UPDATE! Part II is now available: 12 Terrible Changes From The Books In Game Of Thrones – Part II
George R.R Martin’s fantasy epic “A Song Of Ice And Fire” already had its cult following before HBO decided to turn it into their most profitable TV series ever. And just like any other adaptation from written medium to an audio visual one, changes had to be brought in order to facilitate the transition of mediums. Changes that would have angry fans come out of the woodwork and express their anger.
Now Benioff and Weiss did indeed make some amazing changes between to the books and the show, but they also had some mishaps along the way. Here are 12 changes that angered fans the most, and for good reasons at times
NOTE: We did not include anything related to the Greyjoys and Coldhands, since they just might both make significant appearances in the 6th season…
12 – Renly’s Peach
A small yet impactful event in “A Clash Of Kings” when Stannis and Renly Baratheon meet in the Stormlands to discuss their claims. After the parley goes sour, Renly offers his older brother a peach which Stannis refuses. After his death at the hands of a shadow demon he helped conceived, Stannis is vexed and later haunted by the memory of his brother’s peach. Not sure why this scene wasn’t added, as it would have emphasized on Stannis’ regrets with having murdered his own brother.
11 – Jaime Lannister & Bronn Head To Dorne To Rescue The Princess
The show decided to postpone Jaime’s travels to the Riverlands, instead bringing back Bronn and having this new dynamic duo travel to Dorne to rescue Princess Myrcella. What was initially a potential good idea turned into a disaster once the (Lesser) Sand Snakes were introduced into the mix. The entire Dorne storyline feels like it was rushed and not given proper resources to work on.
10 – Barristan Selmy Dies In A Pretty Bland Way
Barristan “The Bold” is one of the fiercest warriors in the Seven Kingdoms who always lived up to his reputation. In the books, he watches over Mereen after Daenerys flies off with Drogon. Since the show decided to give this task to Tyrion, who has yet to meet Daenerys in the books, it was decided he was to die as he lived, by the sword.
Nothing wrong with that, except for the actual way in which he died: in a tight alleyway, outnumbered by unarmored civilians with knifes, against him, the best fighter in the realm, Grey Worm and 2 other Unsullied. Feels like a quick way to write off a character that should have shined more on the show.
9 – The Massive Chain Tyrion Uses During the Battle Of The Blackwater Is Omitted
In the book version of Battle of Blackwater, Tyrion has Bronn lift a Chain that traps Stannis’ ships along the Muddy Gate, making them tighter together for when the Wildfire attack comes after. The show had the bay too large for such a chain to be realistically there, yet its presence would have been another element of surprise to precede the Wildfire attack.
8 – Daario Naharis’ Look Is Toned Down… WAY DOWN!
This one is debatable, the look of Daario Naharis as described in the books would make for a ridiculous looking character: Blue Hair, Blue Beard and Golden Mustachios. But not only his look, it’s also his cocky swagger that’s been completely toned down on the show in order to not have him steal scenes from the other main characters, something Ed Skrein’s depiction of the Sellsword almost did for the short run he had in Season 3. Michiel Huisman’s portrayal, while good, is a completely toned and watered down version of what this character could be.
7 – Jojen Reed Dies
Jojen meets his (predicted) fate at the hands of resurrected wights in front of the Cave of the Three Eyed Raven. In the books, he had more visions to share with Bran, but it looks like the show decided to have Bran have all these visions himself, now that he’s training with the Three Eyed Raven.
6 – Mance Rayder Dies (For Real)
As confusing as this storyline can be, it would have been a great addition: Mance Rayder is seen burning at the stake, but Melisandre cast a spell that makes another Wildling look like Mance, and Mance look like that Wildling. Jon Snow eventually learns of the trick, and keeps it to himself, sending Mance on missions to Winterfell to attack the Boltons and rescue “Arya Stark” (Jeyne Pool pretending to be the youngest Stark sister).
5 – Shae Honestly Falls In Love With Tyrion
In order to make her betrayal at his trial even more vicious, the show decided to have Shae legitimately fall in love with Tyrion after he brings her to Kings Landing. Which makes little sense, considering all the instances where Tyrion explained to her why he couldn’t be with her, not to mention all the times he protected her from danger.
4 – No Mention Of Tysha
Tysha, Tyrion’s first wife, was briefly mentioned in Season 1. When Tyrion is saved by his brother, and before he kills his father in the privy, Jaime confesses to him, knowing it may be the last time he sees his little brother, that Tysha wasn’t actually a paid prostitute hired to marry Tyrion. Her love was real and Tywin had him humiliated to teach him a lesson, which is what drives Tyrion to go visit his father.
The confession makes Tyrion resent his brother, and he flees to Essos with harsh feelings towards him; something the show decided to remove entirely, and have Tyrion focus on his love for Shae instead, when it came to killing Tywin.
3 – The Entire Young Griff, Old Griff Storyline Is Cut
Not wanting to spoil this storyline (An entire article can be dedicated to it), the addition of yet another potential Targaryen going for the Iron Throne in the mix just might confuse fans even more, and hence it was most likely cut for these reasons. Now with this storyline gone, we really have no idea what Varys is really up to….
2 – Lady Stoneheart Is Cut
Three days after the Red Wedding, the body of Catelyn Stark is found in a river by the Brotherhood without Banners. Beric Danderrion gives her the kiss of life and she is reborn as Lady Stoneheart, bent on avenging all those that wronged her and her family.
While it’s understandable that in the grand scheme of things, she is as minor as it gets in terms of how often she appears after her resurrection, it’s the sense of Justice for the Stark that would have rejoiced fans the most.
1 – Grey Worm & Missandei Become Romantically Involved
A former slave now aid to the Mother of Dragons, and a former slave soldier, now the commander of the Unsullied for the same ruler. Given that the books have enough material to try and fit in 10 one hour episodes, a lot of good characters and storylines end up getting cut to make room for more important ones. So why even bother with a love story between these two, that literally adds zero value whatsoever to the entire storyline?
#4 is wrong. Jaime confesses to Tyrion that Tysha was NOT a paid prostitute in the books. Tyrion had been led to believe by Tywin that Tysha had been paid to marry him and that she had never loved him, but after setting Tyrion free from the black cells, Jaime confesses that her love was in fact genuine and it was all their fathers plot to teach Tyrion a lesson, inspiring Tyrion to pay a visit to his dear old dad before leaving across the narrow sea
GOT didn’t use this scene, but The Vikings on The History Channel sure did.(in reply to Mia)
GOT didn’t use this scene, with Tyrion’s chains in the Black Water Battle, but The Vikings on The History Channel sure did.(in reply to Mia)
Isn’t that what it said?(in reply to Mia)
That’s pretty much exactly what the article says.(in reply to Mia)
The Tysha thing was the reason Tyrion turned on his brother and told him about Cersei, even making some of it up and also said he killed Joffrey when he’s the only person we know DIDN’T do the poisoning.
The Shae thing is typical Hollyweird “hooker with heart of gold’ mentality. They refuse to look at the reality of how badly they have it being prostitutes, which Martin seeming to know exactly how.
The Dorne storyline was a pure Fubar and they might as well have a tidal wave level the place. The Sand Snakes weren’t “strong women” but pure sociopaths with nothing to separate their personalities except how they looked in the movies.
By putting Bronn in that situation, they completely ignore his side swipes at Cersei. Naming Lollys’ kid “Tyrion” for one, taking over the castle another.
Jaime shows his true mettle and just how he’s becoming a true knight in the Riverlands. He’s strict but fair to all that’s still fighting. Having this side trip to Dorne negates all of that.
I’ve got to stop or I’ll rant all day.(in reply to Mia)
Stannis’s butchered story was pretty bad.
For me, the part that annoyed me the most was that Sansa was married to Bolton when that did not happen in the book. Even though Sansa showed strength in that alteration, I found it rushed and fake in her presentation when she boldly went to asked Theon for his help. Just my opinion.
Where’s Cold Hands and Darkstar?
Wasn’t Missandei 12 years old in the books? Completely boring romance anyways.
Okay list. Several things are missing: the character assassination of Stannis; Shireen’s death; Sansa marrying Ramsay; the circumstances of Jon’s stabbing; no Coldhands (*wipes away a tear*); the reason for Margaery’s arrest, and resulting reduction of Loras’ character to a stereotype; leaving out the valonqar…I better stop now or I’ll be at this all day.
I get why they killed Jojen…for the same reason they killed Barristan. They can have other characters take over some of their stuff. Tyrion can advise Dany about Westeros, and Three-Eyed-Raven can tell Bran most of what Jojen could have told him. I’m sure they have a similar reason for offing Mance–whose duties will probably be taken over by Tormund and/or Howland Reed. Agreed that Barristan’s death was lame though. At least Jojen was attacked by supernatural ice forces. Barry was taken down by some chumps in masks…who were attacking in broad daylight, which is stupid.
To date, I consider the omission of the truth about Tysha to be the biggest mistake they’ve made. It makes such a difference to Tyrion’s character and without that he never would have wasted time trying to talk to Tywin. The whole point is that he wants to know where Tysha is. He doesn’t plan to kill his father, it just ends up that way. It’s a crime of passion, as opposed to the slightly premeditated murder it is on the show.
I think the Griffs were cut to save money on CGI. With Young Grilff in the mix, there’s a good chance of a battle between dragonriders, which would have been incredibly difficult to produce. Also I think the kid will end up dead anyway and mainly exists for the way the other characters react to him.
Are we positive that they won’t try to introduce Lady Stoneheart? This was what I most looked forward to – the fans would have loved the shock and surprise!
A complete waste of time. The origins of this nonsense is probably rooted in requests to increase “minority” screen time in the show.
What they did to the Dorne story line is nothing less then lazy writing. The attempt to create “bad ass Bitches” is simply boring. The characters, as written in the book and their interaction with Doran was amazing. What D & D has done is a travesty.
Totally agree about the Dorne story line in the show. The sand snakes in the show are loathsome and ridiculous. Terrible dialogue and acting. A complete waste of precious storytelling minutes.(in reply to Jake)
Anyone who understands film and editing would get why these pieces were cut and that others were revised. I think the show has done a great job highlighting the important characters and limiting the lesser characters. I think adding more time to these minor characters and minor details would have made the show drag on and become overly confusing. You just have more time to spell things out in a book.
I agree with almost all of the comments so far. However, I think that the changes to the battle in the snow for Winterfell were lame. Melisandre did not even go with Stannis, which in his past defeats, he also chose to leave her behind. Missed some good foreshadowing there among other things. I am concerned with all of the changes the first episode of this season has made to the story in book 5. I am concerned much time will be wasted developing storylines not actually in the book and leaving out some that true fans will sorely miss (like Lady Stoneheart). I supposed there is still time…
Were is the youngest brother of starks? Its like he just disappeared.I really want him to come rideing back in with a army and the starks banners flying.
He’s in a terrible spot now…(in reply to twitch)
Hoq about how Robb Starks wife was killed in the show but in the books is alive and in hiding.
She wasn’t pregnant either.(in reply to FusionSteak)
Who gives a shit about the lame ass books?
Let’s be honest, Lady Stoneheart is crap in the books. Tyrion taking over Mereen is way better than what happens. As for your number 1, I agree and disagree.
The unsullied are sworn to Daenerys – not Tyrion. Tyrion saving Missandei helps Grey Worm trust Tyrion, and I’m guessing at some point in the show Tyrion is going to need the unsullied to solve the harpy problem in Mereen. Also, the subplot about unsullied going to visit brothels might come back, and is definitely related to that relationship.
She is going to kill off freys. She might be more important than we think.shes still alive so the next book night have her more. Plus she did kill a character that’s still in the show. But maybe they will still bring her back the freys have not been shown since the red wedding.(in reply to ROb)
I agree. The Missandei gray worm romance is pointless, especially since that means relevant storyline gets cut.
Thank you for mentioning Daario. Michiel Huisman is quite charming…but in the book, Daario is more of a sleaze with a high level of self-interest. Missing flamboyant costuming & makeup aside, I thought Ed Skrein embodied Daario so much better, and I was bummed to see him recast.
The Grey Worm/Missandei romance was created out of PC reasons, nothing else. Many of the other changes I can understand, but I do agree that Selmy’s death was underwhelming – he deserved better. I also lament that the show is not giving us more insight on the Tyrian/Tysha story, which in the books is such a driving force behind his actions.
The homosexual scenes between Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell in the series. Why?! Where are they to be found in the books and why would they be important? The same goes for Oberyn Martell! Somehow the writer of this article was very meticulous in his research, but strangely omitted to notice these discrepancies.
1. No Strong Belwas…
Ok what about the skinchangers. Why are they leaving that out? Like six skins who rode with Mance. He had six different animals that he lived in. And that Jon and Bran were both skinchangers. And that Rickon was like 3 in the books not 13. He may have been 5 or 6 tops at this point but thirteen? Am I missing something?
They made all of the Stark children 2-3 years older than in the books. Not necessarily a bad change, more of a neutral change.
The books span probably close to 5 years time. Jaime was imprisoned by the Starks at Riverrun for over a year….(in reply to Sandra)
The worst thing….it basically gutted Season 2 and 3 was the execrable Talisa Maegyr. A ridiculous modern stereotype with a big mouth that stole endless scenes from the wonderful Kat (a truly magnificent intelligent and strong woman).
Martin doesn’t know how to stop himself. Just one, if the visuals were all as he described, the show would be ridiculous and ridiculed, review his description of armor and heraldry. plenty more. the show runners are doing a good job of editing, which the books could have used to begin with.
[…] 12 Terrible Changes From The Books In Game Of Thrones … – Mia #4 is wrong. Jaime confesses to Tyrion that Tysha was NOT a paid prostitute in the books. Tyrion had been led to believe by Tywin that Tysha had been paid to … […]
I don’t know why people get all bent out of shape over differences between the show and the books. If it were exactly the same, it’d be kinda boring. I like the changes, they keep me on my feet.
I heard that Lady Stoneheart will be appearing in the last season. Who knows?
Some of the changes in the show were actually changes George R.R. Martin wished he did in the books. For instance the Stark children ages. Originally in the books there was suppose to be a 5 year gap between books. This would allow the children to age and make it more believable for someone like Jon Snow to be Lord Commander. However, Martin realized he would have to waste so many chapters doing flashbacks (as it would be unbelievable nothing significant happened to anyone in 5 years) that he just moved the plot forward. Because of this he’s said on record he wished he started off those characters at an older age.
All the main plot points of the books line up with show. Considering the show is now ahead of the books it actually gives insight into the fate of many minor book characters. Cutting Young Griff out of the show must mean his character in the book is much more insignificant then he appears. Additionally in George R.R. Martins original 3 page outline of the whole story only 5 main characters are ever suppose to live until the end: Jon Snow, Arya Stark, Bran Stark, Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen.
Almost everyone of these examples is painfully obvious why they were changed from the books if you actually work it out in your head.
Most of these changes makes perfect sense. Book readers have a tendancy to automatically hate anything that is changed from the books without actually working out why it does or doesn’t make sense on screen.
12. Starting with the peach. You realize how lame this would play on screen for Stannis to be repeatedly troubled over a peach. How would you shoot this? Have Stannis have flashbacks of his brother whenever he sees a peach? And should we be interested enough in Stannis’s psyche to delve into such a thing? The answer is no.
11. The going to Dorne to rescue the princess/sanndsnake thing is just a really bad write on GRRM’s part. Do we care about the princess? No. We care about Jamie’s character though, but is that enough to carry this storyline? The show knew that they didn’t have much to work with, so they brought in Brohn to build on Jamie and Brohns relationship which h is something that is actually pertinent to the overarching storyline, which is the only thing about the storyline that works. This storyline is something GRRM pulled out of his ass to build a vengeance storyline on behalf of prince Oberyn’s widow who was turned into a sandsnake as soon as it became convenient to the plot. Every writer makes bad choices. This was one of them.
10. Sure the way Barristan dies could have been better, but give praise were praise is due. Bringing in the most popular character in the entire story to fulfill that role was a brilliant move on the shows behalf. Of course we want more Tyrion. These are major improvements. Why are book readers so stupid? Book readers tend to not think, rather they just hate change.
9. – Does the chain in the water do anything to enhance to story one way or the other? No. So who gives a.
#8. Daario Naharis – it’s pretty much explained why this would be a bad idea. It’s a perfect case and point why certain things simply don’t convert well from book to show and it’s best to cut out the things that don’t rather than forcing something that doesn’t fit.
#7. Do I need to breakdown why this was a good move to have Jojen die before they get in the cave. Once again. People not thinking, rather change = bad.
#6. The magical stuff doesn’t convert well on the show. The least entertaining storyline’s for the show is Bran’s 3-eyed Raven seeking storyline and Arya’s while at the House of Black & White. Along those lines Melisandre magically switching out Mance Rayder doesn’t work well for the show at all and would take away from when Melisandre brings Jon back to life.
#5. I find it odd that the fault with Shae would be her falling in love with Tyrio. The show did an atrocious job with this character. All she does is bust Tyrions balls in 90+% of her scenes. She’s not likeable and she’s not attractive, so why is Tyrion so compelled to her? Who knows? But it makes the entire Shae storyline a horrible one when it should be one of the stronger ones. When Cersei thinks Tyrion’s lover is the Ross chick we don’t feel relief for Shae or Tyrion, we feel bad for Ross.
4. no oponion
3 & 2 – magical storylines that wouldn’t work on screen. Of course they were good cuts.
1. I would agree this was an atrocious storyline. I give the show runners and HBO credit for not giving into most of the pc nonsense that got thrown their way. This was an instance where they tossed a bone. I’m not going to give them too hard of a time for creating this storyline for the sake of pandering since every other show does it 10 fold, but a horrible storyline nonetheless.