When it comes to epic storytelling, few series hit us quite like George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and its fantastic television adaptation Game of Thrones. We were introduced to dozens of lords, ladies, kings, queens, warriors, schemers and rebels and feel in love with most of them.
While the HBO series has undeniably brought the saga to a more global audience, fans of Martin’s books talk to this day about how the onscreen versions of the characters stack up to the ones on the page. With the new Game of Thrones prequel show House of the Dragon getting everyone excited about Westeros again, we figured it would be a good time to revisit these discussions.
Which characters were better in Martin’s books than they were on Game of Thrones? Here’s our take:
1. Asha (Yara) Greyjoy
The Game of Thrones writers famously changed Asha’s name to Yara for the show so no one would get her confused with Osha (Natalia Tena). Although that seems kind of fruitless when the show has characters named Robert Baratheon, Robb Stark, Robert Arryn, Jon Arryn, Jon Snow…… you get the picture. Anyway.
In George R. R. Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire, Asha Greyjoy is a complex character with layers plentiful family issues. She’s not just a rebellious daughter who flips the bird at the patriarchal traditions of the Iron Islands; Asha is also a skilled warrior and politician. She wants to sit the Seastone Chair (Salt Throne on the show) so she can take what she sees as her rightful place as the leader of the Iron Islands.
Game of Thrones did more than just change Asha’s name. While Yara is definitely a strong and capable character (remarkably played by Gemma Wheeler), she’s a simplified version of who Asha is in the books. The complex relationship she has with her family in on the page is pretty streamlined for the show. Yara doesn’t get as much room to explore all of her layered motivations and complex loyalties. While Yara reflects an independent Ironborn woman, Asha’s story is much more intricate and deep.