There are literally thousands of named characters in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. And there are still two novels to go! So in order to make the jump from the page to the screen, a number of characters had to be cut. In most cases, we’re happy with the characters that Game of Thrones excluded, though there are a few that would have massively changed the direction of the story.
On the other hands, the show has created a few characters of their own. While many of these are an amalgamation of characters from the novels, they’ve been changed enough to stand are their own two legs. So let’s take a closer look at the biggest Game of Thrones character changes!
10 Only In The Books: Aegon Targaryen/Young Griff
Aegon Targaryen, the son of Rhaegar and Elia Martell, was long thought to have been killed during the Sack of King’s Landing. But in A Dance with Dragons, Aegon is revealed to be alive and well. He’s been living under the protection of Lord Jon Connington (another character who doesn’t appear in the series), where he goes by the alias Young Griff.
Aegon originally plans to align his forces with Daenerys, but then decides that he would rather claim the Iron Throne for himself. Of course, this major storyline has been completely abandoned in the show, where the only Aegon Targaryen that is currently alive is that of Jon Snow.
9 Only On The Show: Talisa Stark
Talisa Stark, formerly known as Talisa Maegyr, is the wife of Robb Stark and the Queen of the North. She’s a much more developed character than Jeyne Westerling, the noble girl who comes to marry Robb in the books.
The two characters have a number of notable differences. For starters, Talisa isn’t a noblewoman at all, but a descendant of Volantis who goes on to aid wounded soldiers in Westeros. Also, Jeyne never ends up meeting her demise at the Red Wedding as Talisa does, and Jenye never ends up becoming pregnant with one of Robb’s children.
8 Only In The Books: Lady Stoneheart
One of the more infamous exclusions from the TV series, Lady Stoneheart is the resurrected Catelyn Stark who is brought back to life following the Red Wedding. Beric Dondarrion dies for the final time to bring Catelyn back, and she goes on to lead the brotherhood without banners under the name of Lady Stoneheart.
Lady Stoneheart is a very different character, as being dead for three days has dramatically changed Catelyn. She is on a mission to avenge her family, and she is willing to sacrifice any Frey, Bolton, or Lannister to do so. Martin has promised that Stoneheart will continue to play a vital role in his books.
7 Only On The Show: Olly
Olly is another character who seems to be an amalgamation of a number of characters from the books. In the show, Olly is a farm boy from the North who’s family is killed by a band of wildlings. He eventually goes on to join the Night’s Watch, where he becomes the steward of Jon Snow.
During the Battle of Castle Black, it’s Olly who delivers the final blow to Ygritte. Olly does the same to Jon when he is betrayed by his former brothers. As a result, Olly is later executed by Jon for taking place in the mutiny.
6 Only In The Books: Coldhands
Coldhands is a mysterious figure who lives beyond the Wall who comes to aid Sam and Bran throughout the books. He is a former member of the Night’s Watch who is said to have died long ago. He rides a massive elk, controls a flock of ravens, and has black eyes. Coldhands works in service of the Three-eyed crow (or Three-eyed raven on the show).
The role of Coldhands has pretty much been taken up by Benjen Stark in the series. However, Martin has refuted this fan theory – meaning that Coldhands is a totally separate character in the books, and one we will hopefully learn more about soon.
5 Only On The Show: Ros
Ros is a prostitute originally from the North who eventually makes her way down to King’s Landing throughout the first three seasons. She ends up working in one of Littlefinger’s brothels before going on to form a secret allegiance with Varys. However, she eventually meets her demise after trying to seduce King Joffrey.
There are a number of book characters that may have inspired Ros. But throughout her 14-episode arc, she very much becomes a character of her own. Martin has even said that he may give Ros a cameo in an upcoming novel.
4 Only In The Books: Victarion Greyjoy
Victarion is one of the uncles of Theon Greyjoy who is currently making a play to take the Iron Islands (and possible all of Westeros) for himself. While he initially pledges his allegiance to Euron, Victarion becomes increasingly fed up with his older brother and begins to hatch a plan against him.
Victarion has been sent on a trip east, where he is to propose a marriage pact between Euron and Daenerys. However, Victarion crosses paths with a red priest who tells Victarion what he needs to do to bind Dany’s dragons to his will. This character has already had four point-of-view chapters in the books, with more on the way.
3 Only On The Show: Myranda
While there is another character named Myranda in the books, she’s not even close to the one who appears on the show. This Myranda is the lover and companion of Ramsay Bolton, who is just as twisted and cruel as he is. She tortures Theon and Sansa at Winterfell before meeting her demise when Theon pushes her from a rampart.
In the books, Ramsay doesn't have a female companion to carry out his schemes with him. Instead, he has a group of male lackeys that aren't quite as interesting as Myranda proved to be.
2 Only In The Books: Quentyn Martell
Quentyn Martell is another major player who never appeared on the show. He is the son of Doran Martell and the Prince of Dorne who spends most of his time traveling to Essos where he plans to make a marriage pact with Daenerys Targaryen.
However, when Quentyn arrives, he fails to court the Queen of Dragons, who has no interest in a teenager that she’s never met before. Quentyn eventually meets his demise after foolishly trying to win over Dany’s dragon.
1 Only On The Show: Locke
Yet another single character who filled the role of multiple characters from the books, Locke is best known for taking the sword hand of Jaime Lannister. This role is fulfilled by Vargo Hoat in the novels, a sellsword originally from the Free City of Qohor.
However, Locke also fills the role of a Night’s Watch infiltrator, as he is sent North to try and assassinate Jon Snow. Thankfully, Locke meets his demise when Bran wargs into Hodor – which actually grants a kind of justice to Jaime, the very many who resulted in Bran losing his legs.