Top 10 Differences Between The Game of Thrones TV Series and Books

If you are a fan of 'Game of Thrones,' the chances are that you have watched all the seasons and read all George R. R. Martin books. But if that's true, it is also very likely that you've also said, at least once, "That's not how it happened in the books!" And there is every reason to say so because the truth is that the TV series and the books have tons of discrepancies. 

Some of them are very subtle, while others are undoubtedly more noticeable. Today, we'll be counting down our picks for the top ten differences, particularly those regarding the plot between the novels and the HBO production. You won't believe the one that is in the first spot, so let's get going! 


How can we forget the grieving (yet disturbing) moment in season five when the little and sweet Shireen dies? As you might remember, Stannis Baratheon, her father, decides to sacrifice her to the Lord of Light. The young girl scared by Greyscale is burned alive in the hopes of solidifying her father's on the Iron Throne.

Or well, that's at least what Melisandre tells Stannis to convince him to kill his daughter. According to her, only a blood sacrifice could help the cause. But you might be surprised to find out that Shireen does not die in the 'A Song Of Ice And Fire' books. In fact, she never leaves Castle Black. How about that?


One of the few genuine love relationships on the show is definitely the one that Tyrion Lannister had with his mistress, Shae. Of course, it all starts as anyone could expect with a woman of her kind (she was a prostitute after all), but the two slowly fall for each other.

It seemed that Shae does care for Tyrion and even gets jealous when he's forced to tie the knot with Sansa Stark. But sadly for fans, Shae is not that enamored in the books. There, it was clear to everyone (except to Tyrion, of course) that she was only with him because of his status and wealth. Sorry to disappoint you, guys!


Once a man from the Night's Watch, Mance Rayder later becomes the "King-beyond-the-wall." He is then captured by Stannis Baratheon and is asked to kneel before him. But his refusal only leads him to his miserable death. Rayder is gruesomely being burned alive when Jon Snow kills him with an arrow to save him from suffering more. 

In the books, Mance's death occurs in a similar fashion, including both the roasting and the arrow. However, in R. R. Martin's written creation, it is later revealed that his death is only a sham. King Stannis and the Red Priestess fake his execution in order to send him south to Winterfell to rescue Arya Stark presumably. 


To refresh your memory, the spearwife whom Jon Snow falls in love with ultimately dies in the hands of Olly in the episodes of the Battle of Castle Black. The young boy shoots Ygritte with an arrow through the chest from behind as an act of revenge after she kills his father. And the minutes Jon and her love spend before she passes away are genuinely heartbreaking.

It is clear that many book characters are cut down from the TV production, right? However, the opposite is true for Olly who doesn't appear in the novels at all! Shockingly, Ygritte dies anonymously after being shot with a deadly arrow (at least that part is real!).


The bastard daughters of Oberyn Martell, a.k.a the Sand Snakes, are a vivid example of how not everything on the pages of the books was translated well on GOT. In the books, the three sisters seek revenge on the Lannisters for the assassination of Rhaegar Targaryen's offspring (including their father).

They attempt a coup to overthrow their uncle, Prince Doran, but this is easily averted. In the occurring, Princess Myrcella is severely wounded but doesn't die. Does it sound familiar? No, right? That's because, on the TV series, the Sand Snakes manage to take over Dorne, murdering their uncle, Prince Trystane, and Myrcella.


Shockingly, one of the main characters in the events of the Red Wedding is utterly different in the HBO production and the books, and that is Talisa. The distinction is definitely subtle but vital. The novels depict Jeyne Westerling, the daughter of a lord whom Robb Starks weds to preserve her honor.

But more importantly, Robb leaves his wife behind when attending the Red Wedding, meaning that she does not perish with the rest of the guests. On the contrary, we saw a more humble woman on the screen called Talisa Maegyr. Her story with Robb fits more the traditional romance, but the girl is not spared the gruesome fate of the Red Wedding. 


Mid-way through season five, Daenerys' loyal bodyguard is killed during the ambush that the Sons of the Arpy perpetrated. The knight manages to cut down many of them before the Sons stab him several times. But in the books, Barristan the Bold is pretty much alive, what has left many fans a bit bitter about his death. 


If you haven't read the books, the name "Lady Stoneheart" might not ring the bell with you, and that's because she is nowhere to be found in HBO's production. For those unaware, she's Catelyn Stark by another name. After being murdered at the Red Wedding, Beric Dondarrion finds her corpse in the river and gives her the kiss of life.

Therefore, the novels narrate how Catelyn comes back to life, but in a grotesque and twisted shape, more like a zombified machine. She then spends some time seeking revenge on the Freys for what happened in the Red Wedding. 

'GOT' followers were so disappointed to discover that Lady Stoneheart was absent from the show. But with so many characters rising from death in the production, we never know if we might get to see her in the last season (we know that the chances are low, but one can dream, right?).

Read more: Ned Stark Have Fooled Us All? What Might Have Really Happened


The name undoubtedly brings Theon to our memories. "Reek" was the nickname Ramsay gives to him after imprisoning, torturing, and gelding him. Naturally, the moniker came from the sickening body odor Theon had. But in the books, Reek was not exactly the Greyjoy heir.

In 'Clash of Kings,' we are presented with Reek, who was Ramsay's loyal servant, not Theon. But similar to him, the original character had an unpleasant smell. In the novel, Reek loyally dies after trading places with his master, and we know this doesn't happen in the show either. 

Read more: The Way "Game of Thrones" Actors Should Look According To The Book


We all know 'GOT' is quite controversial in many aspects. But no other moment has sparked more fuss than when Sansa's new hubby, Ramsay Bolton, rapes her in season five with Theon obliged to witness the whole thing. We know; it's quite disturbing!

But Sansa replaced (sadly for her) another character that appears in the books: Jeyne Poole. In fact, the Stark girl doesn't even meet Ramsay, and at that point of the story, she is safely stowed at the Eyrie with her relatives. This is definitely a major deviation from the written pieces and truly changes the storyline and many characters surrounding it. But we totally get why the showrunners decided to use Sansa for these scenes instead, don't you?

What do you think of our top picks? Do you know any other significant difference between the novels and 'GOT'? Share it with us in the comment section, and don't go too far because we have more fantastic articles about our favorite TV series of all time. Till next time! 

Source: YouTube/WatchMojo


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