Game of Thrones: 12 characters from GRR Martin's books that didn't make it to HBO's series
Game of Thrones is one of the best soap operas on television right now, but the HBO show has skipped out on portraying a number of interesting characters from George RR Martin's books. At times, the storylines of the missing characters are merged with others (Jorah does not have greyscale in the books, for instance), and at other times, they are replaced entirely. Jeyne Westerling, and not Talisa Maegyr is the wife of Robb Stark, and she lives on after the events in the Red Wedding. Lady Westerling is forbidden by Jaime Lannister to marry for two years, as people could claim her child is the heir to Winterfell. Here are 12 other characters from the books that were omitted from the TV series, and are not likely to make an appearance in the remaining seasons — much to fans' woe.
Penny is a dwarf artist, who performs a show involving jousting on pigs with her brother Oppo. If she were included in the TV series, she would be seen in the Purple Wedding, at the wedding feast of King Joffrey Baratheon. She would then accompany Tyrion across the sea to Mereen, where she would teach Tyrion to joust on the pigs. Her brother is one of the dwarfs killed after being mistaken for Tyrion. Tyrion and Penny share an awkward kiss, an incident that did not make it to the show.
Strong Belwas is a seasoned pit fighter from Mereen who is dispatched to protect Dany by Magister Illyrio Mopatis, the merchant friend of Varys. Strong Belwas has a habit of allowing the opponent fighters to cut him once before he kills them. In the show, his character was merged with Daario Naharis. In the siege of Mereen it is Belwas, and not Naharis who faces the Mereenese champion. Belwas gives Barristan Selmy the name of “Whitebeard”, and is almost poisoned to death by a gift of locusts given to Dany by Hizdahr zo Loraq. If the Hound likes chicken, Belwas likes to eat liver and onions after a fight. In the books, Belwas is one of the few people that Dany trusts. [Side note: Does an unnamed cameo count? A character that seemed to be Strong Belwas did make an appearance in the episode 'The Gift' from season five of Game of Thrones.]
Arianne Martell is one of the most important characters from the books left out in the TV series. She is the eldest daughter of Doran Martell, and the heir to the Dornish throne. She imagines having beautiful children with Ser Gerold Dayne, also known as Darkstar. Doran Martell is secretly priming Arianne to inherit the throne of Westeros through his machinations in the books. However, Arianne does not know this, and comes up with a clumsy scheme of her own to make Princess Myrcella the queen of Westeros, which turns out to be a disaster.
Gerold Dayne is a part of Arianne Martell’s inner circle, but disappears after a botched attempt to murder Myrcella, which leaves the princess disfigured and without an ear. He belongs to a branch of the House Dayne, and is not happy with the widespread fame of his cousin, Ser Author Dayne. "My House goes back ten thousand years, unto the dawn of days," Darkstar complains in the books, "why is it that my cousin is the only Dayne that anyone remembers?" Darkstar is entirely missing from the show.
Jon Connington used to be the hand of King Aerys Targaryen, and one of the closest friends of Rhaegar Targaryen. After the events of Robert’s Rebellion, Jon Connington escapes east and joins the Golden Company. Varys and Magister Illyrio Mopatis hunt him down and ask his help to take care of a child, who the two claim is the child of Rhaegar Targaryen. The child that the Mountain killed was not the young heir to the throne, and was apparently swapped with another baby. In the books, it is Connington who gets greyscale, while saving Tyrion from drowning during an attack by stonemen in the Rhoyne. Aspects of Connington’s characters have been merged with Jorah Mormont.
Aegon Targaryen is the young charge of Jon Connington. According to Varys, he is the son of Elia Martell and Rhaegar Targaryen. Only a few know of his secret, and he could even be a ploy by Varys and Mopatis to put a puppet on the Iron Throne. In the books, he is shown as an Aragorn-like figure, a rightful King who no longer has control over his land, and is in the process of reclaiming his throne. Aegon goes under the name of Young Griff while in disguise, and it is Aegon with the Golden Company who land before Dany in Westeros and take Storm’s End. His character seems to be merged with Dany in the show, which does not bode well for his future in the books.
Aurane Waters has a bastard’s name, and is known as the bastard of Driftmark. Cersei notices an uncanny resemblance to Rhaegar Targaryen, which seems to hint that his father could be the Prince of Dragonstone. He is one of the favorites of Cersei, and has a dry sense of humour. Cersei appoints Waters as her admiral, and Waters demands that she build 10 new dromonds for him. Once Cersei gets arrested by the Faith of the Seven, Aurane Waters escapes King’s Landing, taking the 10 dromonds with him. While no direct connections are made, the waters around the Stepstones are believed to be treacherous because of a new Pirate King, who calls himself the "Lord of the Waters".
Jeyne Poole is the daughter of the Steward of Winterfell, and one of the closest friends of Sansa. The Boltons pass her off as Arya Stark, and it is Poole who is forced to marry Ramsay. The infamous rape scene in the show actually takes place with Poole, and not Sansa. In one of the most epic scenes in the books, Theon redeems himself by jumping off from the walls of Winterfell with Poole, even though he had been previously punished by Ramsay Bolton for attempting to escape. Jeyne Poole’s story has been merged with that of Sansa in the TV show, which does not make Littlefinger look very good. Who in their right minds would think the best course of action was to get one of the last Stark children alive married off to Ramsay Bolton?
Another son of Doran Martell, he was given a fair chance at glory by his father, when he is dispatched to bring back Dany to Dorne. Quentyn fails to convince Dany, and is advised to return to Dorne as his life is in danger. When Barristan the Bold asks you to run, it is usually a good idea to follow the advice. Quentyn instead believes he can tame one of the dragons because of his Targaryen ancestry, and visits the pits. The series of events seem to indicate that Quentyn dies after being attacked by a dragon while his back is turned to it. However, some fans have read the chapter as an indication that he is still alive, as it is unclear if the charred body is actually Quentyn.
Victarion Greyjoy is one of the children of Balon Greyjoy, along with Theon, Euron and Asha. The showrunners decided to rename Asha to Yara in the shows to avoid confusion with Osha, a relatively minor character who ends up dying. At the Kingsmoot, Victarion promises gifts of gold, silver and gems to the Ironborn, but the seafarers choose Euron over him, who promises to tame dragons with a terrible horn. Euron sends Victarion off to propose Euron’s marriage to Dany. On the journey, Victarion’s injured hand is treated by a red priest, which seems to give him magical properties. Euron promises the Seastone chair to Victarion, once Euron gains the Iron throne. However, Victarion has private plans, and intends to propose himself as a match to Dany.
One of the most accomplished skinchangers in the books, Varamyr would have looked awesome on television. Varamyr maintains control over three wolves, a bear, a leopard like creature known as a shadowcat and an eagle. Despite his skill at skinchanging, Varamyr cannot control another human, as Bran does. Varmyr has experienced death nine times while he skinchanged into one of the animals he controlled. In one of the most damaging of these instances, an eagle Varamyr is using to spy on Stannis is burnt by Melisandre. Varamyr’s human body dies, but lives on in one of the wolves that he controlled, fueling theories that one of the Stark children would use this route to escape death, particularly Jon. The show may have hinted at this aspect of wargs, as Ghost remains with Jon's body till Melisandre gives Jon a life saving haircut.
Beric Dondarrion is brought back to life after being killed by the Hound by Thoros of Myr, a fire priest. In the books, Dondarrion gives his gift of live to the rotting body of Catelyn Stark, who heads a fearsome army. The appearance of Lady Stoneheart has been a persistent rumour on the shows across the many seasons. Stoneheart was apparently seen filming at the head of a massive army before the sixth season released, but did not show up. For many fans, the ship has sailed and it is too late for Stoneheart to appear on the show. Others believe that her story may be merged with that of Walder Frey, or Arya Stark, if she dies. If Catelyn does come back as Stoneheart in the latest season, her appearance would be hair-raising considering her body has been rotting for four seasons.
Game of Thrones season 7 will premiere on 16 July on HBO. In India, you can stream it on the Hotstar app on 17 July at approximately 7.30 am, or watch it on Star World on all Tuesday evenings, beginning 18 July.