Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “Game of Thrones,” including unaired material from the books.
Author George R.R. Martin has spent decades creating the world of Westeros in his best-selling series “A Song of Ice and Fire.” From intricate maps to the histories of different cultures, there is an endless amount of detail included in the text. One of the challenges HBO faced when deciding to bring Martin’s creation to life was dealing with the sheer scale of locations.
Despite the realistic sets, it’s hard for viewers to truly grasp how enormous the world is within the show. The time elapsed between episodes is left ambiguous, and characters can sometimes depart one castle and arrive at the next with no indication of how far they have really travelled or in what direction.
We already made a map showing the scale of distances covered by characters in “Game of Thrones,” but now it’s time to compare their trips to the book series.
Below are four character’s main pathways through Westeros, showing how their book journeys differ from the show’s events.
Asha (called Yara in the show) is the daughter of Balon Greyjoy and sister to Theon Greyjoy. In the books, Asha sailed from the Irons Islands to Deepwood Motte -- a northern stronghold near Winterfell. She secured Deepwood Motte, but then returned to the Iron Islands.
In the show, she journeyed from the Iron Islands to Deepwood Motte and back -- the same as the books. But when Ramsay Bolton, the sadistic son of Roose Bolton, sends them proof he captured Theon and is torturing him, Yara declares she will sail to the Dreadfort to rescue Theon.
Looking at the map, this is a borderline insane plan. The Dreadfort is on the complete opposite edge of Westeros from the Iron Islands. She sailed literally all the way around the continent of Westeros -- an estimated 4,500-mile journey. The time this takes her in the show doesn't quite add up. She left the Iron Islands in the season three finale, and showed up to rescue Theon just about midway through season four. Those are some fast ships!
In the books, we first meet Jaime in Winterfell with the royal family. From there, Jaime went to King's Landing, his home-base as a member of the Kingsguard. Before long, the war broke out and Jaime was ordered to the Riverlands in order to lead troops. There, Jaime was captured, but set free by Catelyn Stark.
Jaime then travelled with Brienne of Tarth, heading south back to King's Landing. They were intercepted, however, and brought to Harrenhall. This was about the time when Jaime lost his hand. Eventually, he makes it to King's Landing. Before long, he is sent away again -- this time for diplomatic missions. Jaime travels all around the Riverlands, attempting to bring stability back to the realm.
Though the show matches most of Jaime's trip, it has (so far) left out Jaime's final journey through the Riverlands. Instead, during season five, he was sent to Dorne to rescue Myrcella. Perhaps season six will show Jaime back in the Riverlands and on track with the book events.
Book readers first met Littlefinger in King's Landing, where he sat on the council of the Iron Throne as the Master of Coin. He eventually teamed up with the Tyrell family to poison King Joffrey, and left King's Landing with Sansa Stark in tow. He took Sansa to the Eyrie, where her Aunt Lysa lived in the Vale. They remain there according to the most recently published book.
In the show, Littlefinger's path in the show is nearly identical to his book-journey. But season five brought his story line, along with Sansa's, into unprecedentedly different territory. Instead of staying in the lands of the Vale, Littlefinger and Sansa go to Moat Cailin. There they meet the Boltons, and plan to ride far north to Winterfell together.
However, Littlefinger gets called to King's Landing by Cersei shortly after they arrive. In the span of two episodes, Littlefinger somehow manages to travel from Winterfell to King's Landing. The estimated distance of this journey is about 1,500 miles, but the show makes it seem like a breeze.
Tyrion's journeys in both the books and the show are the closest here to matching. He's introduced in Winterfell, and heads north to the Wall. Then Tyrion went south toward King's Landing but was captured by Catelyn Stark who brought him to the Eyrie. Afterward, he heads to King's Landing before escaping another death sentence and fleeing to Pentos. From there, Tyrion's path differs slightly in the books and the show.
In the book, Tyrion takes a riverboat to Volantis. Once in Volantis, Tyrion was kidnapped by Jorah, and they take a boat south from Volantis, going around Valyria and up towards Meeren.
The show's version has Tyrion taking a road from Pentos to Volantis instead. He's still kidnapped by Jorah, but then Jorah takes a shortcut. Instead of sailing around Valyria, the duo head through the treacherous strait. This is where they were attacked by Stone Men in season five. After the attack, Tyrion and Jorah continued to Meeren on foot.
The journey makes little sense.
According to the map, Tyrion and Jorah were about 950 miles away from Meeren at this point, yet they are unfazed by the prospect of walking. The show saved itself from having to explain this by having Tyrion and Jorah captured by slavers. Thankfully the slavers had boats, and everyone arrived to Meeren by the end of season five.
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