12 Times Game of Thrones Deviated from the Books, for Better or Worse

12 Times Game of Thrones Deviated from the Books, for Better or Worse
Image credit: globallookpress, HBO

Translating a book to the small screen inevitably involves deviating from the plot in some small ways at least.

But if you were to read George R.R. Martin's series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, after watching Game of Thrones, you might realise there are some pretty major alterations in addition to some smaller ones that might go almost unnoticed if you didn't know they were there.

Here are 12 examples of when the show deviated from the books:

1. The language: In the first book, Ned Stark is asked when it would be convenient to meet the small council and replies 'on the morrow'. While this might be consistent with the setting and time period, that style of language wouldn't have played out too well in the show.

2. Ages: Daenerys is 13 at the start of the book series – and when she meets Missandei (who is offered to her by the slave owners, not requested as a gift), the interpreter was just 10.

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Likewise, Tyrion Lannister was in his early twenties in the books, but in his mid-thirties when portrayed by Peter Dinklage. And the Brienne of Tarth we encounter in the books is just 17 – around half the age Gwendoline Christie was when she played Brienne on screen.

3. Ser Jorah Mormont: Iain Glen plays him in a kind of rugged yet suave way. In the books, Ser Jorah is described as a 'black bear' as he has dark hair – and plenty of it.

4. Daenerys and Khal Drogo's wedding night: In the show, Daenerys is very much against sex with her new husband and their wedding night is depicted as what is essentially rape. It was very animalistic and showed no hint of love or romance whatsoever. In the books she is seduced and gives consent.

5. Robb and Talisa: They don't marry in the novel series. Robb marries Jeyne Westerling who was previously sworn to the Lannisters. In fact, Talisa doesn't even exist in the books.

Which explains why there has been much fandom controversy about whether the pair could ever have been married as they came from different parts of the world and would almost certainly have worshipped different gods. But it was the marriage that was necessary for the TV show and the background to it wasn't really that important.

6. Daario Naharis: In 'A Storm of Swords', Daario is described as having blue hair, a blue beard and a gold moustache. He also has a gold tooth. While the actors who played him brought some of the panache from the books, the character was woefully short on colour in the TV show.

7. Sansa and Ramsey: Another wedding that simply didn't happen in Martin's written version of events in Westeros. In fact, Ramsey actually married Jeyne Poole ( who, at the time was posing as Sansa's younger sister Arya), and she eventually escaped the abusive marriage with the help of Theon Greyjoy.

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8. The Tyrell line: House Tyrell didn't die out when Loras, Margaery and Mace were killed in the Sept of Baelor. In the book series, there were two other sons, Willas Tyrell and Garlan Tyrell who lived on and kept the family name going.

9. Targaryens: The moment we first met Daenerys and Viserys, it was clear the distinct silvery blonde shade of hair was a key part of the Targaryen aesthetic.

But in the book series, Targaryens are also described as having violet eyes. Of course, this may have looked a little odd on-screen and actually been distracting for viewers.

10. Khal Drogo's hair: According to the books, any time a Dothraki wins a fight, he adds a bell to his braided hair. So, Khal Drogo should have had braided hair with plenty of bells in it. While the length of his hair in the show was consistent with that in the books, the style wasn't.

11. The three-eyed crow: Did you spot it? In the show, Bran sees a three-eyed raven. In the books, it's a crow.

12. Bronn and Jaime: In the show, Bronn and Jaime spar to help the latter learn how to use a sword with his left hand. In the book series, it was Ilyn Payne that helped train up the Kingslayer. Why? Because he was mute – having had his tongue cut out – so there was no risk of him telling people Jaime could no longer fight.

So, there you have it. 12 times that Game of Thrones didn't quite marry up with A Song of Ice and Fire.

Of course, these few deviations do nothing to spoil how great the show was. And with less opportunity to fully explore an entire made-up world on TV than is afforded to an author, it makes sense that, at least some of these, helped make Game of Thrones such a success.