Adapting a massive fantasy book series still in progress with hundreds of characters is no easy task, and yet creators David Benioff and DB Weiss have managed to do just that with George R.R. Martin’s game of thrones. For eight seasons, from 2011 to 2019, the show followed the various residents of Westeros and their quests for strength, love, and survival. HBO was a massive hit, and the show was praised for its characters, performances, and overall story, though many felt the final season was a disappointment. Although the show is complete, Martin’s book series continues, with many wanting to read the book’s version of the events of the show. In the meantime, let’s explore some of the big differences between the books and the show.
Updated April 24, 2023: If you can’t get enough of Legend game of thrones series, then you will be happy to know that this article has been updated with additional content by Yousra Benlagha.
Emaar Stark Kids
One of the biggest differences is the ages of many of the characters, in particular, the Stark children. John (Kit Harington) and Rob (Richard Madden) are 14 in the first book, while John is 16 and Rob is 17 in the show. Similarly, Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) are two years old, ranging from 9-11 in the books to 11-13, respectively. Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Rickon (Art Parkinson) are three years old, with Bran going from seven in the first book to ten in the show, and Rickon going from three in the first book to six in the show.
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) also sees a huge age difference; She is 13 in the first book, but her age builds up to about 17 in the show.
Sansa’s marriage to Ramsay
Some of the show’s most heart-wrenching moments come when Sansa is forced to marry Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rayon), who has crossed the North. Sansa is assaulted and mercilessly abused by Ramsay, but none of that happens in the books. Instead, Sansa’s childhood friend, Jeyne, is depicted as Sansa’s sister, Arya, and married Ramsay. It made sense to bring the story into an established character, and it went a long way in making Ramsay more despicable. However, the show has since been criticized for including excessive sexual violence.
Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) was murdered at the Red Wedding with Robb. This is the same in the books and the show. In the books, her corpse is dumped in the river and retrieved a few days later. She is then found by the Brotherhood Without Banners, who revive her. She changed after her resurrection as well as her appearance as a stone corpse. She also lacks any pity and begins killing anyone involved in the wedding massacre. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, the creators said they let it go because they didn’t want her resurrection to dampen the effect of the wedding, and they didn’t want “many resurrections,” since Jon’s upcoming resurrection takes precedence.
Jorah Mormon in greyscale
Jorah Mormon (Ian Glynn) serves as Daenerys’ loyal friend. In Season 5, he was infected with grayscale after saving Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) from the water. Greyscale is a disease that makes the patient’s skin hard and scaly like stone until the body finally shuts down. Although Jorah recovers, it adds a lot of tension to his character arc. In the book, though Jorah still has rough rides, he never gets greyscale.
Jojen Reed’s survival
Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) is a guide and friend to Bran, helping him develop his prophetic abilities. In the Season 4 finale, he, Bran, and Mira (Ellie Kendrick) are attacked by jungle possums. While others survive, he does not. His death makes things more difficult for Bran, and signifies that he must come into his own. However, in the books, Jojen survives and continues to help Bran along the way.
In the fifth book A dance with dragonsWe are introduced to a young boy named John Connington. In fact, it is hinted that he is Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar; He was supposedly killed as an infant by the mountain. He is taken from King’s Landing by Varys (Conleth Hill), who grooms him to one day reclaim the throne. It’s uncertain how his story will play out in future books, but it may not matter, since he didn’t appear in the show.
Missandei and Gray Worm’s relationship
Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) serves as a friend and servant to Daenerys, while Gray Worm (Jacob Anderson) serves as the leader of her army. Their relationship, while favorite and considered one of the best on the CBR show, is absolutely not in the books. Plus, Missandei starts out at just 10 years old in the books. Her age on the show is unknown, but it is implied that she is older, which helps their relationship understand more. Arguably, it’s a good change that allows both characters to shine.
Robb Stark’s wife
Another victim of the Red Wedding is Talisa (Ona Chaplin), Rob’s wife, who was pregnant with their child. In the books, Talisa does not exist; Instead, Rob’s wife is named Jane, and he does not bring her to the wedding. He meets Jeyne, who is sworn before the Lannisters while recovering from a battle wound. After he sleeps with her, he marries her because he thinks it is the best way to help her.
The show replaced this storyline with Talisa, who tends to the wounded in the aftermath of each battle, in the second season. Then she and Rob secretly married before their grisly deaths.
The Night King does not exist
There may be slight confusion among fans game of thrones Concerning the King of the Night and the King of the Night because of the similarity of these two names. In fact, these are two different personalities. The Night King, mentioned in the books, is known to be the leader of the Night’s Watch who married a White Walker. Together they ruled for an appalling thirteen years of utter tyranny and terror. They terrorized the people and took them as sacrifices. Their rule finally fell to the Freedmen and the Starks when they finally united against him.
However, the Night King has no real presence in the book. It is the creation of the show’s writers who saw fit to give the White Walkers a leader and structure. In fact, The Night King gave the show more poignancy and fleshed out the critical nature of the situation. Facing a group of zombie-like creatures that can’t think is different from facing an enemy that can not only arise from the dead and resurrect but also be able to think strategically.
attacks Daenerys’ dragons, killing one; He intuitively knows the importance of Bran Stark (the next King of the Seven Kingdoms) and pursues him relentlessly to prevent him from fulfilling his destiny. He is the only character who, despite his silence throughout the show, brought many interesting and exciting scenes.
The Lannister Brothers are not on good terms
Although Tyrion and Jaime Lannister are portrayed as the two brothers who stand each other’s back and eventually part ways on good terms, the books tell a very different, even contradictory story. In the books, the two brothers don’t get together after Tyrion leaves King’s Landing. Indeed, their last meeting ended on a dire note. After helping him escape from the dark dungeons below the Red Keep, Jamie tells his younger brother a secret about his ex-wife Tysha. He tells him that their father, Tywin, convinced him that Tysha was a “bitch” who didn’t love him and was only after his fortune, when, in truth, she was a simple commoner and the daughter of a wrestler.
Tyrion suffered greatly because of this lie, which created a huge emotional and relational blockage in him. He was angry at his brother who could have ended his misery long ago by telling him the truth. Feeling betrayed, Tyrion screams at his brother, threatening him with revenge.