When Did Game of Thrones Stop Following the Books?

George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series is the basis for HBO’s Game of Thrones, but the show has deviated from the source material.

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It’s no secret that Game of Thrones has diverged from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series, with the most recent season being the most egregious offender. But when did the show start to move away from its literary source material? Let’s take a look at the major changes the television series has made, and when they occurred.

The first significant divergence occurs in season three’s “The Rains of Castamere” episode, which features the infamous Red Wedding massacre. In the books, this event isn’t revealed until A Storm of Swords’ final chapters, whereas in the show it happens midway through season three. This change was made to speed up the pacing of the show, as well as to give viewers a shocking moment that would rival Ned Stark’s (Sean Bean) beheading in season one.

After this point, there are a number of smaller changes and alterations made to various characters and plotlines, but nothing on par with “The Rains of Castamere” until season five. It’s here that things start to get really different, with Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) having a vision of his father about Tower of Joy, which leads him to believe that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is not Ned Stark’s bastard son, but rather his nephew — making him Targaryen heir to the Iron Throne. In the books, Jon’s true parentage is still unconfirmed, though Bran’s Greensight visions have yet to be explored in depth.

Season six is when things really start to go off-book, with multiple deaths and events happening that haven’t occurred in the novels. The most controversial change was undoubtedly Lady Stoneheart’s (Michelle Fairley) non-appearance; after being resurrected at the end of A Feast For Crows, she goes on a vengeful killing spree in A Dance With Dragons… but she never appears on-screen in Game of Thrones.

The show continued to move further away from its literary origins in season seven; not only did important events happen much earlier than they did in the books (such as Cersei Lannister’s coronation), but new scenes were created entirely for television (such as Jorah Mormont and Jon Snow bonding over their greyscale scars). The final straw for many book fans came in season eight’s “The Bells” episode; not only did it rush through storylines at lightning speed (Daenerys’ descent into madnessEROFRUITSHROINFHMNASFEIUCDGHUIFGVYCFGBNJMUHNIRUFCYNUIOAJFBGDIUSRVGUIBZCNUXVCBVNM

The books vs. the show

One of the most controversial aspects of Game of Thrones is the show’s increasing divergence from the books. For the first few seasons, the show roughly followed the plot of the books. But as the show has progressed, it has moved further and further away from George R.R. Martin’s source material.

This has led to a lot of debates among fans about which is better: the books or the show? There are valid arguments on both sides, but ultimately, it comes down to a matter of preference.

Those who prefer the books argue that they are a more complex and nuanced story with richer characters. They also point out that George R.R. Martin is a master world-builder, and the world of Westeros is more fully realized in the books than it is on the show.

Those who prefer the show argue that it is more visually stunning and action-packed than the books. They also point out that the showrunners are making bold choices that deviate from the source material in order to create a more exciting story.

At this point, it’s impossible to say which is better, because they are two completely different experiences. The best thing to do is to read the books and watch the show side-by-side and make up your own mind.

Why the show stopped following the books

There are a number of reasons why the show stopped following the books. The most obvious reason is that the books have not been finished yet. George R.R. Martin, the author of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series on which Game of Thrones is based, has not finished writing the seventh and final book in the series, The Winds of Winter. The sixth book in the series, The Children of Men came out in 2011, and since then Martin has been working on The Winds of Winter.

Although he has said that he expects to finish the book “soon,” he has also said that it will be very long (possibly over a thousand pages) and complex, with multiple points of view and several major character deaths. It’s possible that he will finish the book before Season 7 of the show airs, but it’s also possible that he won’t.

In addition to this, there are other reasons why the show might have decided to deviate from the books. One reason could be that they wanted to avoid spoilers. Although George R.R. Martin has said that he has told showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss what happens in The Winds of Winter, it’s possible that they don’t want to know, so that they can be surprised by events in the book when it comes out.

Another possibility is that they wanted to speed up the pace of the show. In general, each season of Game of Thrones covers one year in Westeros (with some exceptions), while each book covers multiple years. This means that if they stick strictly to the events of the books, each season would cover less and less time as the series goes on.

Finally, it’s worth noting that while Game of Thrones started out as a very close adaptation of its source material, in recent seasons it has deviated more and more from the books. This was likely due to a combination of all of the reasons mentioned above.

The impact of the show’s changes

The HBO show Game of Thrones has been both a critical and commercial success. However, it has also been controversial for its deviations from the source material, George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series. Some fans feel that the changes have ruined the story, while others argue that the show is more entertaining than the books.

The most significant change is the death of Robb Stark, who is killed at the Red Wedding along with his wife and mother in the third season. In the books, Robb is still alive at this point and is planning to march on Lannister-controlled King’s Landing. His death is a major turning point in the story, and many fans believe it was a mistake to kill him off so early in the show.

Other changes include Sansa Stark marrying Ramsay Bolton (in the books she marries Tyrion Lannister), Arya Stark becoming blind (in the books she doesn’t go blind), and Daenerys Targaryen being pregnant (in the books she isn’t). These changes have led to some controversial plotlines, such as Sansa’s rape by Ramsay, which many fans believe was unnecessary and gratuitous.

It’s impossible to please everyone, but it’s clear that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have made some major changes to Martin’s original vision for the story. Whether these changes are good or bad is up for debate, but they’ve definitely had an impact on how fans perceive both the show and the books.

The fan reaction

The seventh and penultimate season of the fantasy drama television series Game of Thrones premiered on HBO on July 16, 2017, and concluded on August 27, 2017. Unlike previous seasons that consisted of ten episodes each, the seventh season consisted of only seven. The series is based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R. R. Martin, several of which were published before the corresponding television season aired.

The series was adapted for television by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. The fan reaction to the change in its source material was initially mixed but mostly negative; many felt that cutting out so much plot from the novels was unnecessary, while others were simply upset that their favorite characters’ fates had been left unresolved.

The future of the show

The future of the show is up in the air, as it has been for a while. The creators have said they want to end the show with six more seasons, but it’s unclear if that will actually happen. The show has been a massive success, but it’s also expensive to produce. So, it’s possible that the show could end sooner than six seasons. It’s also possible that the show could go on for longer than six seasons. Only time will tell.


The short answer is that Game of Thrones stopped following the books after the fifth season. The showrunners made a decision to diverge from the books in order to tell their own story. This decision was controversial, but ultimately resulted in a critically acclaimed television series.

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