Well it actually happened, I finished all 5 Game of Thrones books and we’re still in a pandemic! Over 5000 pages read and I honestly am not quite sure what I’m going to do to occupy my time now. The good news is that while the TV show is over the books are still being written, so I still probably have at least one more book to go. While some events from the TV show will for sure happen in the books (Bran becomes King, Jon Snow is really a Targaryen) others I don’t think are, so it will be interesting to see what events transpire.
Now, fans of the blog will recall, that the 4th book focused on characters that are around King’s Landing and this book focuses on characters that are not around King’s Landing. It does catch up to the 4th book and then follows all the characters for a little bit at the end. It’s a little confusing, but what are you going to do.
As I feel like happens with any book series to screen adaptation, the farther I’ve gotten in the book series, the more than TV show diverges. There’s a lot more characters, which on the one hand is great because it creates a richer story, and on the other hand you figure if the character didn’t even make the TV show, then they can’t be all that important.
So here are some big differences. Tyrion’s story is so incredibly different. He does run away across the Narrow Sea, but he’s not with Varys and he never meets up with Dany. Tyrion first is taken in Illyrio Mopatis, aka the nice merchant from the beginning who arranges for Dany to marry Khal Drogo. Eventually, he travels with a bunch of other random people. These people wind up being the folks protecting Rhaegar Targaryen’s son Aegon Targaryen. Now, I know reader what you’re thinking, didn’t Aegon die in the war with his mother and sister. No, reader, he did not! It was another baby boy’s body they presented to Robert. They snuck him out of the country and he’s been raised by dJon Connington (Rhaegar’s bestie and possible lover who was banished), a guy who claims he ‘s half a maester, and a Septa, who definitely has a slutty past. So Aegon’s plan is to wed Dany and travel across the Narrow Sea and conquer Westeros with Fire and Blood!
Apparently everyone wants to marry Dany because Quentyn Martell, Doran Martell’s son, is also traveling across the Narrow Sea to marry Dany and then conquer Westeros with Fire and Blood! Also, Euron Greyjoy wants to marry Dany and then conquer Westeros with Fire and Blood! He sends his brother, Victarion Greyjoy, who decides he should marry Dany and then conquer Westeros with Fire and Blood!
However, much to everyone’s dismay, Dany is staying in Meereen to rule there. Much like the TV show, the former masters of Meereen are pissed she’s there freeing everyone, but also the Yunkai are back to slaving and want to conquer Meereen. Just about everyone in the region wants to conquer Meereen. To try and make peace Dany does marry that dude who she’s only engaged to in the TV show, (He may or may not have tried to kill the day when Drogon shows up and she flies away). When Quentyn shows up Dany is basically like sorry bro, you came too late. So after Dany leaves Quentyn decides to ride a dragon (not an euphemism), so obviously he burns to death. Don’t worry that the Dornish are out of the game though. Doran gets the Sand Snakes on board with his plans to destroy the Lannisters and one will be joining the Small Council.
Now our boy Aegon doesn’t even bother going to Meereen. He decides to take the sell swords he’s hooked up and sail back to Westeros and conquer it with Fire and Blood! Side note, not sure who has the better claim to the throne Dany as a daughter of the former king or Aegon as the son of the crown prince.
Now Tyrion isn’t with Aegon anymore because he gets kidnapped by Jorah Mormont (like in the books), they do get sold as slaves (like in the books), but its a Yunkai slaver, so they never hook up with Dany. Tyrion did maneuver their way into a sell sword company. Also, Tyrion met up with another dwarf named Penny. One of the ones who performed at Joffrey’s wedding. So Tyrion is around another dwarf for the first time in his life, and I’m kind of happy for him to learn more about being a dwarf. Luckily Jorah doesn’t get greyscale, but Jon Connington does.
Leaving Dany and her suitors, Jon Snow’s life is a bit more similar to what happened in the books. Stannis is much more involved in the Night’s Watch than he is in the TV show. In fact his wife, daughter, and Melisandre stay at Castle Black. With Stannis’s approval, Jon brings in a bunch of wildlings to defend the wall and, like the show gets stabbed to death. This is where we leave Jon, so I’m glad I had to TV show to know that the death doesn’t stick. Some differences are that Mance Rayder doesn’t die. Stannis has him burned but it’s actually another wildling and Melisandre used some magic to make that guy look like Mance and Mance look like the other guy. Mance is behaving because he thinks his baby son is at Castle Black. Of course, it’s actually Gilly’s baby. Also, how fun is it that Jon is lying about the parentage of two children, when he’s been lied to about his own parentage. Kind of a fun Stark family tradition.
Melisandre has Mance go to Winterfell to rescue Arya from her marriage to Ramsay Bolton. It’s actually not Arya, but one of Sansa’s friends (Sansa is still in the Vale pretending to be Littlefinger’s daughter). So on the one hand, yea for Sansa having less trauma in the books, but sad for her friend who has to be married to Ramsay. It doesn’t go well for her. Theon’s there as Reek. We don’t actually have to read about his torture as graphically as we do on TV, which I was very excited about. It’s more like Theon lamenting how hard it is to eat when you’ve lost most your teeth and walk when you’ve lost toes and hold a sword when you’ve lost fingers. It’s not fully established he lost his “power source” but he discusses how his days with whores are done, so I guess it’s implied. Theon and fake Arya do escape and wind up with Stannis.
Stannis is trying to conquer Winterfell with a decent amount of help from the North, but there’s a crazy snow storm. He hasn’t sacrificed his daughter to the flames to stop the snow as she is leagues away at Castle Black. I’m so mad that they actually wrote that into the TV show, especially since it doesn’t seem likely it will happen. I mean who does that! Seriously!
Bran has met up with the Three Eyed Raven. He’s taken by a guy called Cold Hands, who I’m fairly certain is zombie Uncle Benjen. Bran never figures it out. They travel together for days. I give you he’s wearing a scarf, but this is literally the only Uncle Bran has met. How do you not recognize him? How can you become the all seeing Three Eyed Raven if you can’t even recognize your own Uncle! I feel like if one of my Uncles was leading me through the woods to the Three Eyed Raven, undead or not, I’d recognize him!
Finally, back at King’s Landing Cersei is still in prison. She still does the shame walk. Margaery Tyrell does not because all of her alleged lovers admit that Cersei put them up to saying they slept with her. Cersei has basically lost all her power. She has the Mountain, but that’s it. Uncle Kevan Lannister (aka Tywin’s brother) was going to send her to Casterly Rock after her trial, but he and Grandmaester Pycell get killed by none other than Varys. That’s literally all Varys has done for two books.
Anyway, I’m really happy I read the books and would recommend them to any fan of the show. It really helped pass the time during quarantine. About 90% of the time it helped me sleep as basically everyone in the book’s problems are far worse then mine.