Game of Thrones: 5 Biggest Ways Season 5 Deviated From the Books

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) had a previously unwritten wedding and rape scene on HBO's Game of Thrones. HELEN SLOAN/HBO

Still laying a dragon egg over the Season 5 finale of Game of Thrones? With Jon Snow (probably) dead, Arya Stark blind, and Sansa Stark jumping from tall towers, all of Westeros is in a tizzy. But the finale, while certainly epic, wasn’t the only thing to unsettle fans this season. 

In Season 5 HBO parted ways with Songs of Ice and Fire series author George R.R. Martin‘s A Feast for Crows and A Dance of Dragons, adding in new plot points and placing certain characters where they’ve never been before. Some of the changes were welcomed (Tyrion + Daeny 4 Ever!) while others were totes not cool (umm, Shireen Baratheon, anyone?). 

Here were the five biggest ways the TV series deviated from the books: 

1. Sansa Stark Gets Married and Raped

Hadn’t this girl been through enough? Not only did Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) return to Winterfell and wed the sadistic Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), but their wedding night was what nightmares are made of. Sansa, who was unaware of Ramsay’s evils, had her wedding gown ripped off her body and was raped in an excruciatingly painful way. Her former pseudo-brother Theon Greyjoy, aka Reek (Alfie Allen) was forced to watch the horrific scene, which viewers saw through his eyes. 

Shireen Baratheon burning
Kerry Ingram as Shireen Baratheon in Game of Thrones. HELEN SLOAN/HBO

2. Shireen Baratheon Gets Burned Alive

Burning little girls alive? Not cool, GoT. When Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) got power hungry again and decided to listen to the manipulative Melisandre (Carice van Houten) too much, he made the disturbing decision to burn his precious daughter alive at the stake, as a necessary sacrifice to appease the Lord of Light. His wife, Selyse (Tara Fitzgerald), wasn’t the only one screaming for him to stop. We all were too. And when the pain of sending her own child to her death became too much, Selyse hung herself, which marked another departure. 

3. Myrcella Baratheon Poisoned

Even if you’re willing to look past the fact that Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) never even traveled to Dorne to fetch his niece/daughter in the books, it was her death that really did us in. In the finale, Myrcella finally talked things out with her real dad (and uncle, ick), Jamie, telling him she forgave him for keeping the secret from her all these years. And it was a good thing they made up, because she was poisoned with a kiss from Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma). We didn’t officially see her die, but with blood pouring out of her nose and no antidote in sight, things weren’t looking good for the fair-haired princess.  

Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke
Michiel Huisman, Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Iain Glen in Game of Thrones. NICK WALL/HBO

4. Tyrion Lannister Meets Daenerys Targaryen 

Someone finally got these two crazy kids together! Though readers of the books are still waiting to see what happens when Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Daeny (Emilia Clarke) finally meet, HBO viewers got a sneak peek. Naturally, they’re best buds … well, as “best buds” as one can be with the headstrong Mother of Dragons. They got separated in last week’s penultimate episode when Daenerys leapt on the back of her dragon, Drogon, and flew off and straight into a Dothraki horde. Hopefully this dream team will be reunited come Season 6. 

5. White Walker Attack

Y’all, winter is officially here. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) peed his pants a little (can you blame him?) when the Walking Dead of Westeros descended upon the Free Folk two episodes before the finale. Snow had been trying to convince the Free Folk to join ranks with the Night’s Watch in their battle against the White Walkers. But, surprise! The White Walkers showed up and literally turned an entire village into new, blue-eyed members of their undead army. It gave us nightmares that George R.R. Martin had not yet created. 

Tell Us: Did you like HBO’s choices to distance itself from the Songs of Ice and Fire books this season?

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