The Game of Thrones TV series has been a remarkably faithful adaptation of George R.R. Martin's fantasy series so far, but that will change when season 5 debuts on April 12th. But not every alteration from the books is a bad thing! Here are five storylines from the novels we won't miss at all.
Book spoilers ahead!
A less-than-subtle portmanteau of "fake" and "Aegon", the character popular known as Faegon in A Song of Ice and Fire seems to have been omitted in season five, despite all indications he'll be a major force in the books. He is — well, he says he is — the lost son of Rhaegar Targaryen, supposedly killed when he was a baby. Spirited away in the nick of time (and traded for someone else's very unlucky baby), Varys and Illyris Mopatio have been hiding Aegon and training him to be a just and wise ruler for the good of the realm, although it's doubtful they'll mind having someone on the throne who trusts them implicitly.
In the books, it's supposed to be unclear if Aegon is legit or not, but whether he is or isn't the arrival of such a potentially major character in book five of the series has rankled many readers, not least because if it's true it seems to diminish Daenerys' importance in the narrative considerably, given that the son of the prince has a more legitimate claim to the Iron Throne than she does. Even if it's a plot development George R.R. Martin had considered from the beginning, Faegon feels like a last minute addition; and since he hasn't had time to do anything other than show up, there doesn't seem to be a reason for his existence other than to delay the real plot. Maybe that will change in future volumes of the books, but for now, it's kind of a relief that no one seems to have been cast as the character.
2) Greyjoy Family Matters
A great deal of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons takes place on the island of Pyke. The fate of the kingdom is up for grabs after King Balon mysteriously dies during a storm — either he fell off of one of Pyke's bridges accidentally, or he had help from one of the assassins known as the Faceless Men — and Balon's brother Aeron Damp-hair calls a Kingsmoot to decide who should lead the Iron Islands. The options mainly boil down to Balon's daughter Asha (known as Yara in the show) and Balon's awful brother Euron Crow's Eye, best known for tearing out the tongues of all of his ship's crew and raping his brother Victarion's wife. So of course Euron wins, which means the Greyjoys and the Iron-born are about to get even more horrible.
It's not a terrible storyline, but we'd much rather spend time with Tyrion, Jon Snow, Arya, Sansa, Bran, Jaime, the Sand Snakes and pretty much everyone else than the Greyjoys. Supposedly the Greyjoy storyline is absent in season five; I suppose it could show up in season six, but if the show sticks to its self-imposed seven season limit it seems unlikely it would waste time on Pyke politics. Frankly, if a raven would arrive somewhere with a note reading "Pyke has a new king, who's like Balon but even worse" that would more than suffice.
3) The Bachelor, Quentyn Martell
In A Dance with Dragons, Prince Doran Martell of Dorne reveals he had planned to marry his daughter Arianne to Viserys Targaryen in hopes that he would reconquer Westeros. Viserys spoiled that plan back in season one by being a complete jackass, but Doran's back-up plan is to marry his dull son Quentyn to Daenerys with hopefully the same results. I'm not calling the character "dull" to be funny; the book goes out of its way to describe Quentyn as plain in every way, and boy, does it give no evidence to the contrary. And yet so much of A Dance with Dragons involves Quentyn's journey to Meereen to meet with Dany, his completely lackluster wooing of her, and then him sticking around for no apparent reason even after she says no.
And he sticks around a long time, accomplishing nothing, and being of interest to no one (especially Dany). Frankly, the only interesting thing Quentyn does is get burned by Drogon at the end of the book, but he doesn't even have the decency to die. I can't even imagine what future development could occur that would somehow make this storyarc matter — it seems incredibly unlikely that Dorne will declare war against Daenerys just because Doran's dumb kid got in the way of a dragon — and thus we're very glad of all the Martells joining the show in season five, Quentyn does not appear to be among them.
4) Tyrion's Walk of Shame
After Tyrion kills his dad and flees King's Landing in the books, he has nowhere to go. Eventually he ends up at Illyrio Mopatis' place, who sends him to Meereen along with Faegon to meet with Daenerys. As the trailers for the new season have shown, Tyrion seems to meet up with Daenerys very soon — a very different scenario from the books, in which Tyrion still hasn't met the Mother of Dragons.
What Tyrion has done, in the books, is had a massive series of misadventures, none of which are particularly noteworthy. He's captured by the exiled Jorah Mormont, and then they're both captured by slavers, and eventually bought by a mercenary company. He's also met a fellow dwarf named Penny, and forced to mock-joust each other, just as Joffrey had a troupe of dwarves do at his wedding feast to Margaery. Given how awful fate has treated Tyrion so far, forcing him to participate in this dwarf mocking seems just too insulting, and it's likely a scene that actor Peter Dinklage is probably very happy to avoid altogether.
While we're all for spending time with Tyrion, it's obvious that his time as a slave and/or captive is going to be temporary, because he obviously has to meet and join up with Daenerys eventually. We're very happy the show seems to be getting right to it.
5) Victarion and The Hate Boat
When Euron's Crow's Eye wins the Kingmoot in Pyke, his brother Victarion loses (Asha is never considered a real candidate, because she's a woman, and the fact that she's the only sane, competent member of her family be damned). Although Victarion loathes Euron, once Euron is declared king Victarion obeys him completely. So when Euron orders him to go to Meereen to ask for Daenerys' hand in marriage — on Euron's behalf, obviously — Victarion sets sail immediately.
Victarion is yet another remarkably awful person — that aforementioned wife of his Euron raped? Victarion beat her to death as punishment for being raped — but he's a major addition in A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, even though he also doesn't even get to Meereen by the end of the latter book. So a great deal of time is spent hanging out with Victarion on his trip, as he reveals he's almost as evil as Ramsay Bolton, except without even the tiny shred of humanity that at least allows Ramsay to revel in his own cruelty.
Victarion's entire narrative existence seems to be to bring the dragon horn Dragonbinder to Daenerys — found off-page by Euron — presumably so she can get control of her three dragons so they stop freaking out and killing people before she invades Westeros. But it seems impossible that the terrible Victarion will fare any better in wooing Dany than Quentyn Martell did, and he'll more than likely meet the same fate as well, which is possibly why the show doesn't seem to have cast his character either. Surely there's a more efficient way to get a dragon horn in Daenerys' hands besides spending all that time with an awful character whose fate is almost certainly already sealed.
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