As I’ve said before the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire Series, A Game of Thrones, followed the first season of the television series almost to a T. The one and only GLARING difference, to me, was how they aged up all of the Stark children, the Lannister children, and Daenerys a few years. I suspect this was done in order to make some of the sexual scenes a little more appropriate for television. But other than that, pretty much what you see is what you get in the book. That’s why I’m truly puzzled in how many changes (many unnecessary) they made from A Clash of Kings and Season Two of Game of Thrones. So if you’re watching the series and have no intentions of reading the book, here is a list of the major changes from the book to the series.
***WARNING: If you plan on reading these books or watching the series in the future and DO NOT want to be spoiled, DO NOT continue reading!!!***
Significant Character Changes:
- Walder & Walder Frey! yes two Walder’s. They are the young sons of, yep you guessed it, Walder Frey. He is the guy in season one who allows Robb and his bannermen to cross his bridge provided Robb marries one of his daughters, Arya is promised to one of his sons, and these two be sent to Winterfell to be raised. They are in many scenes concerning Bran and Rickon in the book. They don’t appear at all in the series.
- Meera and Jojen Reed. Older sister and younger brother also come to Winterfell and befriend Bran. Jojen has what he calls Green Dreams, which in our day and time would be called prophetic dreams. He also knows that Bran is having them and tries to guide him into tapping in. They actually come to Winterfell specifically to warn Bran (more on that later). In the series they never appear.
- In the series they change Theon’s sister’s name from Asha to Yara. They do this so people won’t accidentally mix her up with the wildling woman Osha who was captured by the Starks and now is mainly looking after Bran.
- Catelyn Starks Uncle, whom they call the Blackfish, is a major (minor) character in the book. He is helping Robb while he is off battling in another area of the country. The Blackfish is neither mentioned nor shown in the series.
- Lady Telesia, Robb Stark’s love interest in the series, is NEVER mentioned in the book. She doesn’t exist at all, so her appearance in the series baffles me.
- The whore Alayaya, who makes quite a few appearances in the book, is replaced by a whore named Ros in the series. Alayaya is never mentioned in the series.
Scenes in the book but NOT in the Series:
- In the very beginning of the book we meet Stannis’ deformed young daughter Shireen, her fool Patchface, and his wife Selyse. In actuality, it is his wife Selyse who is as enamored with and believes in the Red Priestess Melisandra. She convinces Stannis to listen to the woman about her Lord of Light. Only the wife is ever shown in the show, and that’s only if you’re really paying attention. Besides that one scene, none of them are ever seen, heard, or mentioned in the series.
- On Joffrey’s name day he ALMOST kills Sir Dontos by drowning him with wine. Instead, trying to spare his life, Sansa suggests Joff takes away his knighthood and makes him be his personal fool. As thanks for saving his life, Dontos leaves a note for Sansa telling her to meet him in the Godswood. He then promises to find a way to spirit her away from King’s Landing and take her back to Winterfell. They have several secret meetings discussing the matter, but these scenes are never shown in the series.
- Daenerys and her Khalesar actually come across several abandoned cities and towns during their time in the Red Waste. One town actually has clean water and dried nuts and fruit trees. They end up settling there for a little while, while they all recover and regain their strength.
- When Dany sends her riders to see what’s out there and how long the Red Waste goes on, Rhakaro is never sent back beheaded. Instead he returns with three riders from Quarth who wants to see her dragons.
- While on their way to Craster’s Keep, the wildling man who marries his daughters, The Night’s Watch come upon several abandoned towns and villages. There are a few discussions about what could have happened to these people are where they might have ended up. They never show this in the series.
- Once the Night’s Watch reach and settle on top of that mountain, it is Jon who finds the buried treasure. The first night his direwolf Ghost refuses to come and indicates he wants Jon to follow him. Claiming to be getting the Old Bear some water, which is towards the bottom, he follows Ghost into the woods where he leads him to the buried treasure. In the ground is dragonglass, and several arrowheads wrapped in a Night’s Watch Cloak. Jon wonders if the cloak belonged to his lost Uncle Benjen Stark. He then fashions a few daggers out of the dragonglass. One he gives to the Old Bear and he splits the arrowheads between his friends.
- Tyrion has the blacksmith’s make a huge chain that serves to block out Stannis’ fleet during the battle of Blackwater Bay. They never show this in the series.
Scenes added in the series, but are NOT in the book:
- The physical relationship between Lord Tyrell and King Renly is actually only hinted at or implied within the novels. So any scenes with them being intimate have pretty much been added.
- The physical relationship between Stannis and Melisandra, the Red Priestess, is also added in the show. It never occurs in the book.
- When Jon spots Craster, the wildling man, taking his baby boy into the woods and sacrificing him to the night walkers, he follows him into the woods. He is then knocked out by Craster and has his sword taken from him. This NEVER happens in the book. They also show Craster treating him rather nasty when they first reach his camp. That never happens either.
- Jamie Lannister is never released from his prision by Catelyn Stark in this book. So the scenes with him and Brienne taking him back to King’s Landing were added.
- Daenerys and her Khalasar are greeted outside of Quarth by the thirteen and refuse her entrance. The only way she is able to come in is by a sacrifice by Xharo Xhoan Daxos. This never happens. In the book they are welcomed into Quarth by Xharo with no issues or problems from the others. They are never even greeted at the gates by the 13.
- In the show Daenerys has her dragons stolen from her and many of her people slaughtered, including one of her maidens Irri. Subsequently she finds out that she has been betrayed by Xharo Xhoan Daxos and her other maiden Doreah. She then punishes them by locking them into Daxos’ empty vault. None of this happens in the book. Her dragons are never taken, Doreah actually dies in the Red Waste before they reach the city where they live for a while, and Irri is still alive. Xharo only asks her to leave once she has made herself clear that she will not marry him.
- Dany’s vision of Khal Drogo and her son in the snow never happens in the book.
- The thirteen being killed by Xharo and Pyat Pree never happens.
- In the book, Stannis is never really shown in the thick of the battle of Blackwater bay. Instead it is implied that he watched from afar.
- After Stannis is defeated he is pissed with Melisandra and begins to strangle her, asking her where is her God now? This is not in the book.
- The scene where Bronn makes the one lone Lannister ship explode with Wildfire, causing Stannis’ men to burn, doesn’t happen.
- The scenes between the Hound and Bronn are added.
- In the series, Tyrion provides Joffrey with two whores as his name day present. He believes it may help work some of the evil out of him if he got laid. But Joffrey then beats and tortures them. This does not occur in the book.
- The closing scene where Sam hides behind that rock and then sees the army of white walkers….never happens!
Scenes that have been changed:
- Stannis’ Maester Cressen tries to poison Melisandre BEFORE Stannis forsakes his old God’s by burning them. After Stannis sees that she is protected but his Maester dies, he then gets on board, burns the Gods, and takes on Melisandre’s Lord of Light as his new God.
- In the series on Joffrey’s name day they actually have a jousting competition. Not just a battle with swords. Prince Tommen participates by jousting a straw filled opponent, and the Hound never participates in the tourney.
- Almost ALL of Arya’s scenes are changed. Arya is actually captured after trying to free Gendry when he was captured. Once sent to Harrenhal, Arya is NEVER made Tywin Lannister’s cup bearer. Instead she is sent to work for a mean son of b named Weese, who take great pleasure in beating those who don’t obey him. And Weese is actually the first name she gives to Jaqen, not the Tickler. Her second name is also someone who she doesn’t name in the show.
- When Tywin and the majority of his men leave Harrenhal to go into battle, Arya convinces Jaquen to help her release the Stark men that have been captured and put in the dungeons at Harenhal. She figures she stands a better chance with Stark men controlling Harrenhal than Tywin’s men. She does this by naming him to die and getting his promise of help to unname him.
- Once the Stark men take over Harrenhal she is made to be Vargo Hoat’s cup bearer. From him she finds out they plan on leaving and recruits Gendry and Hot Pie to escape with her. ARYA actually kills the guard at the gate, not Jaquen. This all occurs after the battle at Blackwater Bay though. In the show she leaves beforehand.
- The scene where the people of Kings Landing riot and those men almost rape Sansa is different. Though Sansa takes a hit to the head, she is never almost raped. Instead another girl named Lolly is raped and passed around the men. She ends up pregnant because of this.
- Also, Shae never becomes Sansa’s handmaiden. She becomes Lolly’s handmaiden.
- In the show Bran tells his Measter that he dreamed the sea was sweeping over Winterfell. In actuality this was a green dream of Jojen Reed. Jojen helps Bran understand that his green dreams are of the future, and that his wolf dreams are true. He really becomes his wolf as he dreams. He is what they call a warg, where his soul has a very strong connection to his wolf summer. I suspect the rest of the Stark children are wargs too.
- When Bran and Rickon escape with Hodor and Osha from Theon Greyjoy after he takes Winterfell, the Reed children are also with them the whole time.
- Theon is pretty much an idiot in the book and the series. He gets ideas from Reek, Roose Bolton’s bastard. He never gives a speech at the end of the show, nor is he knocked out and taken by his own men. He is knocked out by Reek, while his remaining men are killed.
- Daenerys willingly goes into the House of the Undying to find her ‘truth’. While there her dragon Drogon, the black one, kills the souls of the undying. The only survivor of the undying is Pyat Pree. He is never set on fire by Dany’s dragons.
- Jon never holds the wildling girl Ygritte captive. He lets her go and immediately joins his men again. As they try to get back to the moutain where the rest of the Night’s Watch are, they are picked off one by one. In the end there is only Jon and Qhorin the Halfhand left. Qhorin knows they will never make it. He tells Jon that when the wildlings catch up with them, that he MUST yield and vow to become one of them. He tells him to become one of them and find out all about them, Manse Rayder, the life, customs, everything. But in actuality he will still be serving the Night’s Watch. Once the wildlings come Jon does as he is told. He kills Quorin halfhand and goes with the wildlings.
I’m sure I’m missing something, but that is about all I can remember right now. If there are mistakes then please let me know! But, those are all the differences, and I hope maybe they will help to shed some light on events to those who have only watched the show. If you have any questions leave them in the comments. I’ll answer as best as I can.
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