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Adaptation Induced Plot Hole / Game of Thrones

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The show has a lot of plot holes not in the source material:


  • "Winter is Coming" has a small one that only becomes clear when Lysa's letter is revealed to be a ploy. In the books, Catelyn's reaction is to urge Ned to go to King's Landing, which plays perfectly into the schemer's expectations of the only person they know at Winterfell. In the show, Catelyn staunchly opposes Ned going south, meaning the schemer was just shooting in the dark.
  • In "The Wolf and the Lion", Jaime clearly orders, "Take him alive," after Ned points out that killing him will also result in Tyrion's death, but Jaime then does his best to kill Ned and even punishes a mook for interfering before riding off without seizing Ned as ordered. When asked about it later, Jaime only says killing Ned "wouldn't have been clean" as if he never intended to capture Ned at all and it was only Honor Before Reason rather than Tyrion's safety that constrained him. In the novels, there's no duel and Jaime's intention is purely to "chasten" Ned by killing his men because he knows he can't touch Ned without drawing King Robert's ire, and it's implied he had to flee the city because Ned was accidentally injured.
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  • In the books, Mirri Maz Duur includes "when your womb quickens again and you bear a living child" in her list of unlikely prerequisites to Drogo's return, implying Dany is now infertile. The show omits this line but Dany still believes herself barren when she calls her dragons "the only children I will ever have" in Season 2, tells Khal Moro that she'll bear no children "until the sun rises in the west and sets in the east" in Season 6, and outright says a witch told her she's barren in Season 7.
  • In Season 1, Lord Commander Mormont dispatches Alliser Thorne to take a wight's hand to King's Landing to prove their existence to the royal court, but Thorne never arrives and instead the small council only receives a vague letter that everyone except Tyrion dismisses. In the novels, Thorne arrives but nobody listens because the hand rots away while Tyrion disdainfully refuses to meet him.
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  • Despite nearly dying as a result, Tyrion apparently forgets he was framed for trying to kill Bran since he never once probes into who framed him or why, even as he systematically removes his other opponents like Janos Slynt and Pycelle. He even gives Littlefinger a Meaningful Look when claiming he has "so much to be thankful for" in "The North Remembers" but never follows up. In the books, Tyrion easily tracks the lie back (Catelyn straight-up names her source) but defers retaliation because Littlefinger is too useful and controls too many essential bureaucrats, something that isn't true in the show where Littlefinger's power explicitly amounts to owning a brothel and borrowing from the Iron Bank.
  • In the books, the gold cloaks identify Gendry by sight but are never affiliated with Amory Lorch or Gregor Clegane, who therefore have no special interest in Gendry when they capture him. In "What is Dead May Never Die", however, Lorch is directly assisting the gold cloaks when he attacks, yet Arya's Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit still fools everyone even though the real Gendry is a muscular, dark-haired young man not a skinny, blond pubescent, so apparently the gold cloaks were sent out with no description of their target at all, even though it's a plot point that others can spot the family resemblance at a glance.
  • In the novels, the Mountain's men are still in a local village when the Tickler ask his victims, "Is there gold in the village?" and this line of questioning ends as soon as they break camp and head for Harrenhal. In the show, he asks this question even though everyone he's interrogating has already been herded to Harrenhal, making the question nonsensical since it's unclear what village even he thinks he's referring to. The line also turns out to be unnecessary story-wise, since Arya's Meaningful Echo of it never makes it into the show.
  • During their parley, Stannis declares his conflict with Renly will be settled at dawn, yet his fleet is still far out to sea the next day, meaning Stannis sailed in and out for the parley without bringing his forces close enough for battle the next morning as he implied, or to catch anyone who might flee after Renly's murder, which he was clearly planning. In the books, the parley takes place between the two armies and Stannis only fails to capture those who flee because he lacks the cavalry to catch them.
  • When Davos rows Melisandre ashore in "Garden of Bones", the two of them cross the open beach to a cave containing a locked gate and act as if it's blocking the only passage to Renly's camp, even though Renly's massive army is encamped in the open field so a single, unguarded, underground entrance makes no sense. In the novels this scene takes place in the bowels of Storm's End after Davos pilots Melisandre beneath the castle walls to bypass the ancient enchantments blocking the passage of her shadow assassin.
  • Matthos (who's easily in his twenties) argues the Lord of Light's power by bringing up his answered childhood prayers for his father's safety even though Melisandre and her red god are obviously a new influence at Stannis' court judging by Maester Cressen's protests in "The North Remembers." In the books, Davos' twelve-year-old son Devan is a new convert to the Lord of Light, but his four eldest sons (including Matthos) still follow the Faith of the Seven.
  • Rodrik Cassel takes 200 men to follow Theon's bait to Torrhen Square but then his men (who outnumber Theon's 10:1) just disappear and he's captured alone without explanation, so other forces must be summoned to deal with Theon. In the books, Theon has more men and leaves most of them to fight Rodrik at Torrhen Square, and rather than be inexplicably captured Rodrik easily defeats Theon's diversion and returns with even more men to besiege Theon in Winterfell until Ramsay arrives.
  • In the books, Robb's wife Jeyne Westerling worships the Seven so it's plausible their marriage might involve elements from the Faith of the Seven. In the show, Robb and Talisa are married by a septon using the vows and handfasting of the Faith even though Robb, as King in the North, should favour the Old Gods and both faiths should be alien to a Volantene like Talisa.
  • In "Valar Morghulis", Ramsay commands the ostensibly loyal forces besieging Theon in Winterfell at Robb's behest, yet once Theon's crew betrays him Ramsay's forces are forgotten and everyone blames the subsequent sack on Theon's men without wondering how this could happen with Ramsay right outside. This is especially evident at Winterfell itself where Maester Luwin claims it's no longer safe and urges Bran to flee to the Wall rather than any nearby nobles without explaining why. If he assumed it was Theon's men why would he be wary of other Northmen, and if he suspected treachery why wouldn't he elaborate? In the novels, the sack is depicted on-stage with Ramsay slaughtering the loyal besiegers before also betraying Theon and concocting a cover-story that he arrived too late to do anything but rescue some "survivors" like Big Walder and Little Walder (who corroborate the lie), but Maester Luwin knows the truth and specifically warns Team Bran that everybody's dead because of the Bastard of Bolton.
  • In Qarth, Daenerys goes from obviously on the run from the city's most powerful man who's already slaughtered most of her followers to waltzing armed men into his bedchamber merely by killing the other half of the Big Bad Duumvirate, whose power was entirely magical rather than corporeal. Then she simply leaves, having annihilated the city's leadership. In the books, she's run out of the city by the warlocks after Xaro withdraws his patronage.
  • The Warlocks of Qarth send an assassin to Astapor to kill Dany with a manticore in "Valar Dohaeris", but after this attempt is foiled neither the assassin nor the warlocks are ever mentioned again. In the novels, the attack happens back in Qarth itself and Pyat Pree sets out in pursuit of Dany but is misled by her detour to Astapor and heavily implied to have run afoul of Euron instead.
  • After his break with them, Robb declares that the Karstark forces have marched "home", totally disregarding that the Greyjoys hold the border fortress of Moat Cailin, making it impossible for any northerners to march home. Retaking the castle even becomes the main Bolton plotline in Season 4, but then in Season 5 Brienne and Pod treat circumventing it as a minor inconvenience that's solved off-screen and Season 7 utterly ignores it when Sansa says, "There's nothing between us and Cersei.". In the novels, Moat Cailin remains an important place that nobody passes unchecked, and the Karstarks set off south and east to pillage the Riverlands in search of the Kingslayer instead.
    • Season 6 takes this Up to Eleven when Littlefinger takes Moat Cailin offscreen with no discernible stratagem, leaves his army there long enough to ride through hundreds of miles of hostile territory to speak with Sansa at the Wall, then marches on to Winterfell to win the Battle of the Bastards, all totally undetected by Ramsay. In the novels, no one's ever taken Moat Cailin from the south at all, nevermind this easily.
  • Robb decides to besiege Casterly Rock to raise morale and make the Lannisters engage him as if it's a brilliant new idea in Season 3, but judging by his trip to the Crag and Jaime's guise as a thief from Ashemark, that's exactly where Robb was campaigning in Season 2. Assuming Oxcross is in the same place, Robb probably could've seen Casterly Rock from the battlefield. In the books, this was Robb's initial plan but it was foiled by Balon's refusal to blockade the Rock by sea and Edmure's unexpected victory over Tywin at the Battle of the Fords, so his new plan is to restore his prestige by retaking the North hence why his whole army accompanies him to the Twins, a manoeuvre that doesn't make sense if his target is Casterly Rock.
  • Locke's stance toward money and bribery changes with the needs of the plot. First he spares Brienne only because he's convinced she's worth a high ransom (he wants money) but then he maims Jaime because it's more enjoyable than riches (he doesn't want money). Then he throws Brienne in a bear pit because her ransom isn't enough (he wants money) but when confronted he claims torture is more enjoyable (he doesn't want money). His book counterpart Vargo Hoat never even pretends to have a code yet still has calculated reasons for crippling Jaime and only throws Brienne to the bear (which he's done to others in the books but not the show) after she bites off his ear.
  • In Season 1, Osha suggests taking Bran to Mance Rayder for a reward, as she does in the novels. However, to create conflict with the Reeds in Season 3, Osha becomes dead-set against going back beyond the Wall because her husband was killed by the White Walkers, a conflict and a backstory that don't arise in the novels.
  • When Jon argues against killing a bystander in "The Rains of Castamere" because it will draw more watchmen to their trail, Tormund responds, "I hope so [...] killing crows in the open is what we do." Logically, sparing the bystander would also achieve this, yet Jon never points this out and in the next scene the wildlings mercilessly hunt down the bystander as if to stop the signal. In doing so, Tormund also just shrugs off Orell's report of shouting from the windmill where Team Bran is hiding. In the novels, the wildlings have an ironclad Leave No Survivors policy to maintain secrecy for their attack on Castle Black and insist on killing an innocent bystander just to seize his fire and shelter while Team Bran is hidden in an island holdfast whose treacherous causeway baffles the inquisitive wildlings.
  • In "Two Swords", Arya wonders why the Hound is broke and calls him stupid for not stealing anything from Joffrey, both of them apparently amnesic that the Brotherhood Without Banners took all his money in exchange for worthless scrip in "Kissed By Fire". In the novels, neither of them forgets this since the Hound nabs Arya specifically because the Brotherhood stole his gold, and he even uses the scrip to poison the well for any Brotherhood pursuers who might try to use the same ferryboat across the Trident.
  • Arya says Rorge can't be on her kill list because she doesn't know his name, nevermind that her first victim was "the Tickler" and her current list includes "the Mountain", "the Hound", and "the Red Woman". In the books proper names are never particularly important to her and she never targets Rorge even though she knows his name.
  • Robert and Cersei's black-haired Canon Foreigner child provides drama in Season 1, but isn't incorporated into other elements of the story.
    • Cersei herself refers to the canon foreigner as "my/our first boy" to Catelyn and Robert in Season 1 but to Joffrey as her "firstborn" to Oberyn in Season 4, and when we hear the prophecy she received in her youth in "The Wars to Come", the writers trip in their math by leaving Cersei's offspring at three and the prophecy's tone suggesting she and Robert wouldn't have any children together.
    • Season 7 takes this Up to Eleven when Cersei reveals she's pregnant with a fifth child without even mentioning the three-child prophecy that caused her so much angst in Season 5 and 6. In order to downplay this discrepancy, she also veers from claiming You Can't Fight Fate after Myrcella's death because of the prophecy to basically blaming Tommen for his.
    • The Canon Foreigner child also doesn't even fit into the show's own timeline. Robert and Cersei's marriage is solidly dated to 17 years before Season 1 when Joffrey is 16.note  Even a child conceived on their wedding day could only match these criteria for a three-month period, and a second-born Joffrey could only be born 18+ months into the marriage and thus couldn't turn 16 until at least six months after Robert and Cersei's 19th anniversary. The only way the black-haired baby could exist is in a case of heteropaternal superfecundation, being Joffrey's fraternal twin, but with different fathers.
  • In the first three seasons, Shae is a Hooker with a Heart of Gold who's Not with Them for the Money to Tyrion and a Cool Big Sister to Sansa, a characterization that's incompatible with her ultimately testifying against them as she does it the novels, so late in Season 3 her characterization suddenly swerves into a Clingy Jealous Girl pitted against Sansa with scant justification in order to make her a Woman Scorned. This deliberate Derailing Love Interests is unnecessary in the novels where Shae is always just a coy opportunist Tyrion projects feelings onto and Sansa means nothing to her.
  • With Jaime in the Kingsguard and Tyrion in exile (and guilty of patricide), Cersei should be the ruler of Casterly Rock and the Westerlands in Season 5 as she is in the books, but she's never described as such. On the contrary, she's constantly diminished as a mere "dowager queen" rather than a major magnate with no clear account for who is or isn't the successor to those offices.
    • Then Jaime is dismissed from the Kingsguard in "Blood of My Blood" yet there's no discussion of his rights either (which were the conflict between him and Tywin in Season 4) and the narrative treats this too as a demotion, used simply to remove him from the capital. In the books, Jaime remains in the Kingsguard (and thus ineligible) and departs for the Riverlands on Cersei's orders before the High Sparrow is even a problem.
  • In "The Gift", Littlefinger offers Olenna "information of which [Cersei] is unaware" and the gift of "a handsome young man", which can only refer to Cersei's affair with Lancel since the High Sparrow arrests Cersei for this at the end of the episode. However, these hints are absurd since not only is Cersei obviously aware of her own affair and Lancel's presence in the city (having met him at Tywin's funeral), but Olenna's intervention is unnecessary since Lancel is praised for having "unburdened himself" rather than reprimanded as if he'd been exposed, and it's never again implied Olenna relayed this information. In the novels, Cersei is exposed by her own plot to have a knight falsely confess to bedding Margaery in exchange for Sex for Services from Cersei herself only for him to have the truth tortured out of him by the High Sparrow.
  • Jon and the other survivors depart Hardhome by ship but in the next episode, the ships inexplicably vanish and the survivors arrive on foot at Castle Black, 150 miles inland, rather than simply sailing (or marching) down the coast to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, which is explicitly called the closest castle to Hardhome and shown to have a port and a gate in Season 7. In the books, Jon stays at Castle Black, communicating with Cotter Pyke, who is heading the Hardhome mission. While Jon has plans to head a mission to Hardhome himself to rescue the wildlings, Cotter Pyke, and his rangers after previous missions fail, he doesn't make it there. The large group of wildlings Jon lets through the gate prior to this point are those belonging to Tormund's band.
  • In "Mother's Mercy", Jon is branded a traitor by Thorne for letting wildlings through the Wall, even though doing so isn't actually against their vows and Thorne himself opened the gate, not to mention that the Watch is obviously incapable of expelling them again so removing Jon now only destroys any semblance of control. Thorne's Motive Rant in ''The Red Woman" also makes no mention of fears of Bolton reprisals for Jon supporting Stannis as a motive, disproving a common fan rationalization derived from the books where the mutiny does not occur until Ramsay's demands prompt Jon to compromise the Watch's neutrality when Jon declares he will march south to confront Ramsay, with the wildlings volunteering to join him. While a faction of the Night's Watch deeply oppose Jon's efforts to ally with and save the wildlings, they do not mutiny against Jon when Jon himself opens the gate after imposing strict conditions on the wildlings to prevent them from raiding south and Jon is able to maintain the loyalty of the Watch at this point (despite arguments with dissident officers). In the books, a faction of Jon's officers disapprove of the aid Jon provides Stannis, fearing it will result in reprisal from the Iron Throne.
  • Ramsay proposes a stronger pursuit and even storming Castle Black if necessary to get Sansa back but then, despite dismissing Roose's objections and even seizing power in the same scene, he immediately does the exact opposite and surrenders the initiative by sending Jon (a very different version of) the same letter he does in the books where his circumstances, options, and intentions are much more uncertain.
  • Daenerys is spared Khal Moro's mistreatment in "The Red Woman" thanks to the Suddenly Significant Rule that a khal's widow must join the dosh khaleen in Vaes Dothrak, but why this never came up during Drogo's dying in Season 1 isn't addressed. In the books, it is established at the time that this is the duty of Drogo's bloodriders (all deceased) or of Dany's own khas (who intended to do so right up until she hatched her dragons) and that Jorah was afraid Dany might walk into Drogo's pyre to avoid it.
  • In "The Red Woman", Melisandre reverts to her true form through no other action than removing her necklace even though she was seen in her usual Glamoured appearance while bathing without it in Season 4. Dedicated fans were quick to come up with ways A Wizard Did It, but the show itself never does, nor does it mention Melisandre's true age again until "The Long Night" when she disintegrates within moments of removing the necklace and the show again leaves it completely ambiguous why this happens, creating a third unexplainedly different reaction to the third time she's removed her necklace. The books maintain Magic A Is Magic A by having Mel explicitly never remove her necklace and even use an incantation to remove a Glamour from another character.
  • In prior seasons, Theon's claim to be "heir to Pyke and the Iron Islands" is only ever challenged by the implication his father might overrule the Heir Club for Men in favour of Yara, and Balon even threatens to disinherit Yara herself just before his death, yet when Yara tries to assert her rights suddenly "the law is clear" the next ruler must be elected by the previously unmentioned kingsmoot. In the books, rather than suddenly always being the law, the kingsmoot is a derelict tradition dredged up in an attempt to oust Euron after he's already seized the throne.
  • Theon's return to the Iron Islands raises unanswered questions about how he found a boat to get there since he's still a fugitive from the Boltons and a despised turncoat to the rest of the North, who're both still at war with the Ironborn, who aren't exactly Theon's biggest fans either and just lost their last mainland holdings as he was setting out. In the novels, Theon cannot and does not return to the Iron Islands at this time because he's rescued/captured by Stannis, who intends to execute him to please his Northern allies.
  • Sam and Gilly's conversation on the ship in "Oathkeeper" is devoted to all the reasons she can't come to Oldtown with him, yet in Season 7 she inexplicably lives with him in Oldtown totally unobstructed by any of these arguments. In the books, Sam always intended to take her to Horn Hill for her security and support, and her expulsion (if she even gets there) is unlikely with Lord Randyll hundreds of miles away in the capital.
  • "Book of the Stranger" clearly shows that Littlefinger rules the Vale only by fear since his solution when Lord Royce doesn't believe his Blatant Lies is to show how he can convince Robin Arryn to execute any lord at will. Yet from then on, Robin remains far off in the Vale while Littlefinger leads those same threatened lords to war without any of them just disposing of him and selling the impressionable Robin some story. In the books, instead of ruling by fear, Littlefinger deftly ingratiates himself to the lords by appealing to their self-interest with presents, payments, and promotions.
  • In Seasons 4 and 5, the Boltons' position is constantly described as precarious since the North will jump at the call to restore the Starks, which is explicitly why Locke stalks Jon, why Ramsay marries Sansa, and why Stannis wants to legitimize Jon. Yet in Season 6, Ramsay suddenly needs only the Umbers, Karstarks, and Manderlys to ensure "none could challenge us" and gains two of them solely by being anti-Stark while Jon and Sansa are refused by basically everyone except Lyanna Mormont (who's only won over by Davos' speech about the coming Zombie Apocalypse) even though Rickon, a trueborn Stark son, is in dire need of a Roaring Rampage of Rescue, a fact that's dismissed by Lady Mormont and not even mentioned to Lord Glover. Contrast all this with the books where many northerners make impassioned speeches and work against the Boltons in a myriad of ways, including secretly looking to Rickon as the Rightful King Returns and joining Stannis' army in order to rescue "the Ned's little girl" from Ramsay's clutches.
    • The Northern lords plead pragmatism in their refusals, specifically citing Jon and Sansa's lack of troops, even though they all refused to support Stannis who explicitly outnumbered the supposedly despised Boltons back in Season 5. In the books, even No Social Skills Stannis can start with the smaller army and no Stark association and still rally thousands of northmen simply by opposing the Boltons and Greyjoys.
    • Smalljon Umber allies with Ramsay ostensibly only because he hates wildlings more yet freely offers up Rickon instead of the much cheaper oaths Ramsay requests, and back in Season 5 when Stannis had just crushed a massive wildling invasion and was looking for a Stark heir and allies to overthrow Roose (whom Umber openly disdains), Umber apparently did nothing instead of aggrandizing himself as an architect of a Stark restoration by giving Rickon to Stannis. In the books, by contrast, Rickon remains a Noble Fugitive and the few lords who know of his survival are keen on restoring him under Stannis' aegis while the Umbers (who aren't even in the loop) actively contribute to Stannis' army by besieging Winterfell and sending Ramsay's escaped bride to him.
  • Jon leaving the Night's Watch is only ever justified by Loophole Abuse related to his resurrection, yet from then on everyone, even enemies and lords who traditionally execute deserters, just accepts his departure No Questions Asked, even though they have every reason to be incredulous of a resurrection. And even if everyone did just hear and accept his resurrection story offscreen, why does Jon then balk at telling Dany as if it's an unbelievable secret? In the books, Jon leaving the Night's Watch (much less becoming king) is just very popular Fanfic fodder and everyone else who's been resurrected (i.e. Beric, Stoneheart, Gregor, and Coldhands) has come back more unsettling and outcast rather than more agreeable to society.
  • The books eventually reveal Varys' actual plan was always to support a Hidden Backup Prince he believes he's raised to be The Good King, but with this character ultimately Adapted Out, in Season 5 Varys is seemingly retconned into backing Dany from the start, even though she didn't show the mass benevolence he so prizes until Season 3 or even any leadership ability until the middle of Season 1, prior to which Varys and Illyrio clearly supported Viserys (who never showed either) to the extent that Dany was just a pawn they bartered to buy him an army.
  • For some reason, the Faith threatens to punish Margaery's perjury with the same sexualized shaming Cersei faced for fornication. Granted, the High Sparrow claims All Crimes Are Equal, but previously this punishment was clearly a sexual penalty for a sexual act, and Loras' later treatment proves other punishments do exist even for sex acts. In the novels, threatening Margaery with the same punishment as Cersei makes sense since they're charged with the same crimes.
    • Contrariwise, Cersei is left confined but unsupervised pending trial and allowed the escort of an undead abomination she uses to murder those who displease her while Margaery—who's done far more to convince the High Sparrow of her repentance—is saddled with an omnipresent watchdog (to ensure she commits no more perjury?). In the novels, both women are given escorts to ensure their celibacy because they're both accused of fornication, and the Mountain isn't blatantly Cersei's Right-Hand Attack Dog.
    • Also, given how Unella dogs Margaery's heels in the show, it's mystifying how Cersei seized her before her trial without anyone (especially Margaery or the High Sparrow) noticing since subsequent events imply every single Sparrow except Unella was present in the Great Sept (which carries its own questions). In the novels, Cersei does indeed torment people in the black cells, but before her own imprisonment and mostly for the purpose of framing Margaery.
  • After two seasons of the High Sparrow saying individuals are irrelevant and daunting great magnates with slogans like, "You are the few, we are the many," Cersei abruptly undoes his entire uprising in a single explosion and receives nothing but muted respect for it even as she paints Dany as dangerous and destructive. Bronn even says, "There is no High Septon anymore," implying the whole continent-wide religion, not just the High Sparrow's faction, has disappeared. In the novels, the Faith Militant remains undefeated largely because every Reasonable Authority Figure knows attacking them will "drive the pious into the arms of one or another of these would-be usurpers" and there's strong precedent in Archmaester Gyldayn's Histories that an insane Westerosi monarch who tries to suppress the Faith Militant by burning them in their Great Sept will only find themselves in a protracted guerrilla war for the rest of their reign even if they have dragons.
    • The citizens of King's Landing even cheer when Euron arrives with the Sand Snakes in "The Queen's Justice", despite him being a barbarian pirate leading a victory parade for the woman they recently jeered and threw rubbish at and saw seize power by blowing up a big chunk of their city, all apparently because "they just like severed heads, really." In the books, even without the mass-murder of the Green Trial, the burghers of King's Landing make no secret of their antipathy to the Lannisters, particularly in their tepid turnout for Tywin's funeral, the subversive puppet shows that Cersei mercilessly cracks down on, and of course their support for the High Sparrow and abuse of Cersei in the first place.
  • It's constantly hammered into Arya that becoming a Faceless Man requires becoming "no one", yet right from the start the Waif is an Alpha Bitch with an unexplained enmity for Arya that culminates in asking to kill her personallynote , clearly showing the Waif to be full of feelings that don't align with the Faceless Man creed but aren't even acknowledged much less explained in-universe. In the books there's no such contradiction because Arya has No Antagonist and the Waif serves as a real mentor instead.
  • In the Season 7 premiere, Dany takes over an abandoned Dragonstone and finds Baratheon banners still scattered about, implying not only that Stannis left no garrison but that in the twenty-five episodes since his departure not even the local peasants bothered to occupy this Big Fancy Castle that dominates the sea routes to King's Landing. In the books, Stannis leaves a small garrison which, due to the castle's immense strength, ties down significant Lannister forces to blockade and besiege, culminating in a bloody assault and hundreds of enemy casualties.
    • The series also ignores most strategic consequences of Dany occupying the island, since Euron's armada can sail past it at will in "Spoils of War" and "The Dragon and the Wolf" and the small, rocky island can apparently feed and house her enormous army and Dothraki super-horde indefinitely. The only solid consequence is that Dany's forces have to backtrack to pick up the Dornish army despite already rendezvousing with Olenna, Ellaria, and the Sand Snakes. In the books, sea transit is always complicated and Tyrion has to develop intricate plans to elude Stannis' fleet at Dragonstone just to get Myrcella to Dorne, and Jon Connington stages his invasion in the Stormlands for strategic and logistical reasons (including possible coordination with Dorne) that are secondary to his desire to revisit his ancestral home of Griffin's Roost, which is passably defended.
  • Halfway through Season 6, Yara and Theon steal enough of the Iron Fleet to prevent any pursuit by Euron and make themselves valuable allies to Daenerys, yet in Season 7 Euron is nonetheless in possession of 1,000 full-sized warships and "the greatest armada Westeros has ever seen" despite ruling only a cluster of impoverished islands he himself describes as "nothing but rocks and bird-shit." In the books, Euron maintains control over basically the whole fleet (of which only ~100 are real warships) and nobody gushes about it being the greatest Westeros has seen.
  • Euron memorably campaigned on joining Dany and giving her his "big cock" at the Kingsmoot in Season 6, but in Season 7 he suddenly claims Cersei is the World's Most Beautiful Woman and does everything he can to please her. This might be self-interest for Euron himself after Yara and Theon joined Daenerys, but it's unexplained why his electors are fine with this total policy reversal from allying with the Dragon Queen to fighting against her, especially since the Lannisters explicitly "look like the losing side". In the books, Euron is forced to send just his best ships to join Daenerys because his electors demand he attack the vulnerable Lannister alliance instead.
  • In the novels, Jon Connington hides his greyscale infection because the truth will only obstruct his dream of putting his foster son on the throne by frightening off allies, and his infection motivates him to accelerate his plans. In the show, it's Jorah who's infected but it turns out to be just a "Shaggy Dog" Story since aside from the occasional concerned glance he continues to Just Ignore It even though his ultimate goal of rejoining Dany's service requires treatment (as proven when he ultimately says, "You must send me away," and Dany orders him to Find the Cure!), after which he's Put on a Bus until his greyscale can be Hand Waved and he can teleport to rejoin Dany as if he were barely gone.
  • Jaime's successful gambit in "The Queen's Justice" requires two sudden reversals of canon, neither of which are probable in the books where there's zero indication that the Lannisters are Mock Millionaires or that the Tyrells are Paper Tigers.
    • The dismissal of Casterly Rock as worthless without its gold mines goes against the world-building of the books and earlier seasons that clearly showed the loss of an ancestral seat as a major morale blow when the loss of Winterfell demoralized Robb's army and delegitimized his rule, when Stannis preferred starvation to surrender at Storm's End, and when the Lannisters themselves defended King's Landing solely because it was the traditional capital. Plus, Tywin previously detailed precisely how Money Is Not Power and it's actually prestige that keeps their vassals in line in a Histories & Lore featurette.
    • The sudden reduction of the Tyrells from top-tier power to Paper Tiger. There was no clever tactic at Highgarden, Jaime's men simply stormed one of Westeros' most defensible castles with ease. Word of God glosses over the Tyrells' ignominious end as a matter of "fighting isn't really their forte," and Olenna echoes this in-universe, even suggesting Tywin could've easily annexed the whole Reach, but this only raises further questions by implying the Tyrells were beaten rather than Out-Gambitted. This blatantly contradicts the countless earlier references to the Tyrells fielding the largest army in Westeros and producing top-tier knights like Loras Tyrell, and is all the more flagrant once Jon gets rescued in "Beyond the Wall" despite his position being much more distant and vulnerable than Highgarden.
  • In Season 5, Sam specifically cites his Adult Fear for Gilly and Little Sam as his motive for heading to the Citadel where he might also research the White Walkers, yet upon arriving he only discovers one half-revelation about dragonglass before throwing a tantrum that the archmaesters aren't more helpful, stuffing his bag with random documents, and rushing right back into the maw of the undead horde with Gilly and Little Sam in tow rather than keeping them safe and continuing his research. In the novels, Sam not only protests going south at all but, like it or not, sits at a crux of plotlines that have nothing to do with White Walkers, including the Ironborn (Euron vs. the Hightowers), Dorne (Sarella/Alleras), the Faceless Men ("Pate"), the Brave Companions (Urswyck), as well as the Order of Maesters themselves (who must select a new Grand Maester, an office the show doesn't even discuss before randomly settling it on drop-out novice Sam Tarly in the series finale).
  • By Season 7 the only reason Sansa can give for why Littlefinger is still around is, "We need his men," which rings really hollow given Lord Royce's assurance the Vale rode north for Sansa's sake and the fact she already has all she needs to condemn him for killing Lysa and selling her to the Boltons, both of which the Vale lords already suspect. Moreover, Season 7 revolves around setting up a Shocking Swerve with Arya rather than anyone doing anything to erode Littlefinger's position yet everyone accepts Sansa's accusations based on Bran's omniscience with No Questions Asked. In the novels, Littlefinger is affable and ingratiating rather than the Obviously Evil guy nobody likes.
  • Littlefinger's trial in "The Dragon and the Wolf" shows several:
    • The scene asserts that it was Littlefinger who sent the catspaw to kill Bran in "The Kingsroad", a case of Not His Sled that results in this trope since in the books the attempt is not only characterized as "unbelievably clumsy" compared to Jon Arryn's murder, but the culprit had an unrelated motivenote  and only had to hire an on-site thug instead of somehow learning of Bran's unforeseeable fall, learning evidence would implicate the Lannisters, and arranging the attack all from halfway across the continent.
    • The trial also confirms Littlefinger armed the assassin with his own dagger, something Tyrion memorably defended himself in the show by saying only an "imbecile" would do. In the books, the dagger is just a Red Herring since several sources say Littlefinger lost it in a wager with Robert, from whom the real culprit stole it. Thus, by framing Tyrion in the novels Littlefinger was shirking blame for something he didn't do and turning it to his advantage, as befits his character.
  • In the books, dragonglass and (implicitly) Valyrian steel can kill the Others but are no better than other weapons against wights, who must be burnt or reduced to Ludicrous Gibs. The show maintains this rule until Season 7 when both materials are suddenly very effective against wights in "Beyond the Wall" even though Longclaw had no special effect on them at Hardhome.
  • A crucial part of Cersei and Jaime's breakup in "The Dragon and the Wolf" relies on unacknowledged Insane Troll Logic. Out of the blue, Cersei accuses Jaime of treason for "promoting [her] enemies' interests" by meeting with Tyrion behind her back, contradicting not only that Jaime was led to the meeting under false pretenses but that he freely confessed to the meeting, prompting Cersei to admit he was duped and she let it happen because "an accommodation with the Dragon Queen could be in our immediate interest." That makes her accusation Blatant Lies, but it's treated as implicitly true because Jaime changes the subject so Cersei can continue to dominate the conversation. In the novels, Jaime and Cersei's relationship breaks down much earlier and more gradually, and their last argument occurs when she reassigns him to the Riverlands and balks at his attempt to appoint Loras Tyrell as his replacement.
  • A minor one, but Bran couches his Internal Reveal that Jon is Rhaegar and Lyanna's child in the idea that Jon's surname should be Sand rather than Snow because he was born in Dorne, even though Jon's southern birth was common knowledge even when everyone thought he was Ned's son. The books are clear that bastards' surnames derive from their own residence or that associated with their highborn parent, not their place of birth, so Jon could be called Snow or Waters but certainly not Sand.
  • Bran's declaration that "Robert's Rebellion was built on a lie" is treated as true and meaningful even though the catalyst for the rebellion wasn't actually any direct misunderstanding of Rhaegar and Lyanna's relationship but rather the Mad King's Ax-Crazy decision to brutally murder Lyanna's father and brother and call for Ned and Robert's heads rather than be a Reasonable Authority Figure and tell the Starks to simmer down and let Rhaegar and Lyanna explain themselves.


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