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spikebrennan

Which characters will be cut from the series or consolidated with other characters?

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A commenter over at Winter is Coming paraphrased one of GRRM's remarks at the Chicago event:

"... His point on the series is that if you loved how Peter Jackson did LOTR, you will like the series. If you were one of the ones that hated it because there was no Tom Bombadill, you won't like the series!..."

Obviously, George's point more generally is that some changes and cuts need to be made in the course of adapting a written work for the screen. But more generally, timing, economic and let's-not-confuse-the-audience considerations will require some of the characters from the book to be consolidate with other characters, or dropped entirely.

Any guesses?

Here are some thoughts, mostly about the first season:

- Pyp and Grenn

- Some of the supernumerary members of Gregor's band. Perhaps some of them can be consolidated into a single character, who could also be consolidated with, say, Boris Blount as an all-purpose secondary thug.

- The mountain clansmen who have named speaking roles (other than Shagga, who is too droll to die)

- Chataya and Alayaya (they can simply be background characters with no names and only incidental lines)

- Lancel Lannister, and perhaps even Kevan Lannister (unless Kevan is necessary for the post-AFfC storyline)

- All but one of the Kettleblacks

- Most of the less important Freys

- At least some of the Brotherhood Without Banners- but I'm not sure it'd be possible to cut Lord Beric himself without doing too much violence to the story

- Hot Pie (a shame-- it'd be nice to have at least one character with Flea Bottom origins, but perhaps he can be sort of merged with Gendry)

- Jory Cassel and Septa Mordane, as others have pointed out

- Old Nan

- The Karstarks and Manderlys (at least as named characters with lines)

- Myrcella Baratheon (yes, I know that this changes a lot of the Dorne stuff, but that whole plot may have been something of a blind alley anyway). One could then lose some of the Martell girls, and Darkstar, and Ateo Hotah, and Arys Oakheart

- One of Irri and Jhiqui

- Stannis's wife and daughter, and most of the named Florent characters

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- Stannis's wife and daughter, and most of the named Florent characters

Shireen will be the last surviving Baratheon. She'll be necessary in the denouement. Doesn't ever have to speak. But taking Selyse out of the "Melisandre comes to Stannis" subplot makes Stannis about a thousand times less interesting.

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Was thinking of this very thing recently, as someone who hated tom bombadil i'm ok with this. i dont think anybody mentioned in the OP would be a massive miss. i'm sure everyone that needs to be there will be there. HBO have my total trust.

though i only just realised that the pilot director was Scott Templeton, [email protected]

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I think a lot of these characters will be there as "Easter Eggs." Basically they will seem to be extras, or will just have a line or two and never be named, but those familiar with the books will be able to recognize them.

I could see the Karstarks actually being named and mentioned, because the whole conflict that arises out of what Catelyn does and it's overall effect on Robb's army is important. The whole conflict might take up no more than five minutes of screentime over the course of the whole series, but if done well that could be more than enough.

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Shireen will be the last surviving Baratheon. She'll be necessary in the denouement. Doesn't ever have to speak. But taking Selyse out of the "Melisandre comes to Stannis" subplot makes Stannis about a thousand times less interesting.

As Brude said, a character may be hugely downplayed in the TV series but the character can still exist. They can be mentioned in passing by other characters but they can easily be dropped as speaking characters if the producers wish. Similarly, Myrcella. She can exist but doesn't have to say a thing. Ever. Even in aFfC. Or if she does then, they can recast. She is young, so you can get away with that.

Jon needs some companions besides Sam. Maybe not both Pyp and Grenn but i'd be inclined to leave them in. But yes, all the bands will be severely reduced almost my definition (Gregor's, the BwB, the Mountain Men, the Freys).

Lancel is interesting since he does have an affect on the Jaime Cersei storyline. So i'd keep him in myself. Kevan isn't as important (although if we ever got to S4, i'd give him a cameo role just for his chat with Cersei. :)).

And yes, the Karstarks have to be introduced at some stage. But Rickard's prominence can be delayed till any proposed S3.

It does sound to me like big questions will be asked about any S2. AGoT is quite tightly plotted in comparison to aCoK. Most of the focus is on Ned's conflict with the Lannisters, with Jon and Dany as major subplots. In aCoK there are just tons of subplots. I was trying to think could they drop a POV but there is just too much good stuff happening in all the POVs. Even Davos (the least prominent POV in aCoK) has great scenes with Melisandre and at the Blackwater.

All the other POVs are introduced in the pilot, so I can't see their role been reduced. Instead, Robb might be given a bigger role. And they have to decide what to do with Jaime. Not that they'll be making any decision for a while I guess. AGoT's reception will drive a lot of that. Its going to be complicated anyhow.

As regards aGoT. I'll be curious to see what they do with Barristan. Unimportant in aGoT but very important later. Similarly Renly.

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The following post is based on just being a fan of some HBO TV and good story telling. I have no other qualifications I am aware of.

- Pyp and Grenn

They are almost assuredly going to have to be kept. Jon has to interact with somebody while on the Wall or it will take on the appearance that Jon is the only person there. Also, as completely unrealistic as Jon's rise at the end of SoS is, it will appear 500x as unrealistic if he does not have actual "friends." Pyp and Grenn and a few others are going to have to be there so Jon Snow appears like a real person.

- Some of the supernumerary members of Gregor's band. Perhaps some of them can be consolidated into a single character...

and

- The mountain clansmen who have named speaking roles (other than Shagga, who is too droll to die)

This is very likely. Many of the "bands" can have characters consolidated: some of the SoS Brothers on the Wall, some of the Bw/oB, some of the Mountain's men, as well as some of the ACTUAL Mountain men who ride down with Tyrion.

- Chataya and Alayaya (they can simply be background characters with no names and only incidental lines)

Agreed.

- Lancel Lannister, and perhaps even Kevan Lannister (unless Kevan is necessary for the post-AFfC storyline)

Not sure. We have to believe that House Lannister is not just powerful in armies, money and ambition, but that they have actual relatives to take up the fight. I am not 100% sure how to do this, but the LAnnisters need a few blond-haired actors to say a few words so we know they are there.

- All but one of the Kettleblacks

Good idea. Maybe the father as well.

- Most of the less important Freys

As speaking parts, yeah, but I can see the very real need to have them as extras; the real need to make sure we KNOW how large and overwhelming the Frey Clan can be. Its critical that we at least NAME some of the Freys.

- Hot Pie (a shame-- it'd be nice to have at least one character with Flea Bottom origins, but perhaps he can be sort of merged with Gendry)

I think Hot Pie plays an important element in the STORY, but may ultimately agree with you that he has to be removed ( I do not think he can be safely combined with Gendry). Hot Pie works well because he NEVER turns into something he is not: he is just a baker's orphan, he is scared and alone. And we need SOME human element in Arya's story.

- Jory Cassel and Septa Mordane, as others have pointed out

I think if they both had just minor lines, I would have no problem with their reduction in screen time. At the same time, when the hammer falls on House Stark, seeing their friends, allies and retainers killed will go a long way to emphasizing how destroyed the family was.

- Old Nan

She's not really in the books, either.

- The Karstarks and Manderlys (at least as named characters with lines)

I disagree with the Karstarks (the Manderlys can be eliminated in any large amounts). The Karstarks show how crazy the situation was in the North and with Northern men when Jaime was let-loose by Cat. It shows critically how bothersome keeping the North in line was to Robb.

- Myrcella Baratheon (yes, I know that this changes a lot of the Dorne stuff, but that whole plot may have been something of a blind alley anyway). One could then lose some of the Martell girls, and Darkstar, and Ateo Hotah, and Arys Oakheart

I think we need to see how Dorne plays out before this. And we cannot do without Myrcella for obvious reasons.

- One of Irri and Jhiqui

As long as one is left over for what I am hoping to be a 20 minute Dany-lesbian scene, I am cool with that... j/k... kinda

- Stannis's wife and daughter, and most of the named Florent characters

Much of what Stannis does with the Florents is going to have to be reduced to dialog. I still think Stannis HAS to have a wife and daughter who play some roll in the show to flesh that all out. Regardless, I think they are present, with less lines (but both are hardly big speakers anyway).

My own opinion is that there is going to be one or two characters cut that will STUN us. Not sure who they will be. For me, I think the following are likely to occur:

-They are gonna cut like 2 Greyjoys; could cut the whole clan is budget constraints are an issue by Season 4. But look for some interesting combines there;

-They are gonna combine all the major characters Dany interacts with in CoK with the exception of Artisan and Fat Belwas. Prat Pryee, that fat guy who cries, etc will be made into a single character;

-The two River lords in GoT who come down to speak with Ned- one character; same is true for many of the Lords of the Vale in GoT.

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There a bunch of people on the Court in KL, who will be cut IMO.

Jalabhar (maybe just someone in backgorund)

Lord Rosby

Tanda, Falyse and Lollys

Tyrek Lannister and his baby bride

KingsGuard-pretty sure will see some guys in white, but we would not now their names (except for Barristan and maybe Oakheart)

Balon Swan

....

It will be interesting to see what they will do with Slynt, I would keep him.

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bigfatcoward,

The pilot was directed by Tom McCarthy, not Scott Templeton.

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The pilot was directed by Tom McCarthy, not Scott Templeton.

Templeton is the name of the character he played in the Wire. Not a popular character. :P

Oakheart can be dropped until (if and when) we get to S4. But Trant might be useful, given his encounter with Arya. They could combine him with Mandon Moore, given they'll need somebody for Tyrion's Blackwater scene also. (But that ruins any potential Arya Trant encounter in future).

-They are gonna combine all the major characters Dany interacts with in CoK with the exception of Artisan and Fat Belwas. Prat Pryee, that fat guy who cries, etc will be made into a single character;

The problem with that idea is that it makes Dany's story very simple. Dany needs a few people to liven up her aCoK segment. Its her most streamlined story of the first 3 books.

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I agree with these ones:

- Pyp and Grenn

- Some of the supernumerary members of Gregor's band. Perhaps some of them can be consolidated into a single character, who could also be consolidated with, say, Boris Blount as an all-purpose secondary thug.

- The mountain clansmen who have named speaking roles (other than Shagga, who is too droll to die)

- Chataya and Alayaya (they can simply be background characters with no names and only incidental lines)

- All but one of the Kettleblacks

- Most of the less important Freys

- Hot Pie (a shame-- it'd be nice to have at least one character with Flea Bottom origins, but perhaps he can be sort of merged with Gendry)

- Jory Cassel and Septa Mordane, as others have pointed out

- Old Nan

- The Karstarks and Manderlys (at least as named characters with lines)

- One of Irri and Jhiqui

- At least some of the Brotherhood Without Banners- but I'm not sure it'd be possible to cut Lord Beric himself without doing too much violence to the story

But disagree with these ones:

- Lancel Lannister, and perhaps even Kevan Lannister (unless Kevan is necessary for the post-AFfC storyline)

Lancel and Kevan appear poised to become very important characters in The Winds of Winter. Lancel will be an important as the Faith Militant becomes more central to the story and as a witness in Cersei's trial, where he could make pretty damning accusations against her such as incest and conspiring to murder Robert. Kevan will likely become Regent during Cersei's incarceration.

- Stannis's wife and daughter, and most of the named Florent characters

The Florents will probably be cut yes, but I suspect Shireen and Selyse will be significant to the story. One scenario that is plausible, if GRRM is going in the direction of Stannis becoming the big bad, is he becomes desperate enough that Melisandre convinces him to make a human sacrifice of Shireen, Selyse turns against Melisandre, and Stannis has them both burned in one of Mel's magic rituals. Stannis killing his own wife and daughter would present a moral event horizon that would be impossible to replicate without them.

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I don't think a lot of characters will be cut, just because cuts won't be necessary. The Sopranos also had a very large cast and there was never a problem with having a few side characters who were only in the background when Tony was talking to the Boss of a certain family, and the show was pretty good about constantly utilizing it's massive cast so those background characters could do something significant or get killed or anything along those lines.

Some cuts are to be expected, but I doubt it will be that many. A large ensemble of main and supporting characters is something that's necessary for Thrones, and while somebody like Old Nan isn't important in the show's span, she's an important character for Bran, and more importantly, she's an important character for developing the lore. While the perspective will be leaving the series, people like Hot Pie and Gendry are just as important to Arya's arc as people like Grand Maester Pycelle and Varys are to Tyrion or Ceresi.

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Some cuts are to be expected, but I doubt it will be that many.

We can all hope but I wouldn't rely on it or you may end up being disappointed. If you count all the characters that crop up in the books, you would get a ridiculous amount in TV terms (way more than any other TV show). And each actor has to get paid, so it all gets very expensive.

Its simple enough if a character cropped up in 1 episode and then disappeared. But it is another thing for a character to crop up in Episode 4, reoccured in Episode 9 and then appeared again midway through S2. Nobody wants much recasting, so keeping track of the availability of a huge number of actors would complicate things a lot for the production.

So whether both Hot Pie and Gendry appear? Maybe.

Old Nan isn't needed though. If they want to include her, grand. But even in the books, her appearances are mainly through Bran's memories. Any lore can be dispensed in a similar way. Bran recounts some old story he heard.

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I think character condensation will work just fine - when you think about it there's obvious candidates for mergers like Sam and Sandor or Arya and Tywin.

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My guess is that the first season will be reasonably consistent with the first book. A lot of character "condensation" will happen, a few minor plots will be cut/altered but these are to be expected. (Also, you can't cut Lancel...he was integral in the plot of the king's death. Also integral in completing/continuing Jaime's transformation in AFfC.)

However, as GRRM mentioned, the story expands rapidly starting in the 2nd book. I'm thinking that major characters won't be noticably cut so much as storylines are cut or changed. Certain events that are trivial or repetitive will be combined into one scene or cut completely.

Also, someone above mentioned Jaime's story in season 2. If I were writing the show, Jaime would be too critical to be "missing" for an entire season. I would have Jaime spend much of the season plotting his escape, actually escaping (with the help of Tyrion's plot), and getting recaptured. Only to come face to face w/Cat & Brienne in the finale. All this can take place in 2-4 episodes; just a subtle reminder that Jaime is still alive, and will be important in season 3.

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I don't think characters as important or even semi/quasi-important as some of these the OP listed will be cut.

I think certain scenes will be cut is more likely to happen. There are plenty that are important for character development, but not for story development and that's what we'll see chopped.

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Cutting Kevan and Lancel would require them to change the way Robert died, which would be both problematic and a huge change to the story. And this would be become more problematic in later seasons. To whom Tyrion is supposed to talk when he is arrested? Tywin, Jaime or Cersei?!

About Shireen they do only need to establish that she is there (best with the scene where she was introduced in the books). She does not need to reappear after that, as she never played a significant role at all, but she might in the future.

And Myrcella already is in the pilot, as far as I know. She does not have any lines, but Cersei has three living children, as she has in the books.

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I think people are overestimating just how much will be cut. Most of this stuff is integral to the series as a whole. What gives it depth in the first place.

Well, its integral to the books. But the TV show isn't the books. The TV show was never going to have the kind of depth that the books have. Not enough time. Not enough money. Different medium.

At the same time, this seems to be a very faithful adaptation compared to practically anything else. So we are well out in front.

Cutting Kevan and Lancel would require them to change the way Robert died, which would be both problematic and a huge change to the story. And this would be become more problematic in later seasons. To whom Tyrion is supposed to talk when he is arrested? Tywin, Jaime or Cersei?!

About Shireen they do only need to establish that she is there (best with the scene where she was introduced in the books). She does not need to reappear after that, as she never played a significant role at all, but she might in the future.

And Myrcella already is in the pilot, as far as I know. She does not have any lines, but Cersei has three living children, as she has in the books.

I'd agree about Lancel. Kevan can be cut from the early seasons and introduced at the end of any S3. Although, even then, Tyrion could talk to Tywin. Or Varys if they want to echo Ned's time in jail. My favourite Kevan scene remains in aFfC, so I would be open to introducing him there.

And just showing that Mycrella and Shireen exist and almost forgetting about them makes sense to me. No lines from either are required.

I've always wondered could they move forward a Jaime chapter from aSoS into S2. Gives them more to work with.

I'd agree they could cut plot instead. But I admit, I have difficulty thinking what plotlines could be removed. Some of Arya in S2 I suppose. Some of Bran until Theon arrives. There's a few things in aCoK.

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A lot of the events that happen during journeys from one place to another could be cut easily and either combined with other events or simply mentioned.

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It would be really easy to use an extra for Shireen once or twice in season 2, then recast her if she becomes important later on. Her facial scarring will be more distinctive and memorable than the actress' face.

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