HBO’s adaptation of Game Of Thrones (AKA A Song Of Ice And Fire) is now in its sixth year. In that time, the show has employed considerable artistic licence to speed up, streamline or exercise certain plots. As a result, the fates of various characters — both major and minor — have deviated significantly from the books. Here are ten times the TV show went down a completely different path.
George R R Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire series is a sprawling saga involving hundreds of characters spread across multiple continents. It’s therefore unsurprising that the showrunners have had to make some changes. Pacing considerations, episode length and size of the show’s budget all conspire to keep certain events and characters off screen. In addition, the show regularly takes characters down completely different roads (both figuratively and literally) which has led to narrative choices and interactions that don’t appear in the books.
Here are ten such differences courtesy of GoT fan site ThronesRealm. As any seasoned Westeros fan will tell you, this is merely the tip of the iceberg (or Wall, if you prefer). Other deviations from the books include Brienne’s clash with the Hound (never happened), the deaths of Stannis, Shireen, Selyse, Irri, Rakharo, Mago, Pyat Pree, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Gren and Pyp, Prince Doran, Trysten Martel, Mance Rayder, Hizdahr Zo Loraq, Myrcella Lannister and Roose Bolton (all are still alive in the books), Varys’ travelogues with Tyrion (the former is still laying low in King’s Landing) and pretty much all of Dorne (the show version sucks.)
A lot of these differences — particularly when it comes to untimely deaths — come down to budget constraints. As series’ author George R R Martin once remaked: “Unlike my book characters, the actors expect to be paid money! Therefore, in order to introduce a new character at the start of each season, [the show] has to kill some of the old characters off.”
Nevertheless, if you’re an avid fan of the TV show and are curious how it diverges from the books, this infographic is a pretty good starting point.