Warning: This post contains spoilers for "Game of Thrones" and the "A Song of Ice and Fire" books. Read at your own discretion.
George R.R. Martin, who isin the "A Song of Ice and Fire" heptalogy on which the "Game of Thrones" TV show is based, fully understands that no TV or movie adaptation of a beloved book will ever be perfect.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly Sunday, Martin opened by saying that his books have literally thousands of characters, admitting that "for practical reasons," showrunners some of them out or combine characters' story lines to move the story forward. And while some of these cuts and combinations seem to make sense to Martin, there are at least five characters he still wishes made it into the series.
Strong Belwas is a eunich warrior who fought in the fighting pits of Meereen -- you know, the ones that Deanerys Targaryen just reopened in Season 5. In the books, Belwas joins Daenerys' entourage while the Khaleesi is in Qarth, and it is Belwas who plays Daenerys' champion when the Mother of Dragons takes Meereen. His story arc has been merged with that of Daario Naharis, which pretty much makes Daario even more of a badass than he already was.
Jeyne Poole is a young friend of Sansa Stark's who travels with the Stark family to King's Landing in the first book. Throughout the books, she is passed off as Arya Stark, and it is Jeyne (and not Sansa) who is sent to Winterfell to marry Ramsay Bolton. Instead, as we viewers are all now painfully aware, Sansa is the one who gets to experience the utter horror that is being wed to Ramsay.
While he plays it on TV, Loras Tyrell isn't the eldest son of House Tyrell in the books. In fact, Loras has not one, but two older brothers -- Willas and Garlan -- and Martin claims the two older Tyrell brothers actually are important characters in the final two books. "I didn't just put them in for hoots and giggles," Martin told Entertainment Weekly. "They have roles to play in the last two books, and they don't exist in the show. I've said from the start I wish we had more hours, but showrunners [David Benioff and Dan Weiss] work 24/7, 12 months a year."
Finally, we come to Lady Stoneheart. The Internet was outraged when it learned that the spirit of Catelyn Stark wasn't going to be in the show, and Martin is none too happy either. "One of the things I wanted to show with her is that the death she suffered changes [the readers]," Martin said.
If nothing else, Martin's interview offers a glimpse into why it's necessary for books and their film adaptations to be different. In the end, Martin still believes "Game of Thrones" is one of the best adaptations of a book series we've seen, and both the novels and the show are telling pretty much the same story and heading toward the same ending.
That story continues in the ninth (and second to last) episode of Season 5, "The Dance of Dragons," which airs on HBO on June 7. If "The Dance of Dragons" is anything like the last few episodes, it's going to be a wild ride.