There are too many characters from the books of “A Song Of Ice And Fire” that ended up not appearing in HBO’s Adaptation “Game of Thrones”; some for the better to simplify the story, others, we have yet to know why. We take a look at twenty characters from George R.R Martin’s epic fantasy series to have either not appeared on the show, or that have been modified and their storylines transferred to other characters from the series to avoid confusion.
You may often hear avid fans of the books complain about these omissions, yet keep in mind that a lot of these are actually justified. Other merges of characters, or transfer of one new character’s story arc to an already existing one in the show made for less complicated viewing.
Many fans of the show often complain about the intricate plots involving the already many characters in the series. Imagine had more been introduced…
First one is by now an obvious one:
20 – Lady Stoneheart
Pretty much everyone knows about Lady Stoneheart by now, so it comes as no surprise that she would be on this list. The show even had a symbolic scene where the Hound, presumed dead in Season 4, takes a leak on a river in Season 6, to confirm she will never ever appear on “Game of Thrones”.
After her throat is slit wide open at the Red Wedding, Catelyn Stark’s body is thrown in a river. The Brotherhood without Banners, led by Berric Danderrion and Thoros of Myr find the rotten corpse three days after the horrific events. Berric sacrifices himself and gives Catelyn the kiss of fire, dying one final time and resurrecting her in the process.
The resurrected Catelyn however, is obviously changed in the process into a dark and colder woman who gets the nickname of Lady Stoneheart. Her existence is now bent on one thing only: to avenge the Red Wedding and kill any and everyone that had a play in it, starting with two of Walder Frey’s sons they cross paths with at the very end of “A Storm of Swords”
Her storyline was most likely cut from the show due to nothing truly significant being built around her besides her thirst for vengeance. Arya Stark might be the one to take on her path with her list of names still going…
19 – Hoster Tully
While he exists and is even shown in the show, Hoster Tully plays a much bigger role in the books, especially during the War of Five Kings. Whereas the show only showed his dead body being cremated, the book has him more involved in protecting the Riverlands from the many Lannister led raids before and during the War of Five Kings.
The Riverlands have always being prone to attacks due to their geographical location. Hoster Tully hence made the smart move of betrothing his two daughters Lysa and Catelyn to Lords of the Vale (Jon Arryn) and the North (Brandon Stark). After Brandon and his father Rickard Stark’s deaths at the hands of the Mad King, House Tully was bound to join Robert’s Rebellion in taking down the Targaryen dynasty.
During the events of “A Game of Thrones” and later during the War of Five Kings, Hoster has grown old and ill, yet keeps it a secret due to his proud nature. After refusing to swear allegiance to King Joffrey Baratheon following Robert’s Death, his House and castle of Riverrun is taking under siege by Jaime Lannister and his army.
It is Robb Stark that breaks the siege (and captures Jaime), which gives Catelyn a chance to see her dying yet still lucid father. He eventually dies of old age during the War and his son Edmure takes control of Riverrun.
No real explanation was given as to why a living Hoster Tully was never shown in the HBO series. The only possible reason would be of budget reasons. The large battle between the Starks and Lannisters armies at the doorsteps of Riverrun were probably not possible at the time Season 1 was filmed. Jaime Lannister’s capture was moved to another non filmed battle, and the story arc involving Riverrun and the Tullys was postponed for Season 3
18 – Arianne Martell
Arianne Martell is the eldest daughter of the current Prince of Dorne, Doran Martell. A kind and gorgeous woman, she has no ill will in seducing men to achieve her goals. Arianne seems to live the happy life of a princess in the warmest region of Westeros, that is until the news of her uncle Oberyn’s death at the hands of Gregor Clegane in a Trial by Combat reaches her.
Wanting revenge towards the Lannisters, she consults her father Doran which initially turns her down. Turning to eight of Oberyn’s bastard daughters, the Sand Snakes (the show only brought 3 – Thank God), they conspire to have Myrcella Baratheon, betrothed to her brother Trystane Martell, crowned in Kings Landing, and take down the Lannisters.
Doran however, foils her plans, and sits her down to explain to her the bigger picture at hand: to create an alliance with Daenerys Targaryen and eventually take down the Lannisters.
The show decided to give some of her responsibilities to Ellaria Sand and well… We all know how that turned out.
17 – Quentyn Martell
Quentyn Martell is the second child, and oldest son of the Prince of Dorne, Doran Martell. His absence from the show was most likely due to his very secondary role in the story.
Quentyn is sent by his father Doran to head to Mereen and propose his hand to Daenerys Targaryen, ensuring an alliance between her and Dorne when her eventual return to Westeros is due. Daenerys turns him down, as she is already wed to Hizdahr zo Loraq of Mereen for political reasons.
The Martells being descendants of the Targaryen bloodline through many of their ancestors, Quentyn comes up with the brilliant idea of summoning Daenerys’ two captive dragons in their cave. Trying to tame Viserion, he instead finds himself roasted by Rhaegal, and dies of his severe burns four days later.
Not much to work with, especially when considering how the Dorne storyline happened in the show…
16 – Donal Noye
Donal Noye is probably one of the coolest characters on this list to have not been shown in the show. Nevertheless, his role was minor at best, and many other characters filled in his shoes for some of the key plot points involving him.
Noye was a smith for House Baratheon where he made Stannis’ first sword, and Robert’s legendary Warhammer with which he killed Rhaegar Targaryen in the Battle of the Trident.
Noye lost his arm from an axe wound during the year long siege of Storm’s End, the Castle of House Baratheon, that occurred during Robert’s Rebellion. After the siege was lifted and Robert was proclaimed King, he decided to join the Nights Watch
When Jon Snow arrives at Castle Black, Donal is the one to put him back in his place with his cocky behavior. He reminds him of his new duties in the Nights Watch, and to be more considerate to his new brothers. When Jon returns injured from Ygritte’s arrows after having fled Mance Rayder’s camps, Donal is the one that finds him and aids him first.
It is him that dies fighting Magg the Mighty in the tunnels inside the Wall during the Battle of Castle Black, a role that was given to Grenn in the show’s depiction of the battle. After he saved the Watch from the Wildlings, Stannis recounts fond memories of Donal with Jon, now Lord Commander of the Nights Watch.
Donal Noye is also known for this very famous, and very spot on quote about the three Baratheon brothers:
“Robert was the true steel. Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He’ll break before he bends. And Renly, that one, he’s copper, bright and shiny, pretty to look at but not worth all that much at the end of the day.” – Donal to Jon Snow.
15 – Patchface
Patchface is one of those weird characters from the books that might have not transcended well in the series. Portrayed and seen as a mere fool by almost every other book character, he still carries a certain mystery about him. Following Stannis Baratheon’s camp he is liked by his daughter Shireen Baratheon for he brings her joy and laughter. The Red Priestess Melisandre on the other hand finds him rather suspicious, moreso considering his often true prophetic words.
In the books, Patchface has been able to foreshadow Melisandre’s shadow baby, the Wildfire Explosion at the Battle of Blackwater, the Red Wedding, and the return of the White Walkers (While the readers are aware of their return, all the characters not in the Nights Watch are not).
A favorite among book readers, his presence on the show may have weirded many non book readers at first. Which probably explains his absence from the series.
14 – Jeyne Poole
Although Jeyne Poole DID technically appear on the show (it was confirmed in the DVD/Blu Ray commentary of the pilot episode), she was only used as a background extra in the Pilot.
In the books however, Jeyne Poole becomes of tremendous political value. Having been Sansa Stark’s childhood friend, she leaves with the Stark girls in Kings Landing, only to be held captive by the Lannisters after Ned Stark’s death. Initially viewed as some common Northern girl of no value, she is dismissed for having no political leverage. Littlefinger, on the other hand, sees an opportunity, and snatches her for later use.
She is later brought back to the Bolton controlled Winterfell, presumed for being Arya Stark. She is then betrothed to Ramsay Bolton, who constantly abuses her, before being rescued by Theon Greyjoy/Reek who helps her escape and find safety in Stannis’ army.
That entire storyline was instead transferred to Sansa Stark. Otherwise, her being stuck in the Vale for 2, maybe even 3 seasons may have slowed down the show.
13 – Victarion Greyjoy
Victarion Greyjoy is another one of Balon Greyjoy’s (Crazy) Brothers. The Ironborn are notorious for their savagery, and Victarion delivers on all count, having only been defeated once in battle by Stannis Baratheon during the Greyjoy Rebellion.
The Greyjoy’s words being “We Do Not Sow”, Victarion used them to take three wives to claim as his. His third one, nameless in the books, was the one he was most fond of. The day she came to him, bearing news that she was bearing a child that was not his, but rather his brother Euron’s, Victarion lost his senses and beat her senseless, killing her in the process.
The confrontation between the two brothers afterwards, almost ended in Victarion killing his brother, a big no no in the World of Ice and Fire. Their brother Balon settled the dispute by exiling both brothers from the Iron Islands.
As where the books stand, Victarion is heading for Slavers Bay with his Iron Fleet to seek an alliance with Daenerys Targaryen. Mereen being under siege at the end of “A Dance of Dragons”, maybe his arrival will change the tide of the battle, guaranteeing a Targaryen victory over the Masters of Yunkai and Astapor.
In the show however, that storyline was slightly modified with Yara and Theon heading to Mereen to seek an Alliance with Daenerys, which they obtained after the siege was lifted by Dany alone with her three dragons.
UPDATE: Looks like the show decided to mix both Greyjoy Uncles, Euron and Victarion, into Pilou Asbæk’s version Of Euron in Season 7. Euron is seen attacking and raiding Yara and Theon’s ships while also wielding an impressive axe, something Victarion would have done in the books.
12 – Edric Dayne
Edric Dayne is the current heir and lord of House Dayne, being a nephew to Ser Arthur Dayne, “The Sword of the Morning”. He is also a relative through marriage to Berric Danderrion, which will lead to the young swordsman in join the Brotherhood without Banners during the War of Five Kings.
An avid fan of his late uncle, who died at the hands of Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy, he is first introduced as a squire to Berric Danderrion during the Tourney of the Hand in “A Game of Thrones”. Ned Stark, the Hand of the King at the time, sends Berric and his men to capture Gregor Clegane, now an enemy of the Crown.
Edric joins the cohort and is the one who picks up the corpse of Berric the first time he is killed by The Mountain in the Riverlands. Throughout the rest of the books, he continues being a member of the Brotherhood under Berric and Thoros, and later, under Lady Stoneheart.
11 – Gerold “Darkstar” Dayne
With the way that the HBO series completely butchered the Dorne Storyline, it comes as no surprises that this character was completely left off. Gerald Dayne, commonly known as Darkstar is part of a minor branch of House Dayne. He is well known for his exceptional skill with swords as well as his shady and treacherous behavior.
Initially a part of Arianne Martell’s plot in Dorne to crown Princess Myrcella Baratheon to the Iron Throne, he becomes the one who “With one stroke of his sword, he had changed her botched plot into something foul and bloody”. Despite the treachery, something expected of him, Arianne Martell still has an uncontrollable crush on him. She finds him to be the most handsome man in Dorne, despite his cruel nature
In the books, Darkstar is currently hiding from Obara Sand who was ordered by Doran Martell to kill him. There is even a theory hinting that he is the one who is actually baiting Obara into a trap that will eventually lead to her death.
Inspired from this entry about Gerold Darkstar
10 – Garland Tyrell
Garlan Tyrell is the older brother of Loras and Margaery Tyrell. Garlan is not as well known as his younger brother Loras. Reason being that he does not seek glory, unlike his younger brother who often joust at tournaments. Whereas Loras is master rider and jouster, Garlan is a Swordsman of the highest caliber, matching the levels of Barristan Selmy and a two handed Jaime Lannister.
As the War of Five Kings breaks out (beginning of season 2 in the show) the Tyrells choose to fight for Renly Baratheon. After Renly’s death by Stannis and Melisandre shadow monster, the Tyrells agree to join forces with Tywin Lannister to fight Stannis and avenge Renly.
Where in the show it is Loras that leads the Tyrell’s army at the battle of Blackwater sporting Renly’s armor, in the books, that entire setup is carried by his older brother Garlan. The trick works, as it scares simple minded soliders from Stannis’ army to believe that Renly came back from the dead to attack them, hence his nickname “The Shade of Renly”.
There was speculation that the third person in the background next to Margaery and Loras Tyrell during Tyrion’s Trial in Season 4 would have been their older brother Garlan. Benioff and Weiss, the show’s producers, debunked that rumor and confirming it was only an extra cast for cinematography purposes.
While in the books Loras gets sent to Dragonstone to fight the remnants of Stannis’ army, Garlan, heads back to the reach to defend Tyrell territory now under attack from Euron Greyjoy.
9 – Vargo Hoat
A lot of Vargo Hoat’s character and storyline was replaced by the character Locke in “Game of Thrones”. As bad and evil as Locke was in the series, Vargo Hoat, the inspiration behind him is even more cruel.
Vargo Hoat is part of a troupe called the Brave Companions, recruited during the War of Five Kings by Tywin Lannister to wreck havoc the Riverlands, raping, murdering and pillaging the locals in order to provoke Robb Stark to attack him where he was strongest. Although Vargo and his company are very successful in their job, Robb isn’t foolish enough to fall for their trap.
A few incidents between the Brave Companions and Tywin’s men make them switch sides and ally with Roose Bolton. This allows the North to retake Harrenhal, at the time under Lannister control.
In the books, the Brave Companions are the ones that luckily manage to capture both Brienne and Jaime Lannister on their way to Kings Landing . Just as Locke and his men do in the show, in the books, it is Vargo Hoat that responds to Jaime’s arrogance by cutting his right hand.
Unlike Locke who survives the War of Five Kings and dies beyond the Wall in a failed attempt to kill Jon Snow and Bran Stark, in the books, Vargo Hoat remains in Harrenhall until it gets retaken by Ser Gregor Clegane for the Lannisters.
The Mountain gives him a taste of his own medicine and slices his limbs one by one before feeding them to him, one by one, until he can no longer take the pain and dies as miserably as he lived.
8 – Edric Storm
Just when we thought there couldn’t be any more of Robert’s bastards, in comes another one. However, this one has more importance than the others encountered in both the books and the show. Edric Storm is the bastard son of King Robert Baratheon and Delena Florent (Stannis’ wife Selyse’s cousin). Despite being conceived outside of wedlock, he is nevertheless a bastard of high birth (much like Jon Snow in a way).
However, due to his Royal (Targaryen) Blood, he is the one used by Melisandre, under Stannis’ orders, to perform blood rituals. Chosen as a sacrifice to R’hllor, the Red God, by Melisandre, he is later spared by Davos Seaworth who lets him escape Dragonstone,
To avoid even more confusion with yet another new character, the show decided to transfer this book storyline to Gendry instead; since he had already been established as one of Robert’s Bastards.
7 – Mya Stone
This character was most likely cut from the show for either budget reasons, or for her lack of presence in future books. Initially introduced as some bastard from the Vale (Stone is the surname for bastards from that region), Mya Stone is the guide that helps Catelyn Stark, who brought a captive Tyrion Lannister, to reach the Eryie from the Bloody Gate in order to meet her sister Lysa Arryn.
It is during their ride together that Catelyn deducts from her strong built and features that she is one of Robert’s Bastard, conceived in his teenage years when him and her husband Ned Stark were wards under Jon Arryn. While Robert is aware of Mya’s existence, and wants to bring her to court, Cersei convinced him otherwise: most likely to avoid the shame of having one of her husband’s (many) bastards in her presence.
Mya is currently still in the Vale, under House Royce, serving as the guide between the Bloody Gate and Eyrie, just as when she was introduced in the first book. Since Sansa is still in the Vale in the books, maybe she will have a role to play in her storyline, provided she learns of her identity.
6 – Osmund Kettleback
Osmund is a hedge knight of House Kettleblack which is situated within the Crownlands near King’s Landing. A complex character in the books, as he sells himself to many factions outplaying one another. When he is introduced during the War of Five Kings, he sells his services to Cersei Lannister to spy on her brother Tyrion who has been appointed as Hand of the King.
Cersei eventually promotes him to Kingsguard to Joffrey. But what Cersei doesn’t know yet, is that he is also paid by Tyrion to spy on her as well. What both Lannisters do not know, is that he has also been on Littlefinger’s payroll even before stepping foot in Kings Landing.
A generally likeable character due to his humor and mannerism, he is one of the only Kingsguard who is not rude to Sansa during her “stay” in Kings Landing.
When Cersei is captured by the Faith Militant to confess her sins, she throws him under the bus and claims to have slept with him even when her late husband, King Robert, was still alive. This gets him imprisoned and his fate has yet to be known.
5 – Raff The Sweetling
Raff the Sweetling is one of the Lannister soldiers under the command of Ser Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane. Raff is so soft spoken, one could easily think he is some good-hearted friendly fellow. Fact of the matter is, he is a psychopath. Whereas in Game of Thrones, Arya’s friend Lommy is killed by Polliver, it is the more cunning and unpredictable Sweetling who kills him in the books.
Just as in the show, when Lommy is unable to walk due to his leg injury, he is approached by Raff who asks him with compassion in his voice, if he can walk. After Lommy tells him that he is indeed unable to walk, Raff drives a spear through his neck, all while laughing hysterically. He is still alive in the books, but probably not for long…
Inspired from this entry about Raff The Sweetling
4 – Varamyr Sixskins
Meet Varamyr Sixskins, arguably the most powerful known warg in the World of Ice and Fire. As a child, Varamyr lived north of the wall with his wildling family under a nickname “Lump” due to his constant health problems and small stature. He was always jealous of his older brother “Bump” who was healthy, strong and popular in their village.
This hatred eventually pushed him into warging into one of the three family dogs and shredding his brother into pieces. After his father found the corpse of his son with dogs around him, sniffing and licking the remains of “Bump”, he grabbed a nearby axe and slaughtered the dogs while Lump was still inside the mind of one of them, driving him mad, screaming in pain, and revealing himself as warg to his father.
The event got Varamyr banished from his village, dragged into the woods and given to an elder warg named Haggon. His new mentor taught him about strengths and weaknesses of each animal, which would later further his abilities.
Varamyr died eight times over the following years, in the skin of other animals, which would drive him more and more insane but also more powerful with each death. At that point, he would always be accompanied by three wolves, a shadowcat and a snow bear, the animal he is most notorious for controlling.
Where the show had Thenn warg scout the wall inside an owl, in the books, it is Varamyr who does so inside an eagle. Melisandre, spots the warged bird and burns it with dark magic, killing him once again as he was still inside its mind. The fire numbs him to the point where he cannot warn Mance Rayder of Stannis’ incoming army, which leads to the Wildlings’ defeat at the hands of the One True King.
After Mance Rayder’s army is broken, Varamyr loses control of most of his animals, and has yet to be heard of again…
Inspired from this entry about Varamyr Sixskins
3 – Old Griff/Jon Connigton
Jon Connington grew up in Griffin’s Roost, House Connington’s ancestral home. It is there he met his idol, Rhaegar Targaryen. The two became life long friends almost immediately, which lead to Jon moving to Kings Landing.
House Connington being sworn to House Baratheon, Jon was stuck in a dilemma during Robert’s Rebellion: join the Rebels that his House is sworn to, or fight for and with his best friend Rhaegar, even though he is the one who started the whole ordeal.
His loyalty to Rhaegar eventually leads him to becoming the Hand of the King during the Rebellion. Leading his first attack on Robert’s army, he is beaten to the punch by Randyl Rarly, the only man to ever defeat Robert in battle.
After failing to find Robert, take Storm’s End from Stannis, and protect Aerys and Rhaegar at the hands of the Rebels, he exiles to Essos where he joins the Golden Company, one of the most notorious army of sellswords. He becomes a mentor to young Aegon Targaryen, thought to have been killed during the Sack of Kings Landing and raises him all the way to his eventual attack on Kings Landing at the end of “A Dance With Dragons”.
The reason for him not being in the show matches the same reason as to why Aegon Targaryen is not in the show…
2 – Young Griff/Aegon Targaryen
Believed to having been killed at the hands of Gregor Clegane during the Sack of Kings Landing, Ilirio Mopatis and Jon “Old Griff” Connington raised the young Aegon “Young Griff” Targaryen during his exile in Essos; dying his hair purple and grooming him to be a perfect king on the day he returns home to Westeros.
The first time Young Griff is introduced is on a ship with Tyrion Lannister, who is fleeing Westeros for killing his father Tywin Lannister. Tyrion quickly realizes that something with this young boy: he is very intelligent, fluent in many languages and generally really well educated for some common lowborn. Tyrion is quick to connect the dots and deduces that he is the Young Aegon Targaryen, thought to be dead a long time before. Aegon confirms it himself, explaining how he was swapped with a lowborn baby that Varys had exchanged for a jug of wine.
At the end of “Dance”, Aegon’s army have reached Kings Landing and are preparing their attack to overthrow the Throne from the Lannisters, Varys strategizing it all. However, there are many fans who truly believe Aegon to be an impostor and NOT a true Targaryen. This storyline, completely absent in the show (maybe for that exact reason – no need for filler content in the series), has yet to be concluded in the upcoming books.
1 – Strong Belwas
Strong Belwas was slave born in Meereen already chosen as fighter for the fighting pits. The fighting pits are where Belwas would spend most of his early life, never losing a single fight (just like Khal Drogo). A rather large and imposing figure, his fighting signature move (or strategy for that matter) would be to be completely defensive and allow his opponent one cut, before going completely AWOL and killing them. As a result, his body is ridden with scars from each battle he has won.
Whereas in the show, Barristan Selmy is alone when he encounters Daenerys Targaryen and Jorah Mormont in Astapor to join her Queensguard, in the books, he is accompanied by Belwas who pleads fealty to the Dragon Queen as well. From Astapor all the way to Mereen, he becomes her most loyal and trusted bodyguard.
Remember that scene in the show at the gates of Mereen where the slavers challenge Daenerys’ champion to battle their champion? The show had a recently recast Daario Naharis to fight for her and end it in one swift kill. In the books however, it is Belwas who volunteers to fight for Daenerys, and the fight goes in a rather different way.
After letting Oznak zo Pahl, fighting for Mereen cut him, Belwas kills the champion of Mereen with one swift strike, instantly beheading him. But Belwas doesn’t just leave it at that. Whereas Daario takes a leak in front of the gates in the show, in the books, Belwas proceeds to defecate on Oznak’s headless corpse and wipe himself with his cloak, one of Mereen’s richest families.
At of the last chapter of “A Dance with Dragons”, Belwas has been poisoned by the Sons of the Harpy. While he is not dead, he has been considerably weakened, which has affected his abilities to defend Daenerys.
Inspired from this entry about Strong Belwas