We’re almost approaching the end of Season 6 of Game of Thrones, with hype surrounding seeming to be reaching breaking point. Over the past few seasons, we have certainly been taken on a roller-coaster ride of character development and action, so it is sometimes easy to forget what went on in George R.R. Martin’s original narrative.
In lieu of this, let’s cast an eye back to the descriptions of some of the titular characters and see how exactly they compare to their on-screen adaptations. Here are some side-by-side comparisons of the actors and their fan-art depictions taken from their descriptions in the books:
1. Ramsey Bolton
Iwan Rheon’s as he is in the TV series but far more attractive than his description in the books, where he is portrayed as having big-boned sloped shoulders, a big, blotchy face, a broad nose and long dark hair.
2. Arya Stark
From the moment we set eyes on her, we knew that Arya was always going to be a wild child that could never be tamed. On screen, this seems to also be the case.
In the narrative though, she is described as small and skinny and looking quite like her half-brother Jon Snow. She has a long face, grey eyes and dark hair, which are quite unlike Maisie Williams’s facial features. Still though, we have to praise the young British actress for learning the art of sword-fighting using her left hand, just like the book-version of Arya.
3. Samwell Tarly
Personality-wise, John Bradley-West’s character is spot-on. However, in the books, Sam is far larger than the actor on the show and doesn’t have a beard.
4. Theon Greyjoy
Alfie Allen’s portrayal of Theon Greyjoy in the book is certainly hard-hitting, yet it does meander slightly away from Martin’s description. In the book, following Ramsey Bolton’s torture, his hair turns white from the stress and he becomes incredibly thin. He is also missing a few fingers, toes and teeth.
Although Allen’s post-trauma Theon is still a shell of a human, he doesn’t have quite the same number of visible injuries that his book counterpart has.
5. Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, has certainly grown over the course of the series, becoming one of the most powerful characters on Game of Thrones.
Indeed, Emilia Clarke has done a stellar job in bringing the Targaryen to life, yet she does differ slightly from the book’s portrayal. For example, Martin reiterates that she has purple eyes and that she spent most of her time following the death of Khal Drogo wandering the desert completely bald (her hair was singed off in the burning funeral pyre of her beloved husband). Here’s the TV moment:
6. Brienne Of Tarth
In the books, many characters comment on how unattractive Brienne of Tarth appears, before she promptly kicks the sh*t out of them. Naturally, actress Gwendoline Christie is far more beautiful than her character’s description.
Martin portrays the lady as bearing a face covered in freckles, having crooked teeth, and being flat-chested and very tall. Her nose is also described as having been broken many times.
Just as in the show, Melisandre in the books is exceptionally beautiful; she has pale skin, flowing copper locks and an admirable figure that she likes to show off. Most importantly though, her red and gold choker is always positioned on her neck.
8. Yara Greyjoy
Out of all of the characters, it is the that has perhaps sparked the most debate amongst hardcore fans of the book series. In the narrative, the ruthless sister of Theon has black hair, cut very short. She’s also meant to have a rather broad nose, but a wonderful smile to make up for it (according to her brother).
Most notably though, her name is completely different in the books: It’s Asha.
9. Sansa Stark
In the books, Catelyn and Ned Stark’s daughter is supposed to take right after her mother when it comes to looks. With blue eyes and deep auburn hair, Sophie Turner is essentially the embodiment of Sansa Stark.
10. Tyrion Lannister
It is constantly reiterated throughout the novels that Tyrion isn’t exactly easy on the eyes. He’s described as having different colored eyes (one green and one black) and thin hair.
Following the battle of Blackwater though, his appearance becomes even more monstrous. George R. R. Martin writes:
“Tyrion’s fingers went to the great gash that ran above one eye down to his jaw, across what remained of his nose. The proud flesh was still raw and warm to the touch.”
Naturally, Peter Dinklage’s wounds aren’t as horrifying — the scar is much smaller and his nose remains intact.
How much do the Game of Thrones show characters differ from the book in their appearance?