Top 5 ways in which HBO’s Game of Thrones is different from the book

As a fan of the book ‘A Game of Thrones’ by George RR Martin I feel it is my duty to point out the differences between the book and the new HBO series. And of course, there are no spoilers here:

1 – Sean Bean is not in the book. It is an incontrovertible truth that the addition of Sean “fookin raspberry jam eh lads” Bean makes anything better, and a period or fantasy piece is his natural habitat. I mean, he must just bring his own clothes to these things by now – filming Game of Thrones must be like a mufti day. He has his scruffy beard insured for a million pounds. I expect Winterfell castle is just his actual house. Though as ever he is always the only one with that accent – you’d assume everyone from Winterfell would speak the same, but nope, apparently Ned is from the Sheffield district. “Wint’r is cumin” indeed. I’m never going to go to Sheffield – everyone talking like that? It would blow my mind.

2. I always assumed everyone would be a bit smaller. Especially Jon Snow and Robb who I think were 14 years old in the books but seem older here: early 20s or so (either that or I was the world’s weediest 14 year old). I realise this is probably because all 14 year olds are horrible little spotty things that no-one wants to see on the same bus let alone on a big screen but it’s still a bit jarring. I do think Tyrion is about the right size, that’s how I pictured him at least. It should be noted that they didn’t use any of the same special effects that they used for Frodo in Lord of the Rings because Tyrion is a dwarf not a hobbit. And not a dwarf like the hairy one from Lord of the Rings. Lord of the Rings is basically really inaccurate, don’t let Sean Bean’s presence trick you into thinking it is authentic.

3. The map is in 3d and animated. In the book the map is just a line drawing, probably done by old RR himself, but the TV show has a huge clockwork cgi map with all moving bits and steampunk cities. I have to say I prefer the animated ones and it is a shame they were not in the book – but it was quite hard to figure out where everything was with the camera swooping around everywhere. I don’t know about you guys but I enjoyed charting the movements of the characters on the map in coloured pencil (regular grey pencil for no-nonsense Ned). I don’t think this will be possible with the TV show. I’d have to keep skipping back to try and figure out where everything is. Plus, where is the glossary – this stuff is confusing!

4 – The book is just words but the TV show has music and all sorts. It would be obtuse of me to point out that the book has no moving pictures but the TV series does however I need 5 items for this list. This is quite a fundamental difference but a clear cut comparison like this does go to show just why television and film are superior to books. Name one instance where the book was better than the film – it can’t be done. Just imagine Hamlet with the addition of Avatar-level special effects, it’s an obvious improvement. Personally I cannot wait for the bit in book 3 where Westeros gets attacked by sexy aliens.

5. The HBO series will eventually end. Everyone is loving A Game of Thrones, and presumably none more so than George RR Martin: but unless this is just a cunning plan where he writes the start of a gigantic novel, runs out of steam, gets it made into a TV show and then waits for someone else to have to write the end so he can copy it I don’t think the guy really has a plan. Now, I am not suggesting that George is just sat there with a dozen virgins grooming his beard (he only cuts his beard if he is defeated and he has never been defeated) and spending the royalty cheques on more consonants for his name (I assume he is aiming for George GRRrrrRRR Martin), but I might be insinuating that he probably won’t bother writing the end.

So until next time remember: Hodor!

4 Comments on “Top 5 ways in which HBO’s Game of Thrones is different from the book

  1. There is something quite bizarre about Sean Bean’s forehead in Game of Thrones – it’s really distracting. I don’t remember having this problem with the book at all. I also cannot understand a word he says.

  2. I watched the second episode paying close attention to Sean Bean’s forehead and I am not sure I see your problem. Do you think he has had botox? Cos I am not sure there is a paralysing chemical strong enough to reduce Sean Bean’s deeply ploughed furrows. He’d be better off with polyfilla.

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