Our first look at the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones has finally arrived. And with less than two months to go, it's only a matter of time before we get a full-blown trailer that will give us a better idea of the events to come.
With the massively popular HBO show now long past the events of The Song of Ice and Fire series, it's anyone's guess on how this epic fantasy will wrap up. Chances are that both mediums will give us two totally different endings, as the show hasn't been afraid to stray from its source material before – sometimes for the better, other times for the worse.
10 Better in the books: Dorne And The Sand Snakes
The show not only massively shoehorned the story of Dorne, it also completely changed the motivations of House Martell and the Sand Snakes. In the books, Doran Martell doesn’t just sit around brooding. Instead, he has a secret pact with House Targaryen, which involved marrying his daughter to Viserys and providing them with an army when the time was right.
Meanwhile, the Sand Snakes don't despise Myrcella Baratheon, they actually want to use her to reclaim the Iron Throne as well. Unfortunately, the story of Dorne and House Martell is all but over heading into the final season of the show.
9 Better in the show: Jorah Mormont
Jorah Mormont has had one of the most inspiring comebacks in the TV series. He’s overcome greyscale, returned honor to his name, and — maybe more impressive than them all — survived being in the friend zone for seven seasons straight. The version of Jorah in the book is far less dynamic.
He still has a crush on Dany and is exiled for his betrayal, but he comes across as more of a primitive warrior than a once-honorable knight. He's also not the one to contract greyscale in the books. Instead, that curse falls to Jon Connington, another ally of House Targaryen.
8 Better in the books: The Iron Islands And The Drowned God
Much like the happenings in Dorne, the Iron Islands and its inhabitants also get the short end of the stick in the TV series. The books go to great lengths to demonstrate just how harsh living on the Iron Islands can actually be. As a result, they’ve developed an unforgiving religion, which is also one of the oldest in the Seven Kingdoms.
Their worship of the Drowned God has turned the ironborn into highly-competent and brutally-savage seafarers. The strength of their fleet could truly swing the tide of any war. Yet in the show, the Greyjoys are better known for their theatrics rather than their savagery.
7 Better in the show: Dany’s Relationship With Hizdahr
Despite only two books left in the series, Daenerys is still putzing around on the far side of the world. Instead of formulating plans to reclaim the Iron Throne, she’s become even further ensconced in the happenings of Meereen. Dany even ends up marrying Hizdahr zo Loraq, which thankfully never comes to pass in the show.
While Dany understandably wants to secure this part of the world before moving on, she should also know that a marriage pact would be the fastest ways to secure an army in the Seven Kingdoms.
6 Better in the books: All The Stark Children Are Wargs
In the books, Bran isn’t the only one who is able to warg into his direwolf — all of the Stark children can. Some may argue that by only giving Bran this power in the TV series made the most sense. He’s the only one to lose the ability to walk, after all. But Bran’s powers also come to stretch far beyond that of a warg; he’s also a greenseer and the new Three-Eyed Raven.
Of course, too many characters with magical abilities may lessen the impact of these powers. But in the books, the Starks' ability to connect with their direwolves is well-established and never overdone.
5 Better in the show: No Lady Stoneheart
Game of Thrones does a great job at keeping the magic to a minimum at the start of the series. This increases the impact of later moments and makes it easier to buy into the storyline. In contrast, there is far more magic at play in the novels, including the addition of one Lady Stoneheart.
Stoneheart is actually a revived Catelyn Stark who is on a mission to avenge her fallen children. While this might have been cool in the books, it would have undermined the Red Wedding massacre while also reducing the impact of Jon's resurrection later in the series.
4 Better in the books: Tyrion’s First Wife
Before Tyrion ever fell in love with Shae or was betrothed to Sansa, he was married to Tysha — a peasant girl who loved Tyrion despite his perceived flaws. Tyrion later comes to find that Tysha was hired by her father as an act to mock his least favorite child. His father also orders horrible things to be done to Tysha.
However, in an unexpected turn of events in the books, Tyrion learns that Tysha was indeed who she said she was and not just some ploy orchestrated by his father. Therefore, Tyrion hopes that one day he will be reunited with his long lost love.
3 Better in the show: Mance Rayder Meets His Demise
Remember Mance Rayder, the leader of the wildlings who is eventually burned at the stake? It seems like forever ago in the TV series, but the character is actually still alive (though not exactly well) in the books. Instead, Rattleshirt was burned in Mance's place thanks to some last-minute magic courtesy of Melisandre.
Meanwhile, Mance was sent on a secret mission to Winterfell to try and dispatch the Boltons. It's a cool turn of events in the books. But with so many characters to juggle in the TV series, it's probably for the best that Mance met his demise at the Wall.
2 Better in the books: The History Of House Targaryen
Don’t get us wrong, Daenerys is still a mighty impressive character on the show. But the lore surrounding House Targaryen is a lot more awe-inspiring in the novels. The way George R. R. Martin paints it, the Targaryens are largely a superior race when compared to the other mortals in his world.
They have an inherited connection to dragons and a high tolerance for heat. They can also keep their bloodline purer with fewer repercussions. Their otherworldly presence is further demonstrated by their silvery hair and purple eyes, which is yet another aspect of the legendary house that did not make it into the series.
1 Better in the show: No Aegon Targaryen
If you thought the series had a lot of characters, then you probably haven’t read the books. There are still so many characters alive and kicking in Martin’s version that it’s hard to imagine how he’ll wrap it all up in just two books. One of the biggest loose threads of all comes in the form of Aegon Targaryen: the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell.
Aegon's still alive on the page, and he has a stronger claim to the throne than Daenerys. But in the show, the reveal of Jon's true parentage is enough of a Targaryen twist that we can gladly do without Aegon.