The 8 best Game of Thrones storylines not in the TV show

From page to (not on) screen

Game of Thrones book readers are about to enter uncharted territory with season six of the HBO television adaptation. While season five started veering off the book's storylines, even killing off characters still alive in the books, there was still some semblance of the last book A Dance with Dragons and its storylines. But now, with the sixth book yet to land, fans have no idea what's going to happen.

To mark this happy/disturbing occasion, we've rounded up eight of the biggest book storylines from the book series that haven't been seen on television yet (or at least not in their book form), and weigh up the likelihood that we'll ever get to see them now. Technically, as we can't rule out that some of the storylines may still happen, spoilers do follow for those sensitive to such things.

Images: HBO

8. Jaime Lannister and the siege of Riverrun

Storyline: Cersei commands Jaime to end the siege of Riverrun which is still loyal to the late Robb Stark. Along the way, Ilyn Payne teaches him to fight one-handed, before Jaime manages to get the Lord of Riverrun, Edmure Tully, to yield the castle in return for being released as a prisoner.

Could it still happen? It's highly likely that we'll see the siege of Riverrun, or some form of it, in season six. Jaime was sent on a (non-book) mission to Dorne last season, but it has been reported that scenes have been filmed on the Riverrun location with Clive Russell, who plays Brynden Tully in the show. Brynden plays a role in the siege, initially refusing Jaime before managing to escape, with Edmure's help, when Jaime takes control of the castle.

7. Jeyne Poole is married to Ramsay Bolton

Storyline: Jeyne Poole, best friend of Sansa Stark, is sent off by the Lannisters under the guise of Arya Stark to marry Ramsay Bolton and secure an alliance between the Lannisters and the Boltons. Ramsay seemingly knows she's not Arya and tortures her at will, before she manages to escape with Theon.

Could it still happen? Nope, this ship has sailed. To give the storyline more power or just to give Sansa something to do, the TV show saw Sansa married off to Ramsay leading to one of season five's most controversial scenes when he raped her. Everything else happens as it pretty much does in the book (minus Mance Rayder), just with Sansa in Jeyne's place with Sansa and Theon ending season five jumping off the walls of Winterfell. Unlike Arianne Martell, at least Jeyne made a brief appearance in the very first episode of the show.

6. Loras Tyrell is sent to capture Dragonstone

Storyline: Dashing warrior Loras Tyrell is sent by Cersei to end the siege of Dragonstone, with her hoping that he'll be harmed in the process. Both quests succeed. Loras manages to take Dragonstone from Stannis Baratheon, but is reportedly dying of the wounds he suffered during the battle, yet isn't officialy dead.

Could it still happen? It's fair to say the TV show took a different approach to Loras than in the books. Seen to be more homosexual, it sets up the character to be imprisoned by the Sparrows at Cersei's manipulation for his sexual preferences. Even if he does manage to escape from jail or is let go in season six, this storyline won't be likely to happen given that Cersei is already in jail as well.

5. Power struggle at the Iron Islands

Storyline: After Balon Greyjoy dies, his brothers Euron and Victarion and his daughter Asha undertake a kingsmoot to see who will be chosen as the High King of the Iron Islands. Euron wins and sends Victarion to deliver a marriage proposal to Daenerys in Meereen, while Asha is captured by Stannis Baratheon in Deepwood Motte, and eventually crosses paths with her brother Theon.

Could it still happen? Given it happened back in book four (A Feast for Crows), we probably won't be seeing the kingsmoot in the TV series. In the show, Asha (renamed Yara) has instead attempted to rescue Theon who claimed he was Reek and refused to leave. We didn't see her at all during season five, but there's a chance we could return to the Iron Islands with Euron already in charge. It would, however, mean introducing two new characters (Euron and Victarion) that we've yet to see in the show.

4. Arianne Martell's quest for revenge

Storyline: Arianne, the daughter of the Prince of Dorne, wants to avenge the death of The Viper. She leads an ill-conceived plot to crown Myrcella Baratheon as the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and start a war with the Lannisters. All she achieves though is being imprisoned by her father and being responsible for Myrcella having her ear sliced off.

Could it still happen? Ah, Dorne. One of the few missteps in adapting the books for television was last season's disastrously dull subplot. Arianne could have made it better, but instead she didn't even get an appearance. The storyline was effectively replaced by Ellaria Sand (pictured) and her revenge which led to the death of Myrcella. It's already been revealed that in the sixth book Arianne heads off on a mission to discover the truth about Aegon Targaryen, but without Aegon in the series yet either, a comeback for Arianne looks dead in the water.

3. Tyrion meets Young Griff

Storyline: After killing his father, Tyrion escapes from King's Landing and sets off for Meereen with two companions, Griff and Young Griff. During the journey, he discovers that Young Griff is Aegon Targaryen, the true heir to the Iron Throne, who was assumed murdered. On the advice of Tyrion, Aegon doesn't go to Meereen but instead leads an army to take Storm's End.

Could it still happen? By this stage in the TV show, Aegon/Young Griff would have to be introduced in a completely different way. Tyrion has already reached Meereen and even gone further than in the books by meeting Daenerys. However, if Aegon ends up being an important character in the book, it's conceivable that the route into his introduction could be the word of his survival reaching King's Landing, with the small council already discussing his validity in the book.

2. Coldhands

Storyline: Samwell Tarly and Gilly, along with their baby, are saved by an enigmatic figure who looks like a White Walker after they leave Craster's Keep. This figure is Coldhands who, later in the books, escorts Bran Stark to the cave of the three-eyed crow.

Could it still happen? Unless there's still something major for Coldhands to come in the books, TV viewers probably won't meet him given Bran has already reached the cave (and spent a whole season there). There were rumours that Coldhands is former brother of the Night's Watch Benjen Stark (pictured) brought, sort-of, back to life. Benjen appeared in season one and disappeared north of the Wall, and is expected to be seen in season six in a flashback. A flashback that sets up Coldhands perhaps?

1. Lady Stoneheart

Storyline: Catelyn Stark is brought back to life after the Red Wedding by Beric Dondarrion, who gives his life for hers. She becomes the leader of the brotherhood without banners and is rechristened Lady Stoneheart, due to her relentless quest for revenge against the Lannisters and their collaborators.

Could it still happen? The lack of Lady Stoneheart stings book readers more than any other change, and it looks unlikely to change. It could have been the perfect introduction for her at the end of season four, but all we got was Arya sailing off on a boat. However, when George RR Martin left her, she was just about to execute Brienne of Tarth. Given Brienne's TV storyline is all over the shop compared to the books, it's not out of the question that the two could still cross paths.

Ian Sandwell

Ian Sandwell is an entertainment journalist, an avid FrightFester, and horror genre lover, as well as being a bit of a Marvel geek. Ian was the Features Writer at GamesRadar between 2015-2017, and has since moved on to Digital Spy where he currently sits as the website's movies editor.