get back at the man who tormented her for over a decade.
5. Daenerys Ignores Qarth’s Dress Code
While visiting Qarth, Daenerys attempts to impress the locals, who tend to dislike the Dothraki. When she first enters the city in the book, she notices all the local women wearing a Qartheen dress, which happens to leave one breast exposed at all times. This is actually more important to the plot than it sounds, as it shows the people of Qarth she’s not a dirty Dothraki who doesn’t deserve their attention. She gains their trust by dressing like the locals. Khaleesi also tries to impress Xaro Xhoan Daxos, but he seems to be more impressed with the men in his personal guard, even though he wishes to marry her.
In the show, this fashion statement is never seen while in Qarth, nor is Xaro shown to be gay. He essentially hits on Daenerys and expresses his desire to have her, holding nothing back.
4. Castle Black Isn’t Supposed to Have Walls! Well, Just the One.
The Night’s Watch is an honourable brotherhood made up of outcasts and former criminals who wear only black and defend Westeros from evil. These men swear their lives to the group and vow never to sleep with women again, so as to stay true to their duties and remain loyal to their brothers. When the Night’s Watch was formed, they constructed the wall that now separates the North from the rest of the world, caging away the wildlings and most importantly, the white walkers.
When Castle Black was erected, they vowed not to wall themselves in, in order to not hide from the world they protect. The only wall surrounding their tiny village was the massive one they guarded on a daily basis. Throughout the five seasons thus far, though, Castle Black has been depicted many times with walls, and even a gate, which goes against the principles they stand for.
3. Strong Belwas – Where is He?
Strong Belwas is one of the most fun characters that Daenerys encounters throughout her adventures in Essos. Belwas is sent to protect the khaleesi, and henceforth becomes a member of her personal guard. The massive, rotund anti-gentlemen gained fame from his career as a pit-fighter, where he claims to have never lost a fight.
The juggernaut earns a soft spot in Daenerys’ heart through his dedication to her, defending her honour and destroying anyone who stands in her way. Belwas boasts he allows every opponent he faces to cut him once, no matter how deep, before he kills them. The man even survived after eating a bowl full poisoned locusts. Unfortunately, he was never included in the show.
2. Arya Never Meets Tywin
When Arya is brought to Harrenhall, her and her friends are quickly given jobs around the castle. Eventually, Arya somehow finds herself as a cupbearer to the temporary ruler of the castle, which in the show happened to be Tywin Lannister. What ended up being some of the most compelling scenes in the entire season never even existed in the book, as it was Roose Bolton (the father of Ramsay) whom she served.
Arya and Tywin seemed to have great chemistry from the beginning, which worked well for the show. It gave a whole new dimension to Arya, as she almost seemed to empathize with the man who essentially ran Westeros and had plotted the deaths of her family, even though he was on her list of people to kill.
1. Where’s Lady Stoneheart?
Warning: potential massive season 5 spoiler.
Yes, the red wedding was tragic. But in Martin’s books, there is arguably one good thing that comes out of it. The Brotherhood Without Banners happen across the Wolf Queen’s body and retrieve it, bringing it back to the leader of the brotherhood, Beric Dondarrion. The famed lightning lord has died six times by this point, and died for the seventh and final time in order to transfer his life force over to Caetlyn (to help restore balance to Westeros).
Now reanimated, Caetlyn has made some significant changes. Other than her now grotesque half-dead appearance, she’s become more cold and calculated, consumed with her carnal desire to murder anyone who played a hand in the downfall of the resistance. From what most people can tell so far, the creators of the show have opted not to include this particular storyline, not finding it entirely necessary to the plot. However, there is still a slight chance the Lady Stoneheart makes a surprise appearance in season 5.
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