Whatever opinions people might have of Game of Thrones' final season, there's no denying that the entire fandom is eagerly awaiting the release of the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, titled Winds of Winter.
Game of Thrones fans frustrated with the way the show wrapped up are looking to George R.R. Martin to reclaim and do justice to the beloved story, while those content with the show's conclusion look forward to reading a more fleshed-out version. Indeed, the novels, which are mostly 1,000-plus pages in length, add color to the story by digging deeper into plot-lines, history, and characters. In many cases, the books describe characters that are never seen or heard of in the television series. Here are 10 characters from the novels that Game of Thrones leaves out.
Perhaps if Jeyne Poole was included as a character in Game of Thrones, Sansa Stark's trials in King's Landing wouldn't have been nearly so lonely. Jeyne Poole is Sansa Stark's best friend in the books, dressing her hair and taking her side against Sansa's younger sister, Arya. The girls later comfort each other in confinement following the deaths of their fathers, before Jeyne is taken in by Littlefinger. In order to solidify the Boltons' loyalty to the Lannisters, Jeyne is dressed up and sold to the Boltons as "Arya Stark," where she's viciously abused by none other than Ramsay Bolton. Needless to say, Jeyne Poole's story is one of the most tragic in the entire series. She appeared one time in the series as a young girl, but that was it.
The fact of Robert Baratheon's promiscuity is well known to both readers of A Song of Ice and Fire and viewers of Game of Thrones. The fruits of King Robert's infidelity scattered across Westeros, the young king Joffrey Baratheon orders the many potential threats to the throne killed early in the story.
Still, we know of at least one illegitimate son of King Robert's who escapes Joffrey's wrath: Gendry Baratheon. In the books, however, there is another prominent bastard of Robert Baratheon, and that's Edric Storm. In the books, it is Edric who is leeched by Melisandre with the purpose of cursing Stannis's rival kings. Edric spends the rest of his time in hiding, but we suspect there's more in store for the man come The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.
Jeyne Westerling's likeness isn't entirely absent from Game of Thrones, as her character is replaced by Lady Talisa, Robb Stark's wife. In the books, Jeyne nurses Robb back to health after he suffers an injury in battle, and subsequently comforts him after he learns of his brothers' murder at the hands of Theon Greyjoy.
And same as the television version, it is Robb's betrayal of his commitment to a Frey daughter that results in the massacre at the Red Wedding. However, unlike the show, Robb's wife isn't present during the Red Wedding and survives the Young Wolf.
On the surface, it makes sense that Game of Thrones would leave Victarion Greyjoy out of the story in brevity. However, a closer look at the younger brother of Balon Greyjoy reveals a number of ways in which Victarion could affect the story on a large scale.
Initially, Victarion is an ardent supporter of his older brother, Euron Greyjoy, and his plan to wed Daenerys Targaryen, but upon learning of Euron's cruelty, hatches a plan to propose to the Dragon Queen himself. With that in mind, it's easy to see how Victarion Greyjoy might play a significant role in the events of The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.
This brute of a fighter may not be the most significant character to be cut from Game of Thrones, but he's arguably one of the most entertaining. Strong Belwas is a Daenerys Targaryen's equivalent of The Mountain, a massive, imposing warrior trained in the fighting pits of Meereen. Belwas spends the majority of his story in Daenerys Targaryen's protection, insisting on taking a scar from each of his victims before they fall. Thinking of what could have been, a fight between The Mountain and Strong Belwas would've been a sight to behold.
Tyrion Lannister's army of sellswords, headed by Ser Bronn of the Blackwater, is seen as a threat to Tyrion's sister, Cersei, both in the show and the books. In response, Cersei commands her cousin Lancel to assemble her own force of bloodthirsty mercenaries. In classic Littlefinger fashion, Littlefinger schemes to plant men loyal to his cause and employs the sons of his servant, Oswell Kettleblack, to act as Cersei Lannister loyalists. Meanwhile, Tyrion and Bronn are acting under the impression that the Kettleblack sons are working solely to reveal Cersei's secrets to them. Osmund Kettleblack is another reminder that while everyone else plays checkers, Littlefinger is playing 3D chess.
Another character missing from the show that's more ornamental than instrumental, Patchface is perhaps the creepiest character in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Every king needs a jester, and it's only fitting that the stoic Stannis Baratheon employ a jester that invokes fear as much as laughs.
Patchface gets his name from the pattern of red and green tattoos covering his neck and face, and only speaks in sometimes prophetic riddles. Patchface, or Patches as Shireen Baratheon calls him, is an intriguing side character sorely missing from Stannis Baratheon's otherwise one-dimensional fleet in Game of Thrones.
Arianne Martell is one of the more curious character omissions from Game of Thrones, as she plays a relatively significant role in the books. In fact, one of the sample chapters George R.R. Martin released for Winds of Winter is dedicated to Arianne Martell, Doran Martell's oldest sister. One theory is that the princess was cut from the show because her storyline is interwoven with that of another character who doesn't appear in the show, Young Griff. Arianne is tasked with confirming Young Griff's supposed identity as Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell, and true heir to the Iron Throne.
Perhaps the most influential character from the books to be left out of Game of Thrones is Young Griff (aka Aegon Targaryen). You might recognize the name Aegon as the true identity of Jon Snow, as well as the names of countless Targaryen kings past, but so far in the books, the only living character supposedly named Aegon Targaryen is a young traveler nicknamed Young Griff, son of the sellsword, Griff. Whether or not he is truly the son of Rhaegar and Elia, "Aegon Targaryen" has the support of both Tyrion Lannister and the Golden Company, making him a serious threat to the Lannister-held throne and indeed, potential usurper Daenerys Targaryen.
After the Red Wedding claimed the lives of Robb Stark, Lady Talisa, and Catelyn Stark, fans wanted nothing more than revenge for the Stark family.
Unfortunately, the show offers no such condolences for viewers for quite some time. In the books, however, the corpse of Catelyn Stark (aka Lady Stoneheart) awakens to exact revenge on all who caused her family harm. As of the latest events in the books, Lady Stoneheart has both Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne on the chopping block for their apparent allegiance to the Lannisters.