The entire A Song of Ice and Fire property is in a really weird and seemingly unprecedented state right now. The epic fantasy series was originally written by author George R.R. Martin and adapted into the HBO series Game of Thrones in 2011, prior to the release of Martin’s fifth of seven planned novels. What’s happened though is that, as the show has steadily caught up to the books and eventually passed it with Season 7. As such, the differences between the two mediums continue to grow. That being said, there are a lot of Game of Thrones viewers who don’t read the books and may not be aware of just how much the show has diverged from the books. Here are 15 of the most significant changes between the two.
Season 1 of Game of Thrones feels like so long ago that it’s easy to forget about characters who only appeared in that season. One of the more prominent ones was Benjen Stark, Eddard’s younger brother and ranger of the Night’s Watch. Benjen goes missing early on and is never seen again. The same is true in the books, but there is also a mysterious figure called Coldhands who many believe is actually Benjen Stark. Coldhands is a wight who appears north of the Wall and helps Samwell Tarly and Bran Stark in their respective quests. For whatever reason, Coldhands has not appeared on the show, which is a shame considering he is supremely cool and rides a giant elk.