Story Alterations: the Good and the Bad

good11Axey at ya again, bottom-supporters, ready to do the sidewalk shuffle here on the Wall for your reading pleasures!

With the daily trickle of news coming in fits and starts, I thought it’d be a fine time to put up another opinion piece. Though I don’t really want my opinion—I’d rather have yours.

We all know change to ASoIaF is inevitable when translated to a television format. And I asked this question over at WiC a few years ago (and received a varied number of answers) so I thought we’d reshuffle this deck and hit the topic once more.

(And yes, this would be perfectly suited for our forums, but some people out there still don’t realize we have forums! This is your last notification!)

So here’s the task–give me two things: Your favorite story alteration, and your least favorite.

We can discuss things from there. I have an admittedly limited but working knowledge of why television shows make various changes, having worked in the industry (albeit briefly and in an ultimately failed capacity), so if you have questions as to the “why” I may be able to answer them.

Special rule: To give one, you have to give the other. I don’t want senseless nerd rage over a hundred perceived omissions, and I don’t want some myopic love fest happening either. Nothing is above a little criticism. Balance. “Only death pays for life.”

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I’ll start.

Brienne and the HoundFavorite change: Brienne meets the Hound. I thought that was bloody outstanding; not just the fight (which may have been the most brutal, fantastic hand-to-hand fight ever on television) but the way it toyed with Arya’s seemingly brief hope, and how Brienne couldn’t dig herself out of the “Lannister gold” hole. McCann, Christie, Williams, Portman… all excellent as well. The scene played to the actors’ strengths, which is what good writing does best.

Weasel SoupLeast favorite change: the omission of “Weasel Soup” from Arya’s escape from Harrenhal. Yep, it’s been a few years, and I’m still slightly bitter I never got to see it. When I read it, years ago, I imagined it so vividly, and couldn’t wait for it to be brought to life. Alas! I understand that it was probably a cost issue, as well as a “too many moving pieces” scheduling issue, and Arya isn’t even my favorite character, but… I still on occasion shed a nice fat nerd tear for its loss.

How about you? Speak here and be heard!



  1. Favorite: Sansa in S4E8.

    Least favorite: Loras. Or as my Unsullied friends call him, ‘the gay dude’.

  2. Best change: Arya and Twyin at Harrenhal. Two amazing characters and we see a side of Tywin we never had before.

    Worst Change: Yara attacking the Dreadfort. The build up was exiting, but the conclusion was rushed and confusing.

  3. Favorite change: there are so many to choose from but here’s mine;

    Jaime vs Ned. This fight was so perfect, the tension had been building between these characters from the start. I’m a sucker for sword fights and I had been waiting for this one. When I read A Game of Thrones after the season I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get this standoff and instead Ned breaks his leg when his horse falls on him. Lame.

    Least favorite change: “she been fucking Lancel, Osmund Kettleblack, and maybe even Moonboy for all I know”. This was the climax of the Jaime/Tyrion relationship. The last straw that would permanently damage Tyrion.

    Jaime’s lie about Tyrion’s wife is so pivotal to Tyrions character development as he always felt that no one could truly love him which was false. Jaime confessing his sins to Tyrion also shows how truly changed he is. He can no longer bear the guilt of agreeing with his dad’s unjust punishment for Tyrion when he had his soldiers and Tyrion himself rape his wife Tysha. The fallout from that scene is also dramatic. Tyrion brutally strangled Shae as an act of vengeance and not of self defense as portrayed in the show.

    It also culminates in the perfect final scene between Tywin and Tyrion. As Tyrion asks about the whereabouts of Tysha, Tywin smugly responds “wherever whores go”. That’s followed by a crossbow bolt to the gut, the realization that Tywin Lannister does not shit gold, and the Shakespearean ending to the Lannister family from the inside out.

  4. I’m with you on the favorite change. Bri meeting the Hound was something I only dreamed about and for it to actually happen was pretty badass. Plus it was an amazing fight, no holds barred, junk punches all around. Good times for everyone.

    My least favorite change…I’m going to second AshaYara charging the Dreadfort. Unless it has some sort of payoff in upcoming seasons it just felt out of place and overly built-up.

  5. The lack of weasel soup really bothered me, especially given that it showcased how Arya is pretty intelligent. Not that she’s a dullard on the show, but in absence of her inner monologue, a show-watcher wouldn’t necessarily think any different.

    For me,
    Favorite change: Margery Tyrell. She went from being an auxiliary background character to a really amazing addition to the political atmosphere of King’s Landing.

    Least-favorite change: The lack of direwolves/showcasing Stark warging. They do okay with Bran’s, but it needs to be clearer that the other kids have that connection too.

    I also strongly dislike where they’re going with Tyrion, but that’s because I really can’t stand him in the books, so keeping him a hero is going to annoy me.

  6. Turncloak,

    The last straw??? Dude just killed the one person he loved and the one person he so desired love from? In the context of the show, how is this not more damaging than being told this woman you married when you were a kid wasn’t who we said she was. They shifted the narrative to be “in the now” and not so much on backstory.

  7. Favorite : Arya & Tywin, great scenes and makes you think Tywin may not be a muppet after all.

    Least favorite : Season 4 so many changes.

  8. Ok, first two little things:

    Favorite (small) change: Miltos Yerolemou as Syrio, despite how the character is described in the books.

    Least favorite (small) change: Renly’s missing peach. #4everbitter

    Now more substantial changes…

    Favorite: I enjoyed the scenes between Arya and Tywin in Harrenhal a whole hell of a lot.

    Least favorite: Gotta be the mindboggling change from consensual, if icky, Cersei/Jaime altar sex to horrifying, straight-up rape.

  9. Favourite Change – Arya and Tywin in Harrenhall (i wasnt overly pleased at first because i love Roose Bolton). Maisie Williams and Charles Dance had great chemistry (she has great chemistry with everyone, Sean Bean, Miltos Yerolemou, Rory McCann) and their scenes were some of the best written in the show

    Least Favourite Change – Its a small thing (and i understand why it didnt happen) but i still havent got over the fact that Harwin wasnt included in the show. The moment when Arya recognises him and breaks down in tears is one of the few moments that actually made me cry

    This is also one of my favourite lines/quotes which is another reason im upset it was cut:
    “She broke my nose.” Lem dumped her unceremoniously to the floor. “Who in seven hells is she supposed to be?”

    “The Hand’s daughter.” Harwin went to one knee before her. “Arya Stark, of Winterfell.”

  10. Favourite: The added events to Bran’s storyline, such as Crasters’ and Jojen death. Actually made his Season 4 plot watchable. Plus, I never really saw the point in Coldhands.

    Least: The lack of ‘Tysha’ and ‘fucking Moonboy’. Especially the Moonboy part, it explains a pivotal moment in the future made my Jaime.

  11. This is something I always discuss with GoT/ASoIaF friends, so really glad to see it come up here, since it’s almost always a great topic of conversation.

    Favorite change: I loved seeing Arya and Tywin together in season 2. And as much as weasel soup was missed, I feel like the change in that storyline helped cut back on the number of minor characters and replaced it with some awesome interaction between Charles Dance and Maisie Williams. Also helped to add some tension with a greater possibility of Arya’s true identity being revealed. Plus in the books I always was hoping they would run into each other, so seeing it happen like that was cool.

    Least favorite change: The change of Tyrion and Jaime’s last conversation during his escape. Maybe because it’s recent, but the omission of Tysha and “Lancel and Osmund Kettleblack and Moonboy for all I know” really hurts. It changes the entire relationship between the brothers, which definitely changes Tyrion’s personal circumstances going forward. This leaves him with a tie to his own family, and someone he knows cares about him. It changes his entire character going forward, and Jaime’s too. I also always felt that conversation was really the final straw and what led Tyrion to actually go kill Tywin. In the show it seems much less driven by immediate anger and a lot more random.

  12. Favorite change: I think they’ve given Cersei more shades than in the books. It took time to adjust to such a different Cersei, admittedly, but four years in, I actually prefer the show’s Cersei over the book one. I just find her more interesting.
    (If they really are bringing back Jaqen H’ghar, this will be another change I am in favor of. )

    Least fave: Funny thing. When I googled for a Weasel soup image for Axey’s post, I found that one we used up above…and it lead to my GoT tumblr. Specifically it lead to a post I made after season 1, for a meme of questions, and the question was what scene was I looking forward to in season 2. Yup. So it’s safe to say I had major nerd tears over Weasel Soup. I understand that they wanted to maybe stretch out Arya’s storyline and that perhaps they couldn’t swing another major fight scene, time- and budget-wise, but…I miss it.

  13. Some Favorite Changes: Robert-Cersei scene Season 1, Arya-Tywin scenes Season 2, Keeping Robb in the action Season 2, Hound v. Brienne fight from season 4,

    Understandable Changes: Qarth- yes “Where are my dragons?” became groan worthy but Qarth in the books would’ve been bad TV too. Gin Alley legend Karl Tanner’s sexual assault B&B – no one likes all the rape, but they needed to give Jon something to do once they split ASoS in two.

    Hang D&D Changes: Talisa? – Jeyne made better dramatic sense & would’ve made more exciting TV over poorly written AnakinPadme level romance, Cutting Tysha-motivation from Tyrion’s killing spree, repetitive Ramsay tortures Theon scenes, Cutting Arya’s Weasel soup moment made the “escape” from Harrenhall anticlimactic, Jaime-Cersei Sept scene- no explanation needed,

    Worst of all Changes: Not a huge fan of Jon, but the bungling of the Halfhand storyline was just God-awful. Below amateur writing- it made you wonder if these guys understand “story”. Not only did they remove the most dramatic part of Jon’s storyline from ACoK, but they destroyed Jon’s active role within it?!?!

  14. Favorite change: Arya and Tywin at Harrenhal. Charles and Maisie had an amazing dynamic and I think it helped to flesh Tywin out more. I was also very impressed how well Maisie held her own in scenes with the veteran Charles. Their scenes just felt so natural and I could probably praise them for a long while.

    Least favorite change: Selyse Baratheon. I’m not a huge fan of her in the books, but she shows a lot more affection/caring for Shireen. In the show, she almost seems to despise her. Can’t put my finger on why exactly, but this annoys me.

  15. Favorite change: Jon Snow meet Ygritte and their sex talk. I know many book readers were bitching about this change, but for me it was first time i became interested into whole Jon Snow storyline. Before that my reaction to Jon screentime was always “Oh no, The Wall again, i hope it will be a short scene”. Rose Leslie was excellent addition to the cast and these scenes were funny and provided a good introduction to Ygritte and the wildlings culture.

    Least favorite change: Yara mission to rescue Theon, if it count as change from the books. It was first time i felt the show did really bad job with something. Too rushed and unsatisfiyng. If Yara mission does not count as a change from the books, because it is completely new story, than it is Tyrion/Shae/Tywin showdown. Without Tysha this scene lost a lot of meaning and even a sense (for example it does not have much sense for Tyrion to murder Tywin for calling Shae a whore, because she actually was a whore, and Tyrion just murdered her).

  16. Favourite changes: I would say, all those little conversations from two characters that are not POVs, like: Cersei and Robert, Varys and Littlefinger, Bronn and the Hound, and so on.

    Least favourite change: Tyrion’s escape. I understand that adding the Tysha conversation would have probably killed the momentum, as D&D said, but the whole sequence still felt rushed. And I don’t understand why they didn’t end Tyrion and Jaime’s relationship in a sour note. The “fucking Lancel, Osmund, and Moon Boy line probably wouldn’t have stayed (since they’ve only introduced one of those characters) but something along the lines of “don’t trust her” or “she’s not who you think she is” would have sufficed, IMO.

  17. I think this will depend to a great extent on which story line fans are invested in the most. I minded some changes to some story lines more than others because I was more invested in them. My least favourite change was not giving Quorin Halfhand a big enough role to play in Jon’s development as a character. It would have done a lot for the lacklustre season 2 plotline (although I loved Ygritte). My favourite change was having Arya interact with Tywin. Both actors were great and it was one of those moments where the writers could put two great characters together so they could interact in an interesting and dynamic way. There are many more but these two jump out to me.

  18. Favorite Change: As I said above I’m more into the Tyrion/Shae storyline in the show than the books because it makes it more dramatic and raises the stakes, but I can’t say it’s my favorite change. I think my favorite change will be Jaime going to Dorne because it heightens that storyline that I didn’t connect to that much in the books. Dorne and Riverlands were kinda a slog and now I think making Jaime and Bronn in on that plot again raises the stakes and connects it with characters we give a shit about.

    Least Favorite: The Halfhand storyline bummed me out because it was so short and rushed and in the longterm I realize it’s not that important but that season 2 arc for Jon was really wasted to me moreso than any other. I just look back on it and can’t really justify it as easy as other changes. I know they were building into the Ygritte storline more and I really loved how that relationship worked, but they could have included more overt tones of Q’orin imparting Jon his purpose.

  19. Favorite Change: I’d have to go with the Hound & Brienne. Everything about that worked well. …as long as we don’t lose LS…

    A close second might just be Talisa. Not the character, but her assets made a good addition to the scenes.

    Least Favorite Change: Maybe this is minor, but I really liked the whole concept of “Renly’s Ghost”. I also like how Loras fesses up about it being his brother to Jaime.

  20. Favourite change: showing Theon’s divided loyalties and burning the letter to Robb.

    Least favourite change: Jaime & Cersei relationship, especially the sept scene.

  21. Favorite Change: Making Shae a strong-willed and independent woman who fiercely protects Sansa. It gave my bb Sansa someone to confide in (instead of monologuing her book POV thoughts into a mirror, I guess) and gave the audience a consistent romance to root for after Ned died.

    On that same note…

    Least Favorite Change: Having Shae turn on Tyrion (and Sansa!!!!) offscreen, and then to pour salt in the wound, reach for the knife to stab him with. If they were going to change the foundation of her personality, it stands to reason they would adapt the outcome to make sense. Shae could have been forced to turn on Tyrion in order to protect Sansa, or we could have actually seen Tywin and Cersei coerce/threaten Shae OR she could’ve been given the opportunity to explain herself before Tyrion killed her.

  22. Best: I agree with a lot of what has already been mentioned – Tywin and Arya at Harrenhal, Brienne vs the Hound, changes to Margaery’s character etc, but I’m going to add having Talisa and baby at the Red Wedding. I’m not sure about Talisa as a substitute for Jeyne, but in the end killing her off like this just made the scene ten times more gut-wrenching. And I suspect D&D were always planning to kill her off like this, which is why they made Robb’s wife a different character in the first place, so that they could.

    Worst: Again, I agree with things like Yara’s attack, Cersei’s ‘rape’ scene, and Tyrion and Jaime’s last conversation (Tysha, Lancel etc), but I’m gonna have to say it, even if it hasn’t been 100% confirmed as cut; I understand the various reasons why

    removing Lady Stoneheart makes sense, but I’m not going to be able to accept it. I could deal with Coldhands being gone, despite being a potentially badass one-season character, but the cautionary tale about the extremes of blind vengeance embodied in LS, is the only thing that makes up for some of the dumb decisions she made as Cat, made even dumber by D&D’s other alterations to her character.
  23. Fav Change: Making Margaery a more direct and explicit player of the Game.

    Least Fav Change: Removing Jaime and Tyrion’s bitter goodbye, followed by having Shae’s death be more self-defense on Tyrion’s part rather than the more straight-forward murder in the book.

  24. I see that some people are focusing on specific plot points, while others are singling out characterizations. I’ll offer up one of each.

    Favorite Change (Character):
    There are several, but the one that sticks with me the most is Varys. Yes, I know that it’s all part of an act, but Varys’s presentation as a mincing, giggling, dandy awash with silk robes and sickeningly sweet perfumes held little charm for me on the page. Of course he had other layers to him as well – deliberately so as one of those characters who “knows too much” to be given a POV chapter – but until the epilogue of ADWD, I didn’t really feel much if any sense of investment in his character. As portrayed by the amazing Conleth Hill on Game of Thrones, Varys is every bit as smart and calculating as his book counterpart. But he also has a hardness to him, a ruthless edge that lets you know just how dangerous this man truly is. Yet he’s also empathetic – his relationship with Tyrion feels far more like a genuine friendship than a political convenience. The absence of a Point-of-View structure has allowed Varys to share some truly memorable scenes not only with Tyrion, but also with Littlefinger, Olenna, and Oberyn. All in all, I consider the TV version of Varys to be vastly improved. He’s one of my favorite characters on the show, and a testament to what the visual medium and an actor’s portrayal can accomplish.

    Least Favorite Change (Character): Small though his role may be, I have to go with Qhorin Halfhand. He was one of my favorite minor characters from the novels, primarily because I loved the mentoring relationship that he had with Jon during their expedition into the Skirling Pass. He seemed to genuinely be interested in helping and learning more about his young charge. I thought that the character as he was portrayed by Simon Armstrong in the show was fine, but it was clear that there wasn’t much of a connection between the two – Qhorin seemed to view Jon primarily as cripplingly naive, and Jon’s actions ultimately validated that. However, I do understood why the showrunners reduced the amount of time that we spent with the Halfhand. They wanted to prioritize Ygritte, a character whom would wind up being far more important in Jon’s life. As a consequence of the extra time that we got to spend with her, as well as Rose Leslie’s excellent performance, Ygritte became a character who I liked far more in the show than in the books. On the page, I primarily cared about her because Jon cared about her. On screen, I was interested in her because she was fierce, vibrant, empathetic character. I consider that to be a worthy tradeoff. But I still miss the Halfhand from the novels.

    Favorite Change (Storyline): There have been a lot of great ones, but I’ll second Axey here and say Brienne’s duel with the Hound – especially as an endpoint to their respective Season 4 arcs. It was gorgeously shot, viscerally thrilling, and brought two previously isolated storylines together in a way that I found to be incredibly satisfying. I like Brienne immensely, but her aimless wanderings throughout A Feast for Crows looking for “a maid of three-and-ten with auburn hair” are among my least favorite chapters in A Song of Ice and Fire. I find them crushingly dull and immensely frustrating because we know very well that Brienne isn’t going to find Sansa or Arya, who are safely ensconced in the Vale and across the Narrow Sea, respectively. Giving Brienne a clear sense of direction and hope of an endgame was a big improvement. Likewise, Arya and the Hound’s arc is pretty thin after the Red Wedding – I believe that Arya has two chapters in ASOS after that event happens. Their expanded wanderings were one of the highlights of Season 4, and the duel was a fitting end to their partnership. Plus, I found the scene where Arya abandons the Hound to be even more powerful on screen than on the page because of the extra time that they hand spent together (and of course, stellar performances from Maisie Williams and Rory McCann). Great, great stuff.

    Least Favorite Change (Storyline): I preface this by saying that there was never a way that the show was going to be able to do justice to Daenerys’s journey into the House of the Undying. Prophecy and allegory are exceptionally difficult to handle well on TV, and devoting an extended sequence to what’s essentially a feverish, deliberately disorienting nightmare – one that draws its primary drama from things that have already happened, might not happen for several seasons, or might never happen at all – probably isn’t all that smart for TV. The show needs to appeal to a wider audience and has to convey everything through image and dialogue rather than lengthy prose. In that light, I thought that the show’s substitute of Daenerys encountering a vision of Khal Drogo actually worked quite nicely. And yet .. part of me wishes that they had tried. The House of the Undying sequence in the show was fine, but ultimately it was forgettable (as was, unfortunately, most of Qarth). The House of the Undying chapter in A Clash of Kings, however, may be one of the most celebrated and dissected sequences in the entirety of A Song of Ice and Fire. It would have been awesome to see it realized onscreen. I know that I would have loved it and spent a long time analyzing everything they put into the visions, even if the reaction of most casual viewers likely would have been something along the lines of “What in the actual hell was that shit?” Oh well.

  25. Fave change: Jojen’s death, his character felt like it was going nowhere, not even in helping Bran and the constant health problems were getting on my nerves in the show. I really loved the acceleration of Sansa’s change in late season 4. Brienne vs Hound was good.

    Least fave change: LS obviously takes the cake for me, there is NO excuse for cutting her (I know it’s not really confirmed). The omission of the Tysha scandal when Tyrion escapes was also a massive fuck-up. I also agree with the poster who said that Selyse seems to despise her own daughter in the show.

  26. Favorite: Brienne vs the Hound, yeah, brilliant, even with the logic problems of how they got there.

    Leas favorite: I guess in the second season, Jon’s arc. I was really looking forward to the Jon&Qhorin chase, the way the members of the party died one by one and the ending, brilliant. I was thinking it was perfect for TV, but no…. cut out completely.

  27. Favourite Change: Any of the added scenes. I’ve liked pretty much all of them.

    Least Fav Change: The Hound’s early book scenes, mostly with Sansa. Specifically his “LOOK AT ME” scene that was actually his audition and given to Littlefinger. Those scenes added so much character to both The Hound and Sansa’s storylines.

  28. I wonder what AngryGameofThrones fan favorite and least favorite change is. His favorite change is probably darth Sansa as he is a big Sansa fan. His least favorite, I have no clue. Probably the omission of a tertiary character moment 🙂

  29. Better: all expanded or new scenes for Tywin. Charles Dance was incredible, and the extra scenes with Arya, Tommen, etc were all fantastic. Honourable mentions to Margaery in general, and the famous Cersei/ Robert scene in s1.

    Worse: Jon took two years to make up for his fluffed s2 plot line, so I agree with those nominating the botched Qhorin Halfhand story. Dishonourable mentions to the waste of Asha in s4 and Loras’ failure to mourn Renly (although Finn Jones’ enthusiasm for getting laid kinda makes up for it).

    And failing to have Lady Stoneheart as the s4 end is worse than all the other changes combined, even if they do it sometime in s5. Best season ending wtf moment to never happen on tv.
  30. Have not read what anyone else said, but am sure these have been listed already:

    Favorite: Arya paired with Tywin in Season 2. I hadn’t read the books at that point, and was surprised to learn it didn’t happen in the GRRM version of events. It was a fun way to get two characters to interact who don’t in the books, and to me it felt natural. It didn’t feel tacked on. Which makes me wonder about…

    Least Favorite:* Yara’s raid on the Dreadfort. It felt like they stuck it in there because they had to close the loop from the end of Season 3. They could have at least drawn it out a bit and have scenes in more than one episode, or something. (The Craster’s Keep thing felt similarly tacked on, but not to the same degree)

    * To be supplanted by a lack of

    LSH should she never show up
  31. I can’t say that I’m too upset by the lack of the weasel soup scene. It is fantastic in the book and it would have been nice to see on screen, but I think the fact that we gained all of the new Arya/Tywin stuff makes up for it.

    I really disliked Dany’s season 2 storyline, but I can see how the show would have suffered if it had followed the books. Having one of the most recognisable characters from the first season do next to nothing for an entire season (after already killing the “main” character in season 1) would have really turned a lot of casual viewers off.

    I’d have to say that my least favorite change would be Jon’s storyline in season 2 though. Clash of Kings was when I really started to like Jon as a character. It showed a lot about his dedication to the Watch and just how far he’d come since the night he attempted to run from Castle Black. His willingness to risk everything to infiltrate Mance’s army was reduced to nothing. Half a season wandering in circles like an idiot and getting mocked by Ygritte instead of what I see as his characters defining moment. I appreciate that they wanted to give Rose more screentime, but it seems like far too much was lost in order to achieve that.

    It’s probably going to be controversial and I don’t even know if it’s going to happen, but if

    Lady Stoneheart

    is cut from the show I’d say that this would be the best change D&D make. Of course this depends on how that storyline evolves in Winds and Dream, but as things stand, I think her inclusion in ASoIaF is one of GRRM’s only mistakes.

    Like I said, a lot of this depends on future books, but if Jon’s “death” goes the way that many are expecting (with Mel going all dondarion on him), I think it will really cheapen the deaths of all the characters in the story. I can just about buy into 1 main character getting resurected, but 2 is silly. The nuber of fake-out deaths/blindings in the story so far gets on my nerves already, there’s ony so many times you can find the same thing shocking.

    The Red Wedding was utterly brutal and I understand a lot of fans desire to see some vengance, but in a series that people applaud for the fact that the “good-guys” don’t always win and that tries to be as realistic as possible in regards to the sort of horrible events in real life history, I dont see why people think UnCat is a good plot device. I’d much rather see Manderly and the other Northern Lords (as well as Blackfish in the show) make the Frey’s pay, than reintroducing another not-dead dead person.

  32. Favorite change: The talk between Robert and Cersei in season one. It added so much depth to each character and this ingredient of weariness, regret, “I don’t really hate you but too much as gone between us for me to ever like you because you hurt me so much”. I don’t know how to put it into words, it was outstanding.

    Least favorite: Tease the fight at the fist, resolve it with a black screen and some yelling. The whole return to craster’s Keep with Jojen and company. Really botched stuff imo.

  33. BrightroarsBane:
    Worst Change: Yara attacking the Dreadfort. The build up was exiting, but the conclusion was rushed and confusing.

    Agreed 100%, it felt so rushed and sloppy I was amazed that it actually made it on-screen.

    Brienne vs the Hound was brilliant, not only it it’s awesomeness, but also how it effectively distilled Arya and Bri’s storylines while trimming a lot of fat from the books.

  34. Least Favourite Change: It seems we’re not getting Michelle Fairley back. Or the whole UnCat plot, for that matter. This truly bothers me as I quite frankly enjoyed that storyline and the dread it brings upon not only all the Frey and Bolton scum but also Brienne and Jaime (you might recognize these last two as being quite important characters whose fates could possibly matter). So yeah, still not over it, and D&D would have to pull a bloody magic trick to ease the rage.

    Favourite Change: Daenerys’ weapons of siege being used to throw the collars of freed slaves inside Meereen is one. Brienne and The Hound is an other.

  35. Favorite change:
    If Lady Stoneheart and the Greyjoys are cut I would not know which to choose! I understand the reasoning in cutting both and actually like the idea of both being cut. However, since right now there is no definitive word on their roles being cut I will look elsewhere….

    That brings me to the Beauty and the Beast…erm… The Hound.
    Having them encounter each other was a nice twist for this reader and I loved the resulting fight scene. One of the best of the series!

    Honorable Mention:
    The drastic aging up of both Margaery Tyrell and Missandei. Both changed the characters for the better to me. Margaery is now a legitimate player in the game based on her own merits and aging up Missandei allows them to use her as a voice of wisdom to Dany. On screen having a preteen advise Dany would have felt strange I think.

    Worst change:
    Jon’s arc with Qhorin Halfhand.
    I think that season lacked the gravitas Qhorin could have provided in Jon’s arc. That arc is one of the rare situations on the show where I think every TV scene was notably worse than it’s book counterpart. Even if the character himself needed to be shortchanged due to time restraints, I think they did a half-assed job on Halfhand!

    DisHonorable Mention:
    Jeyne Westerling into Talisa and everything that changed in Robb’s arc involving her.

  36. It’s hard for me to pinpoint a single favorite and least favorite so I’ll just list a couple.

    Favorite: The fight between Brienne and the Hound, Arya and Tywin at Harrenhaal, the changes to Margaery, Jon seeing Ygritte being killed, Sansa in S4E8, Arya killing Polliver

    Least favorite: The absence of “Tysha” in the S4 finale, Jaime/Cersei sept scene, and weasel soup. There are probably some more but I can’t think of any others right now.

  37. Favorite: Cast another vote for Brienne versus The Hound. It was an incredibly acted, tragic, and disturbing scene that is one of the series highlights. Runner-up is moving The Red Viper’s monologue about meeting Tyrion as an infant from their first meeting, to when he visits him in his cell, where it has ten times as much emotional impact.

    Least favorite: Tempting to go with Tysha and all the drama removed from that scene, but I have to cast another vote for Qhorin Halfhand. It was an incredibly exciting and awesome storyline in the books, but Jon’s arc in S2 was reduced to a transitional one into Season 3 – unnecessarily, I think.

  38. Favorite Change: Dany taking Mereen. Such an awesome speech. So badass with the slave collars. Runners up include: Combining the north and south battles at the wall, Tywin and Arya, Brienne vs. Hound, skeleton battle at Heart Tree.

    Least Favorite: Changing Tyrion’s line after his wedding from “That’s why the gods made whores, for imps like me” to “And now my watch begins” Runners up include: No LS in Season IV finale, Jaime doesn’t confess to Tyrion in Season IV finale.

  39. Yay. A place for condoned change ranting! 😛 Before I indulge I think it’s important to say that on the whole they’ve done an incredible job adapting it so far so this is nitpicking. Although I think a lot of changes in Season 5 are going to irk me…but we shall see!

    Favourite Change
    Most of them have been pretty slick but I think the wisest decision was aging up a lot of the characters as it would have been awful and affected the whole feeling of the show if we had 15 year old Robbs and Jons and 13 year old Sansa’s running about! Only time I thought the ageing up was wrong though was Missandei who I think worked much better as a child character.
    Also the work they’ve done with non POV characters has on the whole been great (Tywin, Marjery, Robb, Jaime, Bronn etc) and really brought them more to life.
    I think a lot of Dany’s storyline changes were good too, although her storyline is still pretty stagnant so in that respect it’s not that different from the books.
    Adding the Whitewalkers/ Night King was a good move too as it keeps them relevant whereas in the book they’ve been eerily quiet for a long time.

    Least Favourite Change.
    Brienne in general. Her character is poor and untinteresting compared to book Brienne. Book Brienne was very sympathetic and her naivity to being a knight and honour was great as we went on a journey with her to discover neither are black and white. They also fleshed her out a lot better with the background about the shit she went throught to become a knight and why it means so much to her. Show Brienne seems much more one dimensional and is nowhere near as likeable. It seems instead of emphasising her characteristics of stubborness and tenacity they think having her never lose fights makes up for it. I think having her beat Jaime and the Hound (neither of which happened) was detrimental to both of their characters and didn’t do anything to make hers more interesting. At the moment to me she’s just a robot and got zero development last season. Hope they start to humanise her more next season as I’m beginning to actively dislike her which is bizarre as I thought she was great in the books.
    The Missandei/Greyworm romance is a close second. Pointless.

  40. I suspect these have been said before.

    Favourite: Arya and Tywin’s interactions. Varys vs Littlefinger. Shae being fleshed out a lot more. The ‘beyond the wall’ reveal. Daario’s general appearance. The characters being aged up.

    Least Favourite: Lack of ‘I dreamed of you’. The hatchet job on Lady Catelyn’s character. Yarasha vs the Dreadfort. Lack of Jaqen in a bath. The massacre of the Altar Scene. ‘Where are my dragons?’

    My main issue was with Yarasha. There was a huge amount of potential there. Then nothing happened. Wasted opportunity.

  41. Favorite change: The “Baelor” moment from season one, when Ned gets to see Arya before he dies. An improvement over the books made possible by the less limited POV.

    Least favorite change: That Bran and Rickon’s “deaths” in season two don’t matter. By staging their deaths, Theon unwittingly frees Jaime Lannister and weds Robb to Jeyne (since those decisions were made by Catelyn and Robb during moments of extreme grief). In general, I think the show misses out on the important emotional moments in characters’ journeys when it is forced to streamline the plot. See also Jon and Arya in season two; Tyrion and Jaime in season four.

  42. If I had to choose only one:

    Favorite: Margeary Tyrell as active player
    Least favorite: Talisa (a character who does not belong to Westeros world at all)

  43. Favourite: Arya and Tywin in Harrenhal. Loved the chemistry between the characters and the actors.

    Least: I’m still a bit disappointed that they didn’t have a fever dream with the Tower of Joy in season 1…

  44. There are too many good and bad changes in the show, especially in seasons 2 and 4.

    Best- Arya and Tywin
    Worst- potentially cutting LS while including the Berric resurrections (I wish the show planned that better)

    SEASON 4
    Best- Darth Sansa, Ice ice baby, Jaime blackmailing Tywin in the trial
    Worst-fireballs, Tyrion having no motive to kill Tywin (it’s out of character or him to risk so much when nothing really changed) and Yara’s pointless trip which could have at least been executed better
    EDIT: and FYI I’m not saying Tysha is such a great part of the books because she isn’t but the show definitely should have come up with another direct and impactful reason why Tyrion goes to Tywin’s room instead of escaping

    and I have a feeling I already know it for season 5:
    Best- blowing through Sansa’s arc into actually interesting TWOW stuff
    Worst- including Dorne while cutting Arianne, just makes no sense

  45. The_Rabbit01: Least favorite: Talisa (a character who does not belong to Westeros world at all)

    Well, no, she’s from Essos. But I assume that’s not what you mean.

  46. Favourite Changes: (1) Making Arya’s and Gendry’s acquaintanceship more of a true friendship (still on the fence about merging Gendry with ‘Edric though), (2) No Vargo and no confounded thaphires [though I may be a minority of one there], (3) thank goodness there was no blue hair and gold tooth for Daario;

    Least Favourite Changes: (1) Having the Theon torture so “in your face” – it’s more subtly revealed in the books, (2) Changing Jeyne Westerling into Talisa Twitface and the cheesy dialogue about Robb teaching ‘ickle Eddard Stark to ride his horsy-worsy, (3) Making Jaime kill Alton (there is a cousin in the books albeit with a different name but Jaime doesn’t kill him).

  47. Best changes
    – As has been said upthread, the depth that has been brought to non-POV characters like Margaery, Tywin, Robb and Oberyn, in particular. A combination of great acting and strong writing
    – Twyin and Arya in Harrenhal
    – Making Cersei a more “complex” character rather than the mustache-twirling villain that she becomes by AFFC. Looking forward to her scenes in S5.

    Worst changes
    – The lack of presence of “named” Northern lords and their armies fighting and dying with Robb. This still hurts. Casting Wyman Manderly will help ease this pain.
    – Show Loras. I adore Finn Jones and wish that he had more to do than trade witty comments with Jaime and talk about clothes with Sansa. If he is going to be assuming the role of Willas/Garlan, I would like to be reminded of his skills as a knight, his pride, his devotion to family, etc.
    – This may be premature but the Dorne storyline in S5, especially the Myrcella-Trystane romance.

  48. Best: everything they’ve done to Arya’s book 2 and 3 storylines has been a massive improvement. Her book storyline drags way too much, there are way too many minor characters then when she is with an interesting one in the hound they separate only a couple of chapters post red wedding.

    Worst: Everything they did with Shae post season 1 was a massive disaster. Worst by far. Made little sense. Very unbelievable and nonsensical. And most hated character in the show by far.

  49. jentario:
    Tyrion having no motive to kill Tywin (it’s out of character or him to risk so much when nothing really changed) and Yara’s pointless trip which could have at least been executed better
    EDIT: and FYI I’m not saying Tysha is such a great part of the books because she isn’t but the show definitely should have come up with another direct and impactful reason why Tyrion goes to Tywin’s room instead of escaping

    Yeah, no motive at all, considering Tywin always hated him, put him through an unfair trial and wanted to either chop his head off or send him to the Wall.

  50. Best Change: Darth Sansa was really awesome. The added Robert & Cersei scene. Eliminating the singers and the fools, for the most part, as they’re fine color in the book but would be the GoT equivalent of Jar-Jar Binks on the show. Making Ser Rodrik Cassel’s execution front and center as part of Theon’s descent to the dark side – in fact, that’s one of the strongest moments. Aging up the children, including the likes of Podrick and Missandei. Shae’s character overall. Adding in lots of Littlefinger/Varys showdowns. Moving Varys’ story about getting “cut” to Season 3, and letting us see his goddamned torturer in a fucking box OMG. There are some things they’ve interpreted quite well – I thought they did a fine job with the very difficult House of the Undying, when to give away everything there would not have worked as well.

    Worst Change: Taking the Battle at the Fist of the First Men and turning it into seven seconds of screaming before a black screen. Even 20 seconds of Night’s Watchmen getting overrun would have helped. Too much Ramsey & Reek torture in Season 3 (I’d have jettisoned one or two scenes – keep the first one for intro purposes, keep his little feint into the woods, keep the castration and the “pork sausage” bit, dump the rest). That said, I think they handled Season 4 well – they’re only in 3 episodes, and it all works really well (Yes, Yara gave up too quickly but in my canon she ponders for a longer period of time the possibility of fighting off Ramsey and the dogs for someone who doesn’t want to go with them as a bad option.) Stretching out ASoS into 2 seasons helped some characters – Tyrion, Joffrey, Tywin, Arya – and hurt others – Stannis in particular, Jon Snow to an extent.

    I tend not to go in for the “they cut this out” type stuff. Some things have to go (I do miss LS), because they just can’t do everything.

    Now in terms of characters:

    Most Improved: Tywin Lannister (casting Charles Dance gets you 70 pct of the way there, and making him clearer in motivation and emotion does the rest), Cersei (she’s phenomenal, and as Sue the Fury said, better than in the books), Bronn (how great is Jerome Flynn?), Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale is great, and his speeches in Season 1/Episode 4 (“You don’t know cold.”) and in 4/9 really help round out a character who is otherwise just an annoying hardass), Ygritte, and a few others.

    Most Weakened: To me there are 5 levels of characters in the show. Primary (interact with lots of people, their decisions affect everything, we see them grow and change, so, Ned, Tyrion, Baelish, Sansa, you get the idea), Secondary (they don’t change as much, they can lift out of the story more easily, but their decisions matter and our primary characters change as a result of interacting with them, so, Jeor Mormont, Viserys, Oberyn Martell, Melisandre), Tertiary (show up for a little while and then are gone, there for a good speech, a great crowning moment, or steady support in the background, so, Yoren, Craster, Kraznys, Thoros of Myr), Group 4 — Everyone less important than Meryn Trant, and Group 5 – Hodor (Hodor).

    Sorry for long preamble, but the ones that suffered most on the show are the “tweeners,” the ones who don’t fit between categories 2 and 3 easily enough. Bronn was arguably moved up or made a better category 2. Varys is probably a category 2 who is closer to category 1, so he’s been improved. The ones that suffered? 1) Qhorin Halfhand – and even one scene of him and Jon doing the oath together would have been enough to get at what he was going for and 2) Loras Tyrell, who has been reduced to mostly just a queeny sort, without his love for Renly or swordsmanship. (Dontos Hollard is probably a tweener as well, but I thought the show handled him well, cutting a lot of that Florian & Jonquil nonsense).

  51. For LEAST favorite alteration, how could I possibly forget the addition of Ros? What a useless whore she was. Even her death scene looked ridiculous.

  52. Morgoth,

    He had plenty motive to escape, not enough motive to risk his life to go to Tywin’s room and do what exactly? What was he even planning? I don’t think he was planning to kill Tywin in the show or in the books until he found Shae.

    Tyrion is a sensible character, his regard for his life is much higher than for petty revenge. In the books the whole (admittedly lame) Tysha thing destroys him and makes him not care for his life anymore. In the show that isn’t the case, so why would he risk his life only to confront Tywin and risk getting caught as well as screwing over Jaime and Varys? What suddenly changed in that last episode that made Tyrion want to go face Tywin?

  53. Favorite change: Arya and the Hound prancing around the Riverlands, their dialogue and scenes gave us a better understanding of the Hound’s character and some sympathy.

    Least favorite change: Gendry’s storyline – being sold by the BWB to be leeched by Melisandre and then rowing to Kings Landing, where for all we know, he may still be rowing…….

  54. Favourite change: I’m going to go for the straight to the point-ness of Ayra’s story. Rather than spend time hanging around in the Riverlands, or hanging around in Harrenhal, or walking in a circle in the Riverlands, she goes straight from Yoren to Tywin to the Brotherhood. A great example of cutting the fat. The same goes with Brienne, presuming none of her aimless journey hasn’t been moved into season five.

    Least favourite change: Like many, I was rather disappointed with the Halfhand plot. I know it was important to characterise Ygritte and set her up with Jon, but I feel there was an opportunity to include both her and Qhorin Halfhand. They could have, for example, had Ygritte and Jon spend the first night together, then have Halfhand and crew find Jon alone the next morning – which I was originally expecting.

  55. I’ll give several of each:

    Favorite changes:

    1) Aging up the characters. This should be everyone’s number one, because you know the show would never have been made without it. It’s also a change that only negatively impacts one character (Robb Stark) and benefits pretty much everyone else.

    EDIT: Consider this 1B: More Yoren. The guy who played him was brilliant and it was great to connect the Willem story to Arya’s praying.

    And 1c) A more likeable Alliser

    2) Merging Gendry and Edric Storm. Edric was a totally forgetful character, Gendry was a fan favorite. Merging them means Gendry gets more screentime and they don’t have to cast another character. I might not agree with all they did (dick leach), but the idea was more than sound.

    3) Postponing the arrival of the Reeds. They really didn’t do much that was of consequence in ACOK, so it’s good to keep them from being cast until season 3, when they are actually important.

    4) Dany and Drogon’s wedding night. The version in the books never made sense to me, since everything else in their story has been a classic case of the Stockholm Syndrome. The way the show did it cemented that (+ it was more plausible).

    5) Tywin’s introduction. Skinning that deer was an excellent intro for Tywin. I wish later seasons had more of this brilliance.

    6) Ros Yes, a bookreader who liked Ros. This is indeed a disturbing universe. Combining multiple minor prostitutes into one made it possible for us to get a look into places where we could never go before. I don’t like how they ended her arc, but introducing her was a good idea.

    7) More Bronn. I like Jerome Flynn and I like his portrayal of Bronn (one exception his stand-off with Sandor).

    8) No Jeyne Westerling The change itself was good, but the execution was horrible, so this will probably in both my best and my worst adaptation choices list.

    9) Cutting Strong Belwas. Accept it, he wouldn’t have worked on screen. Not in a million years.

    10) Away with Hoat, in with Locke One of the best changes. Sadly, they squandered everything they could have done with him. Sad really, a bit like the Westerling change.

    11) Tywin using Tyrion’s trial to force Jaime to marry Clever writing, wish there was more of this.

    There are probably more, but I’ll just start with the worst changes in my next post.

  56. jentario,

    I think the reason

    why Tyrion went to Tywin’s room was pride, plain and simple. Instead of doing what Arya did with the Hound – “you’re full of it, screw this, I don’t need to put up with it anymore, finally” – and walk off to a new life, Tyrion just had to have the last word. As for not including the Tysha reveal, my theory is Jaime doesn’t confess things like this unless he’s emotionally at the end of his rope – angry, desperate – and in the show he isn’t in that state of mind. He’s reunited with Cersei (yuck) and doing a “good” thing, letting Tyrion escape, so he’s not in the mindset to reveal something like that. It’s possible with Tywin’s murder that will put him back into the frame of mind that made him confess the Aerys story to Brienne.

    Put the above in spoilers, just in case.

  57. Best change: Aging up the Stark kids, Jon and Dany. Their book POVs are unrealistic for their very young ages. GRRM himself admits to struggling with writing from kids perspectives. The ages they are on the show are the ages they should be in the books.

    Worst change: The whole Talisa thing. I like that book Robb died for honor over duty just like his dad. I like contrasting that with Jon choosing duty over honor and surviving. If the romance had been written better it might be okay, but it wasn’t that interesting and ended up wasting the talents of Richard Madden and Oona Chaplin.

  58. jentario:

    Tyrion is a sensible character, his regard for his life is much higher than for petty revenge.

    How so? In the book he pretty much orders Bronn to go kill an annoying bard.
    I realize his secret was in danger, but I don’t believe there weren’t other options.
    Also, he just reached his limit when he saw Shae in Tywin’s bed. Really, the lame Tysha thing was unneeded.

  59. Favourite change – Tyrion’ s escape. I know most people will likely disagree with me on this. I do understand why it seems like an important plot change but I have zero interest in this particular storyline and I REALLY don’t care where whores go. Loved the changes to Sansa in season 4!

    Least favourite change – I’m not overly disappointed not to see LS, but I agree that D and D missed a huge opportunity for an epic final scene in S4.

  60. Not sure if anyone mentioned these yet….

    Favorite: Although it was totally unrealistic having Melisandre travel to the Riverlands in like, a day, I liked being able to see her with Thoros. It kind of revealed what is known about the extent of red priest/priestess powers and just the lord of light in general. Also loved her weird comment to Arya about eyes. It hinted at maybe another future interaction between the two.

    Least Favorite: I know it’s small, but it really bothered me that at Tyrion and Sansa’s wedding Sansa bent down so he could put the cloak on. In the books one of my favorite Sansa moments was her refusal to kneel because it was the one thing she could control. To me, taking that moment away from her really stripped her character of some integrity and whatever sense of self worth she had left at that point.

  61. Aimee Storm:
    I know it’s small, but it really bothered me that at Tyrion and Sansa’s wedding Sansa bent down so he could put the cloak on. In the books one of my favorite Sansa moments was her refusal to kneel because it was the one thing she could control. To me, taking that moment away from her really stripped her character of some integrity and whatever sense of self worth she had left at that point.

    To be fair, if she didn’t kneel, I’m sure she would have looked like an asshole to the only Lannister who showed any compassion and care for her.

  62. Worst changes:

    1) Dany in Qarth: I thought this was bad in the books, but at least there we had the cool visions at the end. This was horrible from start to finish, I don’t know what possessed them to bring something like this on screen (yeah, I know Dany is a fan favorite and needs screentime).

    2) Shae the whore with a heart of gold Nothing about this characters actions or personality made sense. Nothing. The book version would have been hard to sell in it’s pure form, but they should have brought a more nuanced version of it instead of this shitty character.

    3) Brienne vs. the Hound I really think they just don’t like the Hound. Beside the fact that the man is a fucking tank, who would have crushed Brienne and Bronn in a heartbeat, the whole premisse about this fight was nonsensical. Why would the guards of the Vale let Sandor and Arya go? How did Brienne catch up with them? Why did she even start the fight? Wtf was Pod doing during the scene? And Brienne winning with that fightstyle against the Hound was ridiculous (seriously, I could accept her winning the fight because she was faster or more agile with the sword, but there is no way that she could win on pure power like she did in the show).

    4) Asha at the Dreadfort. One of the worst scenes in the history of this show. A shirtless Ramsay and some dogs getting Asha to leave without her brother… wtf were they thinking?

    5) Making Loras and Renly into stereotypical gay guys and the BWB into backstabbing bastards

    6) Talisa and Locke Replacing Jeyne Westerling and Vargo Hoat was a good idea, but what was put in place was actually worse than what was in the book. I’m particularly furious about Locke, he had so much fucking potential and what they did with him in season 4 was just retarded.

    7) Theon’s storyline They are seriously wasting Alfie Allen’s talents here. In season two, they should have introduced Ramsay like in the book and leave Dagmer alone. That was the first mistake. The second mistake was the massive amount of torture porn in season 3, topped of by the disappointing naming ceremony (one punch and he was already Reek? the fuck) and of course the dog conundrum with Asha.

    8) Lannister without gold This is a plothole where I could guide an Airbus 380 through. So, Lannister mines haven’t been producing gold for three years… What? How come all the miners, carters, goldsmiths, merchants, etc, haven’t spoken up yet. It is impossible to keep a secret that big for a week, let alone three years. Nonsensical and offensive.

    9) Wildlings They seriously mishandled the wildlings. Mance the bard was an interesting character, worthy of Hinds talent. Generic king guy was not. The Thenns were boring as shit, just put in there to make the fight more black and white with goes totally against what the story is about. I also miss Tormunds dick jokes, but I get why they aren’t included.

    10) Jon Snow. This particular storyline limps from disappointment to disappointment. First the Halfhand was totally mishandled. Than Ygritte was made into a generic warrior chick. I especially hate the Climb, she was bland in the books but at least there the climbing of the wall gave me one moment where I cared for her. That was totally absent in the show, with that idiotic kiss on the top of the wall. And her dead was horribly trite.

    11) The children of the forest The whole scene was atrocious, Jojen death made me laugh because it was so ridiculous (Eventhough I hate it, I would take Jojenpaste over this every time). Their rendition of Bloodraven and the children was laughable. Where was the creepy gothic atmosphere? The intimidating albino greenseer? The omnious Children of the Forest? Nowhere, fireballs and bad CGI skeletons (seriously, Jason and the Argonauts had more impressive fighting skeletons) were more important apparently. And I thought CGI was so ridiculously expensive.

    There are many more, but I’ll limit myself to 11, to mirror the 11 best changes.

  63. Least favorite change: Robb and Catelyn’s entire storyline in season 3 – completely rewriting Catelyn’s character for no apparent reason; creating Talisa, whose background story didn’t even make sense; making Robb’s downfall to be love/lust and not honor like in the books… ugh. And now, erasing/postponing the LS reveal… If they ever decide to include her in the show it will be too late and the emotional impact will be lost on the viewer.

    Favorite change: Shae up to season 3 – I really enjoyed her relationship with both Sansa and Tyrion and the complexity of her character. Unfortunately season 4 threw all that away. She wasn’t even given chance to explain why she testified against Tyrion.

    Generally speaking, like the moments we can’t see in the books because the characters don’t have a POV. (Robert and Cersei, Margaery and Olenna, Renly and Loras…)

  64. Morgoth: Yeah, no motive at all, considering Tywin always hated him, put him through an unfair trial and wanted to either chop his head off or send him to the Wall.

    Co-sign. He put his son through a trial, gave him a hope (by using his brother, about the only family member he really cares for) through the floating of a possibility of exile if he’d admitted his crimes, and then after Tyrion consents to the idea, he drops the hammer by bringing in his lover to testify against him – even after the deed is already done. He treated him as a son when it was useful for him – when he wanted to send him to rein in Joffrey, and when he begged for his life on the privy. The idea that because the Tysha story wasn’t leaned on at the end (and I would have liked to have seen it) does *not* mean Tyrion did not have motive. I mean, he had all the goddamned motive in the world.

  65. Worst change : Dany in the house of the undying

    Worst cut : lady stoneheart

    Best change : Breianne meeting the hound

  66. Best change : I would say to counteract that other guy, Brienne’s storyline i felt was actually funny and exciting as opposed to her crappy and boring book storyline ,also the exclusion of the poor comic book vengeful zombie plot is a plus for me .

    Worst change : Jon’s entire season 2 arc .

  67. jentario:

    But why was he in Tywin’s bed in the first place, if he only broke after seeing Shae there? That’s my issue

    He maybe didn’t “break” until he saw Shae in the bed, but he had enough reason to go up and confront his father. It was a unique opportunity to have a frank conversation with Tywin on his terms, I think most people in his position would have taken it. I mean, if you had cut the Shae scene entirely, I don’t think any show-watcher would have been confused as to why Tyrion wanted to confront his dad after all the shit piled on him.

    And I think the “breaking point,” or the moment that Tyrion was willing to kill Tywin, was the same in the books and the show. It wasn’t just what Tywin did to Tysha/Shae, it was the dismissive way Tywin talked about the whore Tyrion loved that pushed him over the edge and prompted pulling the trigger.

  68. Best: the original scenes between arya and tywin..they added so much depth to tywin’s character. And of course the fight between brienne and sandor, great television!

    Worst: No tysha, the cutting of the greyjoy uncles (they would have worked perfectly on television) and aegon and jon con (not so much time was nedeed to introduce these two awesome characters in season 5)

  69. Someone earlier separated the changes into characters and events, so I’m going to steal that format.

    Best Character Change:

    I’m going to go with Theon. I could not stand reading his chapters in CoK. He’s still an asshole on the show, but it’s dialed down significantly, and I loved seeing him more conflicted about ditching Robb for his family. It made his storyline one of the most compelling ones in Season 2.

    Worst Character Change:

    I much prefer the more charming, friendly version of Littlefinger in the books than the transparent weasel on the show. I just don’t get how someone like that can last so long playing the game, and be so good at playing said game, when everyone kind of already is suspicious of him. Plus, Aiden Gillen’s line delivery is awful, so that probably lowers my opinion of the show depiction even more.

    Best Event Change:

    Brienne fighting the Hound was extremely satisfying. Not only does Brienne journey actually get somewhere interesting, but it’s a much better sendoff for the Hound than if he got killed by the Tickler. And the moment between Arya and Brienne was pretty special, and a too-rare occurrence when characters from different storylines actually cross paths.

    Worst Event Change

    I liked seeing Ygritte more in Season 2, and I’m even mostly fine with how much time we got got with Qhorin (just wish that time had been used better), but I wish they found some way to make Jon’s inability to execute Ygritte, and his decision to go after her, look less stupid. If I remember correctly, Qhorin says something that implies that he respects the decision Jon made to let her go, and in the show it just made Jon look like an idiot.

  70. Best Change: Probably not a ‘legal’ answer, since it’s in the future, but I say Jaime & Bronn in Dorne. Light years better than Jaime moping around in the Riverlands and Bronn riding off into the sunset. I’m looking forward to it.

    Worst Change: ShowDany’s imperious and stubborn nature. I never got that from the books. BookDany’s uncertainty and compassion come off the page, but on the show, she just seems kind of rigid, not much subtlety.

  71. I’ve been a long time reader (at the other site – and promptly switched to WOTW). This is first time I post!

    Good topic! Changes to the books have resulted in some of the most interesting scenes in GoT. And they have also resulted in some of the worst. I like changes when well done. And there are many that are very well done. I never feel the urge to say “How could D&D cut ______? This character is pivotal!”. Or “This scene is missing! It’s my favorite”. There are so many good situations in the books, that I can’t choose a single one as favorite. Anyway …

    Best Change: All the one on one conversations. This is a hallmark of GoT as a TV show. You enjoy the interactions in a way that is harder to grasp from the books. Say, facial expressions and how they match (or not!) what is being said by the characters. Arya vs. Twyin is but one great example.

    Worst Change: “Where are my dragons?” Enough said.

  72. wallofice,

    Couldn’t agree more, Shae Seasons 1-3 was a marvellous character and a fantastic change from book to screen.

    However they assassinated their own character in Season 4 just to try and be faithful to the books (like they cared before) and its such a disservice to the character and Sibel

  73. I think having her beat Jaime and the Hound (neither of which happened)

    Er … she did beat Jaime in ASoS. The fight was different on the show, but it ended virtually the same.

  74. Best Change: Expansion of Cersei/Ygritte/Margaery

    Worst Change: Lack of

    Stoneheart. Not so much about the shock factor, but the fact that shes integral to other characters’ development and it just reflects their disrespect to Catelyn imo. I mean, if it had been Ned or Robb, would they have been so quick to cut her? I don’t think so
  75. Greenjones,

    erm yeah I was saving that for the new post we have in draft, because things posted in comments have a way of getting posted let’s just call it “elsewhere.”

  76. It’s been great reading through all these comments. Thanks for initiating the conversation.

    There have been so many great changes/characterizations in the show I enjoyed more than those in the books.

    I’d guess because I was first introduced to the world through the show, I don’t have as many problems with some of the changes as others.

    My favorite change is how they made Davos interesting, to me. That character did not appeal to me in the books, at all. In fact, I felt like I was just “getting through” his chapters in the books. I really, really enjoy him in the show.

    My least favorite change is probably Talisa. While why they made the changes they did made more sense after the Red Wedding, and I thought beginning the slaughter with stabbing her in the belly really worked, I still can’t quite make myself totally ok with it, and I tend to kind of roll with the changes without getting my knickers too in a knot about them. That one still bothers me to a certain extent, though.

  77. Best changes: Brienne and Sandor fight scene, expansion of Oberyn, Olenna and Tormund roles.
    Worst changes: The lack of Westeros histories (mainly Robert’s Rebellion), the lack of characterization of Jojen, Mance, Loras and the Tullys, Jojen’s death, the lack of politics in general (mainly the politics in the North, Riverlands and, so far, Meerren). And of course, Arianne omition if that really happens

  78. Favorite – Arya and Tywin. It’s canon now, no matter what the books say.

    Least favorite – I want more Stannis, dammit. And Ironborn.

  79. Best changes:

    Probably Loras wearing Renly’s armor. Or Jaime giving Brienne the blue armor (after apparently remembering her exact measurements from their joined bath?). Or that Oberyn/Ellaria kiss before the duel – I’m not a particular fan of adding those lines about Oberyn not dying that day or Tyrion telling him to wear a helmet, but the kiss was pretty sweet. Oh, and Yoren dying that heroic Boromir-death.

    Worst change:

    Oh, there are so many to choose from. But to me the biggest offenses were probably
    -reducing Loras to “that gay guy”
    -Stannis just sitting on his ass for ~3,5 seasons (and never deciding/accomplishing anything by himself)
    THAT Jaime/Cersei scene
    -that whole Craster’s s4 storyline?
    -Asha actually standing within axe-throwing range of half-naked Ramsay and just running away?????
    -Trystane “the heir” Martell
    I probably forgot many, many more horrible changes, but these were the ones I could remember the best.

    Bonus Question:
    Why is Balon not dead yet? Or did he die off-sceen?

  80. RavenRaven,

    Thanks for reminding me…I loved Show Yoren and his death gave us one of the best lines in the show: “I always hated crossbows – take too long to load.”

    How they handle Balon’s death will be interesting. One way or another, it should provide insight into whether any of his brothers will appear.

  81. Sue the Fury,

    Well, it looks like they haven’t seen it yet over on wicnet. In future, should I not post things like that if I’ve seen on twitter that you or Cian or Axechucker have already noticed?

  82. Favourite change: Cersei, Margery, Shae. 2D characters made into complex humans.
    Also making the Iron Bank a big part of Season 4

    Worst understandable change: no fist of the first men. Fucking snow bears man

    Worst avoidable change: the war of the five kings: lion v wolf. It’s barely even there. Sure we see the battlefield after Oxcross, but they don’t even say it was at Oxcross, or even that its in the Westerlands. They only needed a two minute scene for Robb to say Tywin was holed up in HHal burning the Riverlands so they were going to the West to take out the reserve force, take the castles near Casterly Rock and draw him into a trap :[email protected]

  83. I don’t use the forums, but regularly check the site. Maybe a post to the main page with a link to the forum discussion would work in the future? I like to know what’s being discussed, but not digging through forum threads…

    Sorry if this was already mentioned. Always support the bottom!

  84. Favorite Change – I really enjoyed the addition of the Ygritte funeral and thought this gave Jon an added moment of complexity but think I have to go with Lena H depiction of Cersei. I know there are those that really despise this, but I love the conflicted personality rather than straight up villainess; however, this leads me to my

    Worst Change – WTH was that last Jaime/Cersei scene in which Cersei seduces Jaime as he throws the White Book off the table? Really was bothered by the Sept scene but think this one was even more of a blow for the development of the plot and characters. Geez – really worried they are going in a completely different direction from the books for these two in S5.

  85. RavenRaven,

    Maybe Stannis wouldn’t have sitted on his ass for three seasons if Georgie boy would have gave him something to do,blame him not the show .

  86. Best small change: No Catelyn with Hoster Tully. Those chapters were my lest favorite of ASOS. Boring, still good but boring.

    Worst small change: No mentions of Manderlys. A pin does not count.

    Best change: Arya and Tywin. Enough said.

    Worst change: Shae. The betraying of Sansa made no sense and trying to kill Tyrion either. And the DELAY (let’s just say it’s a delay) of LS.

  87. Best Change: There have been a variety of things that either make sense as changes for the adaptation or (more rarely) are improvements on the source, but my choice for best change would be Jaime offering to leave the Kingsguard in exchange for Tywin sparing Tyrion (I’m less a fan of the show’s deciding that Tywin didn’t actually think Tyrion did it and was only going through the whole thing to achieve this specific outcome, but that’s another story). That was a really good character moment for Jaime, and Tyrion throwing it all away shortly thereafter worked very well.

    Worst Change: The evisceration of Sansa’s post-AGOT story in King’s Landing. What story she had in Season 2 generally worked fine (but the cuts and alterations make her final scene with the Hound kind of mystifying onscreen), but she lost all her active story and most of her major thematic content to the cuts. Things got worse in Season 3, where she alternated between being comic relief and an object for the other characters to argue over, rather than being the protagonist of her own story. Sansa’s third chapter in ASOS (the wedding) is one of the highlights of GRRM’s writing, in my opinion, and the writers tore it to pieces in the name of keeping Tyrion squeaky clean, all at Sansa’s expense. Things improve marginally in Season 4’s first two episodes (though the writers still can’t allow Sansa to keep her distance from Tyrion, as all “good” characters must love and respect him), but she’s still treated like a prop in the narrative, including the loss of her agency in her own escape. And then, after all this, the writers abruptly switch gears completely and act like we were watching Sansa learn stuff over the preceding 2+ seasons, even though they seldom showed that, and spent Season 3 writing her as a moron.

  88. Greenjones,

    Sue will have the final word on it, but I suppose that if you’ve seen that we are aware of some info, you can generally expect that we have something planned/don’t think it’s worthy of a post on its own yet.

    Your watchful eye is always appreciated, but unfortunately some people do have a tendency to… chance across information here and conveniently forget where they saw it.

  89. Robb (breaks)Wind:

    A close second might just be Talisa.Not the character, but her assets made a good addition to the scenes.

    If we’re allowed to take such factors into consideration, may I also thank D&D for aging up Missandei and allowing us the privilege of enjoying her bathtime. Yowza!

    As for more story-related changes, I really enjoyed the much-mentioned Arya-Tywin and Brienne-Hound interactions.

    Jon’s and Dany’s respective season 2 stories were a drag. I understand why they wanted to make some changes from book events in both cases, but they probably made things worse.

  90. Cian,

    Alright, thanks. The folks at wicnet still haven’t seen it, but I’ll be more careful in the future. I want this site to be the one that breaks these stories because the other site doesn’t deserve to.

  91. I hardly remember many details from the books, I read them about 1 year ago, all 5 in 3 weeks and I was getting really exhausted when I reached Feast and Dance. So many new characters… don’t chastise me but I skipped almost all of the Dorne and Iron Islands chapters… maybe a re-read is overdue.

    Best change: Tywin Lannister… he’s so cool in the show, loved every scene he was in

    Worst change: Jon Snow stupified.. like when he was lying to Mace about why he deserted the Night’s Watch because he wanted to fight White Walkers.. (instead of because he’s a bastard and wasn’t allowed to sit with his brothers back in Winterfell)

  92. Greenjones,

    Huh, so that IMDB rumour was right, they just had the wrong movie. I’d kind of prefer her to be attached to the one from the director of Wadjda, but whatever, Mary Shelley is a great part for her.

  93. Favourite change: Bringing Talisa to the Red Wedding. A far better option then trying to get the audience to care about random Northern guards getting slaughtered and an amazing and jaw-dropping way to start the festivities. Having Talisa get her pregnant belly stabbed repeatedly created the biggest WTF moment to date for not only the show audience but the book readers too. I love it when D&D find a way to get both groups to say “Holy shit!” in unison.

    Least favourite change: Trying (and failing) to write around the fact that they were either unable or unwilling to cast Ramsay Snow in Season 2. Theon’s story was so amazing up until that final episode when it appeared that instead of some creative alternative means to play out his Winterfell story sans Ramsay, the ultimate plan appeared to be them shrugging their shoulders and saying “we’ll figure this out later” and letting the story putter out to something that just made most of the audience wrinkle their brows in confusion.

    I would imagine that if given a chance for a redo, D&D would find a way to get Iwan Rheon introduced at this point. Given how much work they did demonstrating Theon’s descent into Reek, it would have been an amazing contrast to have Ramsay appear as Theon’s Reek initially.

  94. Favorite Changes:

    1. Aging up the characters. (It would be repulsive had they not. I still have problems with TV Sansa saying she is 13, although the actress is now an adult. If they make her wield her sexuality as a weapon in the future, as it seems to be the case, then both her character and actress need to be age up for the story.)

    2. Yeah: Tywin and Ayra was fantastic.

    3. The king’s council where Tyrion moves the chair.

    4. Bronn

    Worst Changes:

    Darn! This one-to-one thing is hard.

    1. Yara at the Dreadfort – it hurt the storyline and it hurt the Yara’s character development. (OK pretty much everything about it was jarringly wrong and equated a pile of s**t in an otherwise strong series.)

    2. Stannis’ character being dumbed down to just an asshole. Especially with Davos. You don’t see that he really likes Davos, especially in the scene where he says that the red priestess saved his (Davos’) life. (I say this even though Stannis is not a favorite character of mine.)

    3. Loras’ character being dumbed down to a homosexual playboy. I wanted to see more complexity to his sexual character that involves emotion, raw emotion. I also wanted his character to seem more complex where there are hints of his orientation in public, but only if you are looking for it and then have Renly’s death demonstrate what heretofore was only vaguely hinted at. The screenplay doesn’t do justice to his character. (Again, I say this even though Loras is not a favorite character of mine.)

    4. Where is my Dragons. (I don’t like Danerys either.)

    (At this point, my favorite character is Varys)

  95. Favorite change: Brienne meeting the Hound, that fight was epic
    Least favorite change: Yara magically gets away from Ramsay

    Other changes I liked:
    –POV of Robb: made me care about him more than I did in the books
    –Cersei’s character is much more 3-Dimensional in the show, I can almost, note I said almost, understand her motivations sympathize with heer
    –Jaime didn’t have to hold a knife to Varys’ throat to help Tyrion (at least so far as we can tell)

    Other changes I didn’t like:
    –Rorge just standing there waiting to be killed
    –Not enough of the Qhorin story line
    –Not enough of Mance
    –Too much Stannis, just don’t like his character in the books or the show BUT I do like more Shireen

  96. Best:

    Arya as Tywin’s cup bearer
    Making Margaery older and a more active player in the game
    Extending Arya’s time with the Hound


    Minimizing Jon’s time and relationship with Quorin Halfhand
    Cutting the Tysha reveal and rushing Tyrion’s escape
    The House Of The Undying(Lack of prophecies in general)
    Lack of Ramsey/Reek in season 2
    Dr.Talisa, Medieval Medicine Woman

  97. I work in broad strokes so I’m talking subplot changes, not a single episode.

    Favorite change:

    Actually showing Margaery, Renly, and Loras and their own “POV” in the TV series. The books just didn’t use this option to show what they were doing. Nor is this a “change”, as it “happened” in the TV continuity (more or less) but they just expanded to show what was going on “off screen” from the perspectives of Margaery, Renly, or Loras.

    Worst change:

    The entire interconnected “Talisa Maegyr” change, which in turn affected Robb Stark, and in turn (though more loosely) removed much of Catelyn’s political agency.

    It’s as if Benioff and Weiss fell in love with the changes made to Jeyne Westerling/Talisa Maegyr…simply because “we” made them. “Oh look at us, we can IMPROVE upon an idea Martin already had!” (not just “adapt it well” but “reinvent it”)

    It wasn’t that it strayed from the books, in and of itself. It’s that it was terribly written, regardless of where it originated.

  98. RavenRaven: -Trystane “the heir” Martell

    We don’t know that just yet. It was worded so bizarrely that it might just be a badly worded press release.

  99. Greenjones,

    Really excited about this. There was the IMDB rumor floating around, but now it’s official. I would have preferred Ezra Miller as Percy (apparently he’s still in line to play the role in the Elle Fanning version?), but oh well. Super stoked! Well done, Soph, get those roles!

  100. Well, least favorite things in general:

    I consider myself to be actually quite forgiving of changes in the show. Why? Because you need to know when to pull your punches but instead focus on the absolute worst changes. Some people don’t like TV-Margaery (it’s honestly how I pictured book-Margaery when I read it) — but it wasn’t an outright gutting of the character like Talisa was.

    So the absolute worst or crazy things they’ve done are:

    1 – the entire Talisa Maegyr changeup, and in turn, how this affected Robb Stark, and indirectly, also Catelyn. They seemingly ignored the whole point that it was Robb’s FAULT this happened, and there was bizarrely no major Frey reaction to “oh yeah, Talisa is Robb’s queen now” — when I imagined them having a big scene of Freys riding out of the camp. If I had to vote for one, this is it.

    2 – Sidelining the ironborn in Season 4. I actually sympathize if they had no screentime or budget….probably budget reasons, given that they *made a filler arc for Jon Snow* rather than spend time on the ironborn? But what was bad was the MANNER of this decision: hyping up, I mean REALLY hyping up “Yara is going to rescue Theon” in her ONLY scene in Season 3, then giving her…under 3 minutes of screentime in Season 4, quickly brushed aside? They could have sidelined the ironborn, but still…..give them four minutes and send Yara to King’s Landing as Balon’s representative asking for peace but independence, and have Tywin berate her using the small council dialogue he had in the book: why the hell would he reward the ironborn for doing what they should have done (attack the North) had they stayed loyal to the Iron Throne? Moreover, he has even less reason to reward them now that the North is already defeated! Why wasn’t THIS our ironborn scene in Season 4?

    3 – Similarly, in hindsight, they did need Jon Snow filler material for Season 4 because the Battle of Castle Black was being treated as the episode 9 climax of the season…..but the MANNER of this filler arc was bad. There was a LOT of rape in this. Granted it actually happened in the books but…..they said they filmed a LOT more of this, like a 5 minute montage of rape and violence, which EVEN Benioff and Weiss had to cut out as “too excessive”. That just speaks volumes about the mentality on set. You only use sexual violence imagery sparingly to further the plot….how the heck do you “get carried away with it”? How are they that brazen about it?

    4 – No, Jaime did not rape Cersei in “Breaker of Chains”. The writers said he didn’t and they have objective knowledge of her mental state. HOWEVER, and the semantics trip people up on this: even if the writers confirm that in-universe it was not rape, the “camera” can still PRESENT it as a “rape scene”. It was disturbing for TV-first female viewers to watch! And dear god how Benioff handled it; when asked “was that rape or wasn’t it”…his actual, sodding reply, was “maybe, Jaime’s pretty upset”? THERE IS NO “MAYBE” WHEN IT COMES TO THAT! So it wasn’t so much a “change” as a “ridiculous camera decision”. But at least we can put that behind us as “confusing editing not getting our intent across”. Dumbasses.

    5 – the Qarth storyline was terrible and had bad padding, but then again it wasn’t great in the books either so I can see why they padded it out, but either way at least it’s in the past (I also don’t have strong feeling for or against including the House of the Undying, I understand their point that they don’t want to overload on prophecies)

    6 – ATTEMPTING to build up Shae into a major love interest….but then not really giving her all that much screentime or plot development anyway, and then OMITTING TYSHA “FOR TIME REASONS”? Idiots! Events just …”fell into place” in the finale (I don’t care about LS appearing now, time for that later). Again, it’s not “oh fans just hate that we changed things, with Shae”….it’s that they didn’t change them WELL. You want Tyrion to kill Tywin over Shae? Fine. ACTUALLY spend more time building up the character instead of just shoehorning this change in at the last minute.

    So in summary:

    1 – Talisa Maegyr, and its effects on Robb and Catelyn
    2 – Omitting Tysha after bothering to mention her at least once a season? And not really setting up Shae that strongly as an alternative?
    3 – sidelining the ironborn for TWO seasons? Well we got Moat Cailin. But why not just have a scene of Yara sent as an embassy to King’s Landing and have Tywin reject them? Pointing out more of the “geo-politics” (and confirming Theon’s point in Season 2….words fail to convey how stupid Balon’s plan actually was, and even Theon could point it out).

    The “Adam Friedburg” random boobs and sexual violence are more of a pervasive problem which has awful flareups. Qarth was bad but it wasn’t a beloved storyline and is in the past anyway at this point.

  101. Least favourite : Qhorin and Jon run through the Frostfangs in season 2, tracked by wildlings. It was one of the most vivid and visceral moments of the story and I’m still sad it was cut although I understand the logistic reasons.

    Most favourite : Brienne / Hound.

  102. Stuish,

    She didn’t. They fought to a draw which was where Vargo found them and also why they were quite easy to capture.

  103. Best: Arya & Tywin or Hound and Brienne.

    Worst: The disappearance of the dothraki. I know a couple were actually off (Irri, Rakharo) which I can sort of accept. Jhiqui and Aggo should never have been included if they were going to disappear the moment they arrived, though that’s kinda plausible if you assume Jhiqui left after Drogo died and they decided not to wait for Aggo to return from his scouting (poor Aggo). But Kovarro (I don’t care about the rename) Went from being the most notable member of Dany’s surviving team after Jorah to completely disappearing. He should have at least been present in Dany’s various council meetings as the Dothraki representative alongside Jorah, Barristan, Grey Worm, Daario and Missandei. Even if he didn’t, where are the rest of the dothraki she used to care so much about. She should be shouting “Where are my dothraki!” instead of dragons.

    Dishonorable mentions: Talisa, Qarth, Dreadfort raid. Also the Daario recast ( I know its more of a show to show change, not a book to show change) I actually like both versions, but they could have made at least some effort to convince us they were the same character (how hard would giving MH a long haired wig been) I do prefer that neither looks like the book version though.

  104. You can’t honestly expect us to limit ourselves to one! That would require, like, restraint or something. Anyway, here’s a top three:

    Best Changes:
    1. Shae: Count me among those who thought the show character was much more interesting than the one-dimensional book version, and a better match for Tyrion. Their deeper relationship on the show made its tragic conclusion all the more devastating.
    2. “Baelor!”: Giving Ned more agency in saving Arya, his shout to Yoren was a fitting final act before his confession and death. Ned always sacrificed everything to protect his family.
    3. Theon’s letter to Robb: The show did a fantastic job dramatizing Theon’s internal conflict before choosing to side with his family and betray Robb, something the book largely glosses over. The shot of him sitting in the dark holding the burning letter is one of the best moments in the series.

    Worst Changes:
    1. Talisa: Ugh. Where the show succeeded in giving more depth to Tyrion’s love interest, they failed utterly with Robb’s. Her character was unbelievable from the start and seemed completely out of place (no nurse could ever talk like that to kings and lords) and her romance with Robb was clichéd, tedious, and just plain bad.
    2. Littlefinger: I will never cease to be disappointed that the show turned one of the most careful, dangerous, subtle schemers in the books into an obvious, reckless, mustache-twirling villain.
    3. Loras: To a lesser degree, the show has completely butchered Loras’ character. In the books he’s a badass, fiercely loyal knight who happens to be gay; the show turns him into an insulting gay stereotype who waxes rhapsodical about pretty clothes. And what happened to his moving grief and loyalty for Renly? “When the sun sets, no candle can replace it!” Apparently no one told that to HBO.

  105. Of the Night,

    I agree with the Dothraki point. I always saw her Bloodriders as a key part of Dany’s retinue. Now they’re pretty much non-existent.

    Think I’m the only person who actually like the Yara/Dreadfort scene. It was short so didn’t take up too much time. Showed Yara as a capable leader. Showed Ramsay as batshit crazy and showed how far gone Theon was. Kept Yara fresh in the viewers minds too after her grand exit at the end of the previous season. I’d agree that the escape was a bit of a stretch but overall. A harmless scene that helped get a few character over more.

  106. King DBC:
    Favorite: Sansa in S4E8.

    Least favorite: Loras. Or as my Unsullied friends call him, ‘the gay dude’.

    I really liked Loras (and Renly) during the first and second seasons. I think the ruined him during the third, although his single scene with Jaime in the red wedding was kinda redeeming.

    My favorite change has to be Jorah. He’s fantastic in the show. I love him to pieces :3 unfortunately they steered away from him this last season but hopefuly next season he’ll be more prominent.

    Least favorite… probably the fire balls in the last episodes. I’m ok with most changes in the show so far.

  107. I really love how Lena Heady makes Cercei much more sympathetic without taking away any of the bat-shit crazy.

    I am still pissed about how they mishandled the whole Quorin/Jon debacle. Yes Rose Leslie IS Ygrette but really trading that heartbreaking exchange between Quorin and Jon for Jon chasing a girl in circles?!?!

  108. TheTouchOfFrost:
    Of the Night,

    Showed Yara as a capable leader. Showed Ramsay as batshit crazy and showed how far gone Theon was.

    It did show that of Ramsay and Theon, though this was already shown in other scenes. I think Yara was shown as pretty incapable actually. The mission failed because she just gave up, the best fighters on the islands couldn’t handle a completely unprotected loony and a small pack of dogs that I’m not even convinced were actually released on them. I would have much preferred to be reminded of the Greyjoys with a certain bridge scene. Better than no Greyjoys at least.

  109. Favourite: season1-ned vs jaimie
    Season 2- arya + tywin
    Season. 3-margery tyrell
    Season 4- hound vs brienne wasnt too bad actually.
    Bran in season 4 was pretty cool

    Worst: viper vs mountain was one of the biggest letdowns. Fight was so baaaaad!
    Tyrion in the children. Everything was rushed and soo much better in the book

  110. Best: The one on one (or one on two) conversations we got that weren’t in the books, especially in S1: Robert & Cersei, the Robert/Selmy/Jaimie war stories scene. I still get shivers thinking about NCW’s delivery of “He said the same thing he’d been saying for hours: ‘Burn them all.'”

    Lena Headey’s portrayal of Cersei. Much more nuanced than the books. By the time we got Cersei’s first POV, she was already falling off the bat-shit crazy cliff. I like that we get to see the progression on the show rather than jumping head-long into it as we do in the books.

    The visual adaptation is my very favorite of them all. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a television show that’s as visually stunning as GOT. Everything, from the actors, locations, costumes, sets, it’s all perfect. Better than my mind’s eye had made it.

    Worst: Definitely in the minority here, but I hated the Brienne and the Hound fight and time has not lessened my loathing of it. I was already on the fence about show Brienne (though I adore GC) and this shoved me off into I Really Dislike You territory. GRRM did a great job in the books of mirroring the not-a-knight stories of the Hound and Brienne, albeit in a dark and twisted sort of way. I’ve long hoped that eventually the two might meet up and become wary but respectful compadres. The show pretty much blew that right out of the water.

    The loss of Tysha as the catalyst for Tyrion’s murderous acts at the end of ASOS. Much has already been written about this, so I won’t elaborate.

    The gutting of Sansa and the Hound’s dynamic. I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty from the moment they gave the story of Sandor’s burns to Littlefinger – and I was proven right. I think the way D&D chose to handle their story (or rather chose not to) was a huge disservice to both the characters and the actors who portray them.

  111. Veltigar

    “6) Talisa and Locke Replacing Jeyne Westerling and Vargo Hoat was a good idea, but what was put in place was actually worse than what was in the book. I’m particularly furious about Locke, he had so much fucking potential and what they did with him in season 4 was just retarded.”

    Pity you ran out of appropriate vocabulary. You were doing so well in your analyses, too. I know you are better than this slip up.

  112. Good stuff, guys. It’s interesting how different fans who read and watch the exact same things can have so many different preferences and takes. I’m weird, I love that sort of thing.

    Like I read Veltigar’s stuff, and while I don’t agree with all of it, I find myself rubbing my chin (like the wise old man I truly am) and murmuring, “Hmm, interesting…”

    I enjoy differing opinions. The longer debated, the better.

    Hell, The Dragon Demands and I had an email debate this week that could span pages if I printed the whole thing.

  113. Second favorite change: Show Shae (though not her last scene with Tyrion. Too out of character on both ends.) Also erotic armpit shaving. Come on.

    Worst change: Tie between Jaime and Cersei in (and since) the sept, and Littlefinger going Full Retard at the end of this season.

    ABSOLUTE BEST change: The existence of Cheese Boy, duh.

  114. Axechucker:
    Hell, The Dragon Demands and I had an email debate this week that could span pages if I printed the whole thing.

    What was the topic?

  115. Funny how the post mentioned not turning this into a nerd rant, and now it’s just that. All you had to do was mention your favorite and least favorite change. No one cares about your ‘top 10 least favorite changes’, honorable mentions, slight improvements and what not.

  116. TaviColen123,

    It did a little but it could be seen as kind of fitting with the out-of-nowhere attack/ flashpoint nature of it. I guess a rushed scene was better than no Yara at all.

    Of the Night,

    Think that’s a little harsh as they were some of the best fighters on the island but there was a handful of them versus a whole garrison of a fort. They were there for a raid which would probably have been successful if Theon hadn’t resisted. Once the element of surprise was lost they had no choice but to withdraw or get slaughtered.
    I think the Balon stuff will come this season and I think they’ve been wise to hold it off as it sets into motion a series of events that they would have ploughed therough quite quickly in the show. Still have hopes of seeing Euron and Victarion as I think their stories can be streamlined easily and they’re also perfect for a TV show and those attention grabbing moments. So far the Ironborn have looked pretty inept so it would be good to show that some of them are pretty badass!

    Not sure how they can turn down the chance of Balon’s assaination, Euron’s grand entrance, the charisma and speech he gives to win the Kingsmoot and Victarion’s fleet coming to save the day (perhaps!) at the siege of Mereen. All would make great TV
  117. As pretty much most changes and reactions to them have already been covered, I just wanted to add a couple of things that haven’t been mentioned.

    Ygritte’s death: I know that many preferred it on screen but I actually found the scene to be much stronger moment on paper. Not because of the acting, as that was the best bit, but because it was just pure television writing, for which Jon has to see her dying as she hesitates to kill him. It’s so much more unrealistic compared to finding her after the battle. Plus all the build up and hints on Checkhov’s archer Ollie as the killer, which contributed to make it even more cheesy – Hollywood like.

    Ramsay: I really do prefer him in the show. He does look more like the cheery and funny psycho rather than the cold one, which makes him a much more charming ‘villain’ to me and differentiates him from the rest. He’s closer to the Joker type ‘villain’ in the show. There’s also something slightly comical about him which makes me enjoy watching him more, and this doesn’t make him lose any credibility as he’s still equally evil and cunning. I love Iwan Rheon’s portrayal.

  118. Favorite Change: Jon watching Ygritte die. This was a beautiful scene and done masterfully well. I often felt the GRRM missed something by having Jon find her later and not knowing who fired the shot that killed her. That said, I don’t think it is possible in print to get anywhere near the emotional impact that scene has on TV.

    Least Favorite Change: The omission of two minor(ish) characters: Strong Belwas and Patchface. I love both of these characters in the books. Patchface is particularly interesting and I believe has a much more important role to play at some point in the future books. Everything Patchface says in the books seems incredibly important even though it is just a “fools” rhyme. Strong Belwas was just an awesome character. I mean, he really thought he was the man, and when it counted he was.

  119. Greatjon of Slumber,

    The idea that because the Tysha story wasn’t leaned on at the end (and I would have liked to have seen it) does *not* mean Tyrion did not have motive. I mean, he had all the goddamned motive in the world.

    I agree 3000%. I wanted to see Jaime’s Tysha reveal too, but even without it, I think it worked. I don’t know how many people here have been betrayed by a parental figure but there is something about that relationship that makes a person act illogically, at least to the outside observer. Most sons and daughters in a betrayal situation, and particularly in a lifelong ongoing abusive relationship as Tyrion experienced, have a deep seated anger that insists on answers and even, ironically enough, reconciliation if possible. The desire for parental love and approval, if not given in childhood, is a gaping hole that most people never really get over (therapy notwithstanding) and it messes a person up in all kinds of ways.

    Tyrion probably figured that if he escaped he would never see his father again and this would be his very last chance to get something out of him. What that something was, Tyrion probably wasn’t sure himself. Even though his father had basically told him over and over again why–that Tywin’s wife had died giving birth to him, that Tyrion was an embarrassment, etc, etc.–it was never enough explanation. Because to that child, there isn’t enough reason in the world….no explanation is ever satisfactory enough because the need is instinctual, not rational. So it’s incredibly hard, if not impossible, to accept that a parent simply doesn’t love you and not only doesn’t even care about what happens to you but is actively working to get you killed. It’s perfectly natural for the child to want to confront the parent, at least one last time. Then to add insult to injury, his father used the woman he loved to convict him and then slept with the woman he loved. Under such circumstances I would only be surprised if Tyrion HADN’T killed his father.

    I do wonder how the lack of the Tysha reveal will affect Tyrion’s future relationship with Jaime in the show–will it mean they have a different outcome between them than in the books?


    He’s closer to the Joker type ‘villain’ in the show.

    Nice catch! He does have that “I don’t give a f*ck because I’m a semi-rational psychopath ready to blow up the world” kind of attitude that can be so interesting (and disturbing). Could you imagine if they had Heath Ledger play Ramsay?! We would have been absolutely fascinated and horrified at the same time. Another fine actor we lost too soon. Not that Iwan’s portrayal is bad….I’ve enjoyed most of it. Any faults I find with Ramsay rest in the writing for the character.

  120. Favorite: Jamie’s early return to King’s Landing, allowing him to be there for the trial. Loved all the scenes they added in that respect.

    Least Favorite: Cercei/Jamie scenes in the finale of Season 4. Where is the breakdown of their relationship that drives Jaime away, leading to Cercei completely loosing it?

  121. Favorite Change: GRRM not writing an episode for season 5 to focus on TWOW

    Least Favorite Change: Captain Planet

  122. Hell, The Dragon Demands and I had an email debate this week that could span pages if I printed the whole thing.

    I’d rather you didn’t, it was filled with ethnic slurs.

  123. TheTouchOfFrost:
    Think that’s a little harsh as they were some of the best fighters on the island but there was a handful of them versus a whole garrison of a fort.

    Ramsay had a full garrison with him? I never got that impression. It look like pretty even numbers to me which should have been easy if they were in fact the fighters they were claimed to be. If they were actually heavily outnumbered I can forgive it a little more.

    Axechucker: Talisa Maegyr! I was positing various theories on why she… well, why she was.

    I’d genuinely like to read these theories.

  124. direhound,
    I see what you mean but I totally disagree. The Tysha revelation is so much more powerful and it could have been done so that Tyrion mentions Tysha to Jamie instead of the beatle smashing conversation and then Jamie drops the bombshell when he comes to free Tyrion.

    Best change was the addition of the Cersi v Robert scene S01 about the threat of the Dothraki.

  125. Favorite change: Will have to agree with you on Brienne/Hound. I think that was the best sequence in the history of the show, from Arya meeting Brienne through to Arya leaving the Hound.

    Least Favorite change: This is small, and I might think of a bigger omission if I pondered longer, but I’ll go with the omission of Butterbumps from the scene where Sansa meets the Queen of Thorns. That Sansa chapter is my favorite chapter in the whole book series. In the show the scene was barely memorable aside from a couple nice lines from Olenna.

  126. Fav change(s:) Bronn’s additions, just so good. Tie for second with Gendry’s additions and the Arya/Hound additions.

    Pissy change: Character who must not be named. So, so, I can’t even say it. Sorry, can’t figure out the spoiler alert yet.

  127. Favorite Change:
    Robert & Cercei’s conversation in Season 1. There have been other similar non-POV-character-building moments that I’ve also loved, but that’s the one that sticks out to me the most.

    Second-most favorite change:
    Selyse keeps her dead babies in jars!!???!!??! That moment was viscerally freaky, and it introduced a much more complex and understandable Selyse than the shrew-harpy we see in the books. She’s still a bizarre and unpleasant woman, but at least in the show we have a better sense of why. (For some reason the total lack of redeeming qualities in Selyse always bothered me. She just comes across as an unpleasant-woman punching bag, which makes it harder to care about her story.)

    Least Favorite Change:
    I had a lot of nerd rage throughout S2 for various reasons, but I think in the long term the change that bothers me the most is Loras’s character. I feel like the show keeps throwing him under the bus for cheap gay jokes/steryotypes. Yeah, he’s pretty, but he’s supposed to be this amazing, renowned jouster as well. And the fact that he and Jamie had a little cat-spat over Cercei instead of that great “he is me 10 years ago” moment on Jamie’s part really disappointed me. I liked that Loras wore Renly’s armor in S2 instead of some other character, but since then all his changes have really deteriorated his character IMO.

  128. Favorites: #1 – Sansa plays the game S4E08
    Aliser Thorne in S4E09, proves he isn’t a one-dimensional bully

    Least Favorites: #1 – House of the Undying – no prophecies, no Blue Rose..
    #2 – Yara running away from some dogs. Not cool

  129. Wow lots of good choices here!

    Favourite – Robert and Cersei’s conversation. That was very touching and it was nice to see a more emotional side to them both, particularly Robert as I feel the guy comes in for an unfair share of dislike from book fans, particularly since certain POVs in AFFC. It was really interesting to see how both of them were hurt by the past and couldn’t move beyond it, and the conversation about Drogo’s possible invasion was intriguing.

    I would like to give honourable mention to Charles Dance’s portrayal of Tywin. I utterly hate the character in the books and was happy with his fate in the books, but Dance made me love his interpretation. In the show I was actually much sadder at his fate than the situation should have warranted.

    Least favourite – lack of SH. I anticipated her appearance at the end of both series 3 and 4 and didn’t get either, then we heard that she will probably never appear. I hate SH the character but I was so looking forward to seeing her appear on the show.

    Honourable mention to a change that actually took plate, rather an an omission – the story where Bran and co get captured in series 4 and Jon’s rescue mission has them almost meeting up. It seemed like a waste of time because it changed nothing in terms of the story.

  130. I knew that there was going to be no way I can boil it down to one, so I’m just going to try to keep roughly the same number of changes on both lists:

    Best changes and additions:

    1) Moving Oberyn’s speech from their first meeting to the scene in Tyrion’s cell; worked much better and was really poignant in the show (much better than in the books, where it came off weird and sort of annoying on Oberyn’s part). I like most of what they did with Oberyn (his scene with Tywin and Cersei was also great).
    2) Cutting Strong Belwas. Sorry, Belwas fans, but IMO he’s a ridiculous, cartoonish character.
    3) Missandei/Grey Worm – obviously, this couldn’t have happened in the book because Missandei is 10, but it is very much in the spirit of showing the humanity and desires for intimacy of the Unsullied (which we see with another Unsullied character, and which Grey Worm himself comments on). It’s a nice exception to the show’s overall weakness in portraying romance that’s not all about people having sex. It’s also great to flesh out two of the supporting characters in Dany’s storyline, two ex-slaves, and show that they have desires and interests of their own and a storyline/relationship of their own, and aren’t all about Dany.
    4) Ned signalling Yoren to find Arya and protect her: “Baelor” did a great job with Ned’s execution scene, it was one of the few times the show improved on the book.
    5) The Ice Ice Baby reveal: again, something that was just hinted in the books, but the show took the opportunity to show us more of what’s going on with the White Walkers, which we don’t get to see in the books because of the POV structure.
    6) Making Alliser Thorne a bit more interesting and complex with his scenes in season 1 and 4.
    7) Jon’s stated reason to Mance why he supposedly went over to the wildlings makes so much more sense in the show. Jon saying he left the Watch because he is a bastard is just stupid. Bastards can rise high in the ranks in the NW, even become the Lord Commander – it has happened before. And Mance should know that, being an ex-crow. Jon saying he was disillusioned with the Watch for tolerating Craster giving away his babies to the White Walkers is much more believable, generally and for Jon’s character (and Mance had already figured out in the show, showing that he’s smart, that Jon was someone who’d want to be a hero and do the right thing).
    8) Shireen’s expanded role and her friendship with Davos.
    9) The way the taking of Meereen was portrayed, with the slaves being shown discussing their options and taking a m.ore active role.
    10) Hizdahr’s scene in Dany’s throne room in season 4 – the show generally didn’t do a great job with Dany in season 4, but it was good to see her confronted with the idea that her collective punishment of (randomly chosen) Meerenese slavers was not so good or just.
    11) Sam/Gilly conversation in Second Sons, about their fathers: “Please don’t call him Randyll”. “Was your father cruel as mine?”
    12) Some of Selyse’s scenes, particularly the one with Melisandre, that allow a bit more of glimpse into how unhappy and unsatisfied she is, and give her a bit more complexity.
    13) Theon’s inner conflict and burning of the letter in S2; made him a bit more sympathetic than he was in ACOK.
    14) Bran warging Hodor to kill someone (Locke) – Bran’s warging of Hodor has been shown to be problematic in the books, but he hasn’t used it to murder anyone yet – however, that was a great way to convey it in the show, and a powerful moment.
    15) (with the caveat that the book is better, but this is a good change for the show) Sansa taking a more active role in the Vale and getting some leverage over LF – I think that the book subtle development of Sansa is much better (and she is just 13 at this point in the book!), but it would have gone over the heads of the viewers (it already does over many of the readers’ heads) and wouldn’t have worked on screen, so it’s good for the show to do what it did; and at least try to make up for the way it treated Sansa before that (see Worst changes).
    16) Though I have mixed feelings about the fight itself, I did really like the Sandor/Brienne conversation beforehand, with his speech “There is no safety”, which was pretty awesome.

    Bonus: Best original lines:
    “I’m not questioning your honor. I’m denying its existence.”
    “And there is only one thing we say to Death: “Not today.””
    “There is just one hell, princess. The one we live in now.”

    Worst changes and omissions:
    1) Dany’s Qarth storyline – I see why they thought they needed to add an original storyline for her in S2, since there isn’t much happening with her in ACOK other than the House of the Undying. But that doesn’t excuse how badly written it all was. I didn’t mind the changes to the House of the Undying (the book version is awesome but unfilmable, and the show version was nice and worked for the show), but everything else was just horribly written, annoying and boring; and in the end, the only thing it achieved was making Dany look like a petulant child.
    2) Talisa – ridiculously anachronistic character which made no sense. And Robb/Talisa, or an example at how bad this show is with romance. And the changes they made to Robb in the process. And the way they sidelined Catelyn and took away her political role, because they wanted Robb to be in the focus and to be a conventional young, hot, badass hero.
    3) Littlefinger telling Sansa Sandor’s story: it’s still one of the changes that bother me the most, because it was such a powerful scene, and because the show severely shortchanged both characters (particularly Sansa – it was such a great early moment for her, and I don’t think the show ever made up for it by really showing her compassion and emotional strength) and had a ripple effect on the later portrayal of their relationship (or lack of it).
    4) The general gutting of so much of Sansa’s story: in addition to how much was cut of her relationship with Sandor, there was the removal of Dontos from most of season 2 and season 3, which meant that she was not secretly planning to escape from King’s Landing all that time; and, maybe the worst change, the overall watering down of the portrayal of Sansa’s forced wedding, and the way she was treated in season 3 in general. I can see why they wouldn’t show Tyrion sexually molesting her on their wedding night and only change his mind about raping her at the last moment, but was it really necessary to have Sansa told about the wedding beforehand and have that really weird conversation with Margaery (where Margaery was essentially explaining why it would be great for her to be forcefully married to someone who would ‘just’ rape her but not beat her up as Joffrey would, and how she may learn to enjoy being raped by a man who is probably good in bed because he’s been with many women he paid to sleep with him and pretend they like it – but ut was all framed as experienced, worldly Margaery explaining to naive Sansa that she’s shallow and ungrateful for not appreciating Tyrion’s awesomeness – WTF), instead of being informed about the wedding on the spot, trying to run away and be threatened by Cersei that she would be literally dragged to the sept by two big Kingsguard members Cersei had with her, and forcefully wedded and bedded (i.e. raped) that night, whatever she did? Was it necessary to water down her trauma just to make both Cersei and Tyrion look better, and remove every bit of her defiance?
    5) Jon’s botched storyline in season 2 – they made him look clueless with the way he is captured, and he doesn’t get to accept Quorin Halfhand’s order to infiltrate the wildlings.
    6) Loras Tyrell reduced to a gay stereotype. (And he’s not even one of my favorite characters.)
    7) Podrick the sex god nonsense. That was just too stupid for words.
    8) No Tysha reveal. No, that was not “lame” in the books, it was powerful and poignant, and made Tyrion’s murder of Tywin and their last scene great drama. In the show, it didn’t carry the same emotional weight, and some things really didn’t make sense, like Tyrion getting angry at the word “whore” and defending Shae’s honour… right after having killed her. Maybe it would’ve worked if they had written Shae’s storyline better, but it was all just weird and inconsistent.
    9) Changes to Brienne’s personality, in S4 in particular (she was still somewhat Brienne-like in S3). One of the previous posters has already said most of it. I’ll say I particularly hated her attitude to Pod (and Hot Pie) on the show. I don’t know why they think that making her brash and mean to kids/her social inferiors would make her “cooler” or whatever. It feels like they are trying to make her into a stereotype of a caricatured “Strong Female Character”, so she can’t be compassionate, nice, idealistic, all that “girly” stuff. Making her be respectful to her social superiors but mean to her social inferiors just makes things worse. And no, making her win every fight does not make them feminists not does it make up for the lack of character development and backstory. Or the apparent lack of being able to make important decisions without Jaime (which is an unfortunate result of Jaime and Brienne returning early, and Brienne not being arrested for Renly’s murder, which left Brienne roaming free for weeks apparently, without trying to talk to Sansa or do anything except try to convince Jaime that they should save Sansa).
    They also did something like that to Blackfish, making him into an unlikeable thug (as well as a yes-man to Robb and a hypocrite, I can’t be the only one who hated it when he was threatening Edmure to beat him up if he refused to marry!) but he’s not one of my favorite character, Brienne is.
    10) No Weasel soup, and generally the way they watered down Arya’s Harrenhal story. I’m not one of the fans of the Arya/Tywin scenes and I think they were really overrated and ultimately pointless, so I don’t see it as a good trade-off to make it look like Arya’s time in Harrenhal wasn’t that traumatic, just in order to give her some “cool” scenes with Tywin.
    11) The anticlimactic and confusing ending to Theon’s storyline in S2, all because they didn’t cast Ramsay for S2.
    12) The confusing and odd way they showed the resolution of Yara’s attack on Dreadfort. Asha (aka Yara) has generally been shortchanged – she’s lost almost all of her spunk and provocative sense of humor, but at least she seemed like a strong warrior… until that scene.
    13) The one-dimensionally evil, cannibalistic, mu ha ha Thenns.
    14) The obviously villainous, mu ha ha Littlefinger.
    15) And finally, two of the changes that I will mention last are actually the worst… first is the sept scene in Breaker of Chains – that was a major screw-up, and is in the way out of competition because nothing else can compete with the negative effects it’s had…. even though it was unintentional. But the way they wrote Jaime/Cersei in season 4 generally wasn’t very good.
    16) The fact the show really looks like they have a 13-year old boy as a consultant telling them to insert more boobs in the show, with all the sexposition and cringeworthy, pointless brothel scenes. (And they actually do have one such consultant – he’s just not 13.)

    ETA: I’m not going to include the omission of a certain character/ reveal in the season 4 finale, since it’s still not 100% certain if it won’t happen in season 5.

    Bonus: Worst original lines:

    “You sound like a bloody woman” said by Brienne / “Most girls are stupid” said by Arya
    (shows a profound misunderstanding of both these characters, at the very least)
    “I didn’t come here to argue grammar!”
    “All men must die. But we are not men.” (Makes no sense. They should have used “All men must serve” if they wanted to do that pun.)

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