Incredible 'Game of Thrones' scenes from the books that really should have made it to the TV show
The long-awaited eighth and final season of Game of Thrones is airing this month. After a nearly two year break from our screens, Westeros will return on April 14 with the aptly titled episode 'Winter is Here'. And after watching the Seven Kingdoms war for the Iron Throne since 2011, fans are desperate to learn who finally will sit on it.
But the real question is: will this person be a member of the living or the dead?
If you haven't seen it yet, here's the official trailer for season eight:
However, as is the case in any series adapted from print, there's a lot more to Westeros than what's portrayed in the hit HBO series - as anyone who has ever read George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire will attest.
Now, as the televised story comes to an end, we have taken a look at the most shocking scenes from the books; some of which really should have made it into the show, and others, well, it's easy to see why they didn't make the cut.
1. Lady Stoneheart
One of the most shocking events in the series was the Red Wedding - and that really is saying something given Game of Thrones' reputation for being bloody. One of its victims was, Catelyn Stark, and in the novels, instead of being truly dead and gone, in true Sleeping Beauty style, she is brought back to life with a kiss from Beric Dondarrion. Quite understandably, she goes on a killing spree to avenge her family.
But given that this would have required the show acquiring a horrifying zombie with "pudding-like" skin the "color of curdled milk", unless Catelyn's reanimated corpse was created extremely well with CGI, it would have probably detracted from the overall quality of the show and how shocking the Red Wedding was.
2. Aegon Targaryen
It's no secret that the Game of Thrones' storyline is complicated, which is most likely why Aegon Targaryen was never featured in the series. Let me briefly try to explain his complicated lineage.
He's the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell, who was supposedly killed by the Mountain and Amory Lorch on Robert Baratheon's instructions. However, in the books, he appears to live and is discovered by Tyrion, who, under the name Young Griff, tells him that he was smuggled out of King's Landing because of the claim he had to the Iron Throne. Sure, it's shocking to think that he could exist, but it could have made the series more complicated than it already is.
Check out one of the teasers HBO have released for the final season, titled 'Aftermath':
3. Rattleshirt/Mance Rayder
Once again, this didn't make the cut because it was too complicated. In the show, Mance Rayder is burnt at the stake after he refuses to bend the knee. In the books, while this grizzly death happens, the person being burnt, Rattlesnake, simply looks like Rayder thanks to the power of Red Priestess Melisandre and a technique known as "glamoring". Rayder then goes on a mission to save the person he believes to be Arya Stark, Jeyne Pool.
You can see why this didn't work - there'd have been too many extra characters and additional magic techniques!
4. Quentyn Martell
One of the strongest features of the series is its characters. Even those who are evil, like Cersei Lannister, are interesting in their own right and serve a purpose. Quentyn Martell is a comparatively flat character. Son of Prince Doran and Lady Mellario, who, after his marriage proposal is rejected by Daenerys, takes it upon himself to train one of her dragons because of his Targaryen ancestry. Needless to say, he fails and is burnt alive. An unexpected death, but that's about it.
In another exclusive teaser, titled 'Survival', it seems a lot of alliances are going to be made:
If there was one physical object that the show was less for having omitted, it's the 6ft-long horn known as the Dragonbinder. Described in the books as a noise that sounds like "the screaming of a thousand souls", as its name suggests, whoever blows it (providing that they don't die, as most do), will be able to control any dragons who hear it.
In the books, the horn, which is covered in Valyrian steel and glowing glyphs, was discovered in the ruins of Valyria.
However, it's been suggested that this was one element of the book which was too fantastical to exist in the series.
6. Ser Barristan Selmy
While Ser Barristan Selmy, the former Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, features in the show, it's a bit of a letdown in terms of getting across the way his character comes across in the books - but obviously, the show's creators were limited in terms of how much of the books they could bring to life. In which, he's, well, a bit of a badass. "When Barristan the Bold tells you to run, a wise man laces up his boots," Gerris Drinkwater says.
I mean, he is killed by the Sons of the Harpy trying to rescue Greyworm in the show, but there's no doubt that his literary counterpart (who is still alive and well) would have never been taken down so easily.
Now, we don't know about you, but aside from watching the episodes, Maisie Williams recommended taking a second look at before series eight airs, we're tempted to re-read A Song of Ice and Fire once Winter is over. It'll give us one last fix of Westeros!