Outline of differences between the HBO Game of Thrones series and the original George R.R. Martin novel A Storm Of Swords.
The start of Game of Thrones season three has garnered much coverage, including our very own review, and with two episodes out there now, we’re starting to get an idea of how they’re editing the storylines of the original A Storm Of Swords novel to make it work for TV.
So, I thought I’d do a piece on major differences I’ve spotted so far. In terms of spoilers: there will be no discussion of events beyond the point which the TV series has reached, so this should be spoiler-safe for anyone following the show, as long as you don’t mind not being surprised by differences in the books. Try to stick to this in the comments if at all possible.
Ser Barristan Can’t Be Arsed To Grow A Beard
We’ve just seen Daenerys get joined by Ser Barristan, former mighty knight of Westeros, sinice banished from his position by nasty Joffrey, and to be honest, unless they’d been paying total attention, a TV viewer might struggle to recognise him, as he only had a few scenes in season one.
But in the books, Barristan joined Dany and Jorah in the second volume, with a massive beard and a hood, calling himself Whitebeard. Despite being a former resident of Westeros, and Ser Barristan being a so-called legend, Jorah doesn’t realise who he is until the last third of the next book. So the TV writers clearly decided to dispense with the pretence, as it would be hard work for actor Ian McElhinney to grow such an epic beard that he genuinely couldn’t be recognised.
Why Theon, I Didn’t Expect To See You Here
Theon Greyjoy turned up for a couple of scenes in the second episode of season three, having the shit tortured out of him by persons unknown. This was a surprise to me having just finished book three, as Theon doesn’t appear there at all. There’s a brief mention of nasty things happening to him, so clearly they’ve decided to put that on-screen. But presumably they’ll need an actual narrative for it too?
Is the TV series about to spoil me for Theon developments in later books? Dammit, I thought I’d be safe to put off reading them for a year or two.
Reed On, Reed Off?
Meera and Jojen Reed joined the cast in the latest episode, running a bit late by our standards, since they were living at Winterfell with the two Stark boys for much of book two, then simply tagged along when they legged it from Theon. But the TV show, no doubt trying to keep its cast down to a manageable size, left them out, thus having them appear and rather suddenly become best buddies with the Starks in the new episodes.
The speed of their acceptance was a bit awkward, but I guess there wasn’t much way around it. Well, unless the TV writers wanted to do a huge storyline to write them in, which they clearly didn’t.
Bran & Rickon – RIP?
Speaking of the two younger Starks – remember in season two when Theon “killed” them? And no-one seemed to believe it for long, on-screen or off? Well, in the books, the word of their deaths spread far and wide, leaving Robb and Catelyn devestated, whereas on TV, people still talk as if they’re potentially alive. This, of course, is partly thanks to Theon killing all the ravens last year.
But surely the day is coming? Will the Stark army eventually hear the rumours of Bran and Rickon’s demise at the worst possible time?
Brave Companions Run Away?
Hard to tell how big a deviation they’re going for here, but: in the books, Brienne and Jamie were happened upon by a bunch of scummy mercenaries called the “Brave Companions”. In the TV show, they seem to have just been found by some chaps from the Stark-led Northern army. Have the TV producers decided that introducing the Brotherhood Without Banners (the ones led by Paul Kaye who found Arya) is enough mysterious gangs in black for one season?
Wouldn’t be surprised, to tell the truth. Anyway, those are the major Game of Thronesdeviations I noticed this year – have I missed any? Further articles in this series may follow once I’ve got some more material stockpiled…
- Thinking Through Catelyn Stark’s Monologue in This Week’s ‘Game Of Thrones’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Game of Thrones, Season 3 (slate.com)
- A Song of Ice and Fire (AKA – A Game of Thrones) (rec45.wordpress.com)
- Game of Thrones – Season 3 Episode 2 – Dark Wings, Dark Words (kasekinney.wordpress.com)