First Things First, make sure you have already read Part I: 12 Terrible Changes From The Books In Game Of Thrones
As seasons of Game of Thrones progressed, more and more changes were made in order to fit the narrative in a Television format limited to 10x 1 hour episodes. While some of those changes in Game of Thrones from the books were good, others, as we had previously covered, weren’t so well received by fans. Now that the show has officially gone beyond the scope of the story from the books, there are still many more of those we can expect to see once “The Winds of Winter” is finally published.
Nevertheless, there are still more entries from Seasons 6, and even the earlier ones that pertain to bad changes made from GRRM’s Source material, whether it be a different story, or character trait. Here are 12 more bad changes from the books in Game of Thrones:
12) Doran Martell’s Character Is Completely Butchered
Oberyn Martell quickly became a fan favorite Game of Thrones character that was gone too soon upon his introduction in Season 4. His brutal death at the hands of the Mountain shocked many of them. Nevertheless, hopes for how the HBO series was going to portray the Dornish Storyline from “A Feast For Crows” in Season 5 were set high, even more so when Alexander Siddig was cast as Oberyn’s older brother and Prince of Dorne, Doran Martell.
Throughout “Feast”, readers get the impression that Doran is weakened from his gout for not wanting revenge on the Lannisters for the harm they caused to both his siblings. His daughter Arianne attempts a coup to have Myrcella crowned in Kings Landing in order to cause war between the Martells and the Lannisters. The coup fails when her father reveals his true intentions in restoring a Targaryen to the throne and avenge his brother and sister’s deaths.
A smart and ruseful character, akin to Tywin Lannister, the show only focused on his weakened state. No Dornish Master Plan were even mentioned, and his death in the Season 6 opener only butchered a character that was never given the same chance to shine as he does in GRRM’s book series.
11) Loras Tyrell Dies A Wimp
Loras Tyrell in the books is a fierce warrior. When Ned Stark, the acting hand at the time, wants to send a group to take out Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane for pillaging the Riverrlands, Ser Loras is the first to volunteer for the task. Ned instead sends Berric Danderrion and Thoros of Myr (for which they fail and afterwards create the Brotherhood Without Banners).
Loras’ fate in the books is still unknown. He volunteers to lead a group to attack Dragonstone and reclaim the Old Targaryen Castle to the Crown, and off the hands of Stannis Baratheon, who’s in the North fighting for Winterfell. He gets heavily injured during the battle, and his fate is yet to be determined. In the case that he is indeed dead, at least he died in battle, valiantly fighting Stannis’ troops to avenge Renly’s death.
The show instead had him crumble upon the pressure of the Faith Militant put on him after capturing him. He would relinquish the seat of his house and vow his life to the Faith, even having the Seven Pointed Star marked on his forehead. Completely weakened and humiliated after his trial, he would perish along with his sister Margaery, his father Mace, the High Sparrow, and every other Faith Militant that was foolish enough to be in the Sept of Baelor the moment Cersei Lannister decided to ignite the stash of Wildfire from underneath it.
10) No Strong Belwas
Strong Belwas is a former slave from Mereen who turned into a legendary pit fighter. Claiming to have never lost a fight, he lets his opponents cut him at least once in each fight before they die, which explains his scarred body. A tall and robust eunuch who is three times the size of Daenerys, he is sent by Ilyrio Mopatis to protect her along with his old age squire Arstan Whitebeard.
It is later revealed that Whitebeard is actually an exiled Barristan Selmy, sent to protect the last known Targeryen. Even though they rescue and meet Daenerys from an Assassin sent from the Warlocks in Qarth, the show had a lone Barristan Selmy perform the same deed in Astapor much later in her story, and left out the eunuch completely.
A fan favorite among the book readers for his brutal nature, he is actually the one that confronts the champion of Mereen when Daenerys arrives with her army of Unsullied and sellswords. The show had Daario Naharis quickly kill the champion in one swift motion before peeing at the Mereenese, whereas Belwas took it a step further: after killing their champion, he cuts his head and defecates in front of the people of Mereen, before wiping himself with the Mereenese cloak.
Such a scene would have definitely had more shock value, yet would have hindered the relationship between Daario and Daenerys that the show was trying to establish. Having a large fat and strong Belwas would have taken a lot of attention away from Daario Naharis’ story with Daenerys. Most likely his cut from the show was to allow the sellsword to shine more.
9) Euron Greyjoy Is Toned (WAY) Down
We will have to wait and see how Pilou Asbæk will continue his portrayal of Euron Greyjoy in Season 7, yet there is a reason why many die hard fans were pushing for Mads Mikkelsen to portray “The Crow’s Eye”. Having brilliantly played Hannibal Lecter, and with that look of emotional void he can deliver, Mads perfectly matched the character that GRRM had created in his books.
In the books, Euron is a complete psychopath who has his entire fleet of sailors mute by having their tongues cut, for he enjoys the silence. He is known to be wild, unpredictable, and prone to playing mind bending games with any one around him.
So far, the show has not shown the full range of crazy that this character can maneuver around. Hopefully, it was kept on ice. And now that Ramsey Bolton died at the Battle of the Bastard, maybe Euron will then take over the task of being the new “Crazy Psycho Villain” that each season of Game of Thrones tends to have (like Joffrey Baratheon and Ramsey Snow/Bolton).
UPDATE: This could change in Season 8…
8) The Other Stark Children Aren’t Wargs/Skin Changers
The show decided to have Bran be the only Stark capable of “warging” or “skinchanging” as they call it in the books. The books however, have Jon and Robb often and very consciously enter the minds of their respective direwolves. When word gets around in the Lannister camps at the beginning of the War of Five Kings that “Robb Stark turns into a wolf at night”, it is entirely based on Robb warging into Grey Wind to scout the area in which his armies are stationed, even attacking enemy troops at times.
Jon can also skin change and enter the mind of his white direwolf Ghost, and he does so many times in the books, mostly during the Nights Watch venture North of the Wall in “A Clash Of Kings” (Season 2). His final word in the fifth book “A Dance With Dragons”, as he is being stabbed by Bowen Marsh and other traitors of the Nights Watch are “Ghost”. This had led many to believe that before he died, he warged into his wolf’s mind. That portion in his story has yet to be revealed in the books.
Arya on the other hand, dreams of her abandoned direwolf Nymeria many times throughout the books, not realizing that she has entered her mind and is seeing what she is seeing: having found a pack of wolves she now belongs to. She later realizes her warging abilities in Braavos after being blinded by the Kindly Man (Jaqen H’ghar in the show), and sees through the eyes of gutter cats throughout the city, hence earning her nickname “The Cat of the Canal”.
7) The Entire Qarth Storyline
Before the Dornish Storyline and the Sand Snakes became the show’s Achilles’s Heel, memes and jokes were inspired by Daenerys (ridiculously) screaming “WHERE ARE MY DRAGONS?” in Qarth.
The Qarth storyline was quite important for Daenerys’ arc since she visits the House of the Undying and has many visions of the past and future that will reveal many events of the story, many of which have already occurred in later books (Like the Red Wedding).
Unlike the books where Dany enters the House of the Undying to try and form an alliance with the Warlocks of Qarth led by Pyat Pree, the show had them kidnap her dragons with the help of Xaro and her maiden Doreah. Once Daenerys finds them, she kills Pyat Pree, burns the House of the Undying and leaves Qarth.
In the books however, the dragons burn the House down as an accidental reaction to Dany’s confusion with her visions. This leaves bad blood between her and the Warlock, and again, she leaves the city, but not before escaping an assassination attempt with the help of Belwas and Barristan Selmy. The Warlocks are still after Daenerys in Mereen in the books.
Xaro Xhoan Daxos’ character is a combination of its show counter part and of the “Spice King” who does not exist in the books. He is not as smooth nor efficient when attempting to marry Daenerys, even after offering her all his money. They even leave on good terms once she leaves Qarth for Slavers Bay, unlike in the show where she throws him in a safe to die, for he was behind her dragons capture.
6) Robb Stark Marries Out Of Love
The love story between the King in the North, winning every battle to avenge his father and rescue his sister, and some foreign healer from the battlefield sounded like a sound idea to attract and maintain a female audience to the show, yet failed to add any substantial value to the plot, even tarnishing the honor of a Stark.
In the books, Robb is injured after storming the Crag of House Westerling, a family from the Westerlands loyal to House Lannister. The daughter Jeyne Westerling is instructed to heal and nurse him while he and his troops recuperate after the battle. Once learning that his 2 brothers Bran and Rickon have been killed by Theon Greyjoy in Winterfell, she comforts him and they sleep together one night. In order not to tarnish her honor, he marries her the next day, breaking the oath he had made to Walder Frey about marrying one of his daughters.
This event, which would change the course of Robb’s war has more significance when it’s based upon honor, rather than puppy love. The only redeeming quality of having Talisa Stark rather than Jeyne Westerling in the show, is the intended shock value at the Red Wedding when she, and her unborn baby are the first to get killed by the Freys. In the books, since House Westerling is loyal to House Lannister, Jeyne is spared at the Red Wedding by not attending it.
5) Stannis’ Character Is Butchered
The One True King did not get the credit nor the character treatment he deserved. The show runners not being fond of him doesn’t help either. Ever since his introduction in Season 2, the show decided to portray him as a stern and stubborn religious zealot who would stop at nothing to get the Throne he so desperately want. Book Stannis has more depth to him, since he does not necessarily want the Throne for the pleasure of it, but rather to fulfill his duty.
In both mediums, Stannis is a stern character bound by duty and nothing else. One of the best line to describe him, as told by Donal Noye, the former blacksmith of House Baratheon: “Stannis is pure iron, black, hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He’ll break before he bends.” His quest for the throne is nothing more than him accomplishing his duty as he always have throughout his life.
In “A Dance With Dragons”, when Melisandre suggests more burning sacrifices to the Lord of Light, he categorically refuses as he is not the overly religious zealot that the show made him to be. His exact quote: “Half my army is unbelievers. There will be no burnings. Pray harder”.
That quote makes the burning of his daughter Shereen completely contradictory with the character, even though GRRM has confirmed that Shereen’s death in the show spoiled the event that has yet to occur in the books. In the books however, Shereen and Melisandre are still at Castle Black while Stannis is near Winterfell, having not yet attacked and been defeated like in the show. The sacrifice of Shereen will probably occur without her father’s knowledge, most likely as a sacrifice of Valyrian Blood to resurrect Jon Snow, who’s still freshly stabbed and murdered.
At least his last words were sound enough for what a man like Stannis would say: “Go on. Do your duty”. We have yet to see what’s to happen to the One True King in “The Winds of Winter”, the 6th, long awaited book from the series.
4) Ellaria Sand & The Sand Snakes (Pretty Much The Entire Dornish Storyline)
An entire article could be written on how the Sand Snakes were butchered in both Season 5 and 6 of Game of Thrones. While Oberyn in the books had 8 bastard daughters that comprise the Sand Snakes, the show decided to narrow it down to 3 daughters. In the books, Doran’s daughter Arianne, completely absent from the show, decides to take it upon herself to apply Dornish Law, where women are including the lineage rule, and have Myrcella Baratheon proclaimed Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, rather than Tommen. Her plans gets the support of some, but not all of the Sand Snakes, until her father Doran confronts her about it and reveals to her his true plan to actually restore a Targaryen Dynasty before attacking the Lannisters.
The show decided to use Oberyn’s paramour Ellaria, a bastard herself who has zero claim to the throne or the seat at Sunspear, and kill the remaining members of the Martell family. The plan made no sense, which explains why these characters were left out of almost all of season 6.
Oh, and there were those horrible fights that look more like they belong on”Xena Warrior Princess” rather than “Game of Thrones”
3) Jaime Rapes Cersei
The scene that stirred plenty of controversy when Season 4 aired, only to be outdone by Sansa’s wedding scene in Season 5. The books had it where Jaime arrives in Kings Landing, following 2 years of capture under the Starks, just after the Purple Wedding where Joffrey died. When he enters the Sept of Baelor for his son’s wake is the first time he’s seen his sister since he had left Kings Landing in Season 1. Cersei is also happy to see her brother/lover and consents to having him do her on the steps, right next to their son’s dead body.
The Show, however, decided to have Jaime force himself on Cersei out of anger. Cersei had been giving her brother the cold shoulder ever since his return to the capital, blaming him for both the death of Joffrey, and for abandoning her during the War of Five Kings.
2) The Blackfish Dies Stupidly (If The Case)
Brynden Tully has reappeared in Season 6, after almost 2 Seasons of absence following the Red Wedding. As in the books, he takes Riverrun and refuses to surrender to the Freys. Jaime Lannister is sent to retake the castle and parlays with the Blackfish in both mediums. In the books however, Jaime mentions that Jon Snow is now Lord Commander at Castle Black and offers Brynden Tully to take the Black and join the Nights Watch should he surrenders. Remembering how much distrust his niece Catelyn had for Jon Snow, now the Lord Commander of the Nights Watch, he takes it as bait, believing the Bastard of Winterfell was probably put there by the Lannisters. When his nephew Edmure surrenders the Castle, he escapes Riverrun and is now considered a fugitive.
The show decided to have him go out in a Blaze of Glory, alone against Lannister Men, expecting to die in combat; something that goes against the very nature of the character, even if his death wasn’t shown on screen. So maybe there IS a chance he escaped just like in the books. But seeing how the show treated Stannis Baratheon with a rather similar path, it just might be very unlikely.
1) Lady Stoneheart Officially Gets The Piss
Having the fans literally hanging, as that character would, the show often teased yet never revealed one of the most awaited characters to appear in the show: Lady Stoneheart (LSH). The Brotherhood without Banners, led by Thoros of Myr and Berric Danderrion, find the corpse of a dead Catelyn Stark, her throat wide open, three days after the Red Wedding. Berric sacrifices his life for hers, gives her the kiss of life, and she resurrects, although different than before.
Lady Stoneheart is a cold and cruel woman with only one objective in mind: revenge for the harm done to her family (Stark and Tully). The Brotherhood becomes more and more vicious in their attacks, and in the books, it is left as a cliffhanger that Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne were both killed at her orders, for failing to protect her daughters, and for having Oathkeeper: Jaime Lannister’s Valyrian Steel Sword offered to Brienne which was forged from Ice, House Stark’s ancestral Valyrian Steel sword.
The sight of Lem Lemoncloak in Season 6 attacking Brother Ray’s group minus the Hound, and the shot of him with a noose around his neck was the last tease the show runners decided to give about LSH. By having Berric turn around to face the Hound and reveal himself, the confirmation that the kiss of life had not occurred was as clear as the river they were to rest after their executions.
Speaking of rivers, that same river where Catelyn’s body could have been found, the writers of the show decided to give a clear and concise way to forget about it for good: by having the Hound piss on it. The Hound pissing on the river where LSH would have been birthed is the final F.U to the fans that had been wanting Zombie Catelyn to finally appear on the show.
But then again, in the grand picture, Lady Stoneheart’s role doesn’t really add much value to the entire storyline, if not for a thirst to avenge the Starks, something her youngest daughter will now carry on now that Arya Stark and her Kill List are back in Westeros.