“Game of Thrones” season four is in the books. Many fans are ready to call it the best season yet. But that doesn’t mean it was without its faults — especially where readers of the books are concerned.
Here are 13 of the most notable changes from the books featured on season four of “Thrones.” Some SPOILERS ahead, so read at your own risk.
1.That Jaime And Cersei Scene
The sex scene between Jaime and Cersei right next to their son’s fresh corpse definitely happened in the books, but it was considerably less… forceful, to put it mildly. The episode three scene remains one of the most controversial moments of the season, if not the entire series.
2. Behold The White Walkers
Book readers were in for a shock when they saw one of Craster’s infant children brought all the way to the White Walker kingdom, and turned into a White Walker himself. That’s something that hasn’t happened at all in the books — and it’s either a massive departure from the source material, or a massive spoiler for things to come.
3. Craster’s Keep
The entire storyline that took place at Craster’s Keep was completely made up for the show. At no point in the books does Jon Snow lead a small squadron against the renegade Night’s Watch members; those rogues are taken care of in another way entirely. Furthermore, Bran and his companions never come across Craster’s, and Bran never sees Jon again after they fight side-by-side against the wildlings in the Gift, back when Bran was warging into Summer, unbeknownst to Jon.
4. Voyage Of The Greyjoys
Yara Greyjoy (who is called Asha Greyjoy in the books) doesn’t find Theon (or is it Reek now?) at the Dreadfort. She fights against the Bolton forces, yes, but her primary purpose isn’t finding Theon, and there’s certainly no scene where Theon rejects Yara’s attempts to save his life.
5. “Only Cat”
Littlefinger absolutely kills Lysa Arryn in the books, but his one-liner is different; rather than telling Lysa that the only woman he’s ever loved was “your sister,” he says, “only Cat.” It’s a minor change in the grand scheme of things, but one that certain members of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” fan community took very hard. It’s also worth noting that Marillion, the bard from season one, witnesses Lysa’s death in the books; he’s subsequently used as a scapegoat for the crime.
6. Sansa Unchained
Sophie Turner’s breakout scene of the season didn’t really happen in the books. She never reveals herself as Sansa Stark to anyone outside of Littlefinger. She continues to play the part of his bastard daughter, Alayne Stone. It looks like that story will continue for season five, but certain parties in the Vale are aware of her true identity.
7. And So Their Watch Has Ended
In the battle at the Wall, two important members of the Night’s Watch died: Pyp and Grenn, Jon and Sam’s pals since the very beginning of the series. These characters don’t die here in the books; in fact, they still haven’t died in the books. Given their definitive deaths on the show, it’s worth wondering how much longer they’ll live in George R.R. Martin’s telling of the story.
8. Love And War At The Wall
In fact, there were a few other notable changes during the battle at the Wall. For one, the show featured the assaults on the Wall and Castle Black as a simultaneous event; but in the books, the Castle Black invasion precedes Mance Rayder’s attack on the Wall. The battle goes on for several days, if not weeks. For another, Ygritte’s death was much more dramatic on the show than it was in the books; Jon thinks he sees her die from a distance, but only confirms it after the battle dies down. On top of all that, Samwell Tarly and Gilly are not present at the Wall when the battle rages on; they arrive in the aftermath, fresh from fleeing Craster’s Keep.
9. Jojen Paste
Like Grenn and Pyp, Jojen Reed does not die in the books, at least not yet. His gruesome death was one of the biggest shocks of the finale. Dying of fever, multiple stab wounds to the chest, a slit throat and being turned into Jojen paste by a firebomb (a gag that fans of a certain theory certainly appreciated), was a pretty big change up from the character’s current status in the novels.
10. The Hound’s Final Stand
Sandor Clegane is in rough, near-fatal shape by the end of “A Storm of Swords,” but not because of a run-in with Brienne of Tarth. He’s injured during the fight that took place during the season four premiere, with a wound festering so badly that he’s incapacitated by fever. As with the show, Arya refuses to show him the mercy of a quick death. For her part, Brienne never fights the Hound, and certainly never bites his ear off — which isn’t to say she doesn’t bite somebody’s ear off.
11. “Wherever Whores Go”
The season four finale completely avoided one of the book’s main motivators for Tyrion’s murder rampage against Tywin and Shae. While freeing his little brother, Jaime admits that Tyrion’s first wife, Tysha, was not a whore as he was led to believe; she was who she said she was, and Tywin forced Jaime to tell Tyrion otherwise. Tyrion is heartbroken over the news, sending him on the tailspin that leads him to kill Tywin and Shae. He questions Tywin about what happened to Tysha, asking where she went after they were forced apart. His answer — “Wherever whores go” — prompts Tyrion to shoot Tywin to death, and becomes a recurring line on the tip of Tyrion’s tongue for the foreseeable future.
12. Farewell, Coldhands
The undead protector of Bran Stark never appeared on the show. He’s introduced in book three of the series and has a role to play in book five, but given his absence thus far, it’s likely that Coldhands won’t appear at all on the show. Popular theories suggest that Coldhands and Benjen Stark are one and the same, so perhaps the show is waiting a bit longer to make that theory official.
13. Farewell, Lady Stoneheart
In what’s easily the weirdest twist that’s ever happened in the “Ice and Fire” books, “A Storm of Swords” ends with the return of a zombified Catelyn Stark, now in charge of the Brotherhood Without Banners. She can only speak if she holds her slit throat shut, and she “lives” for only one purpose: Revenge against the Freys, Lannisters, and everyone else who betrayed the Starks. Many fans believed “Lady Stoneheart” would appear in the final scene of “The Children,” but now we’re left wondering whether the character will ever appear at all.
What do you make of the changes between the books and the show this season?