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I started out watching the Game of Thrones series (just about to watch season 4), then became intrigued enough to also read the A Song of Ice and Fire series (soon to acquire book 5).

Obviously a TV series cannot cover the detail one might expect in the books, so some characters from the books would not be mentioned in the TV shows, but it intrigued me that Ros (the prostitute that travels from Winterfell to King's Landing to continue her career) is in the TV series but does not appear anywhere in the books!

I guess she was inserted to allow the film makers to show aspects of certain characters and drive other bits of the story that were simplified/shortened & otherwise would have needed expounding.

Are there any other characters that are portrayed in GoT that are not in ASoIaF?

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    You might be interested in an earlier answer that tackled this. scifi.stackexchange.com/a/37115/887 – System Down Mar 3 '15 at 7:59
  • @SystemDown OK.. trawling through that extensive list of differences, it seems (besides Ros) that the only other one is "In the books there is no Locke. His role is mostly taken up by Vargo Hoat who at the time was serving Roose Bolton." unless I missed another. – Andrew Thompson Mar 3 '15 at 8:14
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    Karl Tanner -- the disturbing guy with the daggers who fights Jon Snow at Craster's Keep -- was an amalgamation of Clubfoot Karl and Dirk. And neither of those characters were as prominent as Karl in the show. And there are a lot of places, I feel, where they have used only the name and invented their own content. – TLP Mar 3 '15 at 18:55
  • @TLP Would you believe I just finished watching the episode where that low-life meets his end? The credits are rolling as I type this! Thanks.. :) – Andrew Thompson Mar 3 '15 at 19:11
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    @AndrewThompson Sometimes I feel the tv-show is too obsessed with the gore, like when Karl licks Mormont's skull. Ros was an example on how you take out good content and add bad. :P – TLP Mar 4 '15 at 1:04
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Talisa Stark, née Maegyr:

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, there is no character named Talisa Maegyr, though one of the triarchs of Volantis is Malaquo Maegyr. Instead, Robb weds Jeyne Westerling, daughter of Lord Gawen Westerling, an impoverished but proud bannerman to Casterly Rock.

[...]

Robb doesn't discuss breaking his marriage pact with Catelyn, and the marriage is not done in secret. Furthermore, Jeyne never becomes pregnant with Robb's heir and isn't present at the Twins during the "Red Wedding". Thus, she's alive and well afterwards, under the protection of Brynden Tully, who remains in Riverrun as Robb's Warden of the Southern Marches.

  • Oh, yeah.. I'd forgotten her. But that is more a 'character swap' than a character in GoT that is not in ASoIaF. Still.. +1. – Andrew Thompson Mar 3 '15 at 7:49
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    Presumably, it was easier to invent a new character, than to have to explain the whole "arrangement" with Tywin. And also to make it possible to kill off Robb's wife and tie up a loose end. – TLP Mar 3 '15 at 18:40
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+50

The wikia has a very good article on this: Characters significantly changed between books and TV series and goes into more detail than asked for here. Here are the main character differences:

  • Osha: Although she is in both the show and books, she appears to be significantly different in the show that GRRM states the following:

    GRRM: "Well, there are a couple of characters that are significantly different from the way I portrayed them in the books. Osha is the only one where I think it may have an impact later on...
    Magic and Storytelling with George R.R. Martin

  • Shae: The same goes for Shae:

    GRRM: [Sometimes, as with Shae, it's as if the book and TV versions of a person are two separate characters]...
    Magic and Storytelling with George R.R. Martin

  • Petyr Baelish: Again the same goes for Littlefinger and GRRM even states the following:

    Book Littlefinger and television show Littlefinger are very different characters. They’re probably the character that’s most different from the book to the television show.
    Magic and Storytelling with George R.R. Martin

  • Talisa Stark: She appears to be Jeyne Westerling in the books to avoid a longer story line with her in the show. Apperently GRRM requested the name change after the show changed her character so much:

    GRRM: "--BUT then there was a SECOND decision, which is WHAT they showed. I mean they could have showed the events as they happened in the book. But, for whatever reason, they came up with a different thread, and changed the character of Jeyne Westerling significantly. It was actually my suggestion that they change her name, because once they gave her the backstory where she was not the daughter of a Lannister bannerman, but actually was this sort of healer, nurse, battlefield nurse/healer from Volantis, I said, "well, 'Jeyne' is not a Volantene name, so if you're gonna, you know, if we're gonna have a different character, we should have a different name for her as well. Otherwise, people are gonna get really confused here."
    Magic and Storytelling with George R.R. Martin

  • Locke: Similar to Talisa he is essentially a character swap of Vargo Hoat in the books. Bryan Cogman has this to say of the reasoning:

    “Regarding Locke vs. Hoat, the main reason for changing him was for simplicity’s sake. There were already so many ‘bands’ of people—The Brotherhood, the Second Sons later on… it was determined the Brave Companions could be simplified without really affecting the main story. And the shifiting alliances of Hoat—again, very interesting in the book, but it would have been a lot to throw at the audience, many of whom are just now getting the main families straight! We were still going to call him Vargo Hoat—but when he became a Bolton man (and a Westerosi) George asked that we change his name, and we complied.”
    Season 3 Interview: Bryan Cogman

  • Gendry: Although in both; in the show he is a merge of himself with Edric Storm.

  • Orell: Again similar to Gendry he is a merge of two book characters, this time with Varamyr Sixskins.

  • Vance Corbray: Ser Vance, along with Lord Yohn Royce and Lady Anya Waynwood, sits on a tribunal to investigate the death of Lysa Arryn. Like the other judges, Ser Vance assumes foul play on Littlefinger's part. During the tribunal, Ser Vance is made aware that Petyr Baelish's niece, "Alayne", is actually Sansa Stark, but he agrees to keep her secret and accepts her testimony that Lady Arryn committed suicide.

  • Yara Greyjoy: Although in both; in the books she is actually called Asha Greyjoy. However, this appears to have been changed to avoid confusion with Osha.

  • Euron Greyjoy: Again although in both Euron is a combination of himself and his book brother Victarion.


After having written all of that up I've now found another article on the wikia: New characters who appear exclusively in the TV series, to summarise:

  • Ros: The prostitute that goes from the North to King's Landing and ends up employed in one of Littlefinger's brothels.
  • Armeca: Another prostitute who works in Littlefinger's brothel with Ros.
  • Daisy: Another prostitute who works in Littlefinger's brothel with Ros.
  • Alton Lannister: A reworked book character of Cleos Frey.
  • Reginald Lannister: Makes a brief appearance at Tywin's war council before he dismisses him and sends him back to Lannisport.
  • The Thirteen of Qarth: In the books, power in Qarth is shared (and squabbled over) by three separate merchant guilds (one of which was named "The Thirteen"). ... As a result, specific members of the Thirteen - such as the Spice King. Silk King, and Copper King - have no direct counterparts in the books.
  • Malakho: One of the few surviving members of Dany's small khalasar.
  • Various prostitutes: Kayla - a contortionist, Genna, Marei (technically based on a minor prostitute from the books), Mirelle and Olyvar - male prostitute.
  • Myranda and Violet: The two women who are in service to Ramsay Bolton and helped torture Theon Greyjoy.
  • Minor Frey girls: Some of the named Frey girls are not named in the books: Arwaya Frey, Derwa Frey, Waldra Frey, Janeya Frey, Neyela Frey, and Freya Frey.
  • Olly: Doesn't deserve an explanation.
  • Thenn warg: Not named but apparently has no direct counterpart in the books.
  • Fennesz: A former slave and is a condensation of many slaves from the books.
  • Orson Lannister: A lackwit minor Lannister cousin that Tyrion discusses with Jaime while waiting in his prison cell.
  • Malko: More of a condensation of multiple slavers that capture Tyrion and not named in the books.
  • Karsi: Appears in Hardhome as a wildling chieftainness.
  • Belicho Paenymion: The representative from Volantis among the slaver-alliance attacking Meereen, is a condensation of several other characters in the books.
  • Kinvara: Either new for the show or based off of the male head priest of the Lord of Light from Volantis in the books.
  • Harald Karstark: A heavily condensed equivalent of several characters from House Karstark in the books: Lord Rickard's son Harrion and Rickard's uncle Arnolf.
  • Lannister soldier 1\Eddard Sheeran: A soldier that Arya meets in Season 7 Episode 1, "Dragonstone", on her way down South. Although the role was essentially created for Maisie Williams the character does sing the song "Hands of Gold" by the book character Symon Silvertongue.
  • You forgot 'Kelly-C', the imposter pretending to be Dany. – Möoz Nov 8 '17 at 21:38
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Also, Locke is not in the books. It is not one of Roose Bolton's soldiers who

cuts off Jaime's hand

but rather a company of mercenaries that previously fought for the Lannisters, who switched sides to fight for Roose Bolton and the North once they had captured Harrenhal (although that doesn't happen in the series).

None of the things that Locke does afterwards is in the books either. That was all done to make Bran's storyline more exciting.

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