Author: Sharmini Pillay
First, I need to say this:
WE KNOW NO KING BUT THE KING IN THE NORTH WHOSE NAME IS STARK!
Now that I have that off my chest…
The long awaited Season 7 of Game of Thrones has finally arrived and, as with season 6, we get even more information that goes beyond George R. R. Martin’s published books. Of course, any book-to-screen adaption has a few plot differences and Game of Thrones has quite a long list of differences to its source material.
The reasons for making these changes could be anything from reducing the number of characters, keeping current characters involved in the plot at all times or just simplifying the plot while still getting the message across.
Here are a list of 5 of the biggest differences between the Game of Thrones TV show and the A Song of Ice and Fire books.
1. Sansa Bolton
Sansa’s storyline has been filled with horror and difficulty at the hands of His Royal Evilness King Joffrey but I actually breathe a sigh of relief knowing that she doesn’t actually marry the psychotic Ramsey Bolton in the books. This was a plot change to keep Sansa fully involved in the story and to prevent the introduction of another character. In the books, Sansa is still hiding out in the Vale with Littlefinger. She is currently betrothed to Harry the Heir who will inherit the Vale if little Sweetrobin dies without fathering a child. Maybe in the upcoming books, we will still see an alliance between the North and the Vale through Sansa.
So who does marry Ramsey Bolton? Sansa’s childhood best friend, Jeyne Poole, is kidnapped by Littlefinger around the time that Ned Stark died. After a few years of keeping her in hiding, he lies to everyone that she is actually Arya and he arranges for her to marry Ramsey. Her Northern girl looks gives her similarities with Arya and Theon Greyjoy is forced into confirming it since he’s known Arya since childhood.
Do I agree with this change? No way… Leave Sansa alone! She’s suffered enough!
2. Lady Stoneheart
The Red Wedding is one of the most defining moments in the entire series, so much so that it inspired the producers of the tv show to get involved with the project in the first place. In the tv show, all the characters killed in the Red Wedding have stayed dead (so far) but in the books, Catelyn Stark has actually made a return. Similar to Jon Snow’s resurrection, Catelyn was resurrected by Lord of Light devotee, Beric Dondarrion. She is currently the cold and cruel Lady Stoneheart, leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners, and is raining vengeance all across the Riverlands. The last we see of her, she is planning to kill Brienne and Podrick unless they can deliver Janie Lannister to her.
I was disappointed with this change because I would have loved to see Lady Stoneheart on the tv show. She does have a small role though, so I understand why she was left out.
3. There’s more to Dorne than meets the eye
Each of the 7 kingdoms has a rich and complicated culture and we don’t get to see all of it in the tv show. The most interesting and diverse kingdom is Dorne and they also have an interesting subplot that doesn’t make it into the tv show. The Martells of Dorne created a marriage pact with the Targaryens over a decade ago, arranging the marriage of Arianne and Viserys with the intention for them to take over the 7 kingdoms. Arianne doesn’t actually exist in the show but she is the driving force behind her cousins, the formidable Sand Snakes. Since Viserys doesn’t make it past Season 1, the marriage pact moves to Daenerys and Arianne’s younger brother Quentyn… but let’s just say that doesn’t end well. Myrcella Baratheon also has an adventure in Dorne when Arianne attempts to make her the ruler of the 7 kingdoms instead of Tommen.
This is the change that I disliked the most. Dorne is a fascinating place with characters who are very much involved with the story. I would have especially liked to see the Sand Snakes as the interesting characters that they were supposed to be.
4. The North Remembers!
The storyline in the book series has only progressed to the point where Jon Snow has been murdered. Everything that has happened in Season 6, including his resurrection, rallying of the North and the war with Ramsey is yet to come. Therefore, we haven’t yet met the miniature but mighty Lady of Bear Island, Lyanna Mormont. We have met her mother and older sister in the books and they have both been fierce warriors so I hope that we get to see her character in the books as well. We did, however, get our ‘The North Remembers’ moment via another character, Fat Man Manderly. He is the Lord of House Manderly who is pretending to support the Freys since they have his son held hostage. In a moving speech, he secretly assures Davos that he is loyal to the Starks. He is also the one responsible for the rumoured Frey pies. He even sets Davos on the path to find Rickon Stark who is still in hiding in the book series.
I loved Lord Manderly in the books but Lady Lyanna Mormont is a gem and the more screen time she gets, the happier I am! I support this change.
The book series introduces us to a pair of characters named Griff and Young Griff who meet Tyrion as he travels through Essos. After spending some time with them, Tyrion realises that Young Griff is actually Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar, who was supposedly killed as a baby. It turns out that he was actually switched with another child and was taken away to safety and raised by Jon Connington (Griff). Aegon is being raised to one day take back his family’s throne and we last see him heading towards Westeros to start his conquest. There are a few fans who think that he isn’t a Targaryen at all, but just a child raised to think that he is Aegon so that his supporters may have some power when he takes over the kingdom. This has prompted a few fans to refer to him as Fake Aegon, or Faegon.
Whether he really is Aegon or not, he is completely absent from the tv show, making us wonder whether he really is important after all. A change like this definitely simplifies the show, but it also minimises a character who is supposedly a big deal. Not sure how I feel about this change.
What do you consider to be the biggest differences between the books and the tv shows and do you agree with those choices?
And here’s the big question… Now that winter is finally here, who do you think will survive to sit on the Iron Throne at the end?
Author: Sharmini Pillay