I’ve got another confession to make. I’m your fool. Nah, just kidding fam. My confession is this: I love A Song of Ice and Fire. Notice how I call it A Song of Ice and Fire. Because that’s what the book series is called. Game of Thrones, in the eyes of myself and many other fans, is a completely different animal. A completely different story with a skin of our favorite story. Don’t mistake me; Game of Thrones has some great moments. But we’re all book people here. The books are always better.
The plot, at this point, has almost completely diverged from the books, and rightly so in my opinion. A lot of the plot changes also came with big character changes or outright exclusions. I get it, David Benioff and DB Weiss. I do. No I don’t. I DON’T AT ALL.
So, with all that said, Cristina asked which characters I am most incensed were cut from the show. In response I said, “If you insist…”
Because of the nature of this list, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you have not read the books, DO NOT READ THIS LIST!!!!!!! You have been warned.
10. Symon Silvertounge
On the bottom of the list is our favorite blackmailer, Symon. In the books he is a singer who Shae hires because she’s bored in the hidden little mansion that Tyrion buys for her. (Because honestly guys. Would you keep your mistress that your psycho dad expressly forbid you from having in your room in the Red Keep? Lol, Game of Thrones writers).
I mainly put Symon on here because he is the one who sings the song that Tyrion later rememebers: He rode through the streets of the city… Down from his hill on high… etc.
If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, in the show it was the song that Ed Sheeran sang in his cringeworthy cameo on the show. Yep. That’s what you guys do to this song that Tyrion thinks of when he expresses his regret at how all that went down. Cool.
Symon is on here because he reminded Tyrion that sometimes you have to get rid of a problem in the universe of ASOIAF by killing the dude starting it and having him cooked into a bowl of brown. Tyrion still your favorite character? You’re damn right he is.
9) Myranda Royce and Mya Stone
A twofer rounds out number nine on the list. These two become Sansa’s friends when she poses as Alayne Stone in the Vale. Myranda is a short and pretty Highborn girl who’s not so secretly lusting after the dude Sansa’s due to marry (Yep. More on him later).
Mya, on the other hand, is one of Robert’s bastards that he fathered while he was fostered at the Eyrie. She had a fling with a highborn son of House Redfort in the vale that ended when he was married to another highborn girl. We first see her as a confident, powerful young lady who helps Sansa’s mom make the (Horrifying and difficult) climb to see her sister in the Eyrie.
These two are on here for three reasons:
- Sansa has friends in the books. Let’s be honest, that girl deserves them. She’s been through a lot.
- Two more cool, potentially really interesting female characters.
- They both have backstories that could go to super interesting places. Myranda has a pretty compelling reason to tell Sansa’s dirty little secret to the whole world. Mya is a Royal Bastard. Once all the dust starts to kick up in the book series, I think that all of Robert’s remaining bastards will play big parts.
This is my “I Have High Hopes” for these two entry on the list.
8) Ilyn Payne
Before you say it!!! I know he is in the show. I know that he’s not on it more because the actor who plays him has cancer and it prevented him from being on more.
That out of the way, I’m pretty bummed that Ilyn Payne didn’t make more of his trademark appearances.
In A Clash of Kings, he is in the room, Ice in tow, ready to kill Cersei, Sansa, and all the highborn ladies with them should Stannis win the battle. Yep. That’s how Cersei rolls, fam.
Where the books currently are, he’s chilling with our man Jamie Lannister (my favorite character. Please feel free to scream below). Jaime uses him as a sparring partner to learn how to use a sword with his left hand.
Again, I know this place is taken brilliantly (performance wise) by Bronn, but Ilyn Payne makes so much more sense. Why? He can’t tell people you can barely fight anymore. He also can’t tell your secrets when you spill them because you have no one else to tell them to. Bronn’s loyalty goes only as far as the profit margin allows. You gotta respect Bronn’s devotion to the Mercenary’s Code, but it makes a lot more sense to confess your sins to a man who can’t tell them to anyone else. That’s our boy Ilyn. (Spoiler alert: He has no tongue and is illiterate. He literally cannot tell people your secrets).
7) The Kindly Man
Again, I know he technically got his place taken by Jaqen H’gar in the show. (A reveal that will never not be disappointing.)
In the books, The Kindly Man is a mysterious individual who lives at the base of the Faceless Men, the House of Black and White. When Arya arrives, he appears to have a disgusting, rotting face taken from a corpse. He says that if Arya gives him a kiss he’ll teach her. She goes for it and he stops her, agreeing to teach her the ways of the Faceless men.
I’m putting him on here because he is a much more mysterious and interesting character in the books. Shocking, I know. He teaches Arya important lessons not just about murder, but about life and its value. He also constantly preaches restraint; a lesson she badly needs.
All in all he’s a cool dude. I’m bummed he was dumped on the “not in the show” trough. Real missed opportunity.
6) Donal Noye
Donal Noye was awesome.
Originally a smith for House Baratheon, he is the one that made Robert’s War Hammer. When the castle was besieged he took a wound in his left arm. The wound got infected and he lost the arm. House Baratheon was like “Yo dawg. We love you but you can’t be the smith here with one arm.” So he said “Cool story bro,” and shucked up to Castle Black, where he kept smithing, becoming the Night’s Watch’s primary armourer.
What a great character. He gets crippled, but instead of giving up and spending the rest of his life getting drunk in a tavern in the castle town, he goes to serve somewhere that appreciates him. And he’s a total BAMF. When the leadership of the Night’s Watch comes down with a sudden case of death, he’s pretty much the one that takes up the leadership. That ends when he kills the leader of the Giants (who kills him back.)
He’s on here because he teaches Jon Snow about leadership. When Jon Snow becomes Lord Commander, he often thinks back on Donal’s lessons and experience. So not only was he himself awesome, his legacy was also informative to everyone’s favorite Bastard.
5) Harold Hardyng
Called Harry the Heir, he is, by an extremely long and complicated series of deaths and marriages, the heir to Robert Arryn of the Vale. We all know Robert as Robyn, the skinny, pale, sickly kid.
Anyway, Harry is currently a strong, hale, and hearty young man whose D all the girls in the Vale want. (Some have even succeeded. He already has two bastard daughters.) Myranda tells Sansa in an awkward moment of clarity that she wishes it was she who was betrothed to him. That’s the hot drams right there fam. Thus this closes the loop on the earlier comments I made.
Harry is on here for a couple of reasons. He’s a much better, much less stupid match for Sansa than Ramsay Bolton. (Seriously guys. Wtf was that?) His inclusion in the books so far has largely been everyone else planning his future for him. People don’t tend to like that. Littlefinger cryptically says in the books that he will take over for Robyn when Robyn inevitably dies. When Sansa tries to correct that crucial conjunction to “if,” Littlefinger makes it pretty clear that Robert Arryn won’t be living into adulthood. Fairly classic Littlefiner.
To me, Penny’s exclusion is kind of insulting. I think I kind of maybe understand some of the possible reasons for her exclusion. Even still, she’s kind of a big deal in A Dance with Dragons.
She is a dwarf who initially tries to murder Tyrion. She was one of the two dwarfs that jousted on Joffrey’s wedding, which really got Tyrion’s goat. Because of the humungous bounty that Cersei puts on Tyrion after he kills Tywin and escapes King’s Landing, people start killing male dwarves all over the world and trying to pass off their head’s as Tyrion’s. Penny’s brother Oppo was one such unfortunate soul.
Penny initially blames Tyrion for this, but eventually the two develop a close relationship. She gives Tyrion some really essential life lessons about being a dwarf in a world where he’s no longer able to say “I’m a Lannister” to most every problem. Tyrion’s relationship with Penny is so informative and eye opening to Tyrion’s character that I find her being dumped wholesale from the plot more than a little offensive.
Called “The Wildling Princess” by idiots, she is the sister of Mance Rayder’s wife. She is never shown as saying that she is Royal, as the Wildlings do not view family lineage and royalty the same as the people of Westeros. She merely considers herself as a leader of the Free Folk, which adds to the problem of people from Westeros thinking that she’s the rightful Queen of the wildlings now.
Val is important because she becomes an important ally to Jon Snow on his quest to not let everyone in Westeros die a horrible icy death. She helps him understand the ways of the wildlings and win them over and helps him bring the wildling leadership together.
If you’re about to tell me that the nameless wildling woman who stood up to the other wildlings and then immediately got stabbed to death by Wights in the Hardhome scene in season 5 was Val, you can stop right there. Val is SO MUCH MORE than a person who would have gone out in the same chapter she appeared. She’s a badass lady who’s as smart as she is deadly. If those Wights came up on her in the books, Val would have sent them packing with words alone. Get out of here with excluding her from the show, guys.
The plot with the wildlings is one of the big misses of the show for me. Val being gone is just the cherry on top of that outrageous sundae.
2) Aegon Targaryen the Sixth of his Name (The Real One) AKA Young Griff.
Yep. I’m going there. Jon Snow is Aegon the Sixth? No. Wrong. Fake news.
The REAL Aegon the Sixth was only a baby when the events of Robert’s Rebellion played out. Everyone believes he was cruelly murdered by The Mountain. Remember the last part of Oberyn’s chant: “You killed her children!” Aegon was the second child. Secretly, the real Aegon was spirited away by Varys and his allies and placed into the care of a loyal exile Knight, Ser Jon Connington. (More on him below.)
For 16 years, Jon Connington has been raising Aegon as “Young Griff.” To hide his identity they dye his hair blue (The Tyroshi dye their hair in the books) and make up a false story of his life. Varys tells a certain character as he’s dying that Aegon “knows leadership is his duty” as opposed to Tommen, who believes it is his right.
This assessment may be stretching things a bit, as Aegon is hot blooded and foolhardy, a trademark of youth. His interactions with Tyrion become especially important to both men’s character development. Tyrion tells Aegon some hard lessons about how the world works, shaking up the latter’s worldview somewhat and making him gently question the lessons Jon Connington has tried to teach him his whole life.
I think at this point Aegon’s inclusion on this list pretty much speaks for itself. I get it guys. You needed to make it so Jon Snow was super duper special. But REALLY?! You just toss THAT MUCH canon out the window? Poor form, gentlemen.
It’s still a mystery if Aegon is really who everyone says he is in the books. He has the Targaryen looks, but in the mythos of the books that proves next to nothing. It’s still unclear what his path will be in the coming books or if he’s just another one of Varys’ aces in the hole. Only time will tell. This edit was close to sacrilege for me.
Mainly in here because he’s fun. Remember that? Fun? A eunuch bodyguard sent by Illyrio Mopatis to bring Danaerys back to Pentos. He mainly just says amusing things and fights people to the death. He’s just a fun character. His shining moment was eating poisoned bugs meant for Daenarys. (Yep, seriously) His inclusion is among the more understandable exclusions from the show, but still a bummer for me.
The disgraced former Hand of the King under Mad Aerys. He failed to kill Robert during the Battle of the Bells and was stripped of his lands and titles. He spent a short time as an exile before Varys approached him with the infant Aegon VI. Old Jonny took it as a personal chance for redemption. He and a merry outlaw band have raised the boy ever since.
Why did he do all this? Because he was in love with Rhaegar Targaryen (like literally everybody else.)
So Jon’s on here for a few reasons. It’s a bummer that we lost another gay character. It also sucks that the whole Connington plot was ditched wholesale because it’s one of the more interesting parts of A Dance with Dragons. Connington’s redemption theme is sorely missed in the lackluster season 5 and oftentimes bizarre season 6 for me.
1) Arianne Martell
This, to me, is the true sacrilege. I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again: the Dorne plotline in Game of Thrones is a raging dumpster fire. No, it’s the Springfield Tire Fire from The Simpsons. The complete misuse of Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes is, quite honestly, an embarrassment.
The Done plotline in the show is so bad, a few brave patriots tried to crowdsource a reshoot of the Dorne scenes in Game of Thrones. Yep, that’s a real thing. Google on. (‘Fixing Dorne’ on Kickstarter.)
I have not met a single person that says they liked the Dorne plot lines in Game of Thrones. The conclusion of that particular garbage dump in the show just read as a big old “screw you” after the many mess-ups the writing of this story line created. If there was one thing that MAY have fixed the plot even A LITTLE BIT, it would have been the inclusion of Arianne Martell.
‘Who is that?’ I’m so glad you asked. Arianne is just THE CROWN PRINCESS OF F$&%@#’ DORNE. Seriously!? SHE GOT CUT?! REALLY?! WHAT.
No but for real. This is a joke. You replace a really badass lady with 4 “badass” ladies, 3 of which do almost nothing and 1 of which is so divergent from everything her character should stand for every time I saw her onscreen I rolled my eyes. (The Sand Snakes and Ellaria, respectively.)
Be real guys. The deaths of the Sand Snakes in the show was satisfying. IT SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN! WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN PISSED. Instead I was rooting for Euron. FOR EURON. THE WORST BASTARD IN THE 7 KINGDOMS. (Yes, for serious.)
Arianne mistakenly believes in the books that her father is trying to pass her up in the line of succession to put her younger (infinitely less bold and competent) brother, Quentyn. Quentyn was also cut. Cool. Cool. Anyway, Arianne’s plan was to retaliatory start a civil war in the rest of Westeros, pressing Myrcella’s claim to the Iron Throne. Doran sniffs her out and kills her plot in its crib.
So now that you read the above paragraph. You’re telling me that it was better to have the sand snakes KINSLAY Doran and poor little Myrcella and Trystane. No man is as accursed as the kinslayer fam. The Sand Snakes in the show got what was coming to them.
Here’s my fix to your plot: Arianne thinks Doran is trying to make Trystane Prince of Dorne instead of her. She enlists the Sandsnakes to help her take over instead. They do and things get a little too crazy and Trystane Myrcella and Doran get killed. As her first act as Princess of Dorne, Arianne imprisons the Sand Snakes and Ellaria. When leadership proves trying, she’s forced to let the Sand Snakes out to council her and be her eyes and ears, keeping them all on tight leashes. Hotah would have been alive still because let’s be real fam, if someone tried to stab Hotah in the back, he would have cut them in half with his Ash and Iron wife. Hotah would not go down in one puny knife stab.
Would that not have been so much better? There are millions of ways to have made the Dorne plot better. It was painful to watch how that all panned out. I was tempted to just put “Dorne” here, but this is a different list. The. Dorne. Plot. Sucked. In. Game. Of. Thrones. Don’t @ me.
Look I know the demands of a show are much different from those on a book. Not that I think ASOIAF will be published to conclusion. But come on guys. Sometimes the writing just felt absolutely phoned in.
Well tanks to you for indulging my nerd rage ramblings. Who were you most angry was cut from GoT? Let me know below.
Max is a twenty-something psychology grad, avid gamer, and self-proclaimed Hufflepuff. He and Cristina met in high school, where they bonded over a mutual love of food, Harry Potter, and Disney. When he’s not dutifully attending book events with his book blogger fiancé, he can be found gaming, reading fantasy & sci-fi, and becoming overly invested in Food Network shows with Cristina.