Game of Thrones “The Children” – What was Different?

Game of Thrones has come to an end with “The Children”, the final episode in its fourth season that has set the direction for season 5 and beyond. Like last week’s episode, “The Children” varied greatly from the books for a few choice scenes, especially those involving Arya, but overall it maintained the vision that Martin painted in his books. A few narrative threads were rushed to push the overall story forward, but the liberties the show runners took won’t greatly affect the outcome of what Martin has written so far. Head on down below to find out exactly what was different, and what was similar between “The Children,” and Martin’s books.

Please proceed with caution as there will be major spoilers for the TV show and the A Song of Ice and Fire novels in the sections below.

SPOILERS, you have been warned about SPOILERS, repeat, there are SPOILERS below.

What was Different

Cersei to marry Loras and her confession to Tywin – In the books Cersei is to be wed to Willas Tyrell, Balon Greyjoy, or Oberyn Martell. She’s never promised to Loras, who is actually in the Kingsguard in the books, so he can’t marry anyway. Cersei also never comes out and blatantly admits to her Dad that she and Jaime are the true parents of Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella.

Tormund Giantsbane captured – Tormund never gets captured by the Night’s Watch. In fact, he is involved in the battle when Stannis attacks the Wildlings and escapes to eventually become the de facto leader of the Wildlings. He is never held prisoner by the Night’s Watch in the books.


Jojen Reed dying – Bran’s traveling partner Jojen Reed doesn’t die before finding the three-eyed crow like he did in “The Children.” This whole thread was a bit different in the books, as the events showcased didn’t happen until book 5. The Coldhands character is never introduced either, who is a mysterious dead Ranger that helped the group reach the tree.

Brienne finding Arya and fighting the Hound – Brienne and Pod never find Arya and the Hound in the books. The two groups never come in contact, so Brienne doesn’t fight the Hound and almost kill him. In the books the Hound is wounded by Lannister men and left to die by Arya, who doesn’t treat him so friendly as she does in the TV show.

What was Similar

Jon meeting with Mance – Jon does indeed meet with Mance, but the circumstances are a bit different. In the books Jon is sent to treat with Mance by the Night’s Watch hoping that he will be killed. This is because Janos Slynt has shown up and branded him a traitor, so he hopes Mance will kill Jon for him.


Stannis attacks the Wildlings – Stannis and his army do show up and save the day by waylaying the Wildlings in the forest. Like the show they show up just in time to save Jon’s ass from getting killed.

Qyburn and Cersei – In the books Cersei does elevate the disgraced Qyburn to a position of power, and he does take the Mountain’s body into his possession to perform experiments on it.

Dany’s dragon issues – Drogon does start killing villagers, which does lead to the two other dragons getting locked up. The locked up dragons will play a major role moving forward if the show runners stay close to the material presented in A Dance with Dragons.


Bran meeting the Three-eyed Crow – Bran does meet the old man in the tree, and the scene played out similarly to the book. This encounter doesn’t happen until book 5, but it does happen, and the old man even uses the line about flying instead of walking when speaking to Bran.

Tyrion’s escape – This entire scene is pretty spot on to how it played out in the books. Jaime does release him with the help of Varys. Tyrion does kill Shae who was laying in Tywin’s bed, and he does kill his Dad with a crossbow. The only difference was that Tyrion shoots Tywin in the gut while he’s pooping, and doesn’t hit him in the heart.

Arya sets sails – Arya does leave the Hound to suffer, and she does use her coin to be taken to Braavos to reinvent herself now that she thinks her entire family is gone.

If I missed anything please chime in with your discrepancies in the comment section below. Head on down below to check out a preview of next week’s episode of Game of Thrones, as well as a few behind the scenes videos for “The Children.”

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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.