Few writers love to kill off their characters as much as George R. R. Martin, which may be one of the very reasons that he’s created such an in-depth fantasy world brimming with literally hundreds of character for him to knock off. But would you believe that the creators of the HBO adaptation have actually axed far more characters in the TV series? Though this is partially because Game of Thrones has well outpaced its source material, there are still a number of characters whose fates are way different in novels.
At this rate, the HBO series will undoubtedly wrap up long before fans ever get to read The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, and with only 12 episodes left in the show, the list of characters who are still alive in the books will continue to get longer and longer.
Though Martin has given series creators D. B. Weiss and David Benioff the broad strokes on how he plans to wrap up the story, Martin has also openly said thaqt his plans will often change during the writing process. Therefore, many of the characters who have already been killed off in the show could still be major players when it comes to the outcome of The Song of Ice and Fire series.
Here are 16 Game of Thrones Characters Who Are Dead On The Show But Still Alive In The Books.
On a show full of shocking death, who would have thought that Hodor’s departure would have been the most heartbreaking? Outside of being a simple-minded stableboy at Winterfell who only ever said "Hodor," we barely knew anything about the character, or that there was anything else worth knowing. That is, until Bran started venturing into the past with the help of the Three-Eyed Raven and we discovered in a fateful turn of events that the gentle giant’s life has been building to one thing: sacrificing himself to an army of wights in order to save Bran.
When George R. R. Martin revealed the origin of Hodor to Weiss and Benioff, they admitted to being just as shocked as the rest of the audience, which confirms that Hodor’s death will be carried out in a similar fashion in The Winds of Winter. Which is something we can’t say for the rest of the characters on this list.
15 Tommen and Myrcella Baratheon
In a bizarre turn of events on the show, the Sand Snakes kill Myrcella Baratheon during her departure from Dorne by placing a poisonous kiss on her lips. This is the exact opposite intention that the Snakes display in the books, where they want to crown Myrcella as the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms as it is Dornish tradition that the eldest child inherits the crown, regardless of gender. Thus, Myrcella was still alive and on her way back to King’s Landing at the end of A Dance with Dragons, though she has sustained a severe facial scar and is short an ear thanks to the poor plotting of the Sand Snakes.
Her younger brother’s fate has yet to be written as well, although it has already been prophesied that all of Cersei's children will die untimely deaths. Tommen is still very much a child in the books, more interested in playing with his kittens than securing his seat on the Iron Throne. Furthermore, Tommen does not befriend the High Sparrow in the books, and he is kept safely tucked away in the Red Keep while his enemies continue to close in around him.
14 Jeyne Westerling (Talisa Maegyr)
Unlike most secondary characters in the novels whose personalities usually get pared down for TV, Robb Starks’s wife is actually much more interesting on the show. Instead of being the passive noble-born girl from Westeros named Jeyne Westerling in the books, she was renamed Talisa Maegyr and hails from the Free City of Volantis.
Though Talisa is still highborn, she decided to abandon her rich lifestyle and learned to become a healer. On the battlefield, she becomes enamored with Robb Stark which inevitably leads to her tragic death during the Red Wedding.
In the books, however, Robb’s new wife does not accompany him to the Twins, as he knows it would be in extremely bad taste to flaunt Jeyne in front of Walder Frey. Instead, Jeyne ends up being held at Riverrun while the Blackfish refuses to surrender the castle to the Freys.
When Jaime Lannister arrives and secures the stronghold, he comes face to face with the woman that Robb lost the war over. We also learn that Jeyne never had Robb’s child, as her mother was secretly giving her a potion to prevent pregnancy and keep her daughter from becoming a Lannister target.
13 The Tyrells
Though Cersei has long despised the Tyrells, she has yet to be rid of them in the novels. This may simply be a result of the show passing the books, as many pieces have been set into place that could still result in Cersei blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor.
For one, Cersei has become increasingly infatuated with wildfire and has even used it to burn the Tower of the Hand following Tyrion’s disappearance. She has also just completed her walk of atonement in the novels, meaning that the Lioness is finally freed up to begin enacting her revenge.
Margery and her father, Mace, remain in King’s Landing to await Margery’s trial, though Mace has been adamant about keeping his army nearby in case his daughter is found to be guilty by the Faith.
Loras, however, has a different storyline in the books. Though the Knight of Flowers is currently safe from Cersei’s wrath, he has been badly wounded while securing Dragonstone, and he is to remain on the island until he is safe to travel, leaving his fate still largely up in the air.
12 The High Sparrow
The only thing upsetting about the High Sparrow's death on the show was probably how brief it was. After an entire season of watching the religious zealot talk ostentatiously about worshipping the Seven, the High Sparrow is given an instantaneous death, allowing the audience only a split-second of satisfaction as the Sparrow finally realizes that Cersei has finally gotten the better of him.
How, or if, the High Sparrow will be killed by Cersei in the books remains to be seen, though similar to the show, he does allow the Queen Regent to return to the Red Keep following her walk of atonement.
The High Sparrow does also not befriend Tommen as he does in the show, so trial by combat is still a viable option for Cersei in the novels, where she also has a resurrected Ser Gregor to fight as her champion.
11 Roose and Ramsay Bolton
Though Roose is no doubt a sinister character in the show, he’s downright unsettling in the books, barely speaking above a whisper and constantly being leeched to remain in good health. Despite his tranquil disposition, Roose remains the leader of the Bolton forces and, last we left him in the books, he was preparing Winterfell for an impending attack by Stannis Baratheon.
Ramsay Bolton is also alive and well in the novels, and he continues to taunt Jon Snow from afar, writing him a letter annoucing he has defeated Stannis in battle and that he wants Theon and his wife returned to him, along with a few others who have aligned themselves with either Jon or Stannis.
So far, Ramsay has made no move to eliminate his father and claim himself to be the head of House Bolton, though as their hold on the North continues to slip, it’s only a matter of time before the ruthless Boltons begin to turn on one another.
10 Hizdahr zo Loraq
Much like Xaro Xhoan Daxos and Pyat Pree, Hizdahr zo Loraq is also still alive in the books and continuing to a be a nuisance to the Mother of Dragons. Though Daenerys only plans to marry the former slave trader in the show, in the books they actually become man and wife. Unfortunately, after they tie the knot, the Sons of the Harpy continue to reek havoc across Meereen, leading Daario to believe that Hizdahr may be the leader of the insurgency after all.
In the show, Hizdahr zo Loraq is actually killed by a terrorist during the attack at the fitting pits, though in the book he survives and tries to stake his claim over the city in Dany’s absence. Luckily, Barristan Selmy and Grey Worm keep Hizdahr’s power in check, and he is currently their prisoner as Meereen slips closer and closer to destruction, meaning Dany may have to kill her own husband upon her long-awaited return.
9 Brynden Tully
The Blackfish only appears briefly in the novels and the show, but he’s an immediately likable character. He’s a smart and respected warrior who remains loyal to his allies and refuses to surrender Riverrun to the Freys. The Blackfish even gets the better of Jaime Lannister during a battle of insults, which results in Jaime having to result to his plan B in order to retake the castle.
Though Brynden Tully is killed off camera when refusing to surrender to Lannister men, the character actually makes an epic escape in A Feast for Crows.
When Jaime finally does take Riverrun, we learn the Brynden has escaped the night before by having the water portcullis raised ever so slightly, allowing the knight to quietly swim downriver and past hundreds of his enemies. Brynden prove, once again, that he is more than worthy of his nickname.
Now that he is free, there’s always the possibility that the Blackfish will reunite with his undead sister to kill more Lannisters and Freys, or that he will fight alongside Jon Snow as he once did for Robb Stark.
8 Doran Martell
Much to the disapproval of actor Alexander Siddig, Doran Martell is yet another character who was killed off much earlier than expected within the Dorne storyline. Though the character was originally slated to appear in four episodes of season six, the Prince of Dorne actually met his demise in the season six premiere after being stabbed in the chest by Ellaria Sand, making House Martell officially extinct.
Though Doran comes off as a totally ineffectual leader in the TV series, in the novels he has been secretly plotting to overthrow the Lannisters for decades.
Since they are the least inhabited kingdom in Westeros, Doran knows that they can not defeat their enemies alone. He has arranged a pact for his eldest daughter to marry Viserys so that when the Targaryen comes to claim his birthright, his daughter will effectively become Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. However, when Viserys is killed by Khal Drogo, Doran plans to wed his eldest son to marry Daenerys in exchange, knowing that his only hope for revenge rests with the Targaryens.
7 Barristan Selmy
Barristan is another character who plays a much larger part in the novels than he does in the show. Instead of Tyrion acting as Dany’s Hand of the Queen, it is actually Barristan who assumes that position throughout A Dance with Dragons.
In the show, Barristan meets his demise in the middle of season five after he is ambushed and outnumbered by the Sons of the Harpy, which conveniently takes places a few episodes before Tyrion shows up in Meereen to give Daenerys his counsel.
In the books, Barristan is not slain by the Sons of the Harpy, and Tyrion has yet to be introduced to the Mother of Dragons. Once Dany is swept out of Daznak’s pit atop Drogon, Barristan acts as Hand of the Queen and does his best to keep Meereen from erupting in civil war (just as Tyrion does in the show).
He’s also forced to deal with Dany’s husband, Hizdahr zo Loraq, who he believes may secretly be leading the Sons of the Harpy insurgency. Barristan is even slated to appear as a POV character in the forthcoming The Winds of Winter.
6 Jojen Reed
While accompanying Bran north of the Wall in the show, Jojen Reed and his fellow travelers are attacked by a gang of wights upon their arrival at the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven. Though Meera prevents Jojen from being pulled under the snow by one of the undead, Jojen is unable to fight off any of the wights himself due to his declining health, which, ironically, may have been brought on by Jojen having a vision of his impending death. He is ultimately stabbed by a wight before being mercy killed by his sister.
Though Jojen survived the attack against the wights in A Dance with Dragons, it feels like the character will still meet a similar fate in the novels. While they are gathered in the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven, Jojen has a greendream about his fate which reveals that he will die upon returning to Greywater Watch. Despite this, Jojen is ready to travel home and accept his fate, knowing full well that his visions never lie.
5 Shireen and Selyse Baratheon
So are we saying there’s a chance that the innocent daughter of Stannis Baratheon might not meet the same horrific end in the novels? While we too wish that were the case, unfortunately, much like Hodor, this is another character that George R. R. Martin has confirmed will die in a similar fashion in his upcoming installment.
Though in the show, Shireen is burned on the road to Winterfell, in the books she is left behind at Castle Black with her mother while Stannis marches south with his army. It's unclear whether Stannis will play such a prominent role in the death of his daughter.
Meanwhile, Selyse’s fate remains totally up for speculation. Though the queen hangs herself shortly after her daughter is sacrificed to the Lord of the Light in the show, we’ll have to wait and see exactly how long Selyse can bear the guilt of her actions in the books.
4 Mance Rayder
A former brother of the Night’s Watch, Mance Rayder was able to unite the Free Folk and lead the largest organized attack on the Wall. When Stannis Baratheon unexpectedly swept down from the north, Mance was imprisoned at Castle Black, where he would have to answer for his crimes. While he's being burned at the stake by King Stannis in the show, Jon Snow puts an arrow into the King-beyond-the-Wall’s heart to end his suffering.
Though these events seem to be carried out in a similar fashion in the novels, it is actually Rattleshirt who is burned at the stake in Mance’s place after Melisandre uses magic to swap the two men's appearances. Later, when Jon finds out that his younger sister is to marry Ramsay Bolton, Mance is sent to Winterfell with six warrior women to infiltrate the castle. They succeed in killing off a few traitors but are ultimately captured, leaving Mance Rayder currently in the hands of Ramsay Bolton... which is a very bad place to be.
3 Lady Stark / Lady Stoneheart
Though Martin has played a vital role in the TV series — revealing many of his characters’ fates to D. B. Weiss and David Benioff, along with penning a few of the earlier season’s script — the author of the source material is still bummed that Lady Stoneheart has never made an appearance on the show. For those not following the books, Stoneheart is the name given to Catelyn Stark after she is resurrected following the events of the Red Wedding.
Unlike Gandalf’s resurrection in The Lord of the Rings, Martin thought that a character who is brought back to life following a horrific death should be just that — horrific. Lady Stoneheart takes over the control of the Brotherhood without Banners after Beric Dondarrion gives her the kiss of life, which results in Beric’s death. Since then, she has become a merciless outlaw, hell-bent on executing every Lannister and Frey that crosses her path.
Her absence from the show has also upset some fans, but with Beric Dondarion, Jon Snow, and even Sandor Clegane being brought back to life in a sense, leaving Catelyn’s resurrection out of the series may have ultimately been for the best.
2 Stannis Baratheon
George R. R. Martin has gone out of his way to stress that Stannis is still very much alive in the novels, hinting that this character’s fate may turn out to be drastically different in the books.
At the end of season five, Stannis’s men are quickly defeated by the Bolton army, and the wounded “king” is discovered by Brienne of Tarth, who has long pledged to kill the man who murdered Renly Baratheon using blood magic. Though the scene cuts away before we watch his head fly, Benioff and Weiss have confirmed that Stannis does indeed meet his demise in the show.
However, at the end of A Dance with Dragons, Stannis’s storyline is very much up in the air. Though Ramsay Bolton sends Jon Snow a letter claiming that he has defeated and killed Stannis, this is thought to be just another one of Bolton’s mind games.
In a released chapter for The Winds of Winter, Stannis is revealed to be holding Theon Greyjoy captive with plans to assassinate him to curry favor from the North — something he desperately needs if he has any remaining chance at securing the Iron Throne.
1 Aegon Targaryen
If this character proves to be the real deal, then things may have gotten a lot more complicated for Daenerys in the books, as she still believes herself to be the last living Targaryen.
Who exactly is this long lost Targaryen? Aegon was the infant child of Prince Rhaegar and Elia Martell who was brutally murdered by the Mountain. So how is he still alive in the books? As Varys would have us believe, the Master of Whispers swapped out the baby for another, sensing that the Targaryens were about to be eradicated from the realm during Robert’s Rebellion. Since then, Aegon has been living incognito while Varys has been grooming him for the Iron Throne.
The fact that the showrunners have decided to leave Aegon out of the series may confirm that the character is indeed the imposter that many suspect him of being. Not to mention that Jon has just been established as a long lost son of Rhaegar on the show, meaning that Jon could assume part of the role that Aegon will ultimately play in the books so as to not make things any more convoluted during the last two seasons of the show.
Which Game of Thrones character do you wish was still alive in the show? Let us know!