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Adaptation Relationship Overhaul / Game of Thrones

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Due to a lot of changes in characters' personalities and certain events, a lot of character relationships were changed.

  • Sansa and Arya get along better in the show than in the books. Their relationship still isn't really close, but Sansa's bullying was omitted and Arya's Annoying Younger Sibling tendencies are played for laughs.
  • Tyrion and Shae have a genuine love affair in the show. She betrays him because he claimed to not love to get her to leave King's Landing for her own safety. In the books he's paying her to pretend she loves him but falls for her anyway; book!Shae never reciprocated his feelings and betrayed him because Cersei and Tywin offered her a better deal.
  • Cersei and Margaery's relationship is much more overtly antagonistic in the series. Not because of Cersei, who hates Margaery as much as she did in the books, but because of Margaery openly insulting and trying to undermine her. In the books Margaery mildly teases her at worse.
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  • Due to Age Lift, Myrcella and Trystane are full on Star-Crossed Lovers, while in the books their betrothal leads to Puppy Love at most since they're quite young.
  • Similarly, Tommen is aged-up and has a romantic/sexual relationship with Margaery, while his book counterpart is only eight years old and sees her more as a Cool Big Sis. Additionally, Loras' role as Tommen's Big Brother Mentor is not carried over from the books.
  • Stannis is shown lusting after Melisandre, while in the books their relationship is more professional and it's only implied that they slept together. And even then, it was probably just to create shadow assassin children to help Stannis's war effort and not out of genuine attraction.
  • Robin Arryn loves Littlefinger, whom he calls "Uncle Petyr". In the books Sweetrobin is terrified of him. Also, in the books Sweetrobin was much closer to Sansa, whom he had a crush on and saw as a surrogate mother (yes, at the same time), but this is downplayed in the show.
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  • Brienne in the show is critical toward and annoyed by Pod, while her book counterpart is more gentle with him. Also, she starts her journey traveling with him at Jaime Lannister's suggestion, while in the books they run into each other while looking for Sansa Stark and she takes him under her wing.
  • Ellaria Sand fights with her sort-of brother-in-law Doran Martell over whether or not to go war, but in the books their relationship is far more amicable. Largely because she's received a substantial personality change; in the books she's no more in favor of war than he is.
  • Davos and Shireen don't get many interactions in the books and are just amiable. The show elevates this to an Intergenerational Friendship bordering on a surrogate parent-child relationship.
  • Subverted with Lysa and Sansa. On the show Lysa is kind and motherly to Sansa at first, before her jealousy takes hold and makes her hostile. In the books Lysa behaves coldly toward her from the beginning, but it all ends in the same place.
  • A case involving entire kingdoms: the animosity between the Reach and Dorne due to centuries of war is entirely absent on the show. In the books, this old rivalry was inflamed when Oberyn Martell accidentally crippled Willas Tyrell; even though Willas himself doesn't hold a grudge, the rest of his family do. But since Willas was Adapted Out, there's no reason for the Tyrells to hate Oberyn — Loras Tyrell even flirts with him.
  • In the show, Tyrion and Jaime's relationship doesn't go sour after the latter frees the former from the black cells for being falsely accused of committing regicide. This is because Jaime interacts with Tyrion after arriving in King's Landing and remains supportive of him during his trial. Though he has reserves regarding Tyrion killing their father, Jaime still remains in good terms with him. In the books, Jaime admits to Tyrion that he lied about Tysha being a whore under their father's orders and Tyrion, out of spite, tells him that Cersei is cheating on him, which destroys the relationship between them.
  • For that matter, in the show the story about Tyrion's first wife Tysha being a whore hired by Jaime is presumably true, since it's never revealed to be a lie as it was in the books, so it's ambiguous whether she actually loved Tyrion in the show, whereas in the books she did.
  • In the show, Jaime remains infatuated with Cersei throughout the series, and they die in each other's arms. Although he leaves her temporarily to fight with the Stark-Targaryen forces at Winterfell against the Army of the Dead, this is because the whole world is in danger, and he returns to her afterwards despite sleeping with Brienne of Tarth. In the books, Cersei's dubious actions and (especially) her infidelity lead Jaime to cut it off with her, outright burning the letter where she asks him to be her champion in her trial by the Faith. Then he goes off with Brienne on what the latter claims is a mission to rescue Sansa.
  • In the show Missandei and Grey Worm are lovers, but this is not the case in the books because book!Missandei is a child.
  • Any mention of Euron abusing his brother Aeron was omitted from the show. What little we see of their relationship in the show appears to be at least cordial, while in the books Aeron hates and fears Euron more than anyone else in the world.
  • In season 6 Sansa apologizes to Jon for being awful to him when they were children. In the books Jon felt hurt that Sansa only referred him as her bastard brother, but otherwise there is no mention of her mistreating him. Jon even remembers that Sansa taught him how to dance and talk to girls.
  • As part of their Adaptational Nice Guy treatment, the Tyrells have a much closer and warmer relationship with Sansa during her stay in King's Landing. Margaery remains Sansa's friend after her forced marriage to Tyrion, while book!Margaery gave her the cold shoulder. In the books Loras is pretty aloof toward Sansa, while in the show he genuinely wants to be a good husband to her despite being gay. Also, book!Olenna is much more caustic toward her and makes it clear that she thinks Sansa is an idiot, but show!Olenna shows sympathy for the awful things Sansa has had to endure.
  • This one is largely due to the show out-pacing the books: in the sixth season, it's confirmed that Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen were in love. Rhaegar secretly annulled his marriage to Elia Martell to elope with Lyanna. The books remain ambiguous on the nature of their relationship, Rhaegar's reasons for running off with her, and how much Lyanna was willing to go with him.
  • The relationship between the Starks and their Northern vassals is vastly different in the show. In the books, most (though not all) Northern houses have Undying Loyalty to the Starks and only bend the knee to the Boltons because they think all the Starks are dead/missing and their loved ones are being held hostage. In the show, most of the Northern lords are portrayed more as Fair Weather Friends, as most of them stay out of the conflict between House Stark and House Bolton. In the show House Umber sides with the Boltons, while in the books only half the Umbers team up with the Boltons and the other half oppose them.
  • In the books, most of the Northern lords loved Ned and Robb Stark personally, not just as their lord or king, and still thought fondly of them after their deaths. Ned was A Father to His Men and even taught his sons that they shouldn't expect their bannermen to die for a stranger. In the show Ned and Robb's friendships with the other Northern nobles are largely pushed aside (especially since many of those nobles were Demoted to Extra or Adapted Out) and in later seasons they're disparaged as fools who died because their own mistakes.
  • In the show, the Sand Snakes are constantly bickering with each other, which isn't the case in the books.
  • Bronn marries a noblewoman named Lady Lollys Stokeworth in the books. While Bronn is briefly betrothed to her in the show, Jaime cancels the betrothal and has her married off to someone else.
  • Bronn has virtually no relationship with Jaime in the books, but the show makes them Vitriolic Best Buds after Tyrion's exile.
  • As a side effect of Mace Tyrell being an Adaptational Wimp, his mother Olenna has much more control over him in the show than in the books, where she complains that he never listens to her.
  • Meera is Osha's Sitcom Archnemesis in the show, but their relationship in the books in pretty neutral.
  • Littlefinger's relationship with everyone is changed between book and show. In the books Littlefinger has given himself Vetinari Job Security by always making sure there is enough coin flowing through the royal coffers to keep the nobles happy. This has in turn made him a very popular person at court, being as nonthreatening as possible to disguise potential ulterior motives. On the show he's The Friend Nobody Likes and no one trusts, only kept around because he's good at finance.
  • In the show, Alys Karstark is Rickard Karstark's granddaughter, the daughter of Canon Foreigner Harald Karstark. In the books, she is Rickard's daughter and youngest child.
  • In the books Kevan Lannister has three sons, Lancel, Willem, and Martyn. In the show Lancel is his only son while Willem and Martyn are distant cousins.
  • For the sake of brevity, the show does not get into the multiple conflicts between siblings and cousins in House Frey. Instead the show portrays the Freys as unified and likeminded. Nor does it bring up the fact that the Freys are tied to the Lannisters via Emmon Frey's marriage to Genna Lannister (both of whom were Adapted Out). In the books, Emmon sides with the Lannisters while the rest of the Freys side with the Starks at the beginning of the war. The show sidesteps this by using Lannister cousins to fill the roles Emmon's son and grandson had in the story.
  • Arya and the Waif are Vitriolic Best Buds in the books, while in the show they deeply hate each other.
  • In the books, Hizdahr cajoles Daenerys into marrying him, and she reluctantly accepts hoping it will bring peace to Meereen. In the show, however, Daenerys forces a betrothal between her and Hizdahr, though it's never made clear if they officially got married.
  • An entire generation of the Targaryen family is omitted from the show, making King Aegon V the father of King Aerys II, instead of his grandfather. This also means Princess Rhaelle Targaryen, the grandmother of Robert, Stannis, and Renly, has been Adapted Out. As a result, the Baratheon brothers are no longer the second cousins of Rhaegar, Viserys, and Daenerys.
  • Sansa Stark marries Ramsay Bolton in season 5, which never happened in the books.
  • Selyse is abusive to her daughter Shireen in the show, but not in the books.

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