We’re all really excited for Game of Thrones around here. I’ve been following the series for a really long time, ever since I was assigned the first book in a literature class I was auditing. I made it a point to read the books before I even started the series, so when I first put on the pilot and binge-watched my way through four seasons, I was fully aware of what was going on. Then season five rolled around, and things started to veer off from what I was used to in the books. At the beginning of season six, I’d all but given up hope on seeing some of the abandoned book storylines on the show, and with season seven around the corner, that really hasn’t changed.
While a lot of things from the books actually did make it into the show, there are a ton of things that never even get touched upon in the show. This stuff, when you first read about it, seems totally necessary to the fabric of the story in general, but between cuts, retcons, and rewrites, this stuff just never made it in. Unfortunately, considering where we are in the series, we’re never going to see this stuff happen in the show. I was full of hope when I started watching the series that I’d get to see these things go down, but I’m calling it now: all hope of seeing these things in the Game of Thrones show is dead. Whether it’s a character that got written out or an event that got steamrollered by the show’s canon, if you’re looking forward to seeing any of these 15 things on the show this season, it’s time for me to burst your bubble.
15. Jeyne Westerling
The picture above shows Talisa Maegyr, Robb Stark’s ill-fated, pregnant wife who got herself stabbed at the Red Wedding. The Red Wedding of the book goes down in a similarly shocking and horrifying way, but there’s one teeny, tiny detail that gets changed: Robb Stark’s wife isn’t Talisa Maegyr, and she’s not actually at the wedding!
In the books, Robb Stark’s wife is actually a girl named Jeyne Westerling, who’s the daughter of a Lannister bannerman. In the books, he’s smart enough not to bring his wife to the Red Wedding, because he didn’t want to insult the Freys by bringing the girl he’d broken his promises for. That turned out to be an exceptionally good decision on his part: Jeyne Westerling lived, and she ended up pregnant. Jaime Lannister even runs across her when he’s hanging out in the Riverlands, and comments that while she was pretty enough, she definitely wasn’t worth losing a kingdom for. Then again, that might not have happened in the show, either, considering all the changes that happened to the Riverlands section of the show.
14. Brienne Nearly Getting Her Face Eaten
Brienne’s run in with Biter is one of the scariest parts of the books, and this is a series involving ice zombies, fights to the death with bears and shadow baby pregnancies. While she and Podrick are wandering the countryside looking for Sansa and potentially Arya (who they don’t go anywhere near in the books), they run into Gendry (whose role in the story we’re getting into later), who’s hanging out with the Brotherhood without Banners. Among those guys are the dudes who threw her in the bear pit for sport and chopped off Jamie Lannister’s hand, and of course, they recognize her and try and fight her. Of course, it doesn’t work since Brienne can really fight, but she ends up getting totally blindsided by Biter, who proceeds to shatter her forearm and take a bite out of her face, truly living up to his name. Brienne was always described as not being all that pretty, but her encounter with Biter would have made this effect that much worse.
13. Penny The Dwarf
Remember those dwarves who had to do that farce of a show at Joffrey’s wedding, affectionally called the Purple Wedding due to the color his face became? One of those dwarves had a sister in the books, and that was Penny. She was also there at the wedding and saw everything go down. When Tyrion got captured as a slave along with Jorah, Penny happened to be there. She initially hated Tyrion because of the bounty that was put on his head by Cersei. That bounty caused her brother to get decapitated, and when we meet her, she’s still grieving his loss. However, they end up becoming friends when they band together to get through their whole slavery situation. While Jorah does all of the fighting pit stuff, Tyrion and Penny end up doing a dwarf comedy act with Penny’s pig from her act with her brother. With Tyrion on the fleet of ships with Daenerys back to Westeros in the show, there’s literally no chance that we’ll see Penny, who was a pretty sweet girl.
12. Edric Storm
This is Gendry, Arya Stark’s first crush and Robert Baratheon’s only surviving biological child in the show. Gendry is a cool character and his status as one of Robert Baratheon’s bastards is really important, but in the books, he wasn’t the one who Davos broke out of Dragonstone. He was hanging out with the Brotherhood without Banners at the time, and Melisandre was never interested in him. I’d actually be surprised if she or Stannis knew about his existence, to begin with. The guy who gets rescued by Davos in the books is a boy named Edric Storm. Unlike Gendry, who grew up in Flea Bottom, Edric Storm was actually acknowledged by Robert, which isn’t surprising considering Edric was impossible to deny. He was conceived because Robert got a little frisky with one of Selyse Florent’s family members on the day of her marriage to Stannis, in their marriage bed. Everything about that part of season 3 goes down the same, except it isn’t actually Gendry who deals with it, it’s Edric. It’s actually kind of fitting because we have no idea where Edric is, the same way we don’t know where Gendry is.
11. Arianne Martell
Arianne Martell was the oldest of Doran Martell’s kids and the heir to Dorne. Cutting her from the series might very well have been one of the worst things that the Game of Thrones creators could have done because this woman was a treasure. Remember everything that happened in Dorne back in season 5? None of that happens in the books. What actually happens is that Arianna stages a coup to make herself the leader of Dorne (she thought her father was disinheriting her in favor of her little brother Quentyn), and schemes to sear Myrcella Baratheon on the Iron Throne. According to Dornish law, Myrcella has rights to it before Tommen because the oldest kid inherits things regardless of their gender. Her coup fails, Myrcella loses an ear, and Arianne’s Kingsguard boyfriend Arys Oakheart dies, but we find out that Doran Martell had bigger plans for her that backfired when Viserys Targaryen put on the worst golden crown in history. We didn’t get any of that. What we actually got was a crazy storyline involving Jaime, Bronn, the Sand Snakes, and a much less awesome Doran Martell.
10. Quentyn Martell
After Viserys got the worst golden crown in the history of everything, Arianne’s chances of marrying into the Targaryen family were gone. That meant that Doran had to come up with some other way to marry his family and the Targaryens. That’s why he sent his son Quentyn, along with a few other Martell bannermen, to go ask for the hand of everyone’s favorite Dragon Queen. Unfortunately for Quentyn, by the time he gets there, Daenerys isn’t just betrothed to Hizdahr zo Loraq, she’s hopelessly in love with Daario Naharis, despite his canonically blue beard. Quentyn Martell never stood a chance: he wasn’t a warrior like Daenerys was used to at that point, he wasn’t from Slaver’s Bay so couldn’t help her bring Meereen in line, and he was a quiet dreamer type, which wasn’t her type at all.
That was when Quentyn got the idea to try and tame Rhaegal and Viserion, the two dragons locked up after the third, Drogon, started burning little kids. At this point, Daenerys had already flown off on Drogon, leaving the Martell presence at court in serious jeopardy, which made him want to perform a grand gesture. The chapter where he does this is among the best in A Dance of Dragons, and needless to say, he does not succeed. Since they’re not in Meereen anymore and Doran’s kids got written out, we’re never going to see anything about Quentyn on the show. Personally, this one hurts a bit: I actually really liked Quentyn.
9. The Final Death Of Beric Dondarrion
One of the most enigmatic characters in Game of Thrones is Beric Dondarrion. This isn’t because he himself is all that mysterious, it’s because of how he’s one of the few characters who’s gotten resurrected. Before Jon Snow stole his thunder, Beric Dondarrion was the poster boy for R’hllor engineered resurrections, and we see him getting resurrected by Thoros of Myr multiple times in both the book and the show. In the show, he’s still alive, but in the book, he dies off screen to engineer the resurrection of Lady Stoneheart, one of the creepiest things about A Feast For Crows. Lady Stoneheart makes her debut at the end of A Storm of Swords, at least in the books. This means that Beric Dondarrion should have died several seasons ago. Since he’s still alive and kicking, at least as much as can be expected, there’s no chance we’re seeing his death go down the way the books say it does.
8. Lady Stoneheart
Considering Beric Dondarrion is still alive, he can’t use his final death to engineer her resurrection. While the Westerosi countryside is probably thankful for Lady Stoneheart’s absence, the fans of Game of Thrones certainly aren’t. Lady Stoneheart’s presence in the books is essential to the mythology of the story and the current chain of events. In the books, she’s the reason why Brienne and Jaime meet at the Riverlands and why the Freys get their comeuppance. On top of that, she’s also the monster that lives inside Catelyn Stark. She’s a resurrected Catelyn Stark after she gets killed in the Red Wedding, and that’s important. Remember how Beric Dondarrion kept losing little bits of himself every time he got resurrected? That’s what happened to Catelyn. To be fair to her, she’d gotten resurrected three days after her body was thrown into the river, and that literally degraded her resurrection, as did the throat slicing at the Red Wedding. However, something needs to be said about how Lady Stoneheart is actually who Catelyn might be at her core, showing that she might be a lot more like Cersei than she thinks.
7. What Really Happens To Mance Rayder
Mance Rayder, the King Beyond The Wall, was an amazing character in the books. He had a cool wife, and his wife had a cool sister named Val, who spent some time being a love interest for Jon Snow before he got betrayed and stabbed by members of the Night’s Watch. In the show, Mance doesn’t have his wife or Val, which changes the reason why Sam and Gilly leave for Oldtown. In the books, Mance’s baby is switched out for Gilly’s baby, so Melisandre won’t get any ideas about using Mance’s baby’s king’s blood. In the show, Mance passes out of relevance when he gets burned at the stake by Stannis and Melisandre. However, in the books, Mance takes on the identity of the Lord of Bones/Rattleshirt and goes on a mission to find Rickon Stark, who’s still missing and on his way to the Umbers. Since Rickon, Stannis and Mance are dead, and Jon, Sam, Gilly, and Melisandre are all way further ahead in the story, this means that this book plot is dead to the show.
6. Ser Barristan’s Kingsguard Boot Camp
One of the most heartwarming bits of A Dance of Dragons was Ser Barristan Selmy. He was an excellent character during the first season/book when he was one of the sanest guys in King’s Landing. He got even better when he was banished from King’s Landing and eventually made his way to Daenerys Targaryen. Then he got killed by the Sons of the Harpy for no reason at all, and everything just went downhill. Not only is Barristan Selmy still alive in the books, he’s setting up a Queensguard for Daenerys using the Dothraki and Meereenese under her rule. He even gets perspective chapters where he talks about training them, and talks about the guys he thinks have real potential. Barristan Selmy was a treasure, and one of the few characters with no real black marks on his record, and he died in a way that was totally beneath him. Unfortunately, with Daenerys on her way back to Westeros with no real knights in her party, there’s no way we’re going to get to see this unless one of the Dornish fills this role.
5. What Really Happens To Jojen Reed
Jojen Reed is one of my personal favorite characters. He along with his sister Meera makes Bran’s storyline that much more interesting (Bran’s storyline is easily my favorite of the entire series so I admit I’m a little biased). However, Jojen hasn’t been around for awhile, thanks to the season 4 finale. That was when the White Walkers caught up to Team Bran and forced Meera to mercy kill her own brother when he gets shot by them. In the books, his fate isn’t quite so cut and dry. Unfortunately, his fate in the books might be even worse than what happened to him in the show. It turns out that Jojen Reed might have been sacrificed to the Old Gods in much the same way as Craster’s sons were. One major theme of the Game of Thrones series is that magic comes with a price, and with every single bit of cool magic, someone had to die to make it happen. To make things even worse, if you read between the lines during Bran’s chapters in A Dance With Dragons, you can draw the conclusion that Jojen was sacrificed, then fed to Bran as weirwood paste. This might very well not be the case, but it’s a popular theory. Sometimes the show is kinder to our favorites than the books are, to say the least.
4. The Real Aegon Targaryen
One major thread of A Dance With Dragons that never gets touched in the show is everything involving Aegon Targaryen VI. It turns out Rhaegar Targaryen’s kids didn’t all get killed by the Mountain: the real Aegon was switched out and raised by Rhaegar’s best friend Jon Connington, and a regular commoner baby got dashed against the wall instead. This means that Daenerys has some competition for the Iron Throne in the books that she still doesn’t know about, and unfortunately for the aforementioned Quentyn Martell, yet another competitor for her hand in marriage. The issue with Aegon is that he’s not quite the statesman Daenerys is, and he might be just a little crazy. The show doesn’t bother with him, electing instead to give Jon Connington’s slowly worsening greyscale to Jorah Mormont and scrapping everything else. I could see how this storyline could have really complicated things, but I also really wanted to see this play out on the show.
In the books, one of the most mysterious people in the whole story is Shireen Baratheon’s personal fool, Patchface. His face literally has green and red patches tattooed all over it, and that’s how he got his name. Those patches are representative of the fact that he was a slave of Volantis, the place where Tyrion gets captured by Jorah Mormont back in season 5. He’s not especially important to the actual events of the story since he’s basically a glorified clown who doesn’t make it into the show, but he’s at the center of a lot of theories about the books. Remember that song Shireen sang back in season 3 “It’s Always Summer Under The Sea?” That’s not her song in the books, that’s Patchface’s song in the books. His songs tend to shed light on what’s happening in different parts of Westeros, and since he’s not the main character, people in the story tend not to notice what he’s singing. The readers certainly noticed, but the characters haven’t.
2. The Hanging Of Podrick Payne
Podrick Payne, in both the show and the book, is an adorable guy with a penchant for undying loyalty to people who aren’t knights and being very, very good at sex. However, in the book, his story goes a little differently. The show treats his story the same as the book for a long time, and it doesn’t deviate until he goes off with Brienne. Unfortunately, Podrick Payne’s story does not go as well in the books as it does in the show. Actually, his story is so up in the air right now, we don’t even know if he’s dead or alive. After a run-in with the Brotherhood without Banners and Lady Stoneheart, Podrick Payne gets hanged by them for looking like he’s loyal to the Lannisters. There’s a good chance that he’s still alive in the books, though: Brienne’s potentially saving his life by betraying Jaime, who’s currently still hanging out in the Riverlands.
1. Sansa, Littlefinger, And Harry The Heir
Topping off this list is literally everything Sansa Stark could have been. She spends season five living out her friend Jeyne Poole’s life in the books and then totally going off and doing something different, so she’s nowhere near where she’s supposed to be. She never actually meets Ramsay in the books, and never comes near her childhood home of Winterfell. What she actually does in the books is far more interesting. She spends a lot of time with Littlefinger, who’s passing her off as Alayne, his bastard daughter. arranges a marriage for her involving a guy named Harry the Heir, a ward of a Vale family and the guy who was going to inherit the Vale before Jon Arryn had the creepiest, whiniest kid in all of Westeros. Because of Littlefinger’s wealth, the fact that Alayne’s a bastard is totally irrelevant: Harry’s from a family who’s a lot less rich than Littlefinger, so when Jon Arryn’s son Robert (Robin in the show) dies, Harry stands to become lord of the Vale. It’s all really cool in a political intrigue sort of way, and Sansa’s journey to becoming a different person very neatly parallel’s Arya’s journey to becoming no one at the House of Black and White. It’s one of my favorite parts of the story because you can totally see Sansa learning how to become a chess master on par with Littlefinger, but we’ll never get to see it on the show because the showrunners thought Sansa getting brutally raped by Ramsay was a better storyline.