Content Warning: This article contains references to graphic violence, sexual assault, physical violence, and murder.
As the world continues to wait for the next book of the A song of ice and fire, fans continue to wait and see what the fate of their favorite characters will be. While its television adaptation game of thrones may have ended, there are a number of differences between the two adaptations, so it’s hard to guess what’s yet to come.
Since the start of the series, many differences have emerged when adapting the expansive story to the small screen. Plots and characters had to be cut or changed in order to better serve the story. While some aspects will be missed, there are storylines that fans will be glad they didn’t adapt.
Varys’ Little Bird’s Backstory
Varys employs a small network of child spies, nicknamed his little birds, in the series, but the focus is not on individuals. Children silently pop up throughout the series in order to inform Varys of any required information, speaking only to him.
However, in the books, it is revealed that the little birds all have their tongues cut out and must be able to read to convey information. This small detail is thankfully omitted from the series, with the spies being seen talking to Varys. While violence against children isn’t exactly avoided on the show, this detail is unnecessary and best left out.
The inclusion of Patchface
Absent from the television series is Patchface, Stannis Baratheon’s court jester who died in a shipwreck before miraculously reanimating himself a few days later. Having lost his memories and his sanity, Patchface sings strange songs that include prophecies about the future.
While that would have been an interesting way to hint at the future events of the show, it’s best if this character was left out of the show. Other than being creepy, with him having a patched pattern etched into his skin, the character really wouldn’t bring anything new to the story that other prophetic characters are already appearing.
In the series and the books, Tyrion participates in the Battle of Blackwater, where Stannis attacked Kings Landing to take the Iron Throne from Joffrey Baratheon. In the series, Tyrion suffers a deep cut to his face, scarring him for the rest of the series. However, in the books, Tyrion has his nose cut off during this encounter.
Naturally, like many quotes, this was cut from the show for a number of reasons. After joking that they couldn’t exactly cut off Dinklage’s nose, Martin himself confirmed that the CGI would have been too expensive (via a panel at Brown University Library). Yet his famous scar became a reminder of that fateful battle at the start of Season 2.
Jeyne Poole was the one who was to marry Ramsay (and not Sansa)
Ramsay’s marriage to Sansa Stark is very different in the books. Instead of Sansa marrying into the family, it’s actually her friend, Jeyne Poole, who claims to be Sansa’s sister, Arya. This was done to keep Sansa safe, hidden with Littlefinger.
This plotline would have been too confusing for the audience to follow, so it’s best left out of the show. Having Sansa be the one to marry Ramsay allowed tensions between the Starks and the Boltons to rise even further, with the intense rivalry paying off when viewers got to the Season 6 episode, “Battle of The Bastards. “.
Robb’s wife, Talisa, is not included in the books
In the show, Robb Stark marries nurse Talisa while tending to the wounded after a battle, and the couple quickly fall in love, marrying in secret. Unfortunately, the two didn’t have their happy ending when this union betrayed a pact between Robb and Walder Frey (resulting in the couple’s deaths in the infamous Red Wedding).
However, in the books, it plays out very differently as Robb Stark doesn’t marry for love. Instead, he has sex with a woman named Jeyne Westerling and marries her because he thinks it’s the right thing to do. It’s certainly not as romantic as the TV series’ altered plot, where Robb and Talisa’s love becomes a tragic, bittersweet tale.
Aegon Targaryen is alive
Unlike the show, Daenerys isn’t the last living Targaryen in the books. His nephew, Aegon, the son of Rhaegar, travels through Westeros as a man named Young Griff. Like his aunt, Aegon wishes to take the Iron Throne and rule the continent like his family before him.
However, it is unclear whether this character is actually a descendant of Targaryen. Overall, the plot is too confusing and would massively bloat the series. With so many characters all claiming the Iron Throne, cutting this one makes sense.
Quentyn Martell is absent from the show
Quentyn Martell is completely absent from the series. The Prince of Dorne ventures to Essos in the books to ask for Daenerys’ hand in marriage but is quickly rejected. After attempting to tame one of his dragons, he is burned alive and dies a few days later.
Considering his story isn’t the most interesting part of the books, it makes sense to cut him from the series. Its connection to Dorne’s already hated plot doesn’t help its case either. The most interesting part about him, his gruesome death at the hands of dragons, isn’t unique to him either and has been seen plenty of times in the series, which doesn’t really need his inclusion.
Several characters are aged in the series
Not specific to any particular character, but it should be noted that most of the characters are much younger in the books compared to the TV show. For example, Daenarys would be around 13 in Book 1, while she is up to 18 at the start of the TV series.
This decision was definitely the right one to make. With the adult nature and situations that most of the characters find themselves in, it would have been uncomfortable to see such young characters act out certain scenes. While there’s an element of realism in portraying younger characters in the books, fans are certainly thrilled that the show has aged everyone.
Tyrion’s personality is very different in the books
In the books, Tyrion is a much crueler character than how he’s portrayed on the show. Inheriting the villainous traits of the Lannisters, Tyrion is both a murderer and a sexual predator, and is known to be violent towards women.
Peter Dinklage’s portrayal of Tyrion is much tamer than that, with the character effectively becoming the face of the entire series. There may be characters who act much worse than Book Tyrion in the show, but it was the right decision to portray this character as more likable. Tyrion is shown to be better than his toxic family in the show, whereas in the books he looks as much like the Lannister as the others.
Roose Bolton and his leeches
A small character trait of Roose Bolton in the books is his affinity for regularly “leeching” himself – where he places leeches on his body to eliminate any “bad blood”. When around the Boltons, a disguised Arya Stark discovers this horrible practice.
For the benefit of any discerning viewers, this was gladly cut from the series. Roose Bolton and his family, especially his son Ramsay, are a sadistic bunch, but even that would be too much for some audience members to handle. Although, compared to their family’s usual method of skinning their victims, it’s perhaps more docile.
NEXT: Memes That Perfectly Sum Up Each Game Of Thrones Main Character’s Personality
Is Gus Fring gay? You better call Saul all but confirm it
About the Author