Spoilers for Game of Thrones season 5 below
Game of Thrones finally caught up with, and in many placed passed, the books on which it’s based, A Song of Ice and Fire. We all knew it was coming. I even wrote about it—about my superiority complex finally coming to an end—when the season began.
And yet it still stung. Having read the books for so many years, it’s rough when the show spoils future plotlines before we get to read them.
Granted, a lot of the show’s events this season—like Brienne’s slaying Stannis, or Sansa’s marrying Ramsay—aren’t book spoilers, because there’s no way those things could happen in the books. Likewise character deaths like Barristan’s and Hizdahr’s might not necessarily foreshadow book events.
But there were a few events this season that are just too big to not be spoilers for the overall story. We’ve seen the show change many things, but we’ve also been told the big points will stay the same. With that in mind, here are 3 storylines the show probably spoiled for book readers this season.
THE BATTLE OF WINTERFELL
The Battle of Winterfell ended with a whimper (Stannis’s) in the Game of Thrones season 5 finale. In the books, the last we saw Stannis he was wallowing in the snow, about where he was prior to burning his only child alive at the stake in episode 9.
It won’t be a surprise in the next book, The Winds of Winter, if Melisandre burns Shireen there too—although Stannis probably won’t be involved, as in the books he left Mel, his daughter and his wife Selyse (R.I.P. show Selyse) at Castle Black when he marched south.
And it also won’t be surprising when Stannis loses the battle and gets killed, though Brienne is very far away in the books, so it’s unclear who will pass the sentence and swing the sword. No matter what these events are just too big for the show to fudge.
DANY AND TYRION
The A Song of Ice and Fire books are limited in that each chapter is told from the point of view of a specific character. But the show has featured plenty of conversations between “non-viewpoint” characters, from Robert and Cersei in season 1 to Littlefinger and Olenna more recently. These conversations are invented purely for the show.
The conversations between Tyrion and Dany this season didn’t seem like that type of conversation. In the books, Dany has flown away on Drogon and Tyrion is stuck outside the city’s gates, as a massive army that’s completely absent from the show prepares to sack the city.
It’s still unclear whether the two will ever meet in the books, but watching them chat in the show—great scenes, by the way—made it seem a lot more likely.
THE WHITE WALKERS’ MARCH
The events at Hardhome have so far only been hinted at in the books. Commander Snow (R.I.P. number two) sends Tormund Giantsbane to rescue the Free Folk trapped there. With Jon’s apparent death at the end of A Dance With Dragons, it’s remained unclear so far what the fate of that expedition will be.
However, it now seems like the expedition will probably be savagely messed up by a White Walker army as it heads south to confront the realm. Or else the show just went completely off its rocker this season.
There are plenty of other areas where the show diverged from or added to the books—sometimes liberally. But these are the ones I feel confident we’ll read when we finally pick up The Winds of Winter.
And if I’m being honest, it could have been a whole lot worse. Now let’s hope Winds arrives before it does.
Mike Rougeau is Playboy.com’s Gaming Editor, in charge of all things video games but mostly concerned with maxing his Destiny characters. He lives in Los Angeles with his girlfriend and two dogs. Follow him on Twitter @RogueCheddar.