Game of Thrones “The Wars to Come” – What was Different?

Game of Thrones is officially back thanks to the Season 5 premiere that took place last night, which was titled “The Wars to Come.” Just like last year I plan to point out the similarities and differences between the HBO show and the Martin novels they’re based on, which will be especially interesting this season thanks to all of the changes the show runners have made compared to the fourth and fifth books of the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

For the most part “The Wars to Come” featured many scenes that are very similar to the books, but there were more than a few changes as well. Overall, I didn’t notice anything that really stood out as being wildly different from the novels, but I’m expecting that to change as the season carries on.

Head on down below to find out what was different, and what was similar about “The Wars to Come” in relation to the two novels it’s based on. There is also an inside look into the episode and a preview for the next episode in “The Videos” section.

SPOILERS, you have been warned about SPOILERS, repeat, there are SPOILERS below for the show and the novels.

What was Different

Tywin’s Funeral – In the books the nobility aren’t prevented from seeing Tywin by Cersei, in fact, everyone was allowed at his vigil, and Tywin’s rotting corpse smelled so bad that it made many of the attendees sick. His lips also dried up and curled, which made him look like he was smiling, which bothered both of the Lannister children. Jaime also doesn’t confess to aiding Tyrion’s escape to Cersei, in fact, she actually asks him to be Hand of the King, which he turns down.


Samwell and Gilly and the Wall – Samwell and Gilly are never a huge item in the novels, he does care for her, but their relationship isn’t as evident as it is portrayed in the show. By this time in the books Sam has already helped Jon become Lord Commander and gets sent to Oldtown to become a Maester. This may still happen, but last night made it appear that Sam and Gilly are living together at the Wall, which they never really were.

Robert Arryn’s Rearing – Little Lord Robert Arryn is much more aligned with Sansa in the novels than the show portrays, he almost treats her like another mother, which wasn’t evident at all in last night’s episode. I don’t believe that Robert is left with Lord Royce to be trained either.


Brienne and Pod’s Adventure – Brienne and Pod never come within 100 yards of Sansa contrary to the brief scene featuring them in “The Wars to Come.” In fact, Brienne is on a solo mission in the novels as she heads to Duskendale, which is where Pod joins her after she catches him spying in the distance. The show portrayed this meeting differently last season, so it appears the actual journey these two go on will be wildly different from how it is portrayed in the novels.

Loras Tyrell and his Betrothal to Cersei – Loras is never betrothed to Cersei in the books, he’s actually a member of the Kingsguard, and gets sent to Dragonstone by Cersei with the hopes of him dying so she can continue to manipulate the powerful people in King’s Landing.

Varys Accompanies Tyrion to Pentos – Varys does indeed aid Tyrion’s escape, but he doesn’t make the trip to Pentos with him. Tyrion deals with Magister Illyrio directly, who hooks Tyrion up with a band of interesting individuals who are protecting a young fair haired boy believed to be Aegon Targaryan, the baby that was supposedly killed by the Mountain during the sack of King’s Landing that took place during Robert’s rebellion. They are headed to Mereen to seek Dany though, as the show portrayed last night.

What was Similar

Young Cersei and Maggie’s Prophecy – The opening scene of this episode is dead on to a flashback recounted in the novels. Cersei did indeed have her fortune read, which is why she despises Margery Tyrell so much, since she is the fair maiden that will take her place as Queen.

The Targaryan Pact – There is a group of nobles who have secretly remained loyal to the Targaryans, even though the show has portrayed Varys’ role a bit differently than it is in the books. With that being said there is a plan to bring Dany and another potential heir back to Westeros to reclaim the Iron Throne.

Sons of the Harpy – The bringing down of the Harpy statue, and the Sons of the Harpy terrorist attacks do take place in the books just like they were portrayed in the first episode of Season 5. The Sons of the Harpy do murder Unsullied soldiers in brothels, and they do become a thorn in Dany’s side.


Stannis Enlisting Jon Snow’s Support – Stannis does try to play on Jon Snow’s ties to the North and wants him to avenge his family, and he does use him to try and convince Mance to join his cause. Although, by this time in the books Jon Snow is already the Lord Commander of the Wall.

Lancel Lannister’s Drastic Change – Lancel does indeed become religious and joins the Sparrows after he reflects on all of the shady crap Cersei had him do when she was married to Robert.

Mance Burned Alive – Mance does get burned alive by Melissandre, but in the books the guy being barbecued is actually not Mance, it’s the Lord of Bones who has been made to look like him by Melissandre.

The Videos

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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.