After a long wait, season 7 of Game of Thrones is finally upon us. With only 2 seasons left until the saga is over, there are a lot of character meet-ups and loose plot threads that need to be attended to. On top of that, a number of epic wars are on their way.
Thanks to the two trailers that have been released so far, we have plenty of hints as to what we can expect. Still, with the show mostly ahead of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, there’s no telling what plots are on their way.
Over the course of six season so far, a number of things from the books have been adapted to the show. That said, just as many plots and characters have been changed or left behind altogether. While some of the omissions have helped to streamline the story, others have been more detrimental. And while there’s still time for the series to pull in more elements from the page, there’s a number of storylines from the books we’re unlikely to see before Game of Thrones is over.
Here are 15 Things From The Books We’ll Never See On TV.
15. The Dornish Master Plan
Adapting George R.R. Martin’s sprawling book series into a finite number of television episodes necessitates jettisoning some storylines. Still, one of the most crucial and far-reaching schemes within A Song of Ice and Fire has all but been ignored in Game of Thrones.
When we meet Doran Martell in the books, he’s just as seemingly ineffectual as he is on the show. Rather than Ellaria Sand being unhappy with his inaction after Oberon’s death, however, it’s Doran’s daughter Arianne. As her story unfolds, she establishes a scheme to use Arys Oakheart of the Kingsguard to crown Myrcella as the queen of the Seven Kingdoms. What she doesn’t realize, though, is that Doran has spent years mapping out a plan to bring Viserys Targaryen to Westeros and restore his family to the throne. When he dies, he switches his plan to have his son Quentyn seek out Daenerys to take her as his bride and do the same.
There’s much, much more to it, including a seemingly dead Targaryen plus Varys and Illyrio plotting, and it all ties in with Tyrion in Essos. While shades of it exist, the massive web of storylines is all but excised the show.
14. The Golden Company
Just as complicated as the Dornish Master Plan is the story of the Blackfyres. Much of their tale is actually perfect fodder for a spinoff series, so perhaps we’ll see that take place. But in the time period of the show and books, all that remains of the bastards of Aegon IV Targaryen are the Golden Company.
After the Blackfyres and Bittersteel rose up against the crown, years of rebellion broke out. Eventually, Bittersteel and many of his family and followers had to flee across the Narrow Sea. Exiled and hunted, Bittersteel formed the Golden Company as a group of sellswords in order to bind together the last vestiges of the rebellion. Since that time, they’ve been the most honorable of mercenaries, never breaking a contract. That all changes, however, when Varys and Illyrio enact their part of the Dornish Master Plan.
As it turns out, the young man they rally around is said to be Aegon Targaryen, who the Mountain supposedly killed. Another theory, however, is that he’s actually the last of the Blackfyres and the Golden Company are merely trying to finish the rebellion they started so long ago.
13. Varys’ Disguises
One of the more interesting aspects of Varys’ character that was removed from the show was his knack for disguise. In the books, he often confronts characters like Tyrion and Ned in disguises so good, even they don’t recognize him.
More than just changing his clothes, Varys will change his voice, his mannerisms, and even his smell. By doing so, he’s able to travel all around King’s Landing and meet with his little birds – and spy himself, all without drawing attention.
Admittedly, it would have been hard to convincingly portray this on screen. What’s more, it could have come across as much sillier than it does in the books. In the end, it was probably a smart decision, but it still robs Varys of some of his skill and panache.
12. Jalabhar Xho and the Summer Islanders
Though the books and series mostly stick to Westeros and Essos, there’s a much larger world out there. Some of these more exotic places are touched on in the book, none more so than the Summer Isles.
A kingdom off the coast of Sothoryos, the Summer Isles seem to be analogues of Africans and denizens of the Caribbean. Since it exists relatively close to Dorne, many Summer Islanders are encountered through the series.
Noted for their skills in archery and marked by colorful feathered cloaks, the most prominent Summer Islander in the books is Jalabhar Xho. An exiled prince who has longed beseeched the throne to help him reclaim his kingdom, Xho is part of the royal court and is often flitting around the background of the books. Though never given much focus, other Summer Islanders meet Sam and Gilly and help them get from Braavos to Oldtown.
11. Lady Stoneheart and the Brotherhood
Even those who haven’t read the books are likely aware of Lady Stoneheart thanks to the Internet constantly complaining she hasn’t appeared on the show. There’s good reason to be upset, however, as she’s one of the most interesting aspects of the series.
We’ve seen characters like Beric Dondarrion and Jon Snow come back to life thanks to the power of R’Hllor, but in the books Catelyn Stark is also revived in this manner. Unfortunately, it’s after her throat was slit and she was thrown in the river to rot for days. When she comes back, it’s as Lady Stoneheart; a pale, hard woman with a croaking voice, hell-bent on justice for those who wronged her family at the Red Wedding.
With Beric seemingly dead for good in the books, Stoneheart becomes the new leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners as they move from Robin Hood’s Merry Men to brutal vigilantes who hang anyone they deem to be guilty of conspiring with the Lannisters and Freys.
10. The Ghost of High Heart
The whole story of the Brotherhood doesn’t get much focus on the show, and it’s a real shame. While the lords and ladies are playing the titular game of thrones, the smallfolk are suffering thanks to the ongoing wars.
Though they begin under the orders of Ned Stark, the Brotherhood quickly become akin to Robin Hood and his Merry Men but with a darker bent. They travel the Riverlands meting out justice and protecting the weak. They also have a number of interesting adventures and meet all sorts of intriguing characters.
The most interesting person they encounter has to be the Ghost of High Heart. An old woods witch who has been around for many important events in the history of the story, the Ghost of High Heart has visions of the past and future which she shares with the Brotherhood. She resides on High Heart, a great hill in the Riverlands that was once sacred to the children of the forest.
Once housing 31 weirwood trees, they were cut down by the Andals during their invasion of Westeros. Still, there’s magic to the place and the Ghost that would have made for an interesting side story on the show.
9. Moonboy, Patchface, and Butterbumps
Out of all the characters from the books not on the show, it’s hard to argue against the exclusion of Moonboy, Patchface, and Butterbumps. Fools for various royal courts, the trio do add some authenticity to the medieval-inspired setting of ASOIAF. On the fairly-poe faced version of the story we get in Game of Thrones, however, they’d be pretty ridiculous.
Moonboy is the fool for King’s Landing, mostly just referenced here and there, and existing on the sidelines of various events. Eventually, he’s joined by the obese Butterbumps, who comes with the Tyrells when they move to the capital city. Patchface, meanwhile, actually gets the most focus in the series. The fool of Dragonstone and the best friend of Stannis’ daughter Shireen, Patchface even gets his backstory told in the books.
A fool tattooed in motley from across the Narrow Sea, Patchface is being brought back by Stannis’ father when their ship wrecks. The elder Baratheon dies, but Patchface survives— albeit with serious mental and emotional damage. Even still, he’s a fairly annoying and unnecessary presence in the books, so it’s not surprising why he, Moonboy, and Butterbumps were left out of the show.
8. Maggy the Frog’s Family History
We get the main story of Maggy the Frog in the show, but her family history has some interesting implications. Maggy is best known as the fortune teller who givers Cersei the prophecy about her children dying and how the valonqar will eventually kill her. What isn’t explored in the show— and only exists in the book as a series of stories that add up to her backstory— is that Maggy is the great grandmother of Robb’s wife.
In Game of Thrones, Robb’s wife Jeyne Westerling is changed into Talisa, a battlefield nurse who hails from the Free Cities in Essos. Why she was changed, no one quite knows, but it eliminates her connection to House Spicer. Maggy’s husband, a spice trader, brought her back from across the Narrow Sea and their son would eventually found House Spicer. His daughter Sybell would then marry into the Westerlings.
When Robb takes their castle but suffers a wound, it’s young Jeyne Westerling who brings him back to health and takes Robb’s virginity. From there, he marries her and kicks off the Red Wedding. Interestingly, Jeyne and possibly her and Robb’s son may still be alive in the books, but Maggy is likely long gone.
7. The Mystery of Euron Crow’s Eye
Like many of the more flamboyant characters from the books, the Euron we meet in Game of Thrones is considerably toned down.
On the page, he’s spent years traveling the far reaches of the world and collecting all sorts of treasures and artifacts. His ship is manned by people from lands far away who have all had their tongues cut out. He also has many bastard children, has taken to drinking Shade of the Evening like the warlocks of Qarth, and is said to practice all sorts of blood magic.
In the show, Euron is mostly just a jerky pirate, lacking much of the menace and flair he has in the books. By removing these elements, the show misses a number of great visual opportunities as well as another chance to explore the world outside of just Westeros and Essos.
6. Mya Stone and Edric Storm
Game of Thrones has introduced us to a few of Robert’s bastards, but most of the focus is on Gendry. In the books, however, the former king has 16 illegitimate children. We know the number thanks to part of Maggy’s prophecy. While some are killed or unaccounted for in the books, two are fairly interesting.
Edric Storm was mostly folded into Gendry, robbing both of crucial plot points. Gendry in the books goes on to join up with the Brotherhood while they’re led by Lady Stoneheart. Meanwhile, it’s Edric who is brought to Dragonstone and sought after by Melisandre for his king’s blood. Spending much of his life at Storm’s End, Edric is the one bastard that Robert holds in a place of honor. When the Baratheon castle falls to Stannis, he comes to live at Dragonstone before Davos smuggles him like he does Gendry in the show.
Mya, meanwhile, is a bastard who lives in the Eyrie. Essentially the sherpa who sees people up and down the mountain, she’s another strong and intriguing female character that would have made for a great companion for Sansa on the show.
5. The Tyroshi in All Their Glory
The changes the show makes to the Tyroshi are small, but they’re part of a trend where HBO and the showrunners of Game of Thrones continually remove the vibrant culture of Martin’s world.
In the books, Tyrosh is the home of hair dye. While not super common in the real world before the modern age, virtually every Tyroshi male you ever meet in the book has bright dyed hair, beards, and mustaches. Their facial hair is also styled in a flamboyant ways.
This includes Daario, Dany’s paramour while in Meereen. In the books, he’s basically a flamboyant pirate-type, with a bright blue trident forked beard and hair the same color. Again, it’s a small detail, but given how drab everything outside of Dorne looks on the show, it would have been nice to see some cultural flair added to the series.
4. Arya’s Wolf Dreams
In the show, Bran is the only Stark child shown to be a warg. In the books, however, he’s not the only one who has wolf dreams. When Arya forces her wolf away to protect her from Cersei, the show never again references Nymeria. Martin, meanwhile, peppers the direwolf throughout the story.
Virtually anytime a character is in the Riverlands following the war, tales are heard of a devilish she-wolf who has a pack that includes hundreds of smaller wolves. Not only is this bizarre for the animals, but they are fearless and hunt man and beast alike. At the same time, Arya begins having more and more dreams like Bran’s where she’s living as a wolf.
All of this will likely pay off with Nymeria and her pack joining up with Arya when she comes home. While the wolf will probably return on the show, the writers have made a huge mistake by not foreshadowing the eventual reunion by showing Arya’s warg abilities.
3. Other Skinchangers
It’s not just Arya and Bran who have the power of skinchangers in the books. Jon is confirmed to be a warg himself, though he never more than has an occasional wolf dream and a strong connection to Ghost. It’s also implied that Rickon and Shaggydog may share a similar connection, though on a much more primal level.
One of the more exciting skinchangers in the books, though, is Varamyr Sixskins. A high-ranking member of Mance Rayder’s army, Varamyr is said to be the most powerful skinchanger north of the wall. At his command are three wolves, a shadowcat, and a giant bear. Eventually, he loses them all and goes into one of his wolves, but the visual of him with his charges would have been amazing for the show.
Meanwhile, a chapter set in the Iron Islands from the books reveals that House Farwynd are an ancient people with the power to control narwhals, sea lions, and walruses. There’s even theories that some Targaryens could control dragons in a similar way, something that would surely come in handy on the show.
2. Pate’s Fate
With Sam only just arriving at the Citadel in the show, it’s not clear how much of the Oldtown story from the books will be kept intact. One thing that seems unlikely to be adapted, however, is Pate.
In the prologue to A Feast for Crows, we meet Pate and some other young maesters-in-training. Throughout the tale, Pate is scheming with a mysterious man called the Alchemist who wants a special key that one of the maesters has. When he presents it to the man, he dies soon after. When Sam arrives in Oldtown at the end of the book, however, the last sentence introduces him to the same Pate.
Though not confirmed, most evidence points towards the Alchemist being a Faceless Man who kills Pate and takes his identity. Given that Pate’s story frames the entire book, this seems pretty likely. Furthermore, the Alchemist’s description is fairly similar to the man Jaqen H’ghar turned into at Harrenhal when he said goodbye to Arya.
1. Bronn’s Schemes
One of the smartest changes the show made from the books is to keep Bronn around. On the page, he vacates King’s Landing following Tyrion’s trial to go live at Castle Stokeworth with his new wife. On the show, however, his charisma made him impossible to leave behind.
By keeping him around, Game of Thrones has one of the few people who can crack a joke on the show. And while Bronn’s presence lightens things up, it does mean his plot from the books is abandoned.
The Stokeworths are a proud and old house who are held in high esteem at court. Still, they can’t find anyone to marry the young Lollys, who is deemed physically unattractive and suffers mental and emotional damage after being repeatedly raped during a riot at King’s Landing. She also becomes pregnant from the event. Bronn, however, has dreams above his station.
He marries Lollys and spends the next few books slowly eliminating her family until he’s Lord Stokeworth. He also names his new son Tyrion, something that drives Cersei insane. There’s no telling where Bronn will end up in the books or show, but both versions are rogues we just can’t help but love.
Which plots and characters from the books do you wish were on Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments.
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