Game of Thrones Season 4 featured many changes from the A Song of Ice and Fire books, some made us cheer, some made us cringe. Here are our picks for the best... and worst.


The Good

The Mutineers Subplot. In the books, the Mutineers are quickly killed by Coldhands, a character who doesn’t appear in the show. The show added lots of action and drama by having the Mutineers capture Bran & co., Jon Snow leading a group to kill them, Locke infiltrating the Night’s Watch to capture Bran, and Bran-possessed Hodor snapping Locke’s neck. The entire subplot was exciting, and added a lot to a forgettable scene from the books.

Where do White Walkers come from? The White Walkers, usually called the Others in the books, are set up as a major threat in the first three books of the series. However, they are more or less forgotten about in the latter two books as the focus becomes more about political intrigue and introducing even more players in the “game of thrones.” So we’re glad that the show hasn’t yet forgotten about what looks to be a threat to all life in the Seven Kingdoms, and showing that they appear to have a king and that they can turn babies into White Walkers is something we wish the books had gotten into.

Margaery’s bedtime visit. Margaery’s visit to Tommen’s bedroom could have come off as pretty creepy, but instead played very real. What boy in their early teens doesn’t dream of a beautiful older woman visiting his bed at night? Tommen’s noticeable gulping in the scene justified for us the show’s decision to age his character up a few years, and it showed the lengths Margaery was willing to go to endear herself to him. Also, we got to see Ser Pounce, so bonus points for that.

Brienne’s less-pointless wandering. One of the most boring sections of the books, in our opinion, is the seemingly endless wandering of Brienne of Tarth looking for Sansa. She runs across several people, most adding little to the story, and almost nothing happens. The show has fixed this story by having her first run into Hot Pie (nice cameo!) and then encounter the Hound and Arya. While we don’t really buy Brienne winning what ended up being a fist fight with the Hound, the fight itself was thrilling, and it didn’t have any effect on how Arya’s or the Hound’s arcs play out. Well done.

The Bad

Yara’s rescue mission. Yara goes all the way to the Dreadfort (if you look at a map of Westeros, it’s a really long way) to rescue Theon, and turns around because of a couple dogs? Ramsay Snow takes on guys in full armor while he’s shirtless and wielding only a dagger? Nothing about this scene made sense, and it also potentially ruins what could be an emotional reunion between Theon and his sister later on.

Skeleton soldiers and fireball throwing children. If people ever talk about Game of Thrones jumping the shark, this might just be the scene they mention. Seriously, what was that? GoT has always balanced the fantasy elements in a gritty, realistic manner, but in this scene they went full-on, over the top high fantasy and it ended up looking like a Magic the Gathering game come to life. In the books, Bran and company are attacked by ordinary wights like we’ve seen in the show before, and the Children of the Forest do not throw magic fireballs. The whole scene felt very weird to us, and decidedly not like GoT.

Grey Worm and Missandei. Here’s a thought: Let’s take two background characters and give them a love story! People love romance! Especially if we can use it to take time away from and/or cut other, more important storylines! Yay!

Tyrion’s escape. What should have been the best scene of the finale was given a serious hack job by the show. In the books, Jaime rescues Tyrion because he feels bad about a wrong he did Tyrion long ago: Tyrion’s first wife (whose story we did have on the show before!) was not really a whore, Jaime told him that because Tywin instructed him to. After hearing this, several things happen: 1) Tyrion has a falling out with Jaime, 2) Tyrion tells Jaime about Cersei’s infidelity (we saw Cersei and Lancel Lannister together on the show before), leading to Cersei and Jaime’s falling out, and 3) This gives Tyrion the motivation to enter Tywin’s chambers.

Without this scene, Tyrion and Jaime are still best buds, Cersei and Jaime are still a thing, and most importantly Tyrion has no reason to enter Tywin’s chambers. Seriously, what was he doing? And how did he know where he was going? He just popped out of a trap door. And also, he kills Tywin over Shae, who just tried to kill him and who was sleeping with his father? The whole thing was over-simplified to the point where it became nonsensical, and the showrunners should have more faith in the common viewer’s ability to pick up on things that the show has addressed in the past.

The Ugly

Jaime’s rape of Cersei. Without a doubt, the most controversial change to this season was Jaime’s rape of Cersei in Episode 3. We still have no clue what the show’s motivation for this was. They took what was in the books a consensual (if totally messed up) sex scene between two desperate, grief-stricken people and turned it into a violent crime, and they did it for no reason. Literally, it was never addressed again. It totally ruined Jaime’s redemption arc (people atoning for their sins don’t often rape their sisters), and it had zero effect on Jaime’s and Cersei’s relationship. In fact, in the finale, we even saw Cersei seduce Jaime! When it comes to this scene, we advise doing the same thing that Episodes 4-10 did: Pretend it never happened.

Which changes did you like? Hate? Let us know in the comments below!