Game of Thrones is a phenomenally popular show. Over the four seasons that have aired thus far, audiences everywhere have been drawn into the tales of Essos and Westeros and ice zombies to the extent that the annual nine months of hiatus have become downright torturous. The fifth season premiere – entitled “The Wars To Come” – was a welcome fix for fans itching for advancement.
Fortunately for impatient viewers, the five of the intended seven books of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga that inspired the series had plenty of pages of plot to keep them busy between seasons. With the show now beginning to overtake the published source material, the differences between what readers know from the novels and what viewers are seeing in the HBO adaptation have become far more significant than in seasons past. Executive producers David Benioff and D. B. White have been clued in by Martin on the big events yet to come and even the very ending of the story. Soon, the show may be one giant cornucopia of spoilers for readers.
Of course, there’s every chance that the producers have chosen to rearrange the narrative for the small screen so as to pull a “Gotcha!” later in the series; assuming that Game of Thrones played it mostly straight in the Season 5 premiere, however, here are 5 major changes from the books that could be huge giveaways for the rest of the saga.
Warning: lots of spoilers ahead.
5. An Incomplete Prophecy
On The Show: “The Wars To Come” opens with young Cersei and her frightened friend paying a visit to a witch to learn their fortunes. With a quick taste of Cersei’s blood, the witch allows her to ask three questions about her future. The witch tells Cersei that she will marry a king, live as a queen until she is displaced by one younger and more beautiful, and outlive her children.
In The Books: The fourth book sees Cersei remembering a visit to a Lannisport maegi known as Maggy the Frog. The encounter proceeds much like as presented on the show…until the very end. After delivering the prophecy that Cersei’s children would receive golden shrouds as well as crowns in her lifetime, Maggy delivers a final blow that would haunt Cersei for years. “And when you tears have drowned you,” warns Maggy the Frog, “the valonqar shall wrap his hands around your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
What It Could Mean: With “valonqar” translating from the High Valyrian for “little brother,” Cersei unravels in King’s Landing as she begins to see the threat of a murderous Tyrion in every corner. The absence of the word from the otherwise nearly verbatim adaptation for the screen could mean that neither Tyrion nor Jaime will have a hand in Cersei’s demise.