Game of Thrones is one of the most well-received TV shows of all time (with perhaps the exception of the final season). Fans adore Game of Thrones for several reasons. We find ourselves enraptured by the stunning visuals of the series as well as moved by the captivating storylines that frequently leave us clasping our hands over our mouths in utter shock.
Yet, as epic as the storylines and visuals may be, the thing that perhaps draws us most to the series is the characters. Every character in the series offers intense feelings within viewers, whether that is the feeling of passionate love or fiery hate. While there are a ton of similarities between the A Song of Ice and Fire book versions of characters and the TV versions, there are several significant differences as well.
What are the major differences between the characters in the books and the characters in the TV show? Read the list to find out!
10 CATELYN STARK
The beloved Stark Mother, portrayed by the talented actress on the HBO series by Michelle Fairley, has an even more ominous ending than she does on the show. It's hard to believe it could get any worse than everything that went down in The Red Wedding, but low and behold, George RR Martin is always ready to deliver the goriest turn of events. In the books, things don't end for Catelyn at The Red Wedding. Her body is revived by Beric Dondarrion, and thus she comes back to life as a walking corpse. All she wants is revenge for her son, and she will stop at nothing to take down all those who have done her wrong at The Red Wedding (and even people who had nothing to do with it). She is no longer the sweet woman people knew her to be and she is now known as Lady Stoneheart.
Because her throat was cut open, as we see in the show as well, the zombie-like revival version of Mama Stark cannot speak unless she holds the cut on her throat: "She don't speak. You bloody bastards cut her throat too deep for that. But she remembers."
9 RAMSAY BOLTON
While on Game of Thrones, the television series, Ramsay is quite the bastard (in more ways than one), he is even worse in the books! Without getting too graphic, he makes his wife Jane (who isn't in the show) have *hem hem* relations with his dogs, he kills all of the Bolton sons who pose as a threat to him, and he is even more sadistic with poor Theon.
On GOT, Ramsay is extremely handsome (thanks to the actor Iwan Rheon and his killer jawline), but in the books, he is much less easy on the eyes. In the books, he is described as "an ugly young man, even when dressed finely. He is big boned and slope-shouldered, with a fleshiness indicating he will be fat later in life. Ramsay's skin is pink and blotchy, his nose broad, his hair long and dark and dry."
8 TYRION LANNISTER
Tyrion Lannister is perhaps the most kind-hearted soul on HBO's Game of Thrones with a heart of gold and an abundance of light-hearted jokes to crack even in the darkest hour. We love him on the show because he is pretty much the most morally-upstanding character of all, yet in the books, he isn't quite as loveable. In the novels, the "half-man" will send people to die without much guilt. He has a man killed and chops up his body to be placed into stew, which he has people eat (Eric Cartman, much?), and he states he is set out to rape and murder his own sister, Cersei.
Physically, the actor who portrays him on GOT (Peter Dinklage) is quite handsome. In the books, though, he is deformed-looking and almost monstrous. The show has been accused of using the "adaptional attractiveness" trope, in which characters who are supposed to be portrayed as unattractive are portrayed by conventionally attractive actors. In the novels, his nose is cut off during The Battle of Blackwater, he has one black eye and one green eye, he is much shorter, and his hair is Targaryen blonde while his beard is black.
7 SANSA STARK
While on the show Sansa starts off as a 13-year-old, in the books she is only 11. In George RR Martin's writings, the "little bird" is much more intelligent, with a wider range of knowledge on the history of Westeros. She is also filled with talent in the books, as she's able to play multiple instruments.
Sansa has a much more brutal time at the hands of King Joffrey in ASOIAF and is often left bleeding, beaten, and sexually abused. She seems to be much wiser in the books when it comes to her relationship with Joffrey and makes the effort to eventually find an escape route.
6 BRIENNE OF TARTH
In the books, the beloved Brienne of Tarth is only 18 years old at the beginning, while, in the show, she is portrayed by Gwendoline Christie, who was 32 during her first appearance on Game of Thrones. In the novels, she is described as being rather ugly with lots of freckles and swollen lips, along with a bitten cheek. The only thing attractive about her is said to be her big blue eyes, which are described as childlike.
Similar to the show, Brienne, at the end of the day, just wants to love and be loved romantically. In the books, she is much more motherly in nature, especially towards Podrick, who is only 12 in ASOIAF.
5 JON SNOW
While, in the books, Jon Snow is only about 16 at the beginning of the series, he is portrayed by actor Kit Harington, who was 25 at the beginning of filming for Game of Thrones. On the show, he is often described as "pretty," while in the books it is never mentioned.
On the HBO series, his character is very action-oriented and sometimes will fail to strategize his decisions, while in the books he is much more thoughtful when it comes to his actions. He is also able to see prophecies in his dreams and is a warg, or a person who can see through the eyes of animals.
4 4. DAENERYS TARGARYEN
While, on the show, Daenerys is supposed to be around 17/18 at the beginning of the series, she is only 13 in the first book! Appearance-wise, Queen Dany has violet eyes, has been described by Varys as "too skinny," is said to be the most beautiful woman, and loses her hair from being burned so many times. Personality-wise, there are no "Mad Queen" moments in the books because the Dragon Queen is a total pacifist in ASOIAF.
Basically, she would never set fire to all of King's Landing after hearing the bells. Her relationship with Drogo is much more consensual in the books on their wedding night in comparison to the TV show, where this doesn't seem to be the case. She also has a big old school-girl crush on Daario, where on the show she is pretty much indifferent to his courtship.
3 LITTLE FINGER
While, on Game of Thrones, Petyr Baelish might as well be wringing his hands together while cackling an evil laugh with the word "Untrustworthy" written on his forehead, in the books, everyone trusts Little Finger! George RR Martin has even stated how Little Finger is one of the most altered characters from the book to the show.
In ASOIAF, Baelish is perhaps the most frightening character of all due to how successful he is at manipulating everyone he comes across on how "friendly" and "weak" he is. Because of his ability to put on this benevolent mask, he manages to gain the trust of everyone except for Tyrion Lannister, while in GOT it is stated that only an idiot would trust Little Finger.
2 JAIME LANNISTER
While, in the show, Jaime Lannister "died trying to save his Queen" and was in love with Cersei until the very end, this is not so much the case in the books. Although it is believed that he originally was very much in love with his sister, jealousy and hatred eventually took over when he discovered his sister was being "unfaithful."
He seemed to completely burn his feelings to ashes, along with her letters to him. While Jaime was 31 at the beginning of ASOIAF, the actor who portrayed him, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, was 41 as the show started filming.
Shae, Tyrion's lover who refers to him as "My Lion," was a bit different in the books compared to the TV version portrayed by Sibel Kekelli. In the show, it is believed that Shae is truly in love with Tyrion and that is why she is so emotional towards his rejection, which he does only to protect her.
In the books, it is clear that she has no feelings for Tyrion and is simply using him for his money and status. This is why readers of the series were not surprised at all to see Shae betray Tyrion during his Trial.