Warning: This article deals with characters from the books and not the TV show (hence the title!) If you don’t want to know more, valar morgulis.
As George R. R. Martin has said many times, his books are long and full of terrors (and characters). It’s not practical for HBO’s Game of Thrones series to adapt the books completely faithfully, and so many characters are combined with others, or left out altogether. Some of these tweaks don’t make much of an overall difference to the plot, but there are a few characters who fans have very much missed. And, as Martin told EW, there have been some that he has missed as well. Below, you’ll find his list of five characters he wishes were in the TV series, as well as his quotes about them (and I have ranked them from the least missed to the most):
Poor Jeyne Poole. As Martin puts it, “she’s a minor character in the first book, then vanishes and then—boom—there she is in the fifth book in a major way.” In Game of Thrones, Jeyne’s place was taken by Sansa, which makes some sense. It keeps Sansa relevant in the narrative, and the show then doesn’t have to go through introducing a new character. (Also, in the books, Jeyne is passed off as a fake Arya, which also changes things).
However, it also put a burden on Sansa’s character to then be sexually brutalized by Ramsay Snow instead of Jeyne, causing an uproar from many (though not all). Further, Reek has a redemptive arc through trying to help Jeyne, and it’s uncertain if that will happen now with Sansa. But the biggest change is that having actual Sansa in Winterfell means there’s “a Stark in Winterfell.”
There is some power to the Stark in Winterfell statement in the book mythology, but whether or not Sansa (or Winterfell) will benefit from that isn’t yet clear.
Willas and Garlan Tyrell
Through the Queen of Thorns machinations, the Tyrells have (until the rise of the Sparrows) positioned themselves well within Westerosi society (in accordance with their house motto, “Growing Strong”). Margaery is/was Queen, Loras is/was a Kingsguard, and their father Mace is/was on the Small Counsel. The fertile lands of Highgarden feed the realm, and though the family isn’t as rich as the Lannisters, they still wield a great deal of power.
But Martin explains the importance of two other Tyrells who didn’t make it into the show: “In the Tyrell family, Loras is not the eldest son in the books. There are two older brothers, Willas and Garlan. I didn’t just put them in for hoots and giggles, they have roles to play in the last two books, and they don’t exist in the show. I’ve said from the start I wish we had more hours, but showrunners [David Benioff and Dan Weiss] work 24/7, 12 months a year.”
Basically, Martin is criticizing the lack of two characters in the show who may have some bearing on future books he has not written yet. It’s not unfathomable to believe they will play a part, as the Tyrells continue to make their moves for power, but it’s also not surprising since they haven’t yet, they weren’t included. In the show, though, their contributions may be taken over by the other Tyrells we already know (the show already doesn’t use Loras enough except as a caricature, when he’s supposed to be an incredible fighter).
Strong Belwas, a giant eunuch warrior and former pit fighter who becomes one of Daenerys Queensguard in the books, has always been a fan-favorite. He has some great scenes, and eliminating him takes away a lot of charm and humor from Dany’s story in Meereen (which could really use some less serious storylines. Thankfully Tyrion is there now to at least add some sardonic tones to the otherwise lifeless proceedings).
Regarding Belwas, Martin simply said, “I understand why he was cut, but I kind of miss him.” Daario has taken over some of Belwas’ story, although even he hasn’t played a huge role in the series as of yet.
Ah, Lady Stoneheart. Much has been written about the lack of Lady Stoneheart in Game of Thrones. At this point, the statue of limitations on bringing her back (her being the resurrection of Catelyn Stark as a vengeful undead figure, reanimated through the Lord of Light’s magic) seems to have been reached, but anything is possible!
Martin said, “Lady Stoneheart does have a role in the books. Whether it’s sufficient or interesting enough… I think it is, or I wouldn’t have put her in. One of the things I wanted to show with her is that the death she suffered changes you.”
Lady Stoneheart appearing on the show though would have changed up Jamie and Brienne’s trajectory (if it went along with the books), though it would have strengthened the show’s supernatural mythology and religious underpinnings, which don’t often really get played up. Also, it would have given some feeling of vindication for the Starks. Alas!
So, book readers, what other characters has the show cut out that you’ve missed? Or on the flip side, which ones are you glad haven’t been included? The shows seems to not be introducing so many new characters of their own creation now, but that may all change after this season, when it will lose its textual roadmap …
Catch up with more of our recent Games of Thrones coverage below.
- GAME OF THRONES: Go Behind the Scenes of the Epic Battle of “Hardhome”
- GAME OF THRONES Decoded: Valyrian Steel, White Walkers, and the Night’s King
- GAME OF THRONES Recap: “Hardhome”
- GAME OF THRONES Featurette Dives Deep Inside Last Night’s Big Moment; Plus High-Resolution Images
- GAME OF THRONES: George R.R. Martin Won’t Write a Season 6 Episode Either
- GAME OF THRONES Season 5 Has a Dynamic Duo Problem
- Is GAME OF THRONES Season 6 Returning to Pyke?