‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4 Will Be a Lot Different Than the Books

Published 10 months ago by

This is the part when HBO’s Game of Thrones really gets interesting. Not just because of where the big traumatic turns of season 3 left us, but rather because we’re approaching that juncture where the source novels by author George R.R. Martin become a tangled knot that has frustrated more than a few of his readers over the years.

Technically speaking, the rough patch begins with book 4 of the novel series – and season 4 of the TV series is actually supposed to cover the second half of book no. 3, so one would think there’s no problem there. However, many fans have been measuring the material from book 3 and wondered if it isn’t a little too short for a full fourth season of the show. According to star Jerome Flynn (Bronn), the measurements are certainly not exact.

Jerome Flynn talks Game of Thrones Season 4 Game of Thrones Season 4 Will Be a Lot Different Than the Books

Speaking at a special panel during the 2013 New York Comic-Con, Flynn claimed that fans would be “quite surprised” by how different season 4 of the HBO show was from the books that inspired it. This was in reference to discussion of a fight scene in which Bronn engages in a battle concocted exclusively for the TV series.

Truthfully speaking, Game of Thornes has always taken liberties with its adaptation of the source material; hell, they even found a way to make the infamous “Red Wedding” even more gruesome and shocking than the books did.  And with other actors from the series claiming that season 4 will have even more death in it, one can only guess what showrunners D.B. Weiss, David Benioff and co. have in mind for big events like the “Purple Wedding” and the subsequent events that follow in this game-changing chapter of the Westeros saga.

Game of Thrones Viewers Character Season Episode Guide Game of Thrones Season 4 Will Be a Lot Different Than the Books

If the show were to take a lot of the “interquel” elements of George R.R. Martin’s 4th and 5th books (A Feast for Crows and A Dance of Dragons) and streamline them into a more cohesive, focused narrative – while starting to lay a lot of the groundwork for those chapters earlier on  (so that the development and plot progression were a lot smoother and tighter) I’d be game for it. Reading through books 4 and 5 was a lot like watching a creator sift through a mountain of ideas to find the handful of best ones to work from – no need to repeat that messy process on the TV screen when the destination is already known and the roadwork could be a lot more direct.

How about you – are you okay with the show deviating from the books, or do you like the adaptation to be more faithful?


Game of Thrones returns to HBO in spring 2014.

Source: IGN

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TAGS: Comic-Con 2014, game of thrones, new york comic con


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  1. I hate it when people go by the book and complain that it isn’t like the book….shut up, sit back and enjoy the show…it’s a great show…..

    • love it

    • I hate it when people think they can tell others what to do. Sit back, spread your legs, and f*ck yourself

      • Hypocrite.

    • Actually I think if anyone has the right to b*tch about anything, it’s the readers of the books, because they have been invested in the series far longer than any viewer! We’ve been reading these books for over a decade now! So yea, we do hold the right to be pissed if something in the series doesn’t go our way (or the way of the book) if anyone holds this right…it’s us!

      • Nope, you have not “right.” No one cares if you “invested,” a lot more, either. You can keep whining.

        • Actually “A” is right! The books are awesome …and judging from your answer I bet you haven’t read neither one to actually see how complex the characters are and to understand things in a deeper way …SO WITHOUT FURTHER ADO I SUGGEST YOU SHUT IT and read the books.

          • Actually “andava” is right, you’ve invested your time in the books. Nobody is forcing you to watch the show. All you book readers knew (or should have known) the show was going to be an adaptation. You knew that when you started to watch the show, so stop whining.

            • Actually. Season 1-3 was a VERY close interpretation of the books, so viewers who read them grew to expect that the series was an immensely wonderful tribute to the books. Switching it out so completely in season 4 blows goats, just like your attitude :P

      • I’m a die-hard Song of Fire and Ice fan. I’ve read each book at least 5 times. And although at first I was slightly disgusted by the blatant deviation in the most recent episode (S4E4), I’m kind of glad to get a fresh story. The show did a great job developing our favorite characters. I’m excited to see them in different situations. I’m interested to see it all come back together where George R.R. Martin planned…he works on the TV show too, you know. He wouldn’t let them royally f it up.

      • I hate it when the series doesn’t follow the books…the change is never as good. Just look at what they are doing now in season 4 at the wall. They could show the awesome battle that actually happens, but no let’s make up our own crap where bran gets captured and Jon goes to kill a couple wayward brothers from the wall. Come on HBO show one of the best battles in the series. Plus now they have shown stuff that Martin had planned to first be released in his upcoming book 6 ‘Winds of Winter’. So basically the show is doing a s*** job this season coming from someone who has read the books and understands the plot and the characters better than the casual viewer. To those of you viewers who like the series; if you want to be a real fan and know the series well, grow a pair and read the books.

        • Well don’t you seem stupid now.

    • I’m still enjoying it very much and I have read the books. Sometimes you’ve got to suspend your sensibilities to enjoy something, but I’m sure what they have in store will be great….the author himself helps write and approves the deviations from his books. Don’t you think he cares about the integrity of his stories? I know I will enjoy it regardless…..MY FAVORITE SHOW EVER!

    • to watch it simple go to ACCESSTV INFO

    • Season 4 Forbidden Episode! Banned from TV.

      I found this on this website, watched it and its freaking awesome! I thought I should share it with here as well, it’s shame that it was banned from TV! Best episode so far!

      Enjoy! :)


  2. I. n my opinion,having the show deviate from book 4 and book 5 would bring more insight of events. Book 5 was a replica of book 4, in some parts,scenes that had already occurred were read again. However, the HBO T.V. Show, cannot follow these books to make things more exciting. The story will have to tell both books simultaneously instead of using the “mirror” effects of book 4 & 5. Also, to make the show longer, several characters’ stories will need to be altered.

    • “Book 5 was a replica of book 4, in some parts,scenes that had already occurred were read again.”

      You’re high, there’s one part where that happens. Just because book 4 and 5 happen at the same time does not mean they’re a ‘replica’ of each other. That said, they both should’ve been half as long so we didn’t have to read about 2000 pages of nothing happening.

      (Note: just in case people take things too seriously the “you’re high” wasn’t serious)

  3. you wanker

  4. I like the fact they stray from time to time from the book. That way i can still be shocked by certain characters deaths that i was not expecting! who are still alive in the books!

  5. “Tangled knot” “rough patch” implying a need for the story to be made into a more “cohesive, focused narrative”
    Is there some kind of ADHD short attention span problem here for someone? The characters by the time the poster is referencing here, were becoming more defined, and many headed off in different directions, so naturally the story is somewhat widened, if that’s too hard for people to read, read something else lol. I do understand that hbo doesn’t have the budget or the time to portray every scene in the story, I get that, but I don’t like the addition of non existent characters, or complete scenes that didn’t occur in the books…none of this will ever keep me from watching GOT, I love the HBO version (not as much as I loved the books) but I realy hope they keep this kind of stuff to a minimum, as it does really turn off some people, for instance my father, whom I convinced to read the entire series(he became addicted) before watching the hbo version, and then things like Robs wife (wth?)happen, and he sighs and enjoys the rest of the show that much less, and I don’t blame him, as they then need to alter the whole story to accommodate these made for tv characters. Anyhow, cant wait for the next season to begin :)))

    • Not enjoying the 4th or 5th books in the series does not make one ADHD. (Did you mean ADD?) While this is a problem in many areas, it isn’t the case with these books. Book 4 in the series was particularly laborious. The installment came across as an attempt to extend the series and make more money off of us. That, or the author didn’t know where he was going. Whether those things be true or not doesn’t matter, because that’s how they read. Book 4 was a disaster. Just because someone doesn’t want to spend 1200 some odd pages reading about people wandering around and doing little to nothing, does not mean they have ADD. It means they’re normal.

      • He did seem to wander though. The introduction of some characters seemed waste pages when they would die so suddenly and with little reason. I know, its GOT but there were an awful lot of “did he just die?”, why invest time telling their story just to kill them off so quickly..characters can just leave the story, they don’t all needed formal introductions and silly deaths. I can see some people needing to keep notes just to keep track of the silly secondary bit players and who they were related to…

        since you asked, ADD is not a real description of the condition it is all included under the DSMs ADHD definition; some people have Hyperactivity some don’t, all have ADHD.

      • Martin said that book four was enormous when he finished writing it, and he decided it was too long to print (books four and five were originally written as one combined book). Martin extracted the secondary characters’ stories for Feast for Crows (Sansa, Martells), and focused on major characters Dani, John and Tyrian in book five. That is why four and five read a bit clunky and the flow isn’t there that existed in the first three books. Martin said he would never do that again and keep book six intact, tighter and less sprawling.

      • ADD isn’t recognized by doctors anymore. It’s been incorporated into the ADHD spectrum

  6. I always thought purple wedding was between between Sansa and Tyrion.

    • Oh, you did, did you? Just watch… :)

  7. Usually books are better .. In GOT the tv show is way better! The writers have boiled the plot lines down to the very best and the details, writing are fantastic. We are waiting with baited breath for series 4 to start.!!

    • I agree, the shows trim a lot of the fat from the books. I stil recommend reading the books, as it gives you a greater understanding of the characters and their motives, but there is no way the shows could cover even half of the material in the books, but for good reason.

    • Actually the books are far better! I don’t say that the show isn’t good, because it really is, but in the show, the story lines are far too simplistic than in the books! Yes they do trim a lot off, but you lose a lot more incredible detail that is only available in the books. Just for reference, we only hear Lyanna’s mention in series 1, once, when Robert talks of her! We never hear what Ned Stark thinks of this, and his thoughts and flashbacks of Lyanna are far more important than Roberts insipid rambling about who he hates the Rhaegar!

    • You are high.

  8. I rarely compare books with TV/Film adaptations as they are two completely different media and will therefore tackle the same subject matter in different ways. Books depend on our imagination while TV depends on our visual interpretation. I don’t mind the deviations so long as the series remains true to the major character story lines and plot points. Some of them have worked (the Red Wedding); some haven’t.

    By necessity, the series has *had* to amalgamate characters and pare down large chunks of the books in order to drive the main story forward. The one thing that baffles me is people who cheerfully announce that they have “no interest” in reading the books. Honestly, they don’t know what they’re missing although I think most of us are in agreement that “A Feast For Crows” was a bit of a disaster. After the heart-stopping narrative of “A Storm Of Swords”, it really felt like a “filler” book.

    • I think many Americans are somewhat illiterate or lazy these days and don’t read anything, it’s very sad. We have access to so many great books that people in other countries would love to have sitting in a free, public library somewhere. We are lucky. Read people, it makes you better writers, communicators and thinkers.

  9. I cannot wait now that this season is almost here. I have to say though, I did not think AFFC was a waste of my time. Even the person who sold me the book told me it was a slog. In retrospect, I liked it and I liked ADWD. I like all of it and now I am reading book 1 and 2 cause I hadn’t read those before and just read book 3-5 because I have watched season 1 and 2 so many times. Books 4 and 5 may have less action beats but book 4 is all about Cersei’s political machinations and ultimate hubris. ADWD was full of Dany and Jon’s political maneuvering at Mereen and the Wall respectively. Clearly people who were disappointed that there wasnt any big battles will get their wish in TWoW. Because there is about 3 big battles that AFFC and ADWD have built up to. Thats how it works. AGOT and ACOK laid groundwork and some of the biggest twists and fights are in ASOS. Thats what I love about the books. They involve day to day scheming and survival in a harsh world not just battles and gallant knights. As for the show, we already know from footage that book 4 and 5 storylines are being pulled into season 4 but I think thats necessary because of how the characters are split up and the need to keep the same characters in each season unless they die. I just dont know what theyll do when half the characters are caught up in their storylines and others still have catching up to do because of how they scripted the 4th season.

  10. After plodding through the last three books which felt like about a billion pages where not much happens, I’m perfectly happy if the show deviates from the books. Dare I even say it, but I think the tv show is actually better than the books.

    • ^THIS

      The books were plodding and showed very little direction. The more deviation the show wants to take, the better, IMO.

  11. Has anyone forgotten that HE’S NOT DONE writing the books yet? how far away from the books are we all expecting to go? Obviously no show or movie can ever be exactly like a book and I am 100% ok with that. This comment is more or less directed at the previous posts about the show deviating from the books. I am all for more action and fillers because I enjoy the show immensely and am still trudging my way through the 4th book. (Which, thanks to all of you, I have such high hopes of finishing lol) But I just hope they don’t stray too far away from the main point that it makes it difficult when poor George finally does finish the story.

    BTW has anyone thought of what would happen if the show caught up the the 5th book before the 6th was finished? would we then be in an indefinite hiatus? :O

    • For those of us who have finished the fifth book, it’s hard NOT to think of the almost-inevitable moment when the show runs out of fuel from lack of content from George. I know for a fact (just from all the trailers I’ve been seeing for season four of the show) that there are moments in the upcoming episodes that are pulled from book five; particularly with Daenerys and Theon.

      Should be interesting to see how the writers of the show converse with GRRM about this pending dilemma. You can’t rush greatness though. My guess is that they’ll execute what every other show I watch practices and cut seasons into halfway cliffhangers; showing you 50% of the actual season and then making you wait a half a year just to find out what happens (e.g. The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, etc.). It’s an unpleasant thought but there has been undeniable inertia that now seems like an inevitable train wreck.

      • So here’s my two cents. S4 will mostly be ASoS part 2 with small bits from AFfC and ADwD for padding and extra character development. They will take out just enough from AFfC and ADwD to condense and change the story to fit in one, maybe 1.5 seasons. Season 5 would finish in 2015. Although Martin is infamously slow, he has intimated that he is more time conscious now, and I don’t think it’s preposterous to expect a 2015 release date for TWoW. This gives the writers another season or season and a half of material. So the show in all likelihood won’t actually catch up to the books until 2016 or 2017, when Martin may already be into year two of writing ADoS. He already has a rough outline of the ending, and regularly consult with Benioff and Weiss about plot lines that may contradict his planned ending. This consultation has already bled through into consolidating wasteful characters or plot threads that are irrelevant, such as the survival of Roob Stark’s wife in the books. Her death in the show gives some idea of Martin’s planned end. I think that he will be far enough ahead, and will have given enough information to Benioff and Weiss where their ending will be fairly in line with the planned one.

  12. I feel that books 4 and 5 could be done in one season. There’s just too much walking around and the story doesn’t progress like it does in books 1-3.

  13. Knew about this 3 days ago. http://www.tikr.me/game-of-thrones-s4/1491

  14. Just saying I finnished AFFC last week and in all fairness I started reading the series in the summer made AFFC by July and put it down until a week ago. I only found the whole iron islands area boring. Everything to do with Kings landing was essential story telling and was needed. It continues to create structure and a view of growing plans. And about the creating characters to kill quickly being a waste it isnt. It makes the books unpredictable. Anyone can die at any time unlike other books such as LOTR where good will continue to win.

    • I myself was fascinated by the Iron Island and Dorne. My favorite book was A Storm of Swords. Can’t wait for the Winds of Winter.

    • AFFC has a lot of talk and not enough action, but I find the Greyjoy storyline and the struggle in the Iron Islands will play an important role in Winds of Winter, and the sibling fighting is a great set up for it! It is a long read, especially because it only contains minor characters!

  15. I haven’t read the books, I have no plans to read the books, so I don’t care.

  16. Books 4 & 5 loose their way so tv series has to forge its own path to maintain quality of the drama

  17. I loved book 4 and 5. A dance with Dragons was good but it was disappointing. It suffered from poor editing, or a complete and total lack of editing. If you merge the two books and pick out the best plot points in both you could have plenty of good material for at least one season, more than likely a season and a half. But If by season 6 Danny is not in Westeros then it will be a problem. TV audiences will begin to grumble.

  18. you can watch Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 2 this sunday on this link http://tvtoast.com/watch/?ch_id=1394462097

  19. I, for one, having read the books, hope the show does deviate dramatically from the later books, just for the good of the show. It would be horrible to think of the TV show getting mired in all that filler material.

  20. I think they should just stick to the books completely,it would make the series unique. They mostly did this in the beginning but now I’m suddenly watching some pretty boy kill a horse with a throwing knife and nothing i saw in the last episode actually even occurred in the books. If you wanna make a super action series with Darth Maul looking white walkers, and human beings with super human throwing knife skills then make up your own story line as-well.

    • Well said!

  21. ok, thanks, but i think the best way to watch it is ACCESSTV INFO website

  22. The books are far better, the show is ok, the first 3 season weren’t bad, the first was probably closer to the book, as is with most adaptations (i.e. Harry Potter) deviations are inevitable. The imagery in the books are so good that I don’t need to watch the show. I haven’t seen any of season 4 but after hearing about scenes I keep saying to myself “I swear they already did that on the show” nope it’s just the awesomeness of the books that paints vivid pictures.

    I have never understood why scenes are added that aren’t in the book or add anything to the plot, it just seems like a waste of film that could be used to cover ACTUAL events that have more to do with the story. I think producers want to see what they think will draw viewers and sell so they make their own alterations to accommodate the needs of the casual viewers. Oh well can’t win them all…The books are always better

    I had a hard time trudging through book 4, book five on the other hand I blazed through, great book. I probably won’t watch season 4 till I’m done reading Winds of Winter….Anyone know the release date for that?

  23. Im not really happy with the deviation. They could easily take books 4 & 5 and present the stories in a better fashion instead of completely rewriting and making new stories. I think they nailed ssn 1-3, really fantastic! I was so psyched for ssn 4. Now im just bummed out. I doubt i will continue watching. It was the only reason we got hbo, so prob cancel that too

  24. I’ve read all the books and I must admit to being hugely disappointed when the Prince if Dorne was killed! I would prefer the series to stick to the plot in the books. Having said that it’s still the best thing on TV since…forever!

    • did you just say that you’ve read the books and were dissapointed that the show wasn’t sticking to the plot in the books? Oberyn does die in the books..?

  25. Please stop arguing about books vs tv adaption. We are all enjoying this in one format or another. Love your fellow earthlings here on mother earth xx

  26. Just watched the “battle”. What a disappointment. S4 has really been a wash out. Guess they couldn’t top the seasons.

    • Clearly this was the best season to date. Game of thrones has never been more popular. This is thanks to them building up the Audience last season and ratcheting up the excitement in this one. I am a book reader, and I find myself being disappointed because things don’t happen the way they did in the books. I often have to check myself, because the majority of the Audience has not read the books, and they do not have that prejudice handicapping their enjoyment of the series. People who did not read the books were shocked and awed by half the episodes this year. Although they have switched around the details, this is still the basic ASOIAF story. The story by itself is excellent. The acting is excellent. The Special effects are excellent. It is quite simply the best show on tv period. Sorry you were disappointed. I have been disappointed too, but the tv show will never be as good as the books so I have had to tamper my expectations.

  27. At least the readers can still be surprised. Just sayin’.

    • If Martin does not hurry up with his books then the readers will be in the same position as every one else. I for one might not even watch the show at that point for fear that it would spoil the books. Then again it takes so long for him to finish a book, that I doubt that I would keep to that.

  28. Season 4 Forbidden Episode! Banned from TV.

    I found this on this website, watched it and its freaking awesome! I thought I should share it with here as well, it’s shame that it was banned from TV! Best episode so far!

    Enjoy! :)

    http://www.gameofthronesfree.com/season-4/game-of-thrones-season-4-forbidden-episode-banned-for-tv/ !!

  29. I really hope they do deviate from the original books. They dragged on and became convoluted with no direction, which may have even been their intent, but that doesn’t translate well to TV where the audiences not only expect but desire a direction or path.

    In fact they could pretty much do away with everything that happens in the summer isles except with Aria and I would be happy. Even the Khaleesi story gets boring as hell as time goes on. Get them over to Westeros and have more conflict.

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