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Who's dead on 'Game of Thrones' but alive in the books, and vice versa?

For five seasons, Game of Thrones viewers who had also read George R. R. Martin's epic Song of Ice and Fire saga were sitting pretty.

As the Unsullied gasped in horror and delight at plot twist after plot twist — Ned's beheading, the Red Wedding, the Purple Wedding, things that don't rhyme with "edding" — we smiled smugly, comfortable in our advance knowledge about what to expect.

That is, until Game of Thrones started changing stuff. Like, really changing stuff.

Fast-forward to this summer, when HBO's series has largely caught up with the plots explored in Martin's most recent novel, 2011's A Dance With Dragons — and fans of the books suddenly found themselves feeling as clueless as the fans who haven't read them. To make things even more complicated, the books and show have diverged enough that it's getting harder and harder to remember which storylines have happened in which version — and even who's alive in one but dead in the other, and the other way around.



Image: HBO


Stannis, for example? He's 100% dead ... on Game of Thrones the TV show, though Martin has taken pains to point out that he's alive in ASOIAF.

Balon Greyjoy? Very much dead in the books, but he's alive on the show as far as we know — though that could change, judging by some clues gathered by the ever-vigilant Watchers on the Wall.

And how about Jon Snow? Well, his fate in the books is an ambiguous cliffhanger — though HBO really, really wants you to believe that he's totally dead on the show. Uh huhRight, guys.

In an attempt to simplify things, we've assembled a handy chart detailing major characters who are alive in the books but dead on the show, and vice versa. We've also included major characters that are alive in both — so that we can update the chart when some (or all! Martin's bloodlust knows no bounds!) of them kick the bucket next season/in The Winds of Winter, should The Winds of Winter ever actually materialize.

(Note: This isn't a comprehensive chart, mostly because nobody cares about what happened in Qarth. Sorry, Xaro Xhoan Daxos.)