Game of Thrones has gripped the watchers and readers alike since it started. The show has made the books so alive that reading them is now like playing the entire show in your head but with a lot of extra scenes that never made it to the show. Where one may watch a scene and wonder what is happening inside the character’s head but a person who has read the book knows it; one of the joys of reading the books. They are the encyclopedia that walks and breathes, who you turn to when you’re not sure about the plot.
Here are some legit things about GoT that only people who read its books know:
1. What’s in a name? The series of books is called ‘ A Song Of Ice and Fire’ and not the Game of Thrones.
The entire book series by GRRM is called ‘A Song Of Ice and Fire’, and it is the first book that is called ‘A Game of Thrones’, unlike the prevailing notion that the series is called Game of Thrones. The show has been sailing past the vast majority of the book, for a while now. But no one is complaining, the show and the books with its twists are turns are keeping us hooked for sure.
2. Shae never loved Tyrion so her betrayal does not come as a surprise to the readers.
Everyone was mortified when Shae betrayed Tyrion during his trial and later in the show, but for the book’s readers, it wasn’t a surprise because, in the books, Shae never loved Tyrion and was only with him for his wealth and status.
3. The White Walkers aren’t so scary in the books, they have white skin and reflective light armour.
The White Walkers are called as the ‘Others’ by the people from the seven kingdoms in the books. It is only the wildlings who refer to them as ‘White Walkers’. They look downright scary in the show with their frozen grey skin, skull-like face and skeleton-like bodies. However, in the books, they have white skin and reflective light armour.
4. Hizdahr Zo Loraq tried to kill Daenerys in the book but is pretty harmless in the show
Daenerys marries Hizdahr Zo Loraq and is practically harmless in the show but is also rumoured to lead the Sons of the Harpy. However, in the books, he tries to poison Daenerys by luring her to eat spiced locusts many times which were laced with poison. But Daenerys is not fond of locusts so she declines and a member of the court ‘Strong Belwas’ (named due to his huge built) ends up eating them, he almost dies and Daenerys gets to know that Hizdahr wants to be the king of Meereen.
5. The characters in books are much younger, because Martin wanted to be true to that time where life expectancy was rather short, and so many characters in the show are way older than the books.
The show starts seventeen years after Robert’s rebellion, whereas the books begin fourteen years after. This means Daenerys is only thirteen when she makes her first appearance in the books.
Ages of most of the characters in the books are quite different from the show. Arya is 9 in the book, but close to 19 in the show. Jon Snow’s age at the start of the books is 14, Kit in real life is 29.
6. How we love the two of them on the show, sadly there is no chemistry between Grey Worm and Missandei.
Grey Worm and Missandei do not have a ‘thing’ for each other in the books because Missandei is only ten when Dany frees her and is called Daenerys’s ‘Little Scribe’.
7. Mance Rayder is still alive!
In the season 5, the wildling king Mance Rayder is burnt alive at the stake but this isn’t how it happens in the books, where the Red Priestess Melisandre puts a spell on Mance and Lord of Bones (aka Rattleshirt) to make them switch their appearances in the eyes of the people. So Rattleshirt is burnt alive while Mance still lives.
8. Fake Arya, not Sansa, marries Ramsay Bolton.
Sansa Stark never married Ramsay Bolton in the books and hasn’t returned to Winterfell yet but is at the Eyrie with Littlefinger. In fact, it is Sansa’s best friend from the Winterfell, Jeyne Poole, who is forced to pose as Arya Stark by the Lannisters and is married off to the sadist Ramsey(who knows she’s a fake), so that Boltons-Lannisters can rule the North. The abuse, in fact, happens to her and Theon as well as Mance Rayder help her escape the Boltons.
9. Catelyn Stark is brought back to life by the Lord of Light.
Catelyn Stark dies at the Red Wedding after her throat is slit in the show. However, she is brought back to life in the books by Beric Dondarrion who trades his life for hers’. After her rebirth, she is more like a zombie and can’t speak and is called Lady Stoneheart.
10. Ser Jorah is not the attractive blonde in the book and is quite literally the ‘black bear’ in the book.
Ser Jorah Mormont from the books is often described as ‘black bear’ because he is huge and has black hair on his body (though balding) unlike the attractive blonde Jorah from the show.
11. Another Targaryen competing for the Iron Throne.
There is yet another white blonde Targaryen heir in hiding called Aegon Targaryen, who is waiting for a return. Tyrion comes across him after he flees Westeros and makes his way to Meereen. He later finds outs that Aegon is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen, thus making him Daenerys’s nephew, who is rumoured to be murdered during Robert’s rebellion. Tyrion convinces Aegon to not unite with Daenerys and attack on Westeros with his small army of sellswords.
12. Ser Jorah never gets Greyscale, but someone else does.
Aegon Targaryen ’s protector Jon Connington gets Greyscale (not Ser Jorah) while trying to save Tyrion.
13. Sansa has never met the Boltons.
Sansa escaped from Boltons with the help of Theon (aka Reek) in the show but in the books, it’s Jeyne Poole (fake Arya) who escapes. Mance after surviving the execution from Stannis goes to Winterfell with six spearwives to rescue fake Arya, disguised as a singer.
14. Littlefinger does not fancy Sansa.
Littlefinger fancies Sansa in the show but in the books, he has no plans to woo her. Rather he wants her to marry Ser Harry Hardyng, the heir to the Eyrie after the sickly boy Robin Arryn, who might ‘conveniently’ die from an accident later, making Sansa and Harry the rulers of the Eyrie. He’s brought Sansa to the Eyrie as his bastard daughter (not as his niece as described in the show) and Harry has no idea Sansa is a Stark.
15. All the Tyrells did not die in the Sept of Balor.
Tyrells have been wiped out in the show but not so much in the books! Willas Tyrell, the oldest sibling, is still ruling at Highgarden. Another Tyrell sibling, Garlan Tyrell and his wife are still alive. The old lady Olenna Tyrell tried to marry Sansa off to Willas, not Ser Loras(as depicted in the show) but this plan of hers was thwarted when Sansa was married to Tyrion.
16. The Targaryens have violet eyes in the book.
Targaryens have silver-blonde hair in the books as well as the show. But they also have violet eyes, due to their Valerian roots, which is omitted in the show since the violet colour contact interfered in actor’s performance as a lot of emotions are expressed through eyes.
17. Khal Drogo’s character perhaps is closest to his book version but apart from his attire, he also wears tiny bells.
Khal Drogo is more or less the same in the books and the show with his sturdy built and long hair apart from one jarring difference. His long hair is braided in the books and is adorned with bells. Wearing tiny bells is an important Dothraki tradition in which a man adds a bell to his braid whenever he wins a battle. Moreover, he is to cut off his entire braid in shame if he loses one.
18. Khal Drogo never forces himself on Daenerys.
We saw Khal Drogo raping Daenerys on their wedding night but this isn’t how it happens in the books, where Drogo seduces Daenerys even though she didn’t want to marry him and asks her permission to have sex, to which she says a big yes.
19. Ser Barristan Selmy still alive and kicking.
Ser Barristan Selmy dies bravely fighting the Sons of the Harpy in Meereen in the show. However, he is alive and overseeing Meereen and preparing the city’s defence from the people from Yunkai, after Daenerys flies off on the back of her dragon.
20. Robb Stark makes Jon Snow a Stark.
In the books, Robb legitimises Jon Snow as a son of Ned Stark, to keep a northern claim on the North in case he dies. The ceremony is attended by his bannerman. Whereas, in the show, Caitlyn is beside herself with the mere mention of this.
21. Joffrey dies even more horribly.
The purple wedding brought an end to Joffrey’s savagery in the book as well as the show. But the book goes into more detail in how he attempts to breathe which goes on like this: ‘Joffrey began to claw at his throat, his nails tearing bloody gouges in the flesh. Beneath the skin. The muscle stood out hard as stone.’
22. The Night King still mysterious.
A lot of the Night King is shown in the show where he turns human babies blue, attacks the wildlings and the men of the Night’s watch. However, the white walkers are still shrouded in mystery. The only excerpt in the books is about a historical figure known as ‘The Night’s King’ who was the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch who went to the dark side after marrying a female ‘other’.
23. Arya and Jon can also Warg, like Bran.
Only Brandon Stark has been a warg in the show, where he flits into his wolf’s body and go hunting. However, in the books, the Stark siblings show an affinity to warging. Jon shares a close connection with Ghost and is able to enter his body sometimes. Meanwhile, Arya also slips into the body of an alley cat when she is left blind which helps her spy on people. She also dreams through her wolf, Nymeria, a classic sign of warging. This means Arya is even more badass in the books!
24. Jamie practises with Ilyn Payne, not Bronn.
In the show, Jamie Lannister practises sword fighting with Bronn after he lost his hand. But in the books, he actually trains with Ilyn Payne(the man who chopped off Ned Stark’s head) and for good reason. It’s because Ilyn Payne can’t talk since he had his tongue cut out, and would never tell anyone what Jamie is up to.
25. Gilly doesn’t go to Oldtown with her baby, but Mance Rayder’s.
We saw Gilly sailing off to Oldtown with her baby in the show but it’s a whole different story in the books. Jon convinces Gilly to leave her baby behind and take Mance Rayder’s son with her to save his life, as he is the Wildling heir after all. Since Melisandre is up for burning anyone with ‘king’s blood’ to help get Stannis on the throne, Jon sends both Mance’s baby and Maester Aemon(whose brother and father were kings) to escape Melisandre’s love for fire.
26. Maester Aemon doesn’t die in Castle Black.
Unlike the show where Maester Aemon dies in Castle Black, he sails to Oldtown much alive with Sam and Gilly in the book. But he dies on the way due to old age.
27. Melisandre never gets her hands on Gendry.
Melisandre takes Gendry’s blood in the show to help Stannis get the Iron throne, but in the books, it’s Edric Storm who she uses. Edric is a 12-year old, higher-born bastard of Robert Baratheon who is taken to Dragonstone to be used in the fire ritual, however, no crazy sex between him and the Red Lady takes place, which if it did, would be paedophilia.
28. Doran Martell sends one of his sons to marry Daenerys.
Doran Martell didn’t just sit around in Dorne like he did in the show. In the books, he sends his second child, Quentyn Martell to Daenerys to ask her hand in marriage. Sadly, Quentyn dies shortly after meeting Daenerys after he foolishly tries to tame her dragons (due to his Targaryen blood from generations ago) and is burnt alive.
29. Robb Stark married someone else and she doesn’t die at the Red Wedding.
Robb Stark never marries Lady Talisa from Volantis but Jeyne Westerling. After suffering from wounds in a battle, he stays in the Westerlings’ castle(Lannister’s allies) where Jeyne tends to him. He ends up having sex with her and marries her out of his good heart because he doesn’t want to father a bastard. In the show, Robb’s pregnant wife is killed but Jeyne is still alive since she never went to the Red Wedding to avoid insulting the Freys. It is later revealed that her mother has been giving her potions to prevent getting pregnant and is sent back to the Westerlands by Jamie after he acquires Riverrun castle.
30. Thenns not so worrisome.
In the books, Thenns are not scary cannibals like they are depicted in the show, but it’s the Ice-rives clans that are. Thenns are actually quite normal.
31. There is a reason Lysa Arryn is crazy.
Lysa Arryn is a lunatic lady in the show who is obsessed with her son but not much is revealed why she is the way she is. In the books, when she wasn’t married, she gets pregnant with Littlefinger’s child and wants to marry him, but Lord Hoster Tully is ashamed because Littlefinger is too low-born. So Lord Tully gets her to abort the child by ‘moon-tea’ and she almost dies from it. She is then married off to a very old Jon Arryn who needs an heir and gives birth to a sickly Robin Arryn, after five miscarriages and two stillborns. Jon Arryn later makes plans to send off Jon to be fostered at Dragonstone by Stannis to make him strong but Lysa flips out and ends up poisoning him.
32. Arya serves Roose Bolton, not Tywin, at Harrenhal.
Arya Stark never serves as a cupbearer for Tywin Lannister but Roose Bolton when he takes over Harrenhal. Roose is often called as a ‘Leech Lord’ in the books due to his obsession with ‘purifying’ his blood with leeching, which also gives him a very pale skin.
33. Arya and Jaqen free the Northerners at Harrenhal.
Arya Stark escapes from Harrenhal with Gendry and Hot Pie after threatening Jaqen H’ghar with his own name in the show. But in the books, she saves over a hundred Northern prisoners at Harrenhal where they were being tortured, with Jaqen’s help. She, in fact, demands that he save all of them (not help her escape with her friends) which results in Harrenhal going back to the Northerners.
34. Davos Seaworth loses sons, not a son.
We get to see Davos Seaworth’s only son Matthos die at the Battle of Blackwater in the show which is disheartening. However, he has seven sons in the books, out of which four die at the same battle while three are still alive.
35. Tyrion more disfigured than the on-screen Tyrion.
Tyrion is only short and a bit scarred in the show, whereas GRRM has made sure he looks downright ugly in the books with his stunted legs, a swollen forehead, different coloured eyes, a squashed-in face, a horrible waddle, and finally a disfigured face after the Battle of Blackwater Bay in which he lost a major chunk of his nose.
36: Daario looks like an Amazon parrot came to life.
The handsome Daario Naharis played by two gorgeous actors, is nowhere near the Daario in books. The GRRM version of Daario wears vibrant clothes and has bright blue hair and a trident shaped blue beard, accompanied by a golden moustache and one gold tooth.
37. Shireen is not dead, yet in the books.
Benioff and Weiss said that George R.R. Martin told them that Shireen is going to be burned as a sacrifice. Obviously, she hasn’t been in the current novels nor in the march on Winterfell, she stayed at Castle Black. In the books, Shireen and her mother Selyse are still at Castle Black, while Stannis and his army are snowed in several days’ march from their intended destination of Winterfell. Showrunners Weiss and Benioff have implied that Shireen’s show fate is what eventually happens to her in the books.