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Adaptational Villainy / Game of Thrones

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A lot of characters in the show are more villainous than their book counterparts:

  • One thing that MANY characters share in this regard is the Age Lift that almost all characters undergo which implies a much more villainous streak than originally intended since the actors are so much older. Joffrey starts the books at 12, Sansa is 11, Daenerys is 13, Robb is 14. One of the original points made by Martin in the books was that even when the evil tyrant Joffrey dies, he's just a scared child and it's supposed to be a rather horrific death.
  • In the books, it's left slightly ambiguous whether Mirri Maz Duur sabotaged Drogo's wound since he later goes back to his traditional remedies. This is omitted from the show, though both versions are explicit that Mirri wanted him dead.
  • In the books, Xaro wants only to marry Dany so he can legally take ownership of one of her dragons and simply withdraws his patronage when denied, forcing Dany to flee the city. In the show, he allies with the warlocks to assassinate the rest of the oligarchy, proclaim himself king, imprison Dany, and steal all three dragons.
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  • In the books, Doreah is simply a dutiful servant who dies of illness Crossing the Desert, and is loyal to Dany to the extent where Dany stops her Khalasar in the Red Waste so she can die in peace. The show gives her a more selfish personality and a fascination with dragons (who can fly where they please and kill those in their way), eventually leading to an abrupt Face–Heel Turn where she willingly betrays Dany to Xaro, and in a deleted scene she kicks the dog by personally strangling Irri. In her commentary on the Season 2 finale, Emilia Clarke states that there was another deleted scene where she explained her reasons for betraying Dany, clearly speaking directly to the people who were upset about this change, which appears to happen for little motivation in the final product. Unfortunately, she doesn't go into detail on what those reasons were.
  • Stannis gets a lot of this, despite being far from a paragon in the novels. On the whole, the show's version of Stannis is a Character Exaggeration of Stannis's flaws at the expense of his more frequently displayed virtues. In one featurette, D.B. Weiss admits he dislikes Stannis. This is also compounded by the fact that many of Stannis' enemies (Tyrells, Renly, Varys) are given Adaptational Heroism.
    • The nuances, such as moments when he is more moderate than his wife's retinue (who introduced R'hllor worship to Dragonstone) are lost. Stannis isn't a fanatical R'hllor worshipper, he sees Melisandre as a sorceress and believes only in her magical abilities but is far less rigid about other aspects of her faith.
    • He's fully aware and dismissive of his part in Renly's death since he dispatches Melisandre personally, whereas in the books his involvement is more ambiguous and he finds the thought greatly disturbing, is tormented by Past Experience Nightmares afterward, and expounds on his grief and regret far beyond the single dismissive line used in the show. This also isn't helped by the victim's Adaptational Heroism.
    • He nearly strangles Melisandre in "Valar Morghulis", whereas in the books he is never physically violent towards women or anyone else.
    • While Human Sacrifice is part of R'hllor worship, Stannis never burns anyone purely for the sake of fanaticism, rather he punishes rapists, cannibals or in the case of his former Hand, outright betrayal and conspiring with the Lannisters. Likewise, the men he burns simply for refusing his religious commandment in "The Lion and the Rose" were traitors who conspired to sell him out and surrender his daughter in the books.
    • He's obsessed with fathering a son in earlier seasons, something he shows much less concern for in the books where his reluctance to bed with Selyse is a source of much snark (meaning he isn't trying very hard) and he generally mentions possible sons only as a caveat to his insistence that Shireen is his heir.
    • His offer to name Renly as his heir "until a son is born to me" is played as False Reassurance given his tone and Melisandre's Psychotic Smirk, while in the books it's legitimate (if begrudging) attempt at conciliation.
    • He only relents from executing Davos and answers the call of the Night's Watch when Melisandre abruptly changes her mind on these issues, whereas in the books he makes these decisions himself after Davos appeals to his sense of duty to the realm, and this ends up removing the selfless nature of these actions. Even after this, he frequently threatens Davos like a Bad Boss in the show, while in the books, Davos is his Only Friend and held in the highest regard.
    • He callously executes Mance Rayder for defiance in "The Wars to Come" rather than doing it against his better judgment because his status as a Dangerous Deserter who attacked the whole realm demands it. Or at least, he thinks he executed Mance in the books. Even then, there are theories that he was aware of Melisandre's masquerade all along which allows him to make a public show of justice while also trying to do what's best for the realm.
    • He burns his only child, Shireen, alive in "The Dance of Dragons" to end the blizzard afflicting his army. While the burning may indeed happen in future novels, at the equivalent point in the books, as mentioned above, he refuses to burn anyone (not even captives or unbelievers) except as punishment for cannibalism and dispatches Ser Justin Massey with specific instructions to press Shireen's claim to the throne should he die in the coming battle - not to mention if said burning does happen it is quite possible if not likely that it would not be committed by Stannis himself. In the books, Stannis is hundreds of miles away still besieging Winterfell and possibly dead while Shireen is at the Wall while it's in a chaotic state of emergency. Word of Saint Paul (the showrunners) insist that she will be sacrificed indeed, but the precise circumstances will obviously be entirely different. note 

    • The fact that Dragonstone was primarily depicted as a dim, cramped, Mordor-esque place under Stannis but is re-established as a gleaming, soaring, Minas Tirith-esque place when Daenerys takes up residence in the titular episode "Dragonstone" also gives Dany a stark Fisher King vibe at Stannis' expense.
  • Melisandre is considerably more callous in the show, since she does not offer Cressen a chance to back out of poisoning them both, taunts Davos over his son's death instead of expressing regret, and expresses no empathy for those who suffer the pain of sacrifice. She also lacks her (admittedly few) Pet the Dog moments like helping to protect Devan Seaworth and Alys Karstark. The omission of Abel the Bard removes perhaps her greatest Pet the Dog moment in favour of more Human Sacrifice.
  • While Renly is subject to a fair amount of Adaptational Heroism in the show, his conversation with Ned Stark in the first book and season zig-zags this trope. In the books, Ned never made any mention of Stannis' rightful claim to the throne, and Ned's decision to ignore Renly's offer to kidnap Joffrey without revealing his own plans made it clear to Renly as a sign of his loyalty towards Cersei, and with a lack of knowledge about Stannis' claim on his part, left Renly's decision to declare himself a king partly as an objective to survive, which was later confirmed in Renly's conversation with Catelyn. In the show, Ned makes a direct mention of Stannis' claim and his own support for Stannis, which Renly dismisses by claiming that Stannis' lack of charisma would not "make him a king", hence in a way making Renly come across as a bigger hypocrite than in the books and making his attempt at the throne solely an ambitious power grab without the life-or-death situation that served as an ulterior motive. Moreover, in the show it's directly stated that Renly knew about Joffrey's illegitimacy, a factor left deliberately ambiguous in the books.
  • Joffrey is a horrific, power-crazed psychopath in the books as well, but the show makes him even worse by giving him two of Cersei's Kick the Dog moments — he is the one who orders both the massacre of Robert's illegitimate children, including the infant girl Barra, and the assassination attempt on Tyrion during the battle of the Blackwater. He also treats Cersei horribly and has a taste for sexualized violence, ordering Ros to beat another prostitute — this may be an age-based extrapolation of his sadistic streak, which culminates in him coldly murdering a named character by hogtying her to a bedpost and riddling her with crossbow bolts just to see how it feels to murder someone yourself.
  • While probably just as evil, live-action Littlefinger is a lot less affable than his literary counterpart:
    • In the books, he owes his success to appearing as a harmless, witty Trickster rather than the show's Obviously Evil Devil in Plain Sight who openly feuds with The Spymaster.
    • Similarly, though Littlefinger is certainly responsible for making Jeyne Poole a Sex Slave, brothels are only one of his many investments and he isn't involved in anything quite so vile as regularly serving up prostitutes to necrophiliacs and serial killers in the books.
    • The show also omits the more sympathetic moments from his past, like when Lysa Date Raped him in the guise of her sister, fueling his misconception that Catelyn loved him.
    • However evil Littlefinger may be in the books, he does not serve Sansa on a silver platter to Ramsey. In the books, Littlefinger takes a level in kindness when in 'Alayne' s' presence.
    • The Season 7 finale reveals it was he who ordered Bran's assassination, rather than Joffrey, just to further fan the flames between the Starks and the Lannisters.
  • Rast is little more than a Barbaric Bully who must be convinced to leave Sam alone in the books, but in the show he's a prominent mutineer who actively wants Sam dead, literally stabs Lord Commander Mormont In the Back, and reluctantly commits infant sacrifice.
  • In the books, Khal Drogo recognizes Daenerys' apprehension on their wedding night and gently coaxes her with foreplay until she consents. In the show, it's a straight-up exertion of his Marital Rape License.
  • Robb Stark:
    • In the books, it was Edmure Tully and the Adapted Out Desmond Grell who placed his mother in house arrest instead of Robb.
    • Robb in the show is shown as a much more selfish character than his book counterpart. In the books he marries Jeyne Westerling out of duty and to preserve her honor in addition to whatever affection he feels for her. In the show, his marriage to Talisa is purely selfish, which even his own bannerman acknowledge. In addition, Book Robb has sex with Jeyne soon after being wounded and under her care at the time he receives the news of the "deaths" of Bran and Rickon, and turns to her for consolation.note  In contrast, Show Robb and Talisa fall in love for more personal and selfish reasons, Robb's oaths to the Freys and fledgling kingdom be damned.
    • Due to his Age Lift, he noticeably comes across as much more of a jerkass than his book counterpart. For example, his Kick the Dog moment of reminding Theon he's not a Stark is not present in the books. Furthermore, he is also much brasher, more arrogant and more hot-headed than the insecure boy from the books.
  • Sansa Stark. In the show, Sansa becomes increasingly mean-spirited, taking joy from Joffrey's death and wishing she had done it herself, sentencing Ramsay to die in a very brutal manner, and publicly fights with both Jon Snow and Daenerys for unknown reasons, and even works against Jon Snow by deliberately omitting the fact that there's an army coming to support their cause so she can get credit. In the books, she's learning politics but has decided to do it in a manner that retains her kindness and wants her subjects to love her.
  • Karl Tanner was just one of many mutineers in the books. In the show, he's a hardcore rapist and psychopath who drinks from a cup made out of Mormont's skull, has a past as a Psycho for Hire, and is willing to sacrifice infants to the White Walkers.
  • In the books, Arya's descent into murder is more gradual. For example when she kills Polliver in the books, it's done in the heat of the moment to defend Sandor Clegane; Arya's murder of Polliver in the show has her taking a dark pleasure in the Ironic Echo she gives him before slowly stabbing him in the throat, and afterwards she's quite satisfied with herself.
  • Jaime gets several extra Kick the Dog moments:
    • It continues in Season 2 when he kills his young cousin Alton Lannister, who idolised him, to facilitate his own escape, which incidentally makes him a kinslayer, a taboo even violators of Sacred Hospitality balk at in the novels.
    • The lack of vocal consent from Cersei in "Breaker of Chains" in front of Joffrey's corpse turns a consensual sex scene from the novels into one that many viewers regard as rape, or at best grudging. The context change doesn't help either: in the books, Jaime has only just returned to King's Landing after months of captivity and recently losing his hand and son and is so starved for intimacy that he ignores Cersei's initial protests that they'll be caught. In the show, he's been around for a few weeks, making his actions seem a lot less impulsive.
    • He's also far more committed to his Destructive Romance with Cersei, notably turning his Breaking Speech to Edmure from a To the Pain gambit to save thousands and (sort of) keep his oath into a spiel about how Love Makes You Evil. Worse still, he remains loyal to Cersei and aids her in her conquests even after she definitively crosses the Moral Event Horizon (by enacting part of the very crime Jaime was previously so proud of stopping, no less) in stark contrast to the books where he burns her requests for aid while she's imprisoned by the Faith after realizing how toxic she is to him and how dangerous she is to everyone else. And even when he does finally leave Cersei in the show after she reveals she's not willing to fight against the White Walkers, as soon as the dead are defeated he goes running back to Cersei even after finding out she sent Bronn to kill him.
  • Tywin:
    • He is a huge jerk in the books as well, but his treatment of Tyrion is made even pettier and unwarranted by Tyrion's adaptational heroism, which omits or downplays many of the negative traits that Tywin is in some ways right to criticize, such as Tyrion's tendency to disregard Thicker Than Water, which Tywin loathes since family is everything in his eyes, and his vulnerability to manipulation because he Desperately Craves Affection.
    • In the books, Tywin (and Kevan) come up with the plan to send Tyrion to the Wall on their own, while here it takes Jaime begging for his brother's life. It is possible that this was Tywin's plan all along, and he simply seized upon the opportunity to blackmail Jaime.
  • Theon's Face–Heel Turn is somewhat blackened by his closer relationship with Robb, whom he even pledges fealty to in "Fire and Blood". In the books, he's more distant and his turn has a stronger The Dog Bites Back justification born of a decade with Ice hanging over him like the Sword of Damocles. Furthermore, he betrays Sansa's escape plan in Season 5, something he never does despite equivalent levels of Brainwashed and Crazy in the books, where he's actually the only person to help Ramsay's bride for her true self rather than the aristocrat she's pretending to be.
  • The Thenns and their magnar Styr are more traditionally civilized than other wildlings in the books, characterized by their bronze technology, settled lifestyle, and greater respect for authority. In the show, they are portrayed as scarred-up, gleefully sadistic cannibals who disgust even the other merciless raiders.
  • Tormund Giantsbane is less jovial and more brutal than his book counterpart, most of which stems from his initial characterization as a Composite Character with Styr in Season 3.
  • The show turns Pycelle from a doddering but dutiful counsellor with Undying Loyalty to House Lannister into a vindictive Dirty Old Man who only pretends to be senile.
  • Selyse is a haughty and narrow-minded Grande Dame whose complete faith in the Lord of Light leads her to urge radical action in the books, but the show emphasizes her fanaticism to the level of a Mad Woman In The Attic who keeps her stillborns in People Jars and despises and resents her own daughter as sinful, and according to Word of God, because her daughter is a living reminder of her failure to provide Stannis with a son, rather than barely mentioning her stillbirths and verging on My Beloved Smother in her protection of Shireen.
  • During the Red Wedding scene, a change by the adaptation makes Walder Frey even more monstrous than he was in the books. Due to the absence of the book character Jinglebell (Walder's mentally-handicapped grandson), Catelyn targets one of his wives instead. In the book, he states that Jinglebell does not have anything to offer the family and that Catelyn has no leverage in the situation - cruel, but understandable for someone so pragmatic. In the show, he simply says that he can always get another wife, making him sound misogynist and self-centered in addition to cruel.
    • Also in the books, the Freys intended to merely take Catelyn hostage during the Red Wedding and only kill her partially as a Mercy Kill after she goes insane at Robb's death and starts clawing her own face to shreds. In the show, they just straight-up kill her.
  • Balon Greyjoy:
    • He is unequivocally nasty to Theon in the show, whereas in the books, though he still insults him and plans to disinherit him in favor of his daughter, he's fairly impressed that Theon stands up to him, saying "Well, at the least you are no craven" and gives him a mission that is actually strategically valuable with eight ships instead of just one and far more soldiers (making his mission less of an embarrassingly unimportant task to get him out of the way).note  Furthermore, he doesn't completely ignore Theon's return to Pyke and sends his uncle Aeron to greet him, and his refusal to negotiate and save Theon from Ramsay is entirely original to the show. In the books, Balon never actually finds out if Theon survived the Bolton attack on Winterfell.
    • Him insulting Yara when she questions his plans results in a death threat, in the books Balon's only redeeming virtue was that he was a genuinely decent father to Asha/Yara. In the show, it's left ambiguous if Yara was going to truly be Balon's heir, but in the books he repeatedly made his intentions clear that he wanted her to inherit the Throne after his death and it was his brother Aeron who revived a custom no one had seen for three hundred years solely to stall her claim, thus the show declines to establish that as lord of perhaps the most misogynist region of Westeros, Balon is extraordinarily comfortable with the idea of his daughter succeeding him.
  • Dagmer in the show is a Poisonous Friend and The Corrupter who urges Theon toward darker and darker deeds before betraying him when those actions come home to roost. In the books, those actions belong to Ramsay Bolton and Dagmer appears only once as an Honorary Uncle and one of the few people in the world to treat Theon kindly.
  • Theon's squad of ironborn raiders. While they don't hesitate to show their disagreement with his orders, the book raiders remain loyal to Theon. He even offers them the opportunity to leave, and they choose to stay and die fighting with him anyway. Their show counterparts, by contrast, are happy to betray Theon to avoid capture or death.
  • Though they do become very Knight Templarish in the books, the Brotherhood Without Banners doesn't sell out innocents as they do with Gendry in Season 3.
  • Ellaria Sand is the exact opposite of her literary counterpart. In the books, she's a refreshingly compassionate Only Sane Woman who advocates breaking the Cycle of Revenge with Turn the Other Cheek, but the show casts her as a Crusading Widow War Hawk who wants to take Revenge by Proxy by killing or sending Myrcella home one finger at a time.
  • The Sand Snakes want vengeance just as badly in the books but never mean Myrcella any harm. Nymeria comes closest by wanting to murder Tommen (among others) while Tyene actually proposes they crown Myrcella and Trystane and reassert Dorne's independence. In the show, they have an Ax-Crazy fixation on murdering all Lannisters and ultimately take it Up to Eleven when they massacre Doran and Trystane for not supporting their plans, all in the name of "avenging" Oberyn. For reference, in the books the notion that even Cersei might try to kill Trystane is enough to shock and appall them.
  • The whole Dornish populace as of "The Red Woman". In the books, the Dornish are very personally attached to their nobility (hence Oberyn's popularity) and the worst they do is pelt Doran's litter in their clamour for a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. The palace guards, in particular, are explicitly described as loyal Dornishmen who follow Hotah's command. In the show, the guards stand impassive as Doran and Hotah are murdered and the whole country apparently falls into line behind Ellaria and the Sand Snakes.

  • A minor point since he was fully complicit even in the novel, but in the books it's Janos Slynt subordinate Allar Deem rather than Slynt himself who kills baby Barra. Slynt's sole redeeming feature of his love for his own children is also Adapted Out.
  • While Meryn Trant is an unpleasant person in the books, he's an adequate fighter and more cold and uncaring than actively sadistic. His characterization as a fascinatingly pathetic Dirty Coward who takes pleasure in beating on people who can't defend themselves is more in line with Boros Blount of the books. Also, him being a pedophilic rapist is original to the show.
  • Yara Greyjoy:
    • Because Theon in the show is more sympathetic than his book counterpart was at that point, Yara comes across as more of a jerkass, as opposed to Asha, who comes across as a Karmic Trickster in terms of her baiting him. Yara is also presented as (largely) following in the footsteps of her father, compared to Asha, who while likewise Balon's favorite, has more pronounced White Sheep tendencies. That being said, her crueler tendencies are heavily implied to be an act to force Theon to get his shit together, since she's far more willing to defend Theon to Balon when he's not around, shifting her back into Karmic Trickster territory.
    • Her plan in the Kingsmoot is to revive and rebuild the Iron Fleet to never before seen heights implying designs of conquest on a large scale. In the books, she made it clear that she has different intentions, she wants to seek allies with the mainland, abandon superficial conquest and parlay peace with the North in exchange for some land to settle, and convert the Ironborn from reaving to trade. Her speech gets cut off before the end so it's a little confusing as written, though in context from her prior statements that attacking the mainland is getting them nothing, it appears she meant that she wants to build a defensive fleet to ward off any counter-attack by the mainland. That being said, the fact that Yara eventually agrees to give up piracy and rein her people in under Dany's rule displays that, while more of a traditionalist than her book counterpart, she's still open-minded enough to commit to change.
  • Members of the Faith of the Seven:
    • In the books, the religious reawakening in King's Landing is portrayed as a populist uprising against the litany or recent horrors the smallfolk have recently endured from the nobility during the War of the Five Kings. The Faith Militant focus on enforcing the established laws of the land, particularly against nobles who are usually above the law. In the show, the religious upswell is much more fundamentalist and puritanical, with the Faith Militant terrorizing citizens of all classes in Obviously Evil robes and chains, and scars.
    • Lancel is a particular case since he becomes the point man of the Faith's violent crackdown instead of the humble, pious, and infirm boy who is constantly fasting, praying, and begging forgiveness in the novels.
  • The Night's Watch assassins in "Mother's Mercy" have less motivation than in the books. In both books and series, Jon works to save the wildlings, which is very unpopular with some of his officers. However, in the books he also starts involving himself in the affairs of the realm, compromising the Watch's millennia-long stance on neutrality. The assassins are greatly conflicted by the deed, weeping as they do so, while in the show they are angry and vindictive.
    • Alliser Thorne is not present for the assassination in the books, as he is far away on an assignment. In the show, he's the ringleader.
  • Lem Lemoncloak is the brutal but loyal Big Guy of the Brotherhood Without Banners in the books, while the man who wears his iconic cloak in the show is a renegade who gets hanged by the rest for slaughtering peaceful peasants.
  • Edmure orders the Blackfish seized and handed over to the Freys as part of his capitulation in "No One". In the books, he risks being thrown into a skin-tight oubliette to rot by surrendering the castle only after helping his uncle escape since, "You required me to surrender my castle, not my uncle."
  • Downplayed with the Blackfish. In the books, Blackfish continues to hold Riverrun because that's what his king last ordered him to do, and to protect Queen Jeyne, and continues to display the direwolf above Riverrun out of loyalty to the Stark cause. In the show, he acknowledges that Sansa genuinely needs his help but still refuses to help her, even after there's no chance of him defending Riverrun.
  • Robert Baratheon:
    • In the first book, Robert confides that the only reason he doesn't sail away to Essos to become a mercenary is because he knows that Joffrey is a monster who should not be on the throne; despite his multiple failings, his misery is driven by the fact that he's martyring himself to keep a tenuous peace while his wife manipulates "their" son into destroying it. In the show, he comes across as much more of a drunk toddler, railing constantly about the things he can't have and shirking his responsibilities at every turn solely because of petulance.
    • Also, due to Cersei's Adaptational Heroism, the abuse in their marriage of convenience comes across as more one-sided, while in the books, Cersei is portrayed as cruel and vindictive from the get-go because of Robert killing Rhaegar, and even had sex with Jaime on her own wedding day (and still the deal-breaker came when Robert used Lyanna's name with her in bed) and Robert was the one who put in some effort to make it work. In addition, when Robert suggests bringing his beloved bastard daughter Mya Stone to court, Cersei implies she'll have the girl killed (it's also implied this wouldn't be the first time she's done away with one of Robert's bastard children). In the show, Cersei loved Robert at first, while Robert fell immediately into despair and alcoholism due to Lyanna's death.
    • In the books, when Ned objects to the council's discussion of assassinating Daenerys and tells Robert directly that the act would be dishonorable, Robert acknowledges the dishonor of the act and accepts it as long as the deed is done. In the show, Robert erupts at the very notion that he should have to act honorably at all as the king. This is part of the show's thematic change towards the belief of "Honor gets you killed".
  • Smalljon Umber combines this trope alongside Spared by the Adaptation. In the books, he dies in the Red Wedding while trying to save Robb's life. In the show, he isn't present at the Red Wedding and thus survives and later becomes an ally of sadist Ramsay Bolton (although he doesn't like him as a person, but allies with him for pragmatic reasons) who hated his late father, and worst of all, he hands Rickon Stark over to Ramsay, which ultimately leads to Rickon's death.
  • Roose Bolton. Not that in the books, Roose isn't evil, but at least he clearly hates Ramsay for murdering Domeric. In the show, since Domeric is Adapted Out, Roose is somewhat more sympathetic with Ramsay and tolerates his sadism much more.
  • The Iron Bank is said to have taken a major financial hit thanks to the disruption of the slave trade, enough to convince them to back Cersei out of spite. In the books they very definitively don't deal in slaves, don't deal with people who deal in slaves, and don't do business with or in cities where slavery is legal. Bravos would run them out of town and/or riot if they did. Just to make it confusing this had actually been mentioned in one of the "History and Lore" DVD extras, which are generally taken as show canon. Although the statement by Tycho Nestoris may mean that the economy as a whole has been affected by Daenerys's actions, as a ripple effect.
  • A zig-zagged example with Shae. In the books, it's implied that she was always manipulating Tyrion as her Meal Ticket, and ultimately turns against him simply as a matter of pragmatism. When Tyrion happens upon her after the fact, she tries to talk her way out of it, but her words betray the facade. In the show, she develops affection for Sansa and genuinely falls in love with Tyrion, but her turn against him is motivated by revenge for being spurned. When Tyrion finds her, she immediately tries to attack him. So ultimately she becomes both more sympathetic and more vindictive.
  • In the books, Dany often shows a softer side that is sometimes missing from the show, the most notable being the absence of her horrified despair when Viserys draws steel in Vaes Dothrak, knowing that her brother has sentenced himself to death and the lack of how she pleads for a reconciliation. In the moments she reminisces on her recently-departed sibling on the show, it is without a hint of fondness and is instead dripping with scorn or derision. In the books, she acknowledges his effect on her formative years and how he loved, educated and protected her until the stresses of responsibility for his little sister, coupled with the humiliation of exile snapped his sanity in twain, which she forgives him for. She also has at least a couple of innocent Meereenese nobles executed at random on the grounds of "justice", either with crucifixion or dragon-fire, while when the city submits in the books, Dany lets the nobility choose who they will hand over to her to pay for the child slaves being nailed to posts.
  • While in the books, Euron is generally despicable, perhaps the one decent thing about him is that he has a soft spot for the deformed and disabled, surrounding himself with dwarfs, giants, cripples, mutes, and freaks, if only to make himself seem more intimidating by their presence. Here, he heavily insinuates that Tyrion should have been killed at birth for being a dwarf. On the other hand, his motivation in the show seems to be just normal piracy, pillaging, and having sex with the queen as opposed to the book character which is sacrificing his own people, murdering his own unborn children, and planning on creating a magical apocalypse.
  • In the books, the Northern lords are so loyal to House Stark that they are staging an uprising even without any input from the surviving members. In the show, the Starks have to ask for help and even then next to no one answers the call. Not even the Houses who lost families to the Boltons care enough to help. Their loyalty is also very easy to change. As soon as Jon is away, the Lords are quick to suggest that Sansa becomes the new ruler instead.
    Sansa: “Yes, they turned their backs on Jon when it was time to retake Winterfell, and then they named him their King, and now they're ready to turn their backs on him again. How far would you trust men like that? They're all bloody wind vanes.”
  • While Aeron Greyjoy's book counterpart was hardly a heroic character, he utterly despised Euron and fought tooth and nail to oppose his claim, deciding to Face Death with Dignity when his defiance leads to him being executed as a Human Sacrifice. Here, he seems perfectly happy to accept him as the new king and doesn't lift a finger to stop his attempt to murder Yara and Theon, though he doesn't seem particularly enthusiastic about it.
  • So far in the book series, the Faceless Men are Ambiguously Evil at worst. Yes, they are a guild of assassins who kill to honor the Many-Faced-God, but have very strict rules about who they kill and why. When Arya joins them as an apprentice, they are tough-but-fair and do show moments of kindness. When she wants to rise in rank, they make it crystal clear that it will not be easy, and many painful things will be expected of her, but also offer to give her a new identity where she could be reasonably comfortable for the rest of her life if she chooses to leave their ranks. The Waif is a teacher who takes her job seriously, but is not cruel. In the show, they are much harder on Arya from the start, the Waif is a straight-up Sadist Teacher, who kills several people in the way when Arya defects, and all of their strict dogma about who lives/dies is forgotten.


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