Game of Thrones – were the books better than the show?


The TV series Game of Thrones captured the world’s imagination and became one of the biggest shows in television history. It wasn’t something the showrunners cooked up themselves though, and the original material for the series came from the author George R. R. Martin. His A Song of Ice and Fire series isn’t completed yet, but here’s where the books were better than the TV show.

Game of Thrones – were the books better than the show?

It’s told the way the author wants

Cast your mind back to season one and remember how treacherous life was in Westeros back then. Nobody was safe, and our hero Ned Stark lost his head for doing the honorable thing. The entire first season basically played out exactly how the first book in the series went, but since then the show began to move away from the source material.

By the end of the entire series, there was no material to work with, and the showrunners were now having to come up with ideas for themselves. That takes away from the original story told by Martin, and some feel as though it lost its identity in the end. The books remain pretty consistent, and the characters act much like we’d expect them to, rather than making some of the questionable decisions like they did in the show.

They are great for watching the show

Game of Thrones is a deep show, filled with subplots on top of subplots. It can be tricky to follow sometimes, and that’s partly because the show simply didn’t have enough time to tell the whole story. If you’ve read the books and then watch the show, you know where plots are going and when some finer details are overlooked you already understand the character’s motives. The books are a great accompaniment to the show because they can answer some of the questions you might have while watching.

You get the whole picture

Time was running out for the Game of Thrones story to be told on television as the showrunners and actors had other career moves to consider. The show ran for eight years, but in the end, it all felt a bit rushed. There is no way the books feel rushed at all, and Martin still has two more volumes in the series to bring out. There are not so many pacing issues that became a common problem in the later seasons as the showrunners seemed keen to wrap everything up as quickly as possible.

Dorne and the Sand Snakes

One of the great complaints about the show from people who’ve read the books is how Game of Thrones treated the characters in Dorne. In the books we learn all about the plotting going on in that region and the Sand Snakes are a genuine threat.

In the show, the only good character from Dorne was Oberyn Martell, and we all know how his life ended. Dorne was almost treated as an inconvenience by the show when they were central to several plots to change who sat on the Iron Throne.

Game of Thrones – were the books better than the show?

The Iron Islands

Euron Greyjoy was a bit of a joke in the show. He came across as a slapstick villain, but in the book, the threat from the Iron Islands feels less cheesy. In the books, we learn about how harsh life is on the Iron Islands and all about the Drowned God. The Iron Islanders are very serious, and Euron Greyjoy is a scary man in the books, not some villain who makes everyone laugh. His character is much more bloodthirsty and doesn’t take anything lightly.

There are so many ways the books are better than the TV series, but the show was also better than the novels in places too. The author suggests we should see them as almost two different stories at this point, so we’re looking forward to dipping into the next book in the series.