With the massive popularity that Game of Thrones achieved, it is fair to say that many fans of the show will not have read the books or any of the other material set within the world created by author George R.R. Martin.
While the show was one of the best examples of an adaptation done well, those who have not delved beyond it may be missing out on some of the deep lore, history, and other elements that Martin is so adept at weaving into the story, one of the key things that made the books so beloved by fans.
9 The Sheer Size Of The Cast
Viewers may have seen the HBO series as having a massive cast compared to other shows, but in reality, only a small portion of the characters who appear in the books made their way into the show.
The books include close to thirty different POV characters, and many of the side characters have had their roles merged or left out entirely. As big as the cast of the show was, it can’t match up against the sheer number of different characters in the books.
8 There Were Far More Noble Houses Than Viewers Saw
The different noble houses of Westeros were one of the most well-known features in Game of Thrones, with many fans taking a particular liking to one or the other. Stark, Lannister, and Baratheon all became household names, with many others appearing in the show.
In the books, this was expanded upon even more. Dozens of different noble families are mentioned, often with some tidbit of information relating to a member of that house or some sort of historical figure, giving a sense of scale and grandeur to the story that the show had to create in other ways.
7 Food Descriptions Were All Throughout The Story
Fans of the books will know that descriptions of food are commonplace in the books, often vividly described in a way that adds a sense of realness to the story. Food is an important part of any culture, and author George R.R. Martin developed that through these descriptions.
It’s no surprise that this was left out almost entirely in the show. While a Game of Thrones cooking show might appeal to some, most viewers were more interested in the characters and their stories than all the minutiae of detail that were found throughout the books.
6 Each Character Had A Well-Developed Backstory
Game of Thrones does an excellent job of developing its characters, making them feel real in a way that isn’t always easily achieved in a fantasy series. However, many small details were left out by necessity, details that helped expand upon each of the character’s histories.
In the books, these histories were often given great importance. Characters would often discuss the past, such as how Barristan Selmy became famous for slaying Maelys the Monstrous and ending the last Blackfyre Rebellion, or how Jaime Lannister made a name for himself at age fifteen by fighting the Smiling Knight, an infamous bandit. Many of these small stories didn’t make it into the show but added plenty of depth to the characters.
5 The Story’s Lore Goes Even Deeper
It is clear in the show just how much depth there is to the history of the world in Game of Thrones, from the tales of the Long Night to the strange and mysterious lands of the far east, yet viewers only get glimpses of these, whereas the books spend much more time delving into this lore.
Many of these elements do get some mention in the show, but some are glossed over entirely. One of the advantages of having read the books is having all of that deep lore to add context to the events of the show, which makes what is already an incredibly grand story even more so.
4 Some Major Characters Were Left Out Entirely
As with any adaptation on Game of Thrones’ scale, many elements from the books would have to be streamlined or left out entirely to keep the story tight and exciting on a week-to-week basis.
This would end up including some key characters that appear in the books and not in the show. Some of the most notable ones include ‘Aegon’, a young man said to be Daenerys younger brother having survived the sack of King’s landing and large mercenary army to conquer Westeros, but perhaps the character book fans wanted to see the most was Lady Stoneheart, a mutilated Catelyn Stark who was resurrected by Beric Dondarrion after the Red Wedding.
3 The Scale Of The World Is Massive
The set design in Game of Thrones was impeccable, from the beautiful stone walls of the Red Keep to the cold fortress of Winterfell, the team behind creating these locations did an amazing job of transporting fans to a world that felt real and fantastical at the same time.
Due to the restraints of producing a show on that scale, some locations that appear in the books naturally had to be left out. In some ways this makes the world feel smaller, as if there are only a few important places in the entire world, whereas in the books the sheer size and breadth of the world are much more readily apparent.
2 There Are Some Great Spin-Offs
It might be surprising to fans of the show that the main series of books is not the only material published in the world of Game of Thrones. This includes not only a series of graphic novels and novellas set just a few decades prior to the main series but also several books of lore, as well as video and board games.
Many of these greatly expand upon the world of A Song of Ice and Fire and add layers to what is already a deep and complex story. Some of the elements that appear in these are expected to influence the upcoming television series House of the Dragon, which is set nearly two hundred years before the original show and will be set around a civil war between House Targaryen, known as the Dance of Dragons.
1 The Pain Of Wondering If The Books Will Be Completed
It is not uncommon in the fandom of A Song of Ice and Fire for fans to take a pessimistic view of whether the last books of the series will ever be released, as no firm date has ever been given and any rumors of such have always been pushed further and further back.
While it is understandable that fans of the books want to see the story they love come to a conclusion, author George R.R Martin has devoted many decades already to creating the characters and the world that so many hold dear. Writing a novel on the scale of that series is a monumental task, and with the Game of Thrones television series bringing the story to a conclusion, fans may have to be satisfied with the ending they receive and enjoy the vast amount of content set within the world already created.