Game of Thrones: Books vs. Show, Pt. 1

Whenever a book becomes a show or movie, the tired old argument of which is better rears its head. My opinion on the matter is that books and television are too different to compare side by side. Films and television shows have many more limitations such as runtimes and budgets. Books, on the other hand, can go as deep as they want but they don’t have that intense visual stimulus (although your mind creates some great visuals).

Game of Thrones is known for its complicated plot lines and its deep character development. In both the show and the book, the audience is fully engaged in sex, war, betrayal, and death. It is impossible for the show to fully express the depth of the book series, and that’s ok. 

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Putting that argument aside for now, let’s talk about the actual plot differences between the show and the book. Nobody can seriously expect a show to copy the book verbatim. There are simply not enough resources to fully replicate all the massive locations, characters and set pieces of the Game of Thrones series. Here, I will discuss some of the most significant differences between the show and the books:

1. Sex Scenes Turned into Rape Scenes

For some reason the show turned two consensual sex scenes into rape scenes. The first sex scene turned non-consensual was between Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo. In the book, Khal Drogo was could tell that Daenerys was scared while he was holding her, he asked for permission and she said “yes.”

The show decided to turn this romantic scene into a brutal, joyless assault. Similarly, the rape scene between Cersei Lannister and Jamie Lannister next to the corpse of their son, Joffrey, was a fabrication. Again, the scene was consensual in the book and Joffrey was not in the room. Why the show decided to add a rotting corpse into an incestuous rape scene is far from comprehension.

2. Missing Characters

Perhaps the most disappointing thing for book readers is when characters they love don’t make it to the show. One of the most interesting characters from the book, Patchface, was cut out of the show. Patchface was the sole survivor of a shipwreck that killed Stannis’ parents. Somehow he survived but he was transformed into a moody clown creature with the ability to predict future events.

Edric Storm is another character that was surprisingly left out. Edric is the bastard son of King Robert Baratheon. Edric was sent to Storm’s End as a way to make sure he didn’t get involved with royal business. While there, Lady Melisandre advises Stannis to sacrifice him to the fire God. This is important because it is the first time in the book that Stannis is not fully convinced by his red priest. Before Stannis can make up his mind, the Onion knight sneaks Edric to Westeros.

3. Brienne of Tarth vs. The Hound

Another unique plot twist was the fight between Brienne of Tarth and The Hound. On her quest to find Sansa, Brienne inadvertently bumps into Arya and The Hound. Because of her oath to Catelyn Stark, Brienne tries to take Arya back to King’s Landing. Brienne basically kills The Hound and Arya leaves him for dead just like in the book.

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In the book, instead of Brienne fighting Sander Clegane she fights Biter outside a pub. She is defeated and everything goes dark. When she wakes up she is surrounded by the Brotherhood Without Banners where a number of important characters have been resurrected. Among them are Sander Clegane and Lady Stoneheart, otherwise known as Catelyn Stark. 

There are many more differences between the two but these three things are the most significant to me. Like I said before, I do not think adding or removing plots is necessarily a bad thing. At the end of the day it was still pretty badass to see Brienne of Tarth and The Hound go at it. 

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