Just finished up reading the second book “A Clash of Kings” and ended watching the tv show’s second season. I really liked the show, in general, but after reading the book, I can’t imagine watching only the show and being entirely clarified… There’re a lot of changes between the book and the show, which is normal, some of this changes are to help the viewer, considering that the books are very detailed and spend a lot of time introducing and describing different characters (all with similar names). So, to diminish the confusion, several characters are fused and they’re names changed. Also, given that some important characters, such as Robb Stark, Jaime or Tywin Lannister are not POV characters in this book, some changes were made and scenes added so that we got to see they’re moves along the whole season. But then, they made all this other changes this season that weren’t for any of these purposes…
Shae never goes to the tower of the Hand. Instead, Tyrion installs her in her own house, with her own guards, and goes there frequently – first he goes to a brothel and leaves undercover from there – which makes the whole thing with Cersei having the wrong girl much more logical!
Because of this fact, Tyrion and Varys end up forging some kind of weird friendship discussing their plans deeply and having much more deep and frequent interactions than on the show.
The wildfire is Tyrion’s idea! He also makes a lot of changes in the city, such as building a chain so that Stannis’ ships can’t escape the wildfire.
Tyrion controls more of the “Queen’s man” than on the show.
Shae never becomes Sansa’s handmaid. She becomes Lolys Stokeworth handmaid, later in the book, after the riots and after Lolys became pregnant.
Sansa suffers much more on the hands of Joffrey and the kingsguard. She also has frequent meeting with Ser Dontos in the Godswood, who is the one who promises her that he will get her out of King’s landing.
Sansa is attacked at the riot, but isn’t almost raped – Lolys Stokeworth is raped.
Tommen is sent away for safety, such as Myrcella. So the whole scene with Cersei almost killing herself with her child never happens.
Littlefinger is sent to Highgarden, where the Tyrells are after Renly’s death, to strike a deal to Margaery’s wedding to Joffrey – he never goes to Renly’s camp and the deal takes place a while after Renly’s demise.
Arya & Harrenhal
Arya’s revelation to Gendry happens much later in the storyline.
While in Harrenhal, she serves multiple people and her list of names in her prayer grows very long.
She never serves Tywin Lannister – in fact, she never has any contact with him!
Her first 2 “names” to Jaqen are not the same – and the deaths seem more “accidental” and for that are attributed to the “Ghost of Harrenhal”.
She uses her 3rd “name” to free the northern host made captive and helps to change Harrenhal to the Northern’s hands – then she becomes the cupbearer of Roose Bolton.
Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie escape Harrenhal after she learns that Roose Bolton is marching and is giving Harrenhal to the Bloody Murmmers – they escape without outside help!
Danaerys, The Red Waste and Qarth
Daenerys’ silver horse doesn’t die in the Red Waste.
Doreah dies in the Red Waste and neves betrays Danny. Rakharro doesn’t die in the book, neither does Irri.
Daenerys and her khalasar take up residence in an abandoned walled city for a time, where they are able to drink and eat and regain much of their strength – her khalasar believes that the city is haunted.
Daenerys is brought to Qarth by Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Pyat Pree and Quaithe. The three meet Daenerys in the red waste, being brought to her by Jhogo. They have come to see the dragons and invite her to Qarth. Once there, they are immediately let into the city, without the events at the gates from the series. The city residents warmly welcome Daenerys and her khalasar, with Drogon clearly visible.
Nobody steals her dragons!
Xaro proposes marrying her several time, because he wants one dragon, but Danny notices that he seems more interested in the male servants.
Danny goes willingly to the house of the undying, after being refused help by the 13 of Qarth. Once there she enters alone with Drogon, after taking a potion and her visions are clearly different and much more revealing than in the show. After her visions, Drogon breathes fire, destroying the warlocks and the house. Outside Pyat Pree swears revenge on Daenearys.
Xaro asks her to leave Qarth and she does, with the help of Ilyrio, who has sent 3 boats for her, her khalasar and her dragons.
The 13 of Qarth don’t die, Pyat and Xaro don’t form an alliance, Xaro is never named King of Qarth, never betrays Danny and nobody is locked in no vault!
Catelyn, Robb and Riverrun
Catelyn says goodbye to her son in Riverrun and goes to meet up with Renly. After that, she returns to Riverrun and not to Rob’s camp.
Jaime is held captive in Riverrun – and never goes on the road with Robb’s host – and after Catelyn lets him go with Brienne, the castellan confines her to her fathers room (where he lays dying) – Robb is never angry with his mother, because the next time they see each other, he’s already married and broken the agreement they had made with the Frey’s. – Catelyn lets Jaime go because she believes both her boys are dead and she wants to get the girls back.
While in Renly’s host, Littlefinger never goes there, he and Catelyn never see each other – Ned’s bones are taken to Riverrun, where she mourns her late husband alone.
Robb’s love story is never shown, however, his wife took care of him while he was wounded in the Crag and comforts him after he learns about the death of his brothers.
Stannis, Davos and Melisandre
No sex scene between Stannis and Melisandre is implied!
Stannis shadow kills his brother, but he has no recollection of the matter.
Melisandre births a shadow beneath Storm’s End castle in order to kill the castellan, so they can get the castle allegience and take power of one of Robert’s bastard sons – this is the shadow Davos sees and recognizes as Stannis’s shadow.
Stannis never names Davos his hand.
Davos does not lead the host in the battle of Blackwater. Also, Stannis is not in the battle, he’s on horseback on the other side of the river and takes no part in the battle.
Beyond the Wall
Jon and Ghost are the ones who find the dragonglass blades and the rest of the weapons in the cloak.
Qhorin, Jon and the other leave on horseback and their mission is far more complicated that seen on the show.
Jon lets Ygritte go after he realizes he can’t kill her – he does not follow her or spends the night with her, he also does not have all those talks about his vows – the next time he sees her is when he and Qhorin are captured.
Qhorin is the one who lets them get caught – knowing that they can’t escape, he wants them to get capture so that Jon can infiltrate Mance’s lines and get information from the inside. He tells Jon his plan, he only leaves out the part where Jon has to kill him.
Ygritte does not tell her famous saying in the book – “You know nothing, Jon Snow”, does not appear in A Clash of Kings.
Theon and Winterfell
When Theon arrives at the Iron Islands, his uncle waits for him – he only meets his sister several time after, when she pretends to be someone else entirely and he makes a sexual advance on her.
After invading Winterfell, Theon does not kill ser Rodrik Cassel – ser Rodrik is killed by the traitors of the Bolton bastard.
Theon is not betrayed by his own crew – the bastard of Bolton passes as his friend and then betrays him.
Jojen and Meera – Bran’s friends – do not appear on the show – instead, Bran is the one who has the green dreams and Osha talks him through them. In the book, Jojen helps Bran do open his third eye – which he is only completely able to do when they are in hiding in the crypts of Winterfell.