With its outstanding acting, unpredictable plot, and complex characters, Game of Thrones has dominated primetime television for six seasons and wooed millions of viewers, while its book counterpart A Song of Ice and Fire has inspired a new generation of high fantasy lovers and has always left readers begging for the next book to be released. Both are loved by millions of people across the globe, yet there are still plenty of differences between the two.
1. The show narrows down the plot
While George R. R. Martin has the luxury of being able to write whatever he wants and fill his books with endless subplots, the producers of Game of Thrones cannot do that. With limited episodes per season, they have to cut out many of A Song of Ice and Fire’s plot lines. Although this might take out some of the original enjoyment of the books from the TV series, it helps narrow down Martin’s sometimes overly complex story, giving the audience a more simpler, easier to follow version of the narrative.
2. Slightly different events and characters (spoiler alert)
Even though the show has kept faithful to the books for most of the big plot points and characters, there are quite a few huge differences for some characters and events. These include Lady Stoneheart not appearing in the show and the grim fate of Sansa Stark in the TV series, which all had a huge impact on the story and what’s to come for the world of Game of Thrones.
3. The books have more backstory and offer a more complete world
Whether it’s told through Old Nan or one of Ser Barristan’s old war stories, the books provide a lot more information about what happened before the War of the Five Kings and how it shaped the Westeros we’ve all learned to love. George R. R. Martin has even published The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones, a companion book for his epic saga, detailing many historical events that happened in Westeros, giving the readers a much deeper and vivacious look into the world of Ice and Fire.
4. The books are told through point of view
One of the best things that George R.R. Martin did in A Song of Ice And Fire was write the story through the eyes of numerous different characters, it gives us a different perspective on the same events, and gives us a more in-depth look at the characters that we love and sometimes despise. However, the TV show doesn’t present the story through POV. Even though Game of Thrones still has interesting and enticing characters, we will probably never know them as well as we do as the characters in the books.
5. Same dark theme (spoiler alert)
Westeros is a grim, dark place, and both versions have expressed that perfectly through endless betrayals, power-hungry lords, and murder after murder. They have also taught us that nothing is pure good or pure evil; even the courageous and honorable Robb Stark can forget his vows, which leads to his eventual grisly demise.
Though there are quite a few differences between the two, both of them are fantastic works of art and are definitely worth your time.