One of the most notable events in the first season of House of the Dragon is the beheading of Vaemond Velaryon by the Daemon Targaryen, an event that takes place in front of the entire court. As shocking as it is, it’s an event that’s staged differently than Fire and Blood. In the book, Vaemond is killed and then fed to Rhaenyra’s dragon (although the reasons for his execution are the same).
Of course, this isn’t the first time the Game of Thrones franchise has changed a death from how it happens in the books. In fact, there are a number of instances in Game of Thrones where a main character dies differently than he does in the book.
Catelyn Stark was without a doubt one of the bravest members of House Stark. This is precisely what makes her death at the Red Wedding even more difficult to watch.
However, while it bears significant similarities to the book version, it differs in one key point. In the books, her death is not final, and she is resurrected as a vengeful undead character known as Lady Stoneheart. In the series, however, this aspect of the character is omitted. Instead, Lady Stark’s death at the Red Wedding is final.
Kevan Lannister is a member of one of the most powerful houses in Westeros. In the books, he meets a rather tragic death when he is killed by Varys, who seeks to prevent him from restoring order to the realm (thus paving the way for the return of the Targaryens).
In the series, however, he is among those killed when the Great Sept of Baelor is destroyed by Cersei and a forest fire. It’s a more explosive death, sure, but she’s also stripped of much of what made her tragic in the original sequence of events.
Ser Barristan Selmy
Barristan Selmy’s disappearance is one of the most notable deaths on HBO’s Game of Thrones. Among other things, her murder strips Daenerys of one of her key allies.
In Martin’s books, Barristan the Bold is still very much alive. In fact, after Daenerys is kidnapped by Drogon, he is among those who can keep at least some peace in the city of Meereen. While it remains to be seen if he will end up dying in the books, it’s quite possible that he will be one of those who survives.
Mance Rayder is another character whose arc was interrupted in the series. Viewers will remember that Jon Snow shot him in an attempt to stop Melisandre from offering him up as a fiery sacrifice. He is a very different fate than the one he met in the book.
When Melisandre appears to sacrifice him, her victim turns out to be another glamorous person who looks like Mance Rayder. The real Mance is still alive and has in fact been sent to Castle Black. In the books, Mance is believed to be currently being held captive by Ramsay, who has found out who he really is and is determined to punish him.
House Stark suffers a lot during Game of Thrones. However, it must be said that they are blessed in at least one way, and that is in the strength and loyalty of their servants. Rodrik Cassel was one of the best but, as in the books, he meets his death when Theon recaptures Winterfell. In the series, Theon does the job himself, even though he messes it up a lot.
It’s very different from the books, where Rodrik is killed by the traitor Ramsay Snow, an early indication of the monstrosity he will become.
Game of Thrones has always excelled at creating both compelling and diabolical villains, both major and minor. Although Polliver is one of the latter, he still plays a key role in the series, as Arya kills him and retrieves his sword Needle. It’s one of those moments that is key to his development as a killer.
In the books, his death is much less dramatic. In fact, he is killed by the Hound instead of Arya. However, his death on the books still gives her a chance to reclaim the sword he had taken.
Even in Game of Thrones, representing monstrous and depraved humanity, Rast is exceptional. Among other things, he is the one who kills Lord Commander Mormont, a truly heinous crime. He is killed when he is mauled by Ghost, Jon’s werewolf.
In the book, however, he’s a much less notable character. This is reflected in the manner of his death. He is one of the many who perish when the wildlings attack the Wall.
It must be said that Smalljon Umber is one of those characters who suffers a lot from the translation of the book to the screen. In the series, he is revealed to be a renegade, repeatedly siding with Ramsay, before being killed by none other than Tormund.
In the books, on the other hand, he is a loyal supporter of House Stark. In fact, that’s exactly what led to his death. He is one of those killed at the Red Wedding, arguably the most shocking moment in Game of Thrones history.
Although Locke does not appear in the novel under this name, it is clear that he is intended to be the series’ iteration of the villain Vargo Hoat. In the novel, Hoat dies a truly gruesome death, having his feet and hands lopped off before being permanently killed by the Mountain.
Locke, on the other hand, meets a very different fate. He is killed by Bran, who is in Hodor’s body. In either case, however, the character’s death is a fitting punishment for the torture he has inflicted on so many others.
Benjen Stark is one of the most enigmatic figures in the novels and, as far as the reader knows, was actually killed by savages. In the show, of course, it is revealed that he is the strange character known as the Coldhnads, who plays a huge role in saving Sam, Bran, and others.
Of course, it’s quite possible that Coldhands in the book also turns out to be Benjen. At this point, however, this remains one of the main differences that currently exists between the books and their series counterparts.