With HBO beautifully adapting George R.R. Martin’s world of Westeros for Game of Thrones, fans have enjoyed seven swashbuckling seasons of bloody wedding and beheadings. While fan-favourite characters like Ned Stark, Jon Snow, and Daenerys Targaryen have all had their time in the spotlight, what about those who have been left confined to the books?
From secret Targaryens to the reanimated corpses of zombie Starks, there are so many characters that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have glossed over. With only six episodes of Game of Thrones left, here are 10 characters you’ll never get to see.
The seven seas of the Seven Kingdoms have barely been explored on the show, meaning the seafaring Greyjoy family have been largely confined to the Iron Islands. A latecomer to the show was Pilou Asbaek as Euron Greyjoy, but we’ll never get to meet his other brother.
In the books, Balon, Aeron, and Euron Greyjoy are joined by Victarion. Known as a formidable pirate and Lord Captain of the Iron Fleet, Victarion is tasked with sailing to Meereen to shore an alliance between Euron and Daenerys.
While Victarion may never be seen, his signature Kraken axe was Euron’s weapon of choice when he took on Daenerys’ fleet.
Not just one missing person, but a whole family and their banners have been omitted from Game of Thrones. Osney, Osmund, and Osfryd Kettleblack are remembered as Cersei’s loyal knights from the books.
Osmund Kettleblack is probably the most famous as a manipulative (but lovable) character on everyone’s payroll. Employed to spy on Tyrion by Cersei, Cersei by Tyrion, and everyone by Littlefinger, Osmund was there at Cersei’s fall from grace.
After she accused him of sleeping with her when married to King Robert, Osmund was last seen falsely imprisoned and facing a grim future.
Game of Thrones made light work of King Robert’s bastards, leaving only Joe Dempsie’s Gendry alive. The books feature another lucky bastard known as Edric Storm who also carried a warhammer like his father.
Stannis and Melisandre planned on using Edric’s royal blood to wake some dragons from beneath Dragonstone, but with the race for the Iron Throne with Robert’s bastards already big enough, the showrunners transferred Edric’s storyline to Gendry.
In the books, it was Edric who was saved by Davos from Lady Melisandre’s blood sacrifice. If he’d made it into the show, he would’ve presumably sailed off for four seasons like Gendry did.
A character we technically saw back in Season 1, Jeyne Poole thankfully escaped her fate from the books. The childhood friend of Sansa Stark, Jeyne became involved in a complex plot involving the Boltons and was sold to Ramsay as a ‘fake’ Arya.
Instead, the showrunners married Sansa to Ramsay and gave Sophie Turner’s character a much darker arc that led to that controversial rape scene.
Everything worked out for the best because the absence of Poole made way for Sansa to become the character she is today.
Another colourful character that didn’t make the cut was the Baratheon fool known as Patchface. With a tragic backstory where he a young Stannis' fool, Patchface was washed overboard and found days later, babbling about sea monsters.
In fact, Patchface’s madness is said to be the reason Stannis was always so sombre. Known for his bald head and tattooed face, Patchface is a mysterious character that might not have worked on TV.
If fans learned anything from Game of Thrones, it’s that the show can’t do Dorne. Despite the books having a huge arc for Myrcella, her show version was sidelined in favour of the Sand Snakes. Arianne Martell was written as the vengeful niece of Oberyn who went on a similar rampage to Ellaria Sand.
Ellaria remained a relatively minor character up until her grisly demise in Season 7, whereas Arianne could’ve been so much more. She was supposed to be the heir to the Dornish throne, but the showrunners cast the forgettable Trystane Martell in her place.
Considering Arianne was a big part of Martin’s books and even a POV character in A Feast For Crows, it’s a shame they didn’t try to include her in Game of Thrones.
One of the first casualties between the books and the show, fan-favourite Strong Belwas will never get to throw his might on the show. A formidable fighter, Strong Belwas was a gentle giant loyal to Daenerys Targaryen and even took on the champion of Meereen.
The show kept Barristan Selmy (albeit briefly) but left Belwas in the books. Despite the characters being nothing alike, some of Belwas’ story was given to Daario Naharis for the show.
TV Naharis may be remembered for urinating in front of the baying crowd at Meereen, but Belwas is remembered for taking a dump in the arena.
A relatively minor character that wouldn’t have made much of a difference to the show, the inclusion of Vargo Hoat would’ve simply added to Game of Thrones’ bloodthirsty nature.
On TV, fans may remember Noah Taylor’s Locke as the man who chopped off Jaime Lannister’s hand, forced Brienne to fight that bear, and was eventually crushed to death by a Bran-possessed Hodor.
In the books, Locke’s alternative was Vargo Hoat. Hoat went mad while ruling over Harrenhal and was brutally murdered by the Mountain. Clegane slowly sliced bits of Hoat’s body off and fed him to the other prisoners.
Young Griff/Aegon Targaryen
Just when that Targaryen lineage couldn’t get any more confusing, Martin went and introduced a whole new secret child subplot. After a baby Aegon Targaryen was supposedly bashed against a wall by Gregor Clegane, the story goes that he was actually whisked away and has his signature hair dyed blue.
Fleeing King’s Landing following the death of Tywin, Tyrion first came across Young Griff on a ship and soon worked out there was more to the kid. The books have left Aegon’s own army heading to King’s Landing to take the throne, but there are various theories that he’s actually an imposter.
Considering the show has enough on its plate with the R+L=J reveal, it’s unfortunate but easy to see why Young Griff was given the boot and the Jon Snow/Targaryen storyline was been streamlined.
Easily the biggest name to be missing from Game of Thrones is one that could’ve been so easy to bring to life -- well, back from the dead. Those who’ve read the books will know that Catelyn Stark’s death at the Red Wedding wasn’t the end of the matriarch’s story.
The slain corpse of Catelyn was pulled out of the river by the Brotherhood Without Banners and reanimated by Beric Dondarrion. Death had changed Cat and she became a vengeful zombie set on ridding the Seven Kingdoms of Lannisters and Freys.
Martin himself has said that Benioff and Weiss ignoring Lady Stoneheart is one of Game of Thrones’ biggest mistakes.