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Adaptational Heroism / Game of Thrones

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While they're not strictly heroic, many characters are more heroic than in the books:

  • House Lannister. While Cersei or Tywin never exactly make it to 'heroic', Tyrion arguably was there even in the books and Jaime is... Jaime, all of them get somehow polished, or at least made to appear more humane in the show. After all, we get to see them so often that it's better if we care about the characters to some degree. To balance it out, Joffrey is made even nastier in the show than he was in the books.
    • Although still one of the villains, Cersei is a far more sympathetic and tragic character than the paranoid and sociopathic God Save Us from the Queen! depicted in the novels. Not that this is particularly difficult:
      • She genuinely loved Robert "for quite awhile, actually" even though she knew he didn't reciprocate, and mourns their Canon Foreigner child who died of a fever, with their private conversation together suggesting that she still had feelings for Robert himself at the time the child was born. These changes introduce a much more human side to her character, whereas in the corresponding book there's no real indication that she wasn't a cruel, contemptuous and hateful person from the start. In the books, while Cersei was initially attracted to Robert and enthused by their betrothal (though she also recalls having sex with Jaime on her wedding day), this immediately died when Robert called her "Lyanna" during their wedding night. From then on, she hates Robert for his drunken abuse of her and for killing her childhood crush Rhaegar Targaryen in battle, and it's revealed she aborted her child by Robert with moon tea behind his back.
      • She recognizes Joffrey as a monster and grieves about that but tragically cannot help loving him instead of finding him perfect and dismissing his cruelty as "willfulness" and his dissection of a pregnant cat as "mischief." To be fair, Joffrey is also nicer to her in the books.
      • She only grants her Mad Doctor Qyburn a dying man and a decapitated head as test subjects instead of a plethora of healthy victims like her handmaid Senelle, some subversive puppeteers, some fraudulent bounty hunters, and Falyse Stokeworth.
      • Her opinion of Margaery as an ambitious vamp intent on turning her children against her is completely validated by Margaery's actions in the show, justifying her retaliation. In the books, this is almost entirely her own paranoia since Margaery's motives are a much more open to question and her "schemes" include giving Tommen kittens and positive reinforcement and urging him to take an interest in government and public opinion.
      • Her scheme against the Tyrells involves merely empowering the Faith to arrest them for legitimate (if extremely dissonant) crimes they actually committed instead of outright framing them by creating a false accuser using Sex for Services and a "witness" using 2 + Torture = 5.
      • The omission of the Shield Islands and Dragonstone campaigns removes her refusal to aid the Reach against invaders because she distrusts Margaery and her decision to waste thousands of her own men on a Uriah Gambit.
      • Because the Lannisters are secretly bankrupt in the show canon, Cersei wisely sends a representative to negotiate when the Iron Bank demands a large payment, ridding herself of an annoying councillor in the process. In the books, she instigates the crisis by arrogantly defaulting on the debt just because she wants a new fleet and thinks the Bank is powerless to retaliate.
      • She's much less abusive of Tommen, even comforting him (however disingenuously) after Margaery's arrest. In the books, when eight-year-old Tommen stands up to her for the first time in his life (by forbidding her to tear Margaery's tongue out!), Cersei has him personally bloody his whipping boy under threat of having the boy's tongue cut out if he refuses.
      • Her sociopathic approach to sex and promiscuity is heavily de-emphasized, with her frequent cynical use of Sex for Services (the three Kettleblack brothers) and her emotionless, sadistic, even misogynistic liaison with Taena Merryweather adapted out, and she only has "affairs" with Lancel and Jaime.
      • Her love for Jaime is more sincere and she remains committed to him long after his maiming. In the books, her love for him is basically a twisted narcissism, since she sees Jaime as the embodiment of her desire to be a man. Later, she quickly becomes cold and spiteful toward him after Jaime loses his hand because it ruins this illusion so their relationship pretty much ends and Jaime's Character Development stops him from being Cersei's Yes-Man.
      • In the books she has no problem having sex next to Joffrey's corpse. In the show she clearly wants nothing to do with it.
      • Kicking Tyrion about is nothing heroic, but in the show it's clear that she loved her late mother and mourned her death. In the books, it's mentioned that lady Joanna once found out about her twin childrens' affair and separated them for a time, but soon died. The tone of Cersei's narration makes clear that it was one obstacle out of the way for her.
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    • Taken to such extremes with Tyrion that he's practically a different character altogether. Tyrion is "the grayest of the gray" in the books, per George R. R. Martin, and partakes in all sorts of horrendous acts including raping slaves and setting loose ravaging barbarians on civilians out of spite, but the show omits or justifies virtually all his less-than-heroic aspects in favour of a more traditional protagonist, who happens to be a Deadpan Snarker on the side. In the books:
      • He is almost as egocentrical as his father, openly loves power and authority, and is a bit more concerned with his family's actions from the viewpoint of how it affects their image than the actual morality of those actions.
      • In the books, he arranges at least two murders, including having a bard flat-out murdered by Bronn and given to a stew cook in Flea Bottom for threatening to expose Shae, and strangles Shae in a crime of passion as a spiteful act of vengeance for her turning on him during his trial. Shae puts up no resistance and he essentially strangles her in cold blood, whereas the show has her grabbing a knife and fighting with him, making Tyrion's killing of her more like self-defence.
      • In the books, Tyrion has his hilltribes abduct Tommen when Cersei captures Alayaya (the prostitute Roz filled in for as the one Cersei thought was Tyrion's lover in place of Shae) and he threatens Tommen with any harm (including rape) done to Cersei's hostage (although in all fairness, he was bluffing). This is why Tywin is so spiteful when Tyrion awakens from the Battle of Blackwater — Tywin heard Tyrion threatened his nephew with bodily harm over a whore.
      • Even his lesser transgressions like breaking Marillion's fingers for mocking him, arranging a truce-breaking False Flag Operation to free Jaime, and disdainfully answering Thorne's petition to aid the Night's Watch by offering a few shovels (to keep the Animate Dead buried, you see) are all omitted.
      • He unconsciously treats Shae as little more than a slave who has no say in anything outside of the bed. In the show, Shae's adaptational heroism helps turn him from a deluded (and occasionally abusive, though he feels awful about this) john into a genuine lover.
      • In the books he callously rapes an Essosi Sex Slave in Volantis, before remarking in his internal monologue "what a horrible little creature I am", rather than a sex slave approach him, offer him consensual sex, and Tyrion politely decline.
      • Following his exile from Westeros, Tyrion becomes even darker and crueler than he was previously in the books because of his family's treachery, and tries to join Daenerys on the condition that he can inflict revenge on his family, especially by personally killing Jaime and raping and murdering Cersei. In the show, he never expresses these desires and actually takes a level in kindness after joining Daenerys as her adviser. When they actually return to Westeros, Tyrion tries his best to have Daenerys' conquest to be clean as possible and still feels sympathy for his relatives, even though they are now his enemies.
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    • Tywin is given some Pet the Dog moments to show a softer side whereas in the books, he never lets his guard down:
      • His 'disowning' of Jaime is not as harsh as in the book, either and instead he uses Tyrion's trial to con him into following in his original plan. He also tries to indulge in flattery to Cersei on occassion and even Tyrion in the moments before his death.
      • A major change which softens Tywin considerably is the excising of the crucial conversation about Tyrion's first wife Tysha in the moment before his death. This was Adapted Out of the show, and being perhaps Tywin's most despicable moment he comes off a lot nicer without it.
      • He also gets some very odd moments when he acts grandfatherly and kind around Arya in Season Two. In the books, Tywin makes a point of almost never showing emotion, especially positive ones, and hasn't smiled since his wife died. On top of that, he would never treat an apparent small-folk individual with such courtesy, as he doesn't really think of the smallfolk as people (not that he's alone in Westerosi nobility for that).
      • In addition, Tywin gets a Morality Pet in his actual grandson Tommen, moving to shield the boy from watching Joffery die at the Purple Wedding and later making an earnest attempt to take Tommen under his wing after he becomes king. The scene in the Sept is quite significant for both of them as its one of the only times Tywin expresses pride or anything resembling supportive in one of his descendants.
    • Jaime in the books even after the beginning of his Redemption Quest is quite blunt and jerkish, and after the loss of his hand tries to cultivate a more distant and intimidating demeanour, whereas Jaime in Season 4 barring one or two interactions is often quite nice. The scene where he asks Tywin to spare his brother for instance is quite far apart from Book!Jaime at least in levels of earnestness and sincerity. For the most part, however, Jaime falls under Adaptational Villainy, as he stays on Cersei's side for much, much longer than he does in the books.
  • Jon is one of the straightest heroes in both versions, but there are subtle shifts in the show:
    • The final reason he gives for joining the wildlings is implied to be partially honest, but in the books he says he's rebelling against his treatment as a bastard child, while in the show he's upset by the inaction against Craster because he wants to fight the White Walkers.
    • He also freely undertakes a Suicide Mission instead of being forced into it as a Uriah Gambit, dismisses Stannis' offer without any of the soul-searching required in the novels, and is assassinated for protecting wildlings rather than for the more multi-faceted reasons in the novels: while Jon works to save the wildlings in the books for both humanitarian and pragmatic reasons and some Watch members don't like it, in Dance, Jon — for understandable reasons — also begins performing dual roles by serving both the Watch and its oaths to protect humanity honorably while trying to keep the Watch afloat but — at the same time — secretly gives strategic advice to Stannis on Stannis’s Northern campaign, which proves to be crucial and he is assassinated when a faction of the Watch brothers turn on him once he announces his intention to go to Winterfell and confront Ramsay Bolton after he receives Ramsay's threat, essentially breaching the Night's Watch stance of neutrality. In the show, he sticks to the Watch's oath of neutrality.
    • The omission of Mance's son also negates one of his few darker moments.note 
    • There's also the nature of his heroism. Although Jon Snow has his heroic moments in fighting, his role is more of a deconstruction of the typical fantasy hero in that he's expected to use his brain and leading ability rather than swinging his sword, something even Mormont calls him out on. In the show, they really like giving him opportunities to prove he's a badass in combat, and Ramsay Snow talks about hearing of his fighting prowess.
  • As dark as she becomes in the show, Arya's traumatic experiences in the books leave her even colder and more Ax-Crazy.
    • The show omits some of her less justifiable murders, like that of a Night's Watch deserter in Braavos who had done her no harm.
    • In Season 7, this is possibly Averted when she threatens to kill Sansa. Book Arya never gets anywhere near threatening family members or friends. But then it's doubly subverted when it's revealed it was all an act to expose Littlefinger.
  • Sansa's Alpha Bitch treatment of Arya is toned down to normal levels of bickering and her unwitting role in her father's downfall is adapted out for reasons of Age Lift, a change the series' author George R. R. Martin himself has supported. She's also kinder to Tyrion (perhaps because of his own Adaptational Heroism) whereas in the books she was quite cold to him after their wedding. In the books, Sansa likewise heard Lysa Arryn specifically shouting out that she killed Jon Arryn for him (which Sansa doesn't allow herself to believe) and in the show she is never called upon to act as Littlefinger's accomplice in framing a Fall Guy for murder as said Fall Guy lost his tongue back in Season 1 and hasn't been seen since.
  • Catelyn is unpleasant to Jon in the show but doesn't go so far as to declare You Should Have Died Instead or refuse to let him stay at Winterfell after Ned leaves. She even laments her treatment of Jon as a failing in the show, rather than adamantly opposing Robb's trust in Jon throughout, as in the books. From the books... 
  • Varys gets stacked with this. In the books, he's a sleazy, hypocritical Giggling Villain who preaches neutrality and the common good but is not that different from Littlefinger in Playing Both Sides and manipulating everyone to serve his own agenda. By contrast, the show paints him as a far less sinister sassy and affable Only Sane Man and Benevolent Boss with very few Kick the Dog moments and a genuine soft spot for Tyrion and the common people.
    • Varys' friendship with Tyrion in the show is actually genuine, if vitriolic. However, in the books he only views Tyrion as a pawn in his larger schemes and remorselessly testifies against Tyrion, helping to utterly isolate the latter, and must be given An Offer You Can't Refuse before he will help.
    • There is no sign of his concern for Sansa in the books. The idea of marrying Sansa to a Tyrell comes from Olenna herself (albeit as a potential Unwitting Pawn). Then there are his little birds...they are are implied to have their tongues cut out to prevent idle gossip. Here, Varys states that he Wouldn't Hurt a Child and the children who work for him are shown to have been well-treated until Qyburn turns them into the silent terrors of their book counterparts, in addition to carrying out political assassinations of key figures of the Small Council that Varys was behind in the books.
    • In the show, it's eventually revealed that he is totally loyal to Daenerys Targaryen albeit after walking a thin line between subterfuge and loyalty. In the books, it's revealed that he never saw her as anything other than a Hot Consort first intended to be married off to Drogo to prep him for a potential invitation of Westeros, than as one for his true candidate, the Adapted Out "Young Griff", a perfect prince. Daenerys is a constant Spanner in the Works to his plans and his original intention was to throw both her and Viserys under the bus.
  • Robert Baratheon:
    • While it's more "refraining from villainy" than actual heroism, Robert was very liberal with his Marital Rape License (complete with some drunken sadism) in the books, but the show never goes into this.
    • In the books he cheated on Lyanna while they were engaged, and the tryst produced an illegitimate daughter; something which she complained to Ned about — Ned tried to appease her by saying Robert would end such behavior once they actually married; Lyanna was rightfully skeptical. Here he appears to have been faithful to her and only became an unrepentant womanizer after she died, and he fell into despair. If he did cheat on her it would make her dumping him for Rhaegar more sympathetic...until you remember Rhaegar was already married.
  • The Tyrells in general are portrayed more positively in the show:
    • In the books, they are directly to blame for the famine in King's Landing by closing off trade while they support Renly Baratheon but the show puts the blame squarely on Joffrey's inept rule. Their feud with the Martells is also replaced by Loras and Oberyn actually flirting briefly.
    • Margaery's kindness is shown to be manipulative in the show, but she also seems genuinely fond of Sansa since — unlike in the books — she remains supportive, even after the ploy to gain Sansa's claim falls through. She's also totally innocent of poisoning Joffrey in the show, while in the books, it is implied that she knew about this since she was sharing the chalice. This gets Zig-Zagged, however, whenever Margaery is shown actively plotting against Cersei but in the books, Margaery's plotting is heavily implied to be only a product of Cersei's very real paranoia.
    • Olenna is the very picture of a Cool Old Lady in the show instead of the spiteful harridan of the books who calls Ellaria Sand "the serpent's whore" and is so generally acerbic that Tyrion wonders if her late Henpecked Husband rode off a cliff intentionally. She also displays sympathy for Sansa in the show rather than just seeing her as a pawn.
    • The show omits Loras' main Kick the Dog moment of unjustly murdering two fellow Kingsguard in a fit of rage. Since he is also a Composite Character with his Adapted Out brothers Garlan and Willas who are both straight up Nice Guys, Loras is actually sympathetic to Sansa's plight and motivated by the chivalrous ideal of rescuing her from King's Landing via their planned arranged marriage despite their Incompatible Orientation.
    • As part of his wimpification, Mace loses his abrasive moments like pressuring his son Willas (Adapted Out of the show) into jousting, holding an unreasonable grudge against Oberyn for crippling Willas in a tourney accident, and arguing strenuously for the execution of the man he believes nearly poisoned his daughter.
  • While he remains a pragmatic realist, the show's Jorah Mormont is a higher tier of man than his literary counterpart, with his Dirty Old Man lust for Daenerys downplayed into All Love Is Unrequited, compared to the book with his Forceful Kiss and asking Dany to run away with him only for her to refuse him is adapted out. Dany's Age Lift in the show also makes Jorah's attraction to her seem less creepy (in the books, she's about 15 to Jorah's ~45). He also seems more ashamed of his dabbling in slavery and finally comes to terms with Ned Stark's banishment and admits that the Lord Paramount was entirely right to punish him for his crimes, which his book counterpart has yet to do so. In a related vein, when the show's Daenarys banishes him from her court because she found out he was originally spying on her for Robert, he begs forgiveness but she refuses to listen compared to the book version of her being willing to forgive him if he apologizes but him refusing to do so because he doesn't believe he did anything wrong. This adds up to a book character who always haughtily insists that it's all Never My Fault compared to the show version who admits his mistakes.
  • In the books, Shae is Only in It for the Money and sides against Tyrion as soon as she gets a better offer. In the show, she's a Hooker with a Heart of Gold who refuses several offers of wealth because she genuinely loves Tyrion and serves as a Cool Big Sister to Sansa, whom she completely dismisses in the books. She still sells them out, but because she's a Woman Scorned after Tyrion is forced to Break Her Heart to Save Her.
  • In the novels, Sandor Clegane goes to Sansa's room during the Battle of Blackwater with the apparent intention of raping her, holding her down with a knife at her throat. The show makes their confrontation much less frightening, making Sansa's refusal to escape with him much less understandable. In the previous season, he is implied to have killed the butcher's boy Micah by accident and shows no joy in it, whereas in the book he deliberately cut him down and laughs about it.
  • In the books, Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane is not just physically terrifying but also a sadist who enjoys torturing his victims (including forcing them to eat their own cut-off body parts) and initiates the gang-rape of a 13-year old girl. In the TV series, Clegane becomes more of a simple-minded thuggish brute whose love of killing is more animalistic than sadistic. Book Gregor is shown to have a decent, if unremarkable command of war tactics, and seems to know what he is doing, while several characters explicitly describe Show Gregor as too stupid to think for himself and merely following Tywin Lannister's orders.
  • While he's still insolent, thuggish, and Only in It for the Money, Bronn is more of an affable Punch-Clock Villain who genuinely befriends Tyrion, even going so far as to encourage Jaime to defend Tyrion when the latter is accused of murdering Joffrey, and while Bronn ultimately abandons Tyrion in both versions he puts a much more apologetic spin on their parting than in the novels. He also has some genuine friendship with Podrick, which wouldn't be in character for the colder book counterpart. He even genuinely cares for Jaime, ultimately risking his life to save him from being incinerated by Drogon, and then dragging him off the bottom of a lake to safety.
  • Renly is changed from a brash, frivolous, and entitled Sleazy Politician and unabashed usurper into a thoughtful Wise Prince who rebels out of a genuine sense that his intellect, kindness and charisma mean that he's best for the job. He also supplants Stannis as the Black Sheep by being a squeamish Non-Action Guy who's "very educated" rather than a boisterous Book Dumb jock. His Kick the Dog moments of mocking Shireen and Brienne are omitted or turned into genuine respect, his proposal to Catelyn is much more conciliatory than the join-or-die ultimatum of the books, and his hostile mockery and "cheerful way of grieving" for Stannis are downplayed or replaced with sad resignation.
  • In the show, Alliser Thorne grudgingly respects Jon, believes being a Drill Sergeant Nasty helps his recruits, and heroically leads the defence of Castle Black, whereas in the books, he reviles Jon unconditionally, sadistically berates his recruits purely out of malice, and interferes in the siege by arresting Jon and pressing him into a Uriah Gambit.
    • On the other hand, he's not involved in Jon's assassination in the books, if only because he's not there at the time.
  • Qyburn is introduced as being a victim of sadistic murderers instead of serving as their Medic, his on-screen mad doctoring is restricted to dead or dying men, and there is no hint of the Torture Technician role he takes on in the novels.
  • Dontos is more of a hapless bumbler than the two-faced Dirty Old Man of the novels. In the books, he regularly attempts to wheedle kisses out of Sansa and helps her primarily for the promise of gold, meaning he could be convinced to turn on her for gold as well. In the show, there's no sexual harassment and he just has Loose Lips when drunk, implying he would never betray her while sober.
  • When Yara finds out that Theon has been imprisoned and tortured by Ramsay in the show at the end of Season 3, she launches a rescue mission, taking a ship and 50 good men in defiance of her father. In the books, she contemplates the news only momentarily before turning to more pressing matters. In Season 6, after her bid for the Seastone Chair fails at the Kingsmoot, she and Theon steal nearly half the Iron Fleet and sail to Meereen to pledge themselves to Dany's cause before Euron does, knowing that he will most likely use her to conquer Westeros and then kill her once the Iron Throne is his. In the books, Asha just quietly drops out of prominence once Euron is crowned king, and Victarion sails to Meereen to pledge himself to Dany — on Euron's orders.
  • In the books, Daario is an arrogant, shallow and sleazy Blood Knight who attracts Dany solely with his looks and bad-boy attitude. In the show, Daario is much more thoughtful, earnest, personable and friendly. Yes he is all for killing his queen's enemies, but he will also vouch for Jorah's return to court after he helps save Daenerys and shows respect to Tyrion's talents of governing.
  • While he's still charismatic and snarky, the Oberyn of the books is also an arrogant jerkass who only sees championing Tyrion as a means to get what he wants regardless of the justice of his cause. There's even a hint he's doing it because he believes Tyrion is guilty.
    • Notably, his story of Tyrion as a baby is drawn almost directly from the books but placed in an empathetic context in the midst of a Pet the Dog moment instead of a derogatory one, and his daughter Obara's Origin Story in "Sons of the Harpy" deftly sidesteps the part where her mother was crying because Oberyn had backhanded her.
  • In the books, Hizdahr zo Loraq is an ambitious Sleazy Politician who petitions to reopen the fighting pits because he's now the majority shareholder and has enough connection to the Sons of the Harpy to negotiate a truce as proof that marrying him will bring Dany the peace she desires. In the show, his petitions are heartfelt attempts at conciliation and restoring order, the marriage is foisted on him while he's utterly helpless, and he dies heroically while attempting to lead the royal entourage to safety.
  • Drogon gets this in "The Dance of Dragons" when he plays the Big Damn Hero who roasts mostly Asshole Victims to save Dany from an attack from the Sons of the Harpy in Daznak's Pit just in time rather than being attracted by the noise and slaughter to gorge on a dead fighter and roast several bystanders until Dany whips him into submission and flies off.
  • Euron is certainly a Jerkass in the show, but aside from targeting rivals who explicitly promise the same to him, his on-screen villainy has been limited to being politically incorrect and killing an Asshole Victim.
    • In particular, he comes to the kingsmoot alone as a dark-horse candidate instead of as The Usurper who's already seized the throne, and there's no indication he molested his brother Aeron (Aeron seems to not fear him). As the rest of Quellon Greyjoy's children excluding Balon, Aeron, and Euron seem to be Adapted Out, it also seems likely he never murdered Harlon and Robin Greyjoy.
    • There is also no indication that he shares his book counterpart's apocalyptic ambitions.
    • The show has Victarion being Adapted Out, so as far as we know Euron never raped his brother's wife.
    • In addition, his monstrous treatment of Falia Flowers in the books is likely cut, because it could be too horrific even for this show. So far, there is no indication that Flowers exists in the show, or that someone else would replace her role.
  • Theon's motivations. His feelings of rejection, his desire to belong to at least one of his families (his blood family, the Greyjoys, and his surrogate family, the Starks), as well as his belated realization that he wants to be a Stark, and the horror at his own actions, are shown much more clearly and earlier in the series than in the books.
    • Theon is ordered by his father to raid fishing villages on Stony Shore both in the books and the show. In the books, he does carry out one raid before deciding to take Winterfell. Under his command, the Ironborn raze a village, kill all the men and rape and enslave (or kill) all the women. In the show, Theon doesn't lead such a raid but goes straight for Winterfell.
    • In the books, Theon has a bedwarmer named Kyra in Winterfell. After a nightmare, he has sex with her so violently that she's left "sobbing, her neck and breasts covered with bruises and bite marks". In the show, he does no such thing.
  • Davos is an example of this, mostly as a result of Melisandre being made more villainous on the show. Book!Davos straight-up attempted to murder Melisandre after the Battle of the Blackwater out of religious bigotry (he had a religious experience where the Mother appeared in a vision and made him believe Melisandre was responsible for the death of his sons). On the show, he's made into an atheist, and lunges at Melisandre when the latter taunts him about Matthos' death.
  • Hoster Tully:
    • Since he's more or less The Ghost, his coarser edges are Adapted Out. Especially his history with his daughter Lysa Tully. In the books, when Lysa had a child with Petyr Baelish after a one-night stand of Questionable Consent, he tricked her into drinking a potion that caused an abortion. This is implied to have hurt her fertility and been a cause for Robin Arryn's health problems. At his deathbed, Hoster Tully expresses regret for this and sends several ravens to Lysa to come and see him but she refuses.
    • During the Rebellion, he rode through the villages of loyalist Houses, putting smallfok to the sword and burning as he went. In the show, he's a protector of the smallfolk.
  • Locke's book counterpart, Vargo Hoat, first served the Lannisters, then betrayed them to join the Boltons. Locke, despite accomplishing all the same important villainy, remains loyal to the Dreadfort the whole time and does have a few standards.
  • Downplayed with Maester Wolkan. In the books, his counterpart Maester Tybald was ordered to spy on Stannis Baratheon pretending to be the Karstarks' maester. In the show, he doesn't do any such thing.
  • Ser Amory Lorch is still an asshole, but at least he didn't stab a little girl to death as his book counterpart did; his murder of Rhaenys Targaryen is instead committed by Gregor Clegane.
  • Rorge. It's not "heroism" so much since he is still a creepy and brutal thug, but this depiction of Rorge is still infinitely less monstrous and despicable than his book counterpart, whose crimes are comparable only to Ramsay Snow and Gregor Clegane.
  • "Heroism" is entirely the wrong word, but the show lightens Ramsay's behavior compared to the books (not that this is very hard).
    • In the books, Ramsay enjoys hunting women with his hounds, and when he catches them he rapes them and flays them alive. But if they give him good sport, he'll kill them before flaying them, and his favorites get to have a dog named after them. The skin is taken back to the Dreadfort as a trophy and the meat is fed to his dogs. The show heavily tones this down to simply "he likes hunting women and lets his dogs eat them," and even then it seems to have been a one-time thing.
    • In the books, Ramsay forcibly marries Donella Hornwood to claim her family's holdings, and then rapes her and locks her in a tower to starve to death. Show Ramsay does no such thing.
  • Take the term with a huge grain of salt, but long after Joffrey's death the show finally gets around to revealing that unlike in the books, it was Littlefinger rather than Joffrey who arranged the attack on Bran after Jaime pushed him off the tower.
    • In the books, Joffrey kills peasants with a crossbow on several occasions, leads a sortie against them for daring to beg for food after Tyrek's wedding feast, nails antlers on the heads of Stannis's supporters, and tries to convince Tywin to exterminate three Houses. The show version never commits these crimes. He also gropes Sansa during her wedding to Tyrion and insists on claiming his rights as a king to bed her again during his wedding.
  • While Viserys' creepiness is still present, his actual attempts to claim Daenerys's maidenhead are absent in the show and never mentioned by her sister. In the books, Ilyrio has to post guards in her room so Viserys doesn't derail years of planning, ruining the alliance with the Dothraki in a single night.
  • The history and lore adaptation of The Dance of the Dragons makes Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen's faction more obviously sympathetic and correct than the Greens, with very little attention given to her paranoia, with the issue of her children from her first Velaryon marriage (who were called "Strong" bastards in Archmaester Gyldayn's Histories) not being made an issue for the Greens.
  • A lot of impulsive cruel moments are excised from Dany's character in the show. For instance, it is Rakharo not she who confiscates Viserys's horse when he tries to assault her in the long grass; shaming him for the whole khalasar to see. She also never demands her kos slaughter Qotho for shoving her aside and trying to stop Mirri's healing spell. Nor does she slap Jorah for convincing her to travel to Astapor; or order him on a suicide mission when she discovers his spying. One of the biggest collar-pulling moments though has to be the fact that the show version of Dany would never even dream of "putting anyone to the question", let alone the daughters of a man suspected of collaborating with the Harpies Sons to assassinate her soldiers.
  • Septa Mordane was a Stern Teacher in the books, who was frequently very cruel to Arya and by all accounts was a terrible teacher to both the Stark girls. At one point she gets drunk when she's supposed to be chaperoning Sansa at a feast, and passes out to leave the young girl alone with Sandor Clegane. The show's version is much nicer, and a straight up Cool Old Lady - who seems to be trying to keep the Stark girls grounded in King's Landing. She's also given a Dying Moment of Awesome where she heads off several armed Lannister soldiers in the hopes it'll buy Sansa time to get to safety.
  • While she's a Canon Foreigner, Talisa Maegyr compared to Jeyne Westerling. Jeyne is strongly implied to have been a pawn of her mother, who wanted her to spy on Robb, and partly engineered the circumstances that led to Robb marrying Jeyne and sealing his fate at the Red Wedding. Talisa meanwhile is a selfless nurse who genuinely falls in love with Robb and continues to tend to the wounded even after she's Queen in the North.

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