1. Everyone’s hot!
Totally unsuprising, I know, that a TV show would cast only good-looking actors and actresses but there are some rather striking differences in some of the characters. For example, HBO can be forgiven for turning the ‘horse-faced’ Arya into a cute tomboy and Brienne of Tarth, (mockingly called ‘Brienne the beauty’ because of her distinct ugliness) into a woman who is just a bit taller than average. But then there’s Tyrion who is described in the books as being so hideous that people are genuinely repulsed by him, but is played by Peter Dinklage who, despite an excellent performance, bears no resemblance to Tyrion besides his height. And then there’s Daario Naharis…
2. The kids are older… much older!
When first introduced in the books Robb Stark and Jon Snow are 14, Sansa is 11, Arya is 9, Bran is 7 and Daenerys Targaryen is 13. However in the show, Robb, Jon and Dany are all clearly adults, Sansa’s age is stated as 14 and Arya and Bran are played by teenagers. The reasons for the age-up are fairly obvious. Whilst the books are probably more accurate in terms of the medieval setting, it would be very uncomfortable for audiences to watch children do some of the things that are seen in the show, especially the more sexually explicit acts. What’s more, it would be difficult to get good enough child actors to play these roles. However, it is interesting to note because the change in age alters the tone somewhat, especially with Dany and her relationship with Khal Drogo.
3. More characters die in the show – SPOILER ALERT
The books were clearly not quite bloody enough for Weiss and Benioff who have been killing off minor characters left right and centre who are still breathing in the books. It started with one of Khal Drogo’s “blood-riders” Mago and another Dothraki, Rraharo. More recently, the Knights Watch men Pyp and Gren in the books survive the battle at Castle Black and Bran Stark’s friend Jojen Reed is not taken by the white-walkers but lives to see Bran reach their destination. Other needless casualties include Pyat Pree (the House of the Undying guy), Robb Stark’s wife (Jeyne, not Talisa) and Dany’s horse. Why the extra killing? Probably for dramatic effect, but there is a possibility that some of the actors simply left the show.
Those are just 3 differences between the books and the TV show but there are much more, especially with the current season deviating more than ever from the plotline of the books. These differences are sure to keep even avid book-readers on their toes. But whether you prefer the books or the TV show – enjoy the new season!