24 'Game Of Thrones' Death Scenes That Were Changed From The Books

By some counts, there have been an estimated 61 onscreen death on Game Of Thrones in the five years that the HBO series has been on the air, for an average of 1.22 deaths per episode — and that's not even counting the hordes of unnamed soldiers, sellswords, and spectators, mind you. These deaths have ranged from tragic (Ned) to satisfying (Joffrey), from horrifying (Oberyn) to unlikely-to-stick (Jon Snow), of course — but the most interesting distinction between onscreen deaths, at least to readers of George R. R. Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire novels, are those that remain true to the source material... and those that depart from it.

While Season 1 of Thrones was perhaps the most faithful book-to-screen adaptation in Hollywood history, the show has been slowly departing more and more from Martin's books ever since — and Season 5 featured the most drastic changes yet. This all culminated in veritable orgy of death in the Season 5 finale, "Mother's Mercy," featuring the murders of a slew of characters who are still alive on the page.

Here I've put together a list of every single significant Game Of Thrones death scene that deviated from its source material. Note: this list doesn't include characters who died on the show that never even existed in the novels — characters like Ros, Karl Tanner, Locke, Karsi, and Myranda — or this list would've gotten way too long.

1. Rakharo

How He Died On The Show: Dispatched by Daenerys to scour the Red Waste for a habitable city, his horse eventually returned with his decapitated head in a sack.

How He Died In The Book: He's still alive!

2. Rodrik Cassel

How He Died On The Show: Decapitated by Theon Greyjoy during the occupation of Winterfell for refusing to bend the knee.

How He Died In The Book: Arrived outside Winterfell after Theon has already conquered the castle and laid siege to it. When the Bolton army arrived, ostensibly to help retake Winterfell, Ramsay betrayed the northmen and killed Rodrik. (Rodrik's death on Thrones belonged to Farlen the kennelmaster in the books.)

3. Irri

How She Died On The Show: Murdered in Qarth when Dany's dragons were stolen.

How She Died In The Books: She's still alive!

4. Doreah

How She Died On The Show: Locked inside Xaro's vault after she betrayed Dany for the Qartheen merchant.

How She Died In The Book: Perished in the Red Waste before Dany and her khalasar even reached Qarth.

5. Xaro Xhoan Daxos

How He Died On The Show: Locked inside his own vault with Doreah after helped the warlocks kidnap Dany.

How He Died In The Books: He's still alive!

6. Hoster Tully

How He Died On The Show: Catelyn arrived at Riverrun after her father's death; we met her brother Edmure as he tried (and failed) three times to light Hoster's funeral pyre.

How He Died In The Books: Catelyn arrived at Riverrun prior to her father's death and spent time at his bedside; through his dying words, we learned the truth of the relationship between Lysa Tully and Petyr Baelish. (They had a secret child that Hoster forced his daughter to abort.)

7. Talisa Stark

How She Died On The Show: Murdered alongside her husband and mother-in-law at the infamous Red Wedding.

How She Died In The Books: She's still alive! ...Sort of. Talisa doesn't actually exist in the books, but the character she replaced — Robb's wife Jeyne Westerling — wasn't even at the Red Wedding.

8. Rast

How He Died By The Show: Ripped apart by Ghost during Jon's raid on the mutineers at Craster's Keep.

How He Died In The Books: Killed by a Thenn during the Battle of Castle Black.

9. Grenn

How He Died On The Show: Killed while protecting the tunnel during the Battle of Castle Black — although he did manage to slay the giant Mag The Mighty before he died.

How He Died In The Books: He's still alive! In the books, that particular death belongs to Donal Noye, the one-armed smith.

10. Pyp

How He Died On The Show: Took Ygritte's arrow through the throat during the Battle of Castle Black.

How He Died In The Books: He's still alive!

11. Styr

How He Died On The Show: Struck in the head with a hammer during one-on-one combat with Jon Snow.

How He Died In The Books: Killed along with his men while trying to climb the stairs of the Wall when Jon triggered their collapse.

12. Ygritte

How She Died On The Show: Tragically murdered by Olly (whose parents she'd previously murdered) just as she was about to reunite with Jon Snow.

How She Died In The Books: Jon doesn't encounter her during the Battle of Castle Black, and Olly doesn't even exist; Jon simply finds her dead body after the battle, with no idea who killed her.

13. Jojen Reed

How He Died On The Show: Stabbed by a wight while attempting to reach the Three-Eyed Raven.

How He Died In The Books: He's still alive! ...Unless you believe the "Jojen Paste" theory.

14. Sandor "The Hound" Clegane

How He Died On The Show: Succumbed to his injuries after a brutal one-on-one combat with Brienne.

How He Died In The Books: Succumbed to injuries sustained during a fight with Polliver and the Tickler at the inn at the crossroads. (The fight that closed the Season 4 premiere, from which The Hound emerged unscathed.) Sandor and Arya never encountered Brienne... and it's also very possible that he's actually still alive.

15. Shae

How She Died On The Show: When Tyrion sneaks into Tywin's chambers to kill his father, she picks up a knife and lunges at him; he strangles her in self-defense.

How She Died In The Books: When Tyrion sneaks into Tywin's chambers to kill his father, he finds Shae in his bed and strangles her while she's sleeping. (Like the classic "Did Han or Greedo shoot first?" debate, the showrunners made Shae act first in order to justify Tyrion's cold-blooded murder.)

16. Mance Rayder

How He Died On The Show: Burned at the stake by Melisandre, put out of his misery by Jon Snow with an arrow through the heart.

How He Died In The Books: He's still alive! The death scene happened exactly the same, although it was later revealed that Melisandre had switched Mance out with the Lord of Bones, who she had glamoured to look like the King Beyond The Wall.

17. Ser Barristan Selmy

How He Died On The Show: Murdered in the streets of Meereen by the Sons of the Harpy.

How He Died In The Books: He's still alive!

18. Maester Aemon

How He Died On The Show: Died of old age in Castle Black, then burned on a funeral pyre.

How He Died In The Books: Died of old age on a ship on his way to Oldtown with Sam and Gilly, and then his corpse was stuffed in a cask of rum to preserve it until they could reach land and give him a proper funeral.

19. Shireen Baratheon

How She Died On The Show: Burned at the stake by Melisandre with her father's permission as a sacrifice to R'hllor.

How She Died In The Books: She's still alive!

20. Hizdahr zo Loraq

How He Died On The Show: Stabbed by one of the Sons of the Harpy during their raid on the fighting pit.

How He Die In The Books: He's still alive! (In fact, it's assumed that Hizdahr himself is the leader of the Sons of the Harpy.)

21. Selyse Baratheon

How She Died On The Show: Hanged herself from a tree after watching her only child burn alive.

How She Died In The Books: She's still alive!

22. Stannis Baratheon

How He Died On The Show: Wounded in the Battle of Winterfell, then finished off by Brienne as vengeance for Renly's death.

How He Died In The Books: He's still alive! ...Maybe? Jon Snow receives a letter from Ramsay claiming that he killed Stannis in battle, but since we didn't actually get to see the battle, most readers assumed the letter was a ruse. Now it seems more likely that Stannis might actually be dead in the books, too.

23. Ser Meryn Trant

How He Died On The Show: Assassinated by Arya in a Braavosi brothel as vengeance for Syrio Forel's death.

How He Died In The Books: He's still alive!

24. Mycella Baratheon

How She Died On The Show: Succumbed to Ellaria Sand's poison kiss after an atypically happy reunion with her uncle/father, Jaime.

How She Died In The Books: She's still alive! She had to be killed on the show because, as Ramsay told us, "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention."

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