A list of differences that can be found between the fifth season of the TV series and, roughly, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, the fourth and fifth novels of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series. The two novels take place concurrently, with the fourth novel detailing events in the Seven Kingdoms, while the fifth novel follows events outside of them (at the Wall, Arya and Tyrion in the Free Cities, and Daenerys in Slaver's Bay). Originally, the fourth and fifth novel were going to be one very long novel, but Martin had to split them apart because it had grown too large. The TV series chose to intercut material from the two - which, in a sense, is recreating the original effect that George R.R. Martin intended.
Cersei Lannister was accompanied by Melara Hetherspoon and Jeyne Farman, when she went to see Maggy. It was Jeyne who was terrified of Maggy, and she even escaped when Maggy woke up. Melara was described as being even braver than Cersei and was more than eager to meet Maggy. TV Melara is a condensation of both girls from the novels. She retains Jeyne's cowardice but still accompanies Cersei as book Melara did.
Maggy's prophecy has several differences in the books: Melara Hetherspoon is also interested in hearing her future so she also takes part, Maggy predicts that Robert Baratheon will have sixteen children rather than twenty and she predicts the deaths of both Cersei and Melara, but the former at the hands of the "valonqar", the Valyrian term for "little brother", whom Cersei believes to be Tyrion.
Maggy's physical appearance is quite different on the show. In the books, she is very old, wrinkled, and has no teeth left. She is also nicknamed "Maggy the Frog".
Robin Arryn never did any strenuous physical activity, as the slightest physical exertion caused him to have seizures.
Littlefinger never agreed to foster Robin at Runestone. In fact, Lord Royce along with other lords declarant tried to forcibly take Robin with them, but Littlefinger foiled them.
Brienne never told Podrick to leave, she was in fact never less than polite to him.
The Unsullied was named Stalwart Shield, not White Rat. He was killed after leaving the brothel. It also took six Sons of the Harpy to kill him, though he was able to stab one before dying. His body was also brought to the throne room for everyone to see.
The Sons of the Harpy did not leave a mask when they killed. They painted a Harpy in the victim's blood near the body. In fact, they were never seen in the books, and they were never described wearing masks.
White Rat was described as the Sons' first victim in TV series. In the books, the Sons have already killed many before, but their victims were mostly unarmed freedmen, killed at the streets or at their homes. Stalwart Shield was the first Unsullied to be killed which indicated that the Sons had become more daring.
The re-opening of the fighting pits was Hizdahr's idea, not of the Yunkish people.
Hizdahr was indeed sent to negotiate with Yunkai, but they never agreed to comply with the abolition of slavery, nor to cede power to a council made up of freed men and former slaveholders. On the contrary, they demanded a compensation in gold and gemstones for their losses as a result of the disruption of slave trade; that Yunkai would resume slaving, and demand that Daenerys does not interfere; and that Hizdahr would marry Daenerys and become the king of Meereen. Daenerys did not like those terms, especially the second, but agreed. To celebrate the peace treaty, Hizdahr ordered to open the fighting pits.
Daario was not present in Meereen at that time as he was sent to negotiate with Lhazareen.
Cersei never thought Jaime had released Tyrion but suspected the Tyrells, because a golden coin of House Gardener was found in the possession of a missing gaoler named Rugen (actually Varys in disguise), who disappeared the same night Tyrion did. Jaime briefly considers telling her the truth but ultimately decides, given her growing viciousness and what happened when he told Tyrion the truth about Tysha, telling Cersei would probably do more harm than good.
At that point in the books, Tywin's body was already in state of decomposition and a foul stench emanating from the body, so nobody wanted to come close to the body.
According to the TV series, this was the first time Lancel appeared in public after the Battle of Blackwater but in the books, Lancel has already appeared at Joffrey's wedding. He was also much weaker at that time, being extremely thin and with white hair. He became very devout after he recovered, but he never joined the Sparrows, but the Warrior's Sons, a division of highborn knights devoted to the Seven. In fact, Sparrows were not present in King's Landing at that time.
Lancel tells Cersei that he must atone for his sins, but does not ask for her forgiveness, nor does he claim that he tempted her. He does not refer to Robert's death either; he implies, however, that he told the High Septon about that.
Cersei does not treat Lancel flippantly; on the contrary, his words make her fear that he has told the High Septon the truth about Robert's death.
Varys never went to Pentos with Tyrion, and his whereabouts are unknown for some time afterward. It was Illyrio Mopatis who discussed Daenerys with Tyrion.
Sam has never bragged about anything, and least of all about destroying the Other/White Walker: whenever someone mentions it, Sam becomes embarrassed and refuses to take the credit for that.
Jon never went to see Mance, and Stannis never asked him to convince him to kneel.
Stannis in fact never gave Mance a choice between kneeling or burning, he simply burned him.
Sam, Gilly, Janos Slynt, Tormund, Selyse, Shireen, and Davos were not present at the execution.
Mance was not very calm during his execution, he was screaming and begging until his death. He was also burned in a wooden cage hanging over a pit of fire north of the Wall, in front of a thousand wildling prisoners.
It was not Jon himself but several archers on his orders who shot Mance: Ulmer, Donnel Hill, Garth Greyfeather, and Bearded Ben.
Mance never actually died. He is still alive in the books. The person who was executed was Rattleshirt, who had been magically altered to look like Mance. Further, Jon and Melisandre plan to use Mance in their plans later to save "Arya" (actually, Jeyne Poole).
Petyr and Sansa never leave the Vale and they never meet Brienne and Podrick.
Arya does not knock on the door to the Temple of Black and White, she opens the door and walks right in and no one wanted to prevent her from entering. The Faceless Man she encountered had a different appearance. Instead of being an old man with wrinkled and sickly face, he is described as a cloaked figure with only a skull for a face. When Arya told him her name, he changed into kindly old man, not into Jaqen H'ghar. The books made clear the Kindly Man is not Jaqen H'ghar while in TV series, the person is apparently the same.
Ellaria did not wish for war with the Lannisters to avenge Oberyn's death. Quite the contrary, she is firmly opposed to any further bloodshed. This role is filled by Arianne Martell, Doran's daughter, eldest child and heir, who has been cut from the TV series so far.
It was not Ellaria but Obara, who encountered Prince Doran in the Water Gardens. Doran was not watching Myrcella and Trystane, but children swimming in the pools. Myrcella and Trystane were in fact not present at the Water Gardens as they were both at Sunspear, which is several miles away.
Obara wants to fight the Lannisters as a payback for her father's death, but does not mean to harm Myrcella.
Ser Gerold "Darkstar" Dayne is the one who advises Arianne Martell, not Doran, to kill Myrcella. Arianne refuses, since she is not a murderer of children and Myrcella is under her protection.
Jaime never goes to Dorne to rescue Myrcella or for any other reason. In the books, Jaime does leave the capital on Cersei's orders, but to lead the Lannister armies in putting down the last few Riverlords loyal to Robb Stark who are still at arms - the Tullys at Riverrun and the Blackwoods.
Cersei does not receive any threat from Dorne. She sends Ser Balon Swann to bring Myrcella from Dorne, because she loathes the Dornish and does not trust them.
Myrcella is in danger by people who seek to avenge Oberyn's death and push Dorne into war, as Doran warns Ser Arys Oakheart, but Cersei is unaware of that.
Ser Balon Swann's party does not include Bronn.
Lollys Stokeworth is described in the books as morbidly obese and is considered dimwitted. She and Bronn do not have any on-the-page scenes together.
Bronn does indeed marry Lollys Stokeworth, and never goes to Dorne with Jaime.
Mace Tyrell never serves as Master of Coin; in the novels, he puts himself forward for the position of Hand of the King and offers one of his uncles to serve as Master of Coin during Tywin's funeral, but Cersei (not wanting any Tyrells in a position of power close to the crown) brusquely refuses him and appoints two of her own cronies to the posts. Kevan later rebukes her for this, saying that while Mace would make a poor Hand, it is unwise to make him an enemy. Cersei later dispatches Mace to lay siege to Storm's End (again) and another of his vassals to besiege Dragonstone to rob Stannis of his last holdings in the south.
Kevan does deny Cersei, but not for Master of War (a title which never exists in the books), but as Hand of the King.
He also refuses for a different reason. Before Tywin died, it had been his intent that Cersei return to Casterly Rock and have no further say in the governance of the realm or Tommen's upbringing (as Tommen is nine at this point in the books). Kevan demands Cersei name him Regent, to rule until Tommen comes of age, and that she leave King's Landing in accordance with Tywin's plan. Cersei responds by throwing her wine in his face. In response, Kevan makes it plain he thinks her an unfit mother and is aware that Tommen and his siblings are the product of incest between Cersei and Jaime. Kevan then retires to Casterly Rock; to spite him, Cersei gives the positions of Warden of the West and Castellan of Casterly Rock (both positions Keven would be best suited for) to lesser members of House Lannister. Jaime also fears Cersei might try to assassinate Kevan (both for his defiance and his awareness of their affair).
Although Areo's skin color is never described in the books, it's most likely white, as he is from Norvos. He is also described as having white hair and a beard.
Varys does not accompany Tyrion on his journey to meet Daenerys. Rather, he is accompanied by a sellsword named Griff and his ward, Young Griff, as well as Ser Rolly Duckfield, Septa Lemore, and Haldon Halfmaester, all of whom have been cut from the TV series so far.
Daenerys never sees Drogon atop the pyramid. In fact, the last time she saw him was when they wanted to capture him.
Daenerys is never told the whole ugly truth about her father. Barristan Selmy tells her a very "sugarcoated" version, entirely omitting the countless atrocities the Mad King has committed. The worst thing Daenerys is told about her father is that he acted indecently at Joanna Lannister's bedding.
Mossador does not kill a Son of the Harpy against Daenerys's wishes. In fact, he is killed by the Sons of the Harpy. Also, he is Missandei's brother in the books and his death devastates Missandei.
Jon refuses Stannis's offer of legitimization as a Stark for several reasons, including loyalty to his father's gods as Melisandre demanded that he burns down the Godswood of Winterfell and converts to the Lord of Light. He also refuses Stannis offer for the sake of Sansa's claim on Winterfell.
Sam and Gilly never met Selyse and Shireen as Selyse and Shireen were both at Eastwatch and arrived at Castle Black much later. Thus nobody taught Gilly to read.
The election for Lord Commander of the Night's Watch has several differences:
There are several elections held, as a Lord Commander is only elected when he has 2/3s of the vote or more.
It is at first a very close vote between Janos Slynt (Ser Alliser withdraws early on due to barely any votes), Denys Mallister and Cotter Pyke, with Janos gaining votes each time.
There were also more candidates such as Bowen Marsh, Othell Yarwyck, Hobb and Edd
Sam lies to Denys and Cotter (who each loathe the other), convincing Denys that Stannis will force Cotter to be elected and Cotter that Stannis will force Denys to be elected. He then convinces each to support Jon instead.
Jon ultimately wins by a huge margin, not a single vote.
Tommen and Margaery sleep in the same bed on their wedding night, but do not have sex since Tommen is nine years old. So far, they have not consummated their marriage.
It is not the High Septon (who has died by this point in the books) but a Septon vying for the position who is dragged out of a brothel and publicly humiliated by the Sparrows.
The High Sparrow's first meeting with Cersei (Which takes place in the novels after his ascension to the position of High Septon (the Sparrows, fed up with the corruption amongst the upper echelons of the Faith, storm the Sept of Baelor and force the Most Devout to name their leader as High Septon, with no help from Cersei) is far more confrontational; the Sparrows refuse to allow the Kingsguard into the Sept, forcing Cersei to meet with the High Sparrow alone, the High Sparrow refuses to speak with her until he has completed his morning prayers, shows Cersei that the cronies she had amongst the Faith have effectively been stripped of any form of power, and proceeds to berate her for a number of grievances the Faith has with the Crown, most notably Eddard Stark's execution , the High Sparrow reiterating the Faith's long held view that having Ned beheaded on holy ground was an outrageous act of sacrilege that profaned the Sept (particularly after the Faith had been promised Ned's life was to be spared) and dismisses Cersei's attempts to justify Joffrey's actions on account of his youth.
It is not Davos but Melisandre who speaks to Jon and advises him on how he can best act in dealing with Stannis. In stark contrast to the series, Jon and Stannis quarrel more than once over Jon's reluctance to aid Stannis in his campaign to take the Iron Throne, with Stannis implying more than once that he could have Jon executed and force the Night's Watch to join him, but Jon refuses to stand down, insisting that he is in control of the Wall and the Night's Watch and will not be intimidated by Stannis's threats. In the television series, Jon expresses a desire to join Stannis but politely turns him down, a decision Stannis accepts respectfully without once threatening Jon, but instead giving him advice on leadership, and Davos implies to Jon that Stannis sees him as the son he never had.
Jon's steward is an Oldtown boy named Satin, who was raised as a whore.
Jon Snow did not appoint Ser Alliser to be First Ranger. Shortly after Slynt's execution, Jon sends Ser Alliser on a scouting mission with several other rangers (namely to stop Thorne from further undermining him). Thorne believes Jon is sending him to his death, but reluctantly agrees, since he knows Jon would like nothing more than an excuse to kill him the same way as Slynt. Before departing, he ominously warns Jon that he will return to Castle Black, one way or another.
Jon's execution of Janos Slynt differs in several ways:
He gives him the position the day before executing him. He lets Janos think about it overnight, though he did immediately refuse.
Jon orders him to go during breakfast, not during several other announcements.
Jon is initially going to hang Janos, but changes his mind. Janos smiles, thinking he's being spared. Jon then orders a block to be brought for beheading and Slynt's confidence evaporates as he realizes Jon's threat to behead him is real.
Littlefinger does not intend to marry Sansa to Ramsay Bolton. Instead, he plans to marry Sansa to Robin's heir Harrold Hardyng. At Littlefinger's advice, Sansa's childhood friend Jeyne Poole is disguised as Arya Stark and is married to Ramsay instead.
Petyr and Sansa never go to Winterfell and are still in the Vale.
None of the servants in Winterfell offers to help Jeyne Poole.
Tyrion does have sex with the whore in the brothel, but only picks her because all the others are quite old.
The whore, while Westerosi in looks, does not speak a word of Westerosi.
Tyrion is not captured by Jorah in Volantis, but in a Volantene-aligned city called Selhorys.
Tyrion is not with Varys when he's captured, but with a man aiding Illyrio named Haldon Halfmaester.
Jorah kidnaps Tyrion not stealthily, but in full view of everyone in the brothel. When the brothel owner tries to stop him, Jorah draws his sword and the owner relents.
Jorah had the Daenerys lookalike whore on his lap when he noticed Tyrion.
When Arya disposes of her possessions in the canal, she returns to the House of Black and White completely naked. (Since actress Maisie Williams was 17 at time of filming, she remained clothed.)
Arya hides Needle in a hole under the steps leading up the House of Black and White.
Jon never writes any letter to the Boltons. He writes a letter to King Tommen, requesting arms and men, and also declaring that although Stannis assists the people of the Watch against their foes - they are not his men and do not take part in the wars of Westeros.
Viserys did not tell Daenerys that Rhaegar was good at killing people, but that Arthur Dayne was the only knight in the realm who was Rhaegar's peer.
Selmy does not say that Rhaegar never liked killing, but that he never loved the song of swords the way that Robert or Jaime did.
Barristan Selmy is not slain by the Sons of the Harpy. He is still alive and acts as a POV character in the latest novel.
Sansa Stark is never promised to Ramsay Snow and does not leave the Vale as of her latest chapter in the books. As a result, neither she nor Littlefinger visit the crypts of Winterfell. Theon and Lady Dustin are the ones who go down to the crypts.
Tyene's mother is not Ellaria, but an unnamed septa.
After finding Tywin's body, Jaime muses that in retrospect "He [Tyrion] never said he meant to kill our father. If he had, I would have stopped him. Then I would be the kinslayer, not him"; Jaime never states aloud or thinks that if he sees Tyrion again, he'll kill him for murdering their father.
Jaime and Bronn never intend to, nor do they sail to or set foot on Dorne to rescue Myrcella. In the books, Bronn is wed to Lollys Stokeworth whilst Jaime is in the Riverlands trying to get Brynden Tully to surrender Riverrun without bloodshed in exchange for Edmure Tully's safety. Cersei sends another Kingsguard, Balon Swann, to take Myrcella back. Also, Oberyn Martell's family never intend to harm Myrcella, but instead plan to crown her as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, in order to provoke the Lannisters and Tyrells to attack Dorne.
Ser Balon Swann and his party arrive at Dorne openly. They are welcomed properly without any hostilities. Obara and Tyene suggest to kill him, but Doran forbids them to harm him.
The High Sparrow, not Cersei, is the one who brings up the subject of restoring the Faith Militant. He tells Cersei in length about the suffering of smallfolk and members of the Faith during the war, relating especially to the exceptionally savage sack of Saltpans committed by the Hound's gang (actually it was Rorge, who found the Hound's helm and impersonated to him). Cersei is enraged by the implied accusation that the Lannisters are responsible for the above sack because the Hound was their subordinate, but suppresses her anger and finally reaches an agreement with the High Sparrow: the laws disbanding the Faith Militant will be cancelled, and in return the High Septon will acknowledge Tommen as the king and forgive the Crown's debt to the Faith.
Tommen does not go to the High Sparrow.
Cersei never sends Mace Tyrell away to Braavos with Meryn Trant. Instead, she sends him to besiege Storm's End. Harys Swyft and Rafford "the Sweetling" are sent to Braavos instead, by Kevan.
Cersei never attempts to negotiate with the Iron Bank. She repeatedly rejects its demands to pay the debts. Pycelle objects, but Cersei does not listen to him. The Iron Bank eventually grows tired of Cersei's defiance and flippancy, demands immediate repayment of every loan in Westeros it is owed while refusing to extend further credit, all but crippling Westeros's economy, and simultaneously sends an emissary to Stannis, offering to finance his war effort in exchange for his pledge to repay the crown's debts when he is seated on the Iron Throne.
Littlefinger does not intend to return to King's Landing.
Littlefinger does not speak about Lyanna with Sansa or anyone else.
Littlefinger does not plan any military campaigns and does not mention the Boltons or Stannis. He focuses on the first stage in his plans - wedding Sansa to Harrold Hardyng.
Loras Tyrell is never arrested for his sexuality. Instead, he offers Cersei to resolve the siege of Dragonstone, in order to allow the Redwyne fleet, which currently besieges it, to return to the Reach to deal with Ironborn attacks on their coastline following Euron Greyjoy's coronation; Cersei agrees, secretly hoping he will die. Loras gets fatally wounded. As of A Dance with Dragons, it is unknown if he will survive.
The Faith Militant were not required to carve the seven-pointed stars onto their foreheads. It was sufficient for them to paint the star on their brows or sew a badge of the star to their clothes. Only the zealous among them carved the star into their chests.
It is not revealed in the books how Shireen contracted Greyscale.
Lancel has not joined the Sparrows, but to the Warrior's Sons, one of the two original orders of the Faith Militant.
Jorah does not steal a boat. He, Tyrion and their companion Penny board a ship at Volantis.
Jorah hits Tyrion so hard that he breaks a tooth.
Stannis intends to march on Dreadfort, not Winterfell. Jon explains him it is a bad idea, and advises him to liberate Deepwood Motte first. After Deepwood Motte is taken, Stannis marches to Winterfell.
Daenerys did not intimidate the head of each family of Meereen using her dragons. Instead, she took hostages (children) from each of the noble families to serve as her "cupbearers". She also demanded blood money from each family for each of her followers or soldiers killed by the Sons of the Harpy.
She incidentally never threw Hizdahr in jail, although Ser Barristan did later.
Jon first sent a wildling envoy named Val North of the Wall to find the wildlings after the battle, who were led by Tormund himself, as he was not captured during the battle. Later, Jon led new recruits to the weirwood grove in the Haunted Forest, where they encountered a small group of wildlings. When Jon offers the wildlings shelter south of the Wall at Castle Black and the wildlings return with Jon and the new Watchmen, they tell Jon about the many free folk at Hardhome. Jon decides to send a rescue party led by Cotter Pike to the ruined settlement to save the wildlings stranded there. Later, after receiving a distress message from Cotter Pike, Jon and Tormund plan to lead another rescue mission themselves.
Jon wants the Wildlings to come south of the Wall to both save them from the Others and to ally with them against the Others, having willing wildlings defend and hold empty castles along the Wall against the Others.
Sansa never sees Theon because she is still in the Vale and not in Winterfell as of her latest chapter. Instead, it is her friend Jeyne Poole, masquerading as Arya Stark, who is betrothed to Ramsay. Jeyne does indeed see Theon, who immediately recognizes her but remains silent in order to protect her.
No one announces that Walda Bolton is pregnant. It is mentioned in the novel, from Theon's POV, that Roose Bolton entered the Great Hall accompanied by his plump pregnant wife - the only reference to Walda's pregnancy.
Although Ramsay's mother took him to the Dreadfort when he was a baby, he did not stay there. Roose instead arranged for them to stay at the mill once owned by his mother's deceased husband and Ramsay did not move to the Dreadfort until two years before The War of Five Kings. The current status of Ramsay's mother is uncertain.
Shireen and Selyse were left at Castle Black when Stannis marched, along with a dozen knights and guards, and Melisandre.
Davos did not march with Stannis, he was sent to negotiate with Lord Manderly at White Harbor, hoping to get him to side with Stannis.
Stannis did not mention the existence of dragonglass in Dragonstone so casually: he believed Sam's story about killing the Other and sent orders to the castellan of Dragonstone to mine the precious material, in order to make weapons against the Others.
Sam learned from old records that the Children of the Forest not only used dragonglass blades, but also provided one hundred of them to the Watch every year.
Jorah and Tyrion never went near Valyria, as in the books anyone who sails within hundreds of miles of it vanishes without a trace. Sailors never go through the Smoking Sea. Tyrion, however, did encounter Stone Men, but in The Sorrows region of the river north of Volantis. Later, with Jorah, they sailed around Valyria instead of through it.
Having not encountered Stone Men, Jorah was never infected with Greyscale. Tyrion's companion who saved him from the Stone Men and ended up infected was actually Jon Connington.
The Sand Snakes planned to spark a war with the Lannisters, but with different means —Obara wanted to go to war directly; Nymeria wanted to assassinate certain key Lannisters; Tyene wanted to make Myrcella Queen of Westeros as their puppet, sparking the war they all wanted. However, they were all curtailed before they could even try to achieve their goals. It was a group led by Arianne Martell, Doran's daughter and heiress, instead of Ellaria Sand, who tried to carry out Tyene's same plan: to crown Myrcella. No one planned to harm her.
During the skirmish with Areo Hotah, Myrcella is attacked and scarred by a rogue knight, Ser Gerold "Darkstar" Dayne, who flees capture, while the Kingsguard protecting Myrcella, Ser Arys Oakheart, makes a mad charge towards the Dornish forces and is killed by Hotah. In the TV series, no one on each side is killed.
Obara, not Nymeria, uses a whip to fight. Nymeria uses only daggers in battle.
In the books, Ellaria Sand does not play any part in the scheme involving Myrcella, yet she is still arrested along with her four young Sand Snakes, though only preemptively and not as a punishment.
Olenna Tyrell has not returned to King's Landing since the High Sparrow became High Septon. It is Mace Tyrell and Randyll Tarly who arrive in the capital, with the entire Tyrell army, to free Margaery by threat of force.
Margaery Tyrell was arrested due to false testimonies, arranged by Cersei, that she was unfaithful to Tommen. Her cousins were arrested too.
Ramsay marries Jeyne Poole under the guise of Arya Stark, not Sansa.
Lysa is the one who questions Sansa about her virginity. Sansa says that Tyrion has never had sex with her, because he preferred whores. She does not say that Tyrion was kind to her, because she knows that will anger Lysa.
Ramsay does not care if Jeyne is a virgin or not. He demands to know if she was taught how to please men.
Theon was forced to participate in Ramsay and Jeyne's wedding night by stripping her clothes and performing oral sex on her to "warm her up", before he is made to watch. In the TV series, he is merely forced to watch Ramsay force himself on Sansa.
Tyrion and Daenerys have not yet met, though it has been confirmed to happen in the following novel.
Gilly is not nearly raped by brothers of the watch, thus Sam does not defend her.
Ghost never leaves Jon's side after they reunite in the books.
Aemon dies on a ship en route from Braavos to Oldtown. Additionally, his body has not been burned as of yet, but is being preserved in a barrel of alcohol until Sam has a chance to conduct a proper funeral.
Melisandre never asks Stannis to burn Shireen.
The Stormcrows are one of Daenerys's sellsword companies. They are not involved at Stannis's campaign against the Boltons.
So far, Stannis has not hired any sellswords. His army (about 5,000 men) consists of his original troops, warriors of the Northern mountain clans and volunteers of House Mormont and other Northern houses.
There have not been any desertions from Stannis's host.
As Sansa has not yet returned to Winterfell in the books, it is not Ramsay who tells her that Jon Snow has become the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, but her friend, Myranda Royce.
When Tyrion and Jorah are auctioned, Jorah does not bring a good price, nor is he bought quickly. As the slavers boarded the ship in which he and Tyrion were sailing, Jorah fought valiantly and killed three of them, thus he was beaten within an inch of his life and branded on his face with a demon mask, the Volantene mark for a disobedient slave. Since the auctioneer has no idea who Jorah is, he describes him simply as "big and strong" without any tales about his deeds. He is eventually bought for less than 1/30th of the price the slaver paid for Tyrion.
Tyrion does not beat any of the slavers. On the contrary, the auctioneer whips him brutally several times because he speaks insolently to the bidders. Once Tyrion is sold, the auctioneer whips him once more, simply because he can.
Yezzan never gives money to Tyrion.
Daenerys does not visit a single fighting pit until after her wedding to Hizdahr.
Olenna never outright says she killed Joffrey, nor does she meet with Littlefinger.
The Sand Snakes are imprisoned in comfortable rooms in the Tower of the Sun in Sunspear, not a dungeon. They are also each kept in a different room.
Tommen has no idea about Margaery's arrest and impending trial.
Lancel confesses his and Cersei's crimes (their affair and Robert's murder) to the second High Septon, who is killed for that reason by Osney Kettleblack at Cersei's command. Lancel admitted that also to the High Sparrow, but Cersei is not arrested due to his confession: she sends Osney to confess falsely to the High Sparrow that he has slept with Margaery, as a part of Cersei's scheme against her. Osney sounds so pleased to be so guilty, that it arouses the High Sparrow's suspicions. He has Osney tortured, then the truth comes out: Osney admits he has slept with Cersei, murdered the previous High Septon at her command and never touched Margaery. Cersei is thrown to jail. Later, she is confronted with all the accusations based on both Lancel and Osney's true confessions.
Myrcella has been in Dorne for several months, not years.
Cersei has never told Myrcella to go to Dorne, on the contrary: Tyrion sent Myrcella there without Cersei's consent and against her will.
Jeyne Poole is not allowed to leave her room. It is unlikely that Ramsay discusses with her matters like legitimization or Stannis's imminent attack.
Jon's plan with Tormund in the TV series is an amalgamation of four different missions in the books: firstly, after the battle at Castle Black, Jon sent a wildling envoy named Val to find Tormund and his group of wildlings so they can form an alliance and bring the wildlings south of the Wall away from the Others. When Jon escorts new recruits to the haunted forest, where followers of the Old Gods can swear their vows, Jon encounters the giant Wun Wun and a small group of wildlings. Jon offers them shelter south of the Wall at Castle Black and they return with him. They tell Jon about the many other free folk at Hardhome, and he sends a rescue party under the command of Cotter Pyke to the ruined settlement to save them. However, disaster strikes and wights surround Cotter, the wildlings, and the Watchmen, leaving them stranded, so Jon and Tormund plan to go themselves and save the Watchmen and wildlings both —however, this mission was interrupted. The TV series picked the Hardhome context of the latter two failed missions and ascribed it to the successful former missions in the books of bringing Wun Wun and these groups of wildlings to safety south of the Wall. As a result, in the TV series, Jon is able to bring thousands of free folk south of the Wall. The entire occurrence at Hardhome takes place offscreen in the books and little is known about it, except what Cotter Pyke writes in his distress message to Jon.
In the show, Tormund says he has two daughters; according to the novels, he has four sons and one daughter.
Valyrian steel isn't confirmed to be resistant to the White Walkers' weapons and lethal to the Walkers themselves, though it is implied that is the case when Sam discovers textual references to "dragonsteel" as a weapon against the White Walkers, and they assume it means Valyrian steel.
Theon doesn't tell Sansa that Bran and Rickon are alive, as they have not seen each other since she left Winterfell.
Roose Bolton also lets out a host to fight Stannis in the snow, though it is a much larger one, instead of a small raiding party led by Ramsay, and Roose only does so when forced due to the rising tensions in the castle: The Freys and Manderlys are at each others' throats, so he decides it may be better if they abandon the castle and attack Stannis in the snow.
Ser Kevan does come back to preside over the small council after Cersei's arrest, but in the position of Lord Regent, not Hand of the King. Since Tommen is older in the show, he does not need a Regent anymore; Cersei was Queen Mother, and Kevan can't be Lord Regent. In the books, after becoming the Regent, Kevan appoints Mace Tyrell as the Hand of the King. Also, Qyburn is dismissed from Kevan's council.
As Tyrion and Daenerys have not met yet, Tyrion does not advise her on Jorah (who she does not know is in Meereen) or on any other matter. Though Daenerys is empathetic to the slaves and the poor, she never implies an end to feudalism were she to rule the Seven Kingdoms, which she does in the show when she talks about "breaking the wheel" of Great Houses that she presumes is crushing the smallfolk, including her own House Targaryen in the list.
Cersei is accused not only of the crimes of fornication, treason, incest and Robert's murder, but also with the murder of the previous High Septon (who was killed by Osney Kettleblack at Cersei's command).
Hizdahr zo Loraq isn't killed by the Sons of the Harpy (it is suspected that he is in league with them, perhaps even their leader); he married Daenerys before the events of Daznak's Pit and is currently still alive.
Doran sends Nymeria Sand to serve in the Small Council in King's Landing, not Trystane.
In the books, the Sons of the Harpy do not launch an open attack on Daznak's Pit, though they do attempt to kill her by poisoning food on a buffet in the royal box (provided by Hizdahr). However, Strong Belwas, one of Daenerys's subordinates, eats the poisoned food instead, and nearly dies as a result. The remainder is left, suspicious when they learn this food was the same food Hizdahr was pushing Daenerys to try but did not taste them himself. This prompts suspicion that Hizdahr is either a member of the Sons of the Harpy or is working with them. Once Selmy is convinced that Hizdahr attempted to kill Daenerys, he and more of Daenerys's loyalists overthrow Hizdahr and have him imprisoned.
Brusco is not a brothel bouncer but a fishmonger, and Brea is not a whore but his elder daughter.
Drogon does not appear for the reason of saving Daenerys. He is drawn to the Pit by the smell of blood and fresh meat from the numerous gladiatorial battles (some involving animals). When the Meereenese try to attack him, Drogon goes on a rampage, causing over 200 deaths as people are either killed by the dragon or trampled in the panic to escape. Only one person in the arena manages to injure Drogon - an animal handler called Harghaz. Daenerys thinks he is either drunk, mad, or loved Barsena (a female pit fighter who was devoured by Drogon), and wants to avenge Hazzea's death, or merely wants to make a name for himself as a dragonslayer. He manages to seriously injure Drogon before the dragon kills him.
Tyrion is present in Daznak's Pit in the books, except he is a dwarf riding on a dog as a show for the observers. He does contemplate revealing himself to Daenerys, only to stay silent when he sees Barristan Selmy (who is still alive at that point in the books), out of fear Barristan might prejudice Daenerys against him out of their shared contempt for House Lannister.
In the march to Winterfell, Stannis’s camp is left stranded by the heavy snowstorm, with little to no food, though this is due to a grueling march exclusively due to the weather—they are not raided by Ramsay Bolton or anyone else, though Roose Bolton is indeed forced to fight Stannis in the snow, in order to alleviate tensions within Winterfell, as several fights and murders have broken out between the forces of various northern Houses and House Frey in the castle.
Due to the snowstorm, Stannis relents and lets the fanatics in his army sacrifice four soldiers who were caught eating a dead body, instead of Shireen. However, author George R.R. Martin has confirmed Shireen will be burned as a sacrifice in later books.
Arya does not see Meryn Trant in Braavos, nor does she pursue him into a brothel. Instead, Arya follows Raff the Sweetling and tempts him in the Winds of Winter 'Mercy' chapter.
Meryn Trant has not shown any attraction towards children.
It is not Ellaria but Jaime who criticizes his poor handwriting, thinking that might have done credit to a six-year-old child who has just learned his first letters.
Stannis, Selyse, Myrcella, and Meryn Trant are all still alive.
Samwell leaves for Oldtown earlier in the books, and it was Jon's idea, as he wants someone to research the Others (White Walkers) in the Citadel's archives. Sam actually does not want to leave or become a maester, and Jon has to persuade him forcefully. They leave with Maester Aemon and Mance Rayder's son instead of Gilly's, as Jon wants to keep Aemon and Mance's son out of Melisandre's hands, fearing she may try to burn them for the King's blood she requires for her magic.
Jeyne (Ramsay's wife in the books) does not attempt to escape on her own, the escape attempt is triggered by Mance Raider and six spearwives sent by Jon Snow and Melisandre (on the misapprehension they were rescuing Arya). The escape takes place before the battle, as the escapees realize their best chance is to link up with Stannis's army before the Bolton forces reach him. Holly, one of the spearwives, is killed when the alarm is raised (the fate of Mance and the rest of the spearwives is unknown), prompting Theon and Jeyne to jump off the walls to evade capture.
Brienne and Podrick are still in the Riverlands when the battle at Winterfell occurs; therefore it is highly unlikely that Brienne will kill Stannis.
Although Ramsay, or possibly someone posing as Ramsay, sends a letter to Jon Snow saying he defeated Stannis, it's not yet confirmed that he's telling the truth. George R. R. Martin has confirmed that Stannis is still alive, but that still doesn't confirm that the letter is false because some of the chapters from unpublished The Winds of Winter take place before the final chapters of A Dance with Dragons.
Theon didn't kill anyone during the escape attempt. The spearwives Holly and Frenya kill two guards.
Prior to the escape, several people in Winterfell are brutally murdered by unknown people, presumably by Mance and the spearwives. Among them are one of Ramsay's men, Yellow Dick, and one of his squires, "Little" Walder Frey.
Arya has not killed Ser Meryn Trant. She instead killed Rafford "The Sweetling" and she only stabs him twice. Ser Meryn is still alive in the books.
Arya becomes blind before she kills Raff the Sweetling. She is punished for killing Dareon, a brother of the Night's Watch who deserted and who she came across while in Braavos. Also, in the books, she goes blind after drinking poisoned milk.
Myrcella does not show any awareness that the rumors that Jaime is her father are true.
So far in the books, Jaime has not told Myrcella he is her father. While he is in the Riverlands, he considers revealing that to Myrcella, but fears that will make the Martells break her betrothal to Trystane.
Myrcella's departure differs significantly from its analogous book scene:
The attempt on Myrcella's life was performed at an earlier point, not by poison, nor by Ellaria and the Sand Snakes (who never sought to harm Myrcella). Ser Gerold "Darkstar" Dayne injured her severely in attempt to behead her. She survived, but was disfigured permanently.
Ser Balon Swann, the Kingsguard who arrives to take Myrcella back (without Bronn), does not escort her to King's Landing but joins Obara in her chase after Darkstar, at Myrcella's request.
Myrcella is accompanied by Nymeria Sand, not by Trystane, who remains in Sunspear.
Barristan Selmy rules Meereen while Daenerys is missing instead of Tyrion.
The bloodriders Aggo and Rakharo, not Jorah and Daario, go to search for Daenerys. Daario is currently held a hostage by the Yunkai, and Jorah is with Tyrion as a member of the Second Sons.
Varys is not believed to have been to Meereen since Daenerys took over. He is currently in King's Landing, and murders two people with a crossbow in order to fool Cersei into thinking Tyrion is still in the capital.
Daenerys does not leave a ring behind as a breadcrumb. Drogon is at her side when the khalasar finds her.
Cersei admits that she has slept with Lancel and Osney Kettleblack - but claims she did that after Robert's death, not before. She denies that she ever cheated on Robert, and does not mention his whoring to justify her deeds. The High Septon questions her about the rest of the charges: the murder of the previous High Septon, her plot against Margaery, Robert's murder, the incest with Jaime and that her children are born of incest and adultery - and she denies them all.
Cersei's hair is shaved off completely, including all her body hair.
As Cersei performs her walk of atonement, she thinks back to Ned's execution and blames Joffrey for flouting the arrangement to have Ned exiled to the Wall. She also sees people who remind her of Robert, Tywin, and Melara. She also imagines she sees Ned, and beside him Sansa with a shaggy grey dog that might be Lady. She also imagines she sees Tyrion and Joffrey.
The huge knight which becomes the new member of the Kingsguard is introduced by Qyburn as "Ser Robert Strong" in the books, whereas in the series he is introduced by Qyburn without mentioning any name. However, in both, it is highly suggested the true identity is Ser Gregor Clegane after Qyburn finished his experiments on him.
Additionally, in the books, it is unclear whatever is inside the helmet, since a skull that might be that of the Mountain was sent to Dorne to appease them after the deaths of Elia and Oberyn Martell at Clegane's hands. In the series, no skull was sent to Dorne and bloodshot eyes surrounded by pale flesh can be seen through the view holes of the helmet.
Davos has not returned to The Wall since Stannis marched.
Subplots involving numerous Northern bannermen were cut from the TV series, as Stannis rallies them to fight against the Boltons: first he gains the support of the Northern mountain clans; House Mormont joins him as he attacks the ironborn at Deepwood Motte; following his victory over the ironborn, House Glover and many survivors of other northern houses switch to his side. Meanwhile, the Boltons have to deal with the Northern bannermen in Winterfell who loathe them, and their bickering Frey allies that were sent as reinforcements to the North. Stannis's campaign eventually moves against Winterfell in a blizzard, and the attack is desperate, but he clearly has some sort of plan in place due to his military experience. Stannis is also confident he can win against the approaching force because it is commanded by men who have never fought in open battle (like Ramsay) or whose reputation as commanders is woeful. It is also implied that Stannis has some kind of trick involving the frozen lake his men have been fishing.
The assault on Winterfell is dangerous and the odds are against the Boltons, not Stannis. Roose has been forced to abandon his easily-defended fortress in Winterfell and must fight Stannis, a notoriously resourceful and skilled commander, toe-to-toe and at the same time. His soldiers, especially the Manderly's, could turn on him at any time.
Jon's assassination differs from its book counterpart in several ways:
Jon receives a threatening letter (allegedly) from Ramsay Bolton. This letter claims that Stannis has been killed and demands that Jon send Selyse, Shireen, Melisandre, Val, Mance's son (who are all present at the Wall) and Reek (who is not at Castle Black and whose identity is unknown to Jon) to the Boltons. Jon is horrified by the letter and refuses its demands. He discusses what to do with Tormund, who is with Jon when Jon receives the letter. At Shieldhall, Jon reads the letter to the Watch and gathered wildlings, after which he announces his intention to march south and confront Ramsay. The wildlings are moved by Jon's words and volunteer to join him while Bowen and a group of Watchmen disappear from the hall. This is interrupted when Jon hears a scream and rushes to the source, where he finds a bleeding Wun Wun holding the body of Ser Patrek. As Jon tries to prevent more loss of life, he is stabbed in the courtyard by several brothers including Bowen Marsh. The reasons for the mutiny in the books are multi-layered and build up over the period of the fifth book: tension develops between Jon and a faction of his officers due to both Jon's alliance with the wildlings, which Bowen and his party vehemently oppose, and their feeling that Jon is taking sides in the political conflicts of the realm. They dislike the aid Jon provides to Stannis in return for Stannis saving the Watch as they fear the wrath of the Iron Throne. Jon's intention to confront Ramsay, effectively compromising the Watch's neutrality, may have been the straw that breaks the camel's back that leads to the mutiny.
The assassination takes place with both Watchmen and Stannis's men present, instead of just members of the Watch. There is a possibility that the TV assassination has been planned for quite some time, considering that it took place in the middle of the night with only mutineers present.
Of the Watch's first officers, only Marsh is described as being one of the assassins: Yarwyck is not mentioned while Thorne is not present in Castle Black at the time of the mutiny - Jon sent him earlier on a mission that he has not returned from. All three are present at the assassination in the series.
Jon is first stabbed by the steward Wick Whittlestick, then by Marsh. He is stabbed at least twice more, but does not notice who gave him those stabs.
Bowen Marsh is the one who weeps while stabbing Jon.
The heat from Jon's wounds and blood more visibly produce steam in the freezing air.
Jon whispers "Ghost" before losing consciousness.
It is not clear if Jon's decision was the actual reason or just a catalyst that led to his assassination. In the TV series, the primary reason seems to be his decision to let the wildlings through the Wall.
The book does not confirm whether or not Jon was killed in the attack, as the chapter ends with Jon losing consciousness, though George R. R. Martin has implied that Jon may have survived.