As my loyal readers know, I’ve been keeping busy during this pandemic by reading Game of Thrones (GoT if you’re cool, and I am cool). Reading about political strife in a fictional kingdom that isn’t as bad as what you have is a really nice distraction before bedtime, really clears the head. I finished the third book. It is long. Over 1100 pages!! That’s longer than the longest Harry Potter Book by at least 300 pages! It’s a lot, but it was good.
This is where the TV show starts to diverge in some pretty big ways. First and most major is
Catelyn Stark is not 100% dead after the Red Wedding!! I know, right? Wild! They spring this on us in the Epilogue, so I don’t know much. I know she did die at the Red Wedding, but is back now (probs brought back by the Lord of Light) and is working with the Brotherhood without Banners (more on them later) capturing Frey’s, trying to get another Frey to ransom the original Frey and killing the original and new Frey. Personally, I’d be trying to free Sansa from the Lannister’s, but it’s not my call.
Next major difference is Robb’s wife is an entirely different person. She’s the daughter of a minor Lannister bannerman. Robb captures the castle, but is injured and is nursed back to health there. When Robb finds out that Bran and Rickon are dead (we all know they’re not) she comforts him (you know, *winks* Biblically). So he has to marry her. It’s not determined if she’s pregnant. Though she tells Catelyn they’re trying at least once a day, which is a very weird thing to say to your Mother in Law when you first meet her. Finally, she is not at the Red Wedding.
Speaking of Robb, since he has no child he decides to make Jon Snow his heir. He doesn’t tell Catelyn as she hates Jon, and he never really gets over her letting Jaime Lannister go. Nothing has happened with this yet and I don’t know if it will because everyone is basically dead.
Speaking of the slaughtering of my Northmen, once again I was surprised by the Red Wedding. I knew it was coming, but there were so many chapters leading up to it. The book rotates between narrators and Catelyn is our only narrator involved in the Red Wedding. So she narrates a chapter about them leaving for the wedding and I’m like, ok Katie prepare yourself and it doesn’t happen. Then after some unrelated chapters there’s a second and maybe even a third of just them traveling in the rain. Finally they get there, and I’m ready, but it’s literally just them saying hi to Walder and making sure they eat because then its breaking social norms for Walder to kill them. So the second chapter at the Twins and I’m like this can’t be it, don’t get worked up, but then it happens. So sad because the TV actually cuts down on characters so more people you like die. So you’re like no, not the Great Jon Umber, not the Small Jon Umber, not one of several Lady Mormont’s (not The Lady Mormont, yet). Also, remember in the TV show when the Blackfish is like, I gotta pee and then everyone is slaughtered, but he is not as no one notices him (?). That had to happen because he is not at the wedding in the books. Also Catelyn kills Walder’s fool (his grandson or great-grandson can’t remember, but Walder probably doesn’t know either (he’s got like 90 descendants for my non GoT fans) with intellectual disabilities) not his wife.
Moving on to a wedding with less, but still some murder, the Royal Wedding. First of all, Margaery Tyrell is barely in the books. She’s just a lady who can’t seem to keep a husband alive. Joffrey’s still murdered just the same. Jaime isn’t there yet, but outside of that it’s pretty similar. Sansa has been meeting with Ser Dontos at night to work on a escape plan. Mostly he’s doing the working and she’s just hanging out. He tells her to be ready to leave the night of Joffrey’s wedding. We already know that Lady Olenna was a part of that plot. Sansa figures it out in the books. She’s sadly in the books less, but still a badass. Finally, there’s a few Tyrell sons and Sansa is promised to the oldest son who is not Loras, is a bit crippled, and we never see.
Onto the wedding with the less (meaning no) murder, Tyrion and Sansa. It’s narrated by Tyrion and you really feel for the guy. Part of the ceremony is him putting a cape and Sansa and she won’t bend down for him to do it and you feel so bad for him. He genuinely tries to be a good husband. Unlike the books he keeps hooking up with Shae. Also, Shae does become Sansa’s maid after the wedding. She doesn’t like Sansa. Tyrion does not try to get her to leave. As I’ve said before, she’s obviously not in love with Tyrion, so her betrayal makes more sense. Also, Tyrion is super hung up on Tysha his first wife, the one who is really a whore. So right before Tyrion murders with father and Shae, Jaime tells him Tysha was never a whore!! She did love him! Tywin had his troops rape her and made Jaime lie. Tyrion has spent his whole life thinking no woman would ever love him and one did. So his killing spree makes so much more sense now. So sad.
Final thing on weddings, the bedding is way more graphic. It’s not just your guests stripping you to your underwear while laughing and dragging you to bed. You are stripped completely naked while people make inappropriate comments and jokes! WTF!! Catelyn recalls hers at the Red Wedding, which means Ned Stark allows it! So Creepy!!
Moving on, the Brothers without Banners. Remember those dudes who kidnap Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie, the one keeps coming back to life when he dies because of the Lord of Light? Those are the Brothers without Banners, and there’s a lot more of them! They’re kind of Robin Hoodesque, ransoming the rich, stealing, and distributing to the people. They do not sell Gendry to the Red Woman, Gendry decides to join them. Also, Arya’s a warg!
I hate book Stannis a lot less than TV Stannis as we get his motivation more. TV Stannis is like I’m supposed to be King, so I need to sacrifice my brother’s bastard for the king’s blood, cause magic. Book Stannis is like, the Red Woman says I am the one who must defeat the Night King, thus saving humanity I need to sacrifice my brother’s bastard for the king’s blood, cause magic. Much better motivation. The bastard in the books is not Gendry as Robert was a Big Ole’ Ho and has a bunch of bastards. Davos saves this bastard too, but puts him in a real ship with a crew and not a row boat like the show. Also, when the Night’s Watch is attacked by the Others Lord Mormont has Sam send ravens to all the Kings. Stannis is the only one who shows up and saves the Night’s Watch! This is why he’s there folks! That finally makes sense to me! He leaves some of his army and tries to make peace with the Wildlings so everyone can just fight the Night King when the time comes, which is a decent leadership plan.
Lots of other exciting stuff happens North of the Wall as well. Mance Rayder’s got a pregnant wife, which they cut out of the TV show. Tormund is much, older, like old enough to be TV Tormund’s dad. As Brienne of Tarth is much younger in the books, this means my favorite love triangle ever (Brienne, Tormund, and Jaime) will probably not happen. This is unfortunate, as I was hoping book Brienne would wind up with Tormund (she can still hook up with Jaime) and they would make babies that will conquer the world. I just think in general it’s better to pick the guy who think’s you’re amazing than the guy who thinks your gross and learns to tolerate you. Btw, Jaime narrates now, he definitely thinks Brienne is gross, but like kind of likes her too. Back to Tormund, full of crazy stories, like he has 2 half-bear children cause he banged a bear, and that whole nonsense from the show about him nursing from a giant. Tormund does not join Jon and Ygritte in their adventures to fight the Night’s Watch.
Jon’s time feels a bit more stressful in the books, but still sexy. Basically, everyone thinks he’s going to betray them (which he does), but they’ll believe him if he starts banging Ygritte, so he does. He still likes her, they still do it in the cave, but it’s not their first time. Jon’s betrayal is a bit different as well. He’s at an abandoned castle (so’s Bran and the Reed’s), he takes his moment to flee, but the Free Folk almost kill him, but then Bran, wargging, into Summer saves him.
Bran’s still just kind of there. Sam helps him get North of the Wall, but not at Castle Black at one of the other abandoned castle. Sam himself was helped by a guy called Cold Hands (most likely uncle Benjun).
Arya and the Hound are a lot less fun in the books. However, the Hound doesn’t essentially condemn a poor farmer and his daughter to death by stealing and injuring them, so that’s a plus. Him and Arya don’t bond though. He doesn’t succeed in taking her to the Veil and her Aunt. He gets his ass handed to him (not by Brienne) and Arya robs him and leaves him to die. She tries to go North to Jon, but no ships are going that way. That’s when she decides to go to Braavos.
A few final differences. Oberyn Martell is barely in the books. He shows up, says he and Ellaria Sand want to have a three way. He says he wants to avenge his sister. He tells us he had the three way. He tells Tyrion he saw him as a baby and he wasn’t a monster. He fights the Mountain and he dies. Lysa Arryn, back when she was Lysa Tully got herself knocked-up by Little Finger. Her father forces an abortion. Ramsay Bolton in engaged to Arya (but it’s not Arya). The Lannister’s just found some vaguely Northern looking girl and told her she’s now Arya and she’s going to marry Ramsay. So hopefully life is less awful for Sansa. Finally, we see Little Finger’s lands. They’re pretty desolate. He rules like 4 people. He’s basically one of those dudes from a small town where that somehow hating that life becomes their personality.
Finally, my ideas for spin-offs.
- A Mandolorian type show as an Oberyn Martell prequel. Oberyn runs around the Seven Kingdoms and the Free Cities having adventures, and kicking some butt. It’s 100% more sexy than Mando (as we can see more than some occasional wrist), but 100% less adorable as there’s not Baby Yoda. Since Pedro Pascal probably doesn’t have time to do both shows this most likely won’t happen.
- Teenage sitcom of Brienne of Tarth as an awkward teenager.
- The Adventures of the Brothers Without Banners. They pull off heists. They travel around. I feel like there’s something there.
Book 4 is luckily only 900 pages!