It takes George R. R. Martin over five years to write a single book of the Game of Thrones series. An average reader requires a month at least to finish reading that book. And yet a single season of the show only spans around ten hours.
Not that I’m complaining or anything, because that’s the nature of the medium. It is impossible to add every detail mentioned in the books to the storyline of the TV series. So, what directors do is that they cut off some parts from the original storyline and tweak the story so that it sits well with the TV audience.
However, this often leads to some important plotting points, and even some important characters, getting completely axed out from the show! There are loads of characters who have played, or are going to play, an important role in the Song of Ice and Fire. And yet these characters don’t even exist in the TV series.
If you’ve read the books, you’ll be able to identify plenty of differences between the written series and the TV series. To save you from the hassle of pointing them all out yourselves, I’ve compiled nine major differences between the book and TV series below.
*Be warned that there are major spoilers ahead!*
1. Aegon Targaryen is still alive
No, we’re not talking about Jon Snow here. We’re talking about the original Aegon Targaryen – the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell. While everyone believed him dead at the hands of the Mountain, he was actually alive, hiding under the protection of the Spider Varys.
To hide his Targaryen appearance, he dyes his hair blue. He is presumably well learned and knows most of the languages of the seven kingdoms, as well as lands in the east. He is pretty handsome, and it was planned that he will wed Daenerys and both will attack the seven kingdoms together.
Tyrion meets him after escaping King’s Landing. On the voyage, he recognizes Aegon’s true identity and vows to help him. He suggests that Aegon should raid the Seven Kingdoms himself without taking help from Daenerys.
Later, Aegon joins hands with the Golden Company, and together they launch their raid to win over the Iron Throne.
2. Mance Rayder is also alive… well sort of
In the TV series, we see Melisandre burning Mance Rayder at the stake. But in the books, the story is a bit more complicated. Melisandre believes that Mance Rayder would still be useful later on. So she performs some creepy magic that exchanges Mance Rayder’s body with that of the Lord of Bones (aka Rattleshirt).
The situation is quite complicated, but the crux of the whole story is Mance = Alive, Rattleshirt = Dead.
3. Sansa was never married to Ramsay
In the books, Sansa is nowhere near Winterfell. She’s still at the Eyrie and plans to marry Harry Hardyng, the heir to the Eyrie after Robin Arryn. She’s posing as Littlefinger’s bastard daughter, not his niece, and they’ve planned to kill Robin Arryn and win control of the Eyrie through Harry Hardyng’s lineage.
In her place, Jeyne Poole is sent to Ramsay, posing as Arya Stark. She is the one who suffers all the abuse from the hands of Ramsay, and she’s the one who escapes with Theon from the castle of Winterfell.
4. The Tyrells are still alive
Despite what happened inside the Great Sept of Baelor, the Tyrell lineage is under no threat at all. The reason? Loras Tyrell isn’t the only grandson of Olenna Tyrell. There are two more actually, and both were away from the capital at the time when the destruction of the Sept happened.
Willas Tyrell is currently the Lord of Highgarden and he’s got a little brother too named Garlan “the Gallant” Tyrell who is fighting somewhere North against the Ironborn.
5. Euron Greyjoy holds a secret weapon
In the books, Euron Greyjoy is much more cunning and dangerous than he is in the show. He wears a black patch over an eye and is referred to as the Crow’s eye. In the books, he’s not directly involved in the killing of his brother, Balon Greyjoy. Instead, he hires the Faceless Man to perform the deed.
At the King’s Moot, he orders one of his men to blow a special horn that he claims to have found in the ruins of Valyria. The horn, presumably, has the power to control Dragons. He knows of the existence of these Dragons and plans of gaining control over them in the future.
He’s also not short of ships either. His own fleet has hundreds of ships and he has also got the keys to the immense Iron fleet on top of that.
6. Jorah Mormont never suffers from Greyscale
In the TV series, we see Jorah suffering from a dangerous case of Greyscale. In the books, there’s another character by the name of Jon Connington who gets Greyscale when he’s pulling Tyrion out of the water.
Jon Connington is an important character in the books, serving as hand under Aegon Targaryen. In the series, he remains absent as of yet.
7. Daario Naharis looks way different in the books
In the show, Daario Naharis has brown hair and a normal appearance. But he’s shown to be a bit more colorful in the books. Demonstrating his Tyroshi roots, Daario dyes his hair in bright colors and he also wears colorful clothing. His beard is colored, and his moustache is golden. He’s also got a golden tooth.
8. Bran isn’t the only one who can warg
In the TV series, we see Bran having complete control over his wolf. But in the books, Bran isn’t the only one with these powers. In the books, Arya can warg into a cat. This helps her immensely when she is blind. She also controls Nymeria in her dreams, much like Bran used to do in the earlier parts of the series.
Jon also possesses a bit of control over his Direwolf. Like Bran, he can see him in his dreams. Wolf dreams like these helped him on many instances, even saving him from the Wildling host when he was with Qhorin Halfhand.
9. Davos Seaworth loses many sons, and still has some left
In the TV series, we get to see Davos’ only son Matthos die at the battle of Blackwater. This is definitely heartbreaking. But those who have read the books know that Davos had seven sons, not just one. During the battle of Blackwater, four of his sons die due to wildfire. But he has three more sons who are still alive and healthy.