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Game Of Thrones Moments That Were Better In The Books

Have a hankering for some television watchin' that's packed to the tippy-top with all the elements that make a good show? The juicy stuff like familial and political drama, plenty of brutal violence, dulcet accents from all over the globe, and a plethora of interestingly charming, insanely vengeful, and gut-churningly sadistic characters? HBO's Game of Thrones has everything you could want ... mostly.

It's hardly a secret that the cable classic was adapted from George R. R. Martin's renowned fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire, whose first book is A Game of Thrones. But there are plenty of differences between what happens onscreen and what goes down on the page. As with most novel-to-screen interpretations, not everything can be translated in all its wordy glory, so some things remain way more badass as they were originally written. Here are the Game of Thrones moments that were way better in the books.

Jon Snow, you wild thing

Ask any Game of Thrones fan about Jon Snow's relationship with the Wildlings, particularly the fiery and feisty Ygritte, played by Rose Leslie, and they'll likely do one of two things: swoon at the romance (that steamy cave scene!) or grip you by the shoulders and insist that the way Jon's involvement was written in the books is far superior. We're in the latter category.

Not only does George R. R. Martin depict everyone's favorite bastard as more quick-witted, vastly more optimistic, and noticeably less smolder-y, he also writes the Jon-Wildling roller coaster in a way that just feels right. In the HBO show, a fair few characters (way more than any sane person would be comfortable with) pin Jon as a spineless traitor with little to no motives, but on-the-page Jon is a brave badass. Though it may not be a particular, pointed-out moment that's better in the books, the decisions he makes in the novels — especially the second in the series, A Clash of Kings — are calculated. From sneakily yielding in order to grant himself a window to kill those who have threatened him and his Brothers (hello, Halfhand!) to hunting down Warged-out Wildlings, book Jon in general is stronger and, fittingly, wilder.

Ygritte and the origin story

Let's go a little deeper down to the nitty-gritty with the shaggy-haired boy and Ygritte. How Jon and his lady love are first introduced is absolutely incredible in the books. The pair exchange names, and when Ygritte flinches at Jon's "evil" title, he informs her that he is Lord Eddard Stark's son. This sparks something in Ygritte's brain, and she relays the "song o' the winter rose" to Jon, a moment many Game of Thrones enthusiasts consider to be the very first mention of the R + L = J theory.

The tale focuses on Bael the Bard, an old King-beyond-the-Wall whom "the Stark in Winterfell" wanted dead. "Bael ate at Lord [Brandon] Stark's own table, and played [music] for the lord in his high seat until half the night was gone," Martin wrote. In exchange for his service, Bael asked for "the fairest flower that blooms in the gardens o' Winterfell," but no winter rose was precious enough; instead, Bael plucked up Lord Brandon's own daughter as payment.

"For most a year they searched, till the lord lost heart and took to his bed, and it seemed as though the line o' Starks was at its end. But one night as he lay waiting to die, Lord Brandon heard a child's cry," Ygritte says in the novel. "He followed the sound and found his daughter back in her bedchamber, asleep with a babe at her breast."

Compare this to the initial meeting we see in the show, and it's easy to see which is the more lackluster version. Sad trombone.

Qyburn is a mega creep

In the show, (former) maester of the Citadel Qyburn is by no means a saint. He's expelled from the prestigious location in Oldtown following his less-than-ethical obsession with human experimentation, which he not-so-cleverly attempted to disguise as legitimate scientific research. He does, however, find a home at King's Landing under Cersei Lannister, but he can't quite shake the urge to go full Dr. Frankenstein and hack away at a dead body. The perfect opportunity presents itself when Ser Gregor Clegane, a.k.a. "The Mountain," dies by a poisoned spear at the hands of Oberyn Martell and Qyburn embarks on a mission toward ultimate resurrection.

Sounds creepy enough, right? No need to amp it up, surely. Nope. George R. R. Martin's descriptions of Maester Qyburn in the book series are absolutely bone-chilling — in a good way. Where the television show rarely explicitly details Qyburn's experiments — likely keeping things shrouded for the sake of mystery, intrigue, and a big reveal — the novels are straight-up savage. Qyburn parades around with actual human beings smuggled in chests, people he later tortures and conducts experiments on. One especially horrifying case is Falyse Stokeworth in A Feast for Crows. Cersei herself urges Qyburn to kidnap and mutilate Falyse. Qyburn eerily states that she'll "never see the light of day" again and that after his experiments on her she will be unable to even feed herself.

Qyburn also has a super unsettling conversation with Jaime about ghosts. When the Lannister with the flowing locks asks Qyburn whether he believes in such a spirit, he answers, "Once, at the Citadel, I came into an empty room and saw an empty chair. Yet I knew a woman had been there, only a moment before. The cushion was dented where she'd sat, the cloth was still warm, and her scent lingered in the air. If we leave our smells behind us when we leave a room, surely something of our souls must remain when we leave this life?" Instant chills.

The novel version of creepy Qyburn is so wrong, it's right — and once you read it in its entirety, you'll never settle for the half-baked show translation ever again.

Renly is just peachy keen

Of all the grisly deaths on Game of Thrones, one-time king Renly Baratheon's is perhaps the most difficult to stomach. It's made all the more harrowing when you consider a large portion of his backstory, one fruity sub-plot in particular, is entirely left out of the television adaptation. While youngest-born Baratheon boy Renly is charismatic and charming, beloved by so many, his older brother, Stannis, is a little curmudgeonly, to say the very least. (Let's not forget what he did to his own flesh and blood because a mystical fire woman told him to for an even more mystical, possibly fake god.)

At the height of the War of the Five Kings, tensions were equally high among those fighting for the crown, two of whom were Stannis and Renly. Always on the offense, Stannis assumes he is being deceived or that Renly is attempting betrayal, sabotage, or an attack when he offers Stannis a peach during a parley.

"Renly offered me a peach. At our parley. Mocked me, defied me, threatened me, and offered me a peach. I thought he was drawing a blade and went for mine own. Was that his purpose, to make me show fear? Or was it one of his pointless jests? When he spoke of how sweet the peach was, did his words have some hidden meaning?"

The memory of Renly and the sweet, peace-inspiring peach haunts Stannis long after his brother passes. He believes he will die thinking of the fruit, and often has warped visions of him. "Renly and his peach," Martin wrote in a conversation Stannis had with Lady Melisandre. "In my dreams I see the juice running from his mouth, the blood from his throat."

We desperately wish this moment was included in the television show, as it is so symbolic in the books.

Jaime and Cersei's relationship (yes, really)

OK, OK, hear us out before you jump to conclusions faster than you-know-who jumped to his death in the Season 6 finale, please.

Despite its accolades, acclaim, and loyal fan base, Game of Thrones has rightfully been heavily criticized (and, in the process, gained quite a reputation) for its inclusion of sexual scenes in which a character does not express consent. Many have argued that these scenes are completely unnecessary, only written into the script and approved for production in efforts to shock the audience or maintain some type of edge. One stands out more than others, however, likely due to the circumstances and characters involved: the scene in which Jaime rapes Cersei immediately after Joffrey's funeral proceedings.

On television, the scene is deeply disturbing. It makes absolutely zero sense given their history, and it needlessly tarnishes Jaime's character. In the books, it's painted completely oppositely. While it is a depiction of incest, and that should in no way be condoned even in fiction, the scene in the Sept is consensual. Cersei is enthusiastic about what's happening, a stark contrast to the clawing, crying, and begging for Jaime to stop as seen on screen. The books absolutely win this round, even if it is the lesser of two pretty awful evils.

Tyrion's heartbreaking reveal

Brace yourselves; we're going there.

If you say you didn't shed at least a single measly tear in the Season 4 finale of Game of Thrones when Tyrion Lannister finds his thought-to-be soulmate and former lover in bed with Tywin Lannister, you're either lying to us or your heart is made of steel. Tyrion lays out for the audience a very raw account of how his father had Jaime deceive Tyrion into thinking his first wife, Tysha, was a prostitute who had been paid to marry him. What follows was the real clincher: Tywin orders his men to sexually abuse Tysha, then forces Tyrion to join in. Tyrion never sees Tysha again, a fact made more devastating when Tyrion says Tysha was the only woman who ever loved him.

In the television series, Tyrion finds out that Jaime had lied about Tysha's intentions, but he isn't nearly as furious with his brother as he is in the books, something that adds interesting tension in the books. Both adaptations do point to Tyrion's discovery of the deception as the driving force behind his double murder of Tywin and Shae, it's just that on the page, Tyrion and Jaime's relationship is quite possibly permanently damaged.

"She was no whore. I never bought her for you. That was a lie that Father commanded me to tell. Tysha was ... she was what she seemed to be," Jaime tells Tyrion in Martin's novels. What follows in the written work is a spiraling outward of Tyrion's emotions; heartbroken and crossed, he tries to physically and emotionally hurt Jaime to retaliate and even the score. Quite a difference to Tyrion's quiet acceptance of Jaime's hurtful lie.

As Tyrion once said Tysha had a face that could "break your heart." We can likely agree, as it most certainly broke ours to hear the devastating tale.

Samwell Tarly, certified baller

Sam is the nicest, gentlest, purest sweetheart of a character, and is quite possibly the only 100 percent good character in the show. He's also a secret badass, one even more formidable than the HBO series presents him as.

Forever protective of and faithful to fellow Brother of the Night's Watch Jon Snow, Sam Tarly is shown on screen as generally pretty naive and gullible, even made the scapegoat or the fool many times over. However, he proves an otherwise-untapped source of strength and skill when he vanquishes a White Walker, a feat most men only ever dream of. But — and there's always a but (or a butt) when it comes to Game of Thrones — this insane success only truly gets the audience it deserves in the books. While Gilly sees Sam slay the deadly humanoid in the show, it doesn't leave him with much backing when he tries to explain the encounter to the Night's Watch. Who's going to believe what bumbling Sam and some Wildling girl have to say? It's such an unfortunate depiction, especially when reading the book version and seeing how much different Sam's fate would have been if the screen translation was more accurate.

Book Sam gets a taste of victory and acceptance thanks to a Night's Watch member who watches the killing happen. Though the steward Small Paul is seen near Sam in the moments leading up to wiping away the White Walker, it's actually a Watch ranger named Grenn who sees it with his own eyes. Having someone who isn't portrayed as a dimwit see such a tremendous, near impossible feat bodes well for Sam overall. Grenn gets the rest of the Night's Watch to hear the story, and, they believe him. A joke Sam is no longer.

Cannibalism, anyone?

A major storyline that gets equally major alterations when moving from page to visual production is Brienne's journey. While the lady knight is still valiant, good-hearted, and immensely brave in the face of adversity, the oath she makes to Catelyn Stark, promising to protect Arya and Sansa, is complicated by the involvement of one Lady Stoneheart not seen in the HBO adaptation. This leads to a whole slew of issues and a drastically different series of events. One major point that is much better in the novels involves some face-chewing by a dude named Biter.

In A Storm of Swords, Jaime Lannister and Brienne (who make such a great pair; we'd totally watch a buddy cop movie starring these two) have an unfortunate run-in with two men, Rorge and Biter, with a tendency to murder when things don't do their way. Following the altercation, Brienne is able to kill Rorge — a success that would otherwise secure her safety, but instead leaves her vulnerable to Biter, who immediately tackles her.

"Biter's mouth tore free, full of blood and flesh. He spat, grinned, and sank his pointed teeth into her flesh again. This time he chewed and swallowed. He is eating me, she realized, but she had no strength left to fight him any longer."

Brienne makes it out alive, but not without being forever disfigured in the process. Robert Baratheon's alleged bastard son Gendry is along for the ride and manages to kill Biter with a spear to the neck. Unfortunately, his act of bravery didn't come quickly enough; Brienne is left with nearly half her face covered in scars, a fact that makes worse her confidence in her already-mocked physical appearance.

While Jaime and Brienne do get into their fair share of sticky situations throughout the TV series (remember the bear?), nothing quite compares to this moment from the books.

Ramsay Bolton is even worse than we thought

The Bolton bastard is a character we love to hate, and given how sadistic and maniacal the pale-eyed tyrant is on screen, it would seem that the disdain for TV Ramsay would be universal. However, some fans still had room in their hearts to give Ramsay the benefit of the doubt before writing him off completely — which is why this final moment in the Game of Thrones books is so much better than it is in the television series, as it squashes even the slightest of glimmers that Ramsay could be a character anyone would ever love.

In the books, Ramsay is shown in full-force evil during his wedding night with Jeyne Poole, Sansa Stark's old friend who was, at the time, impersonating Arya Stark. (The HBO series took a major turn when it decided Sansa Stark herself would be marrying Ramsay Bolton.) We won't delve into much detail here, as it's hard to type out and is just as difficult to read, but know that Ramsay forces Jeyne to do heinous and unspeakable things and orders Theon Greyjoy (who Ramsay is still keeping as prisoner under the name "Reek") to take part. While we in no way would wish this upon any character or person, we're certain that if any Ramsay supporter read this moment, they'd be thunderously cheering when he finally met his demise (as seen in the Season 6 finale episode). Down with the Boltons!