Game Of Thrones: 10 Differences Between Brienne In The Show And The Books


Gwendoline Christie rose to fame playing Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones and is enjoying a thriving career since that show’s conclusion. The actress starred in Netflix’s highly anticipated The Sandman and will continue her work relationship with the streamer thanks to Wednesday.


On Game of Thrones, Brienne stays mostly the same compared to her counterpart in George R. R. Martin’s novels. However, as happens in every adaptation, some things get lost on the way. Brienne’s live-action version keeps the book’s most important details, but some key aspects got changed in the transition to the small screen.

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Brienne Trained With Ser Goodwin

Brienne of Tarth wielding her sword in Game of Thrones as Podrick watches

During her first exchange with Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, Brienne reveals her father taught her how to fight. She speaks fondly of the training, prompting Arya to lament Ned never wanted to teach her sword fighting.

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Things are slightly different in the book. Brienne’s relationship with her father seems similarly good, but she mentions she received her training from Ser Goodwin, a master of arms at Evenfall Hall. This change is minor, but it still paints a lonelier childhood for Brienne in the books as opposed to her live-action counterpart. The result was the same, though, as she became one of the best warriors in the Seven Kingdoms.

Brienne Had Three Betrothals

Brienne drawing her sword in Game of Thrones.

Brienne doesn’t speak fondly of her childhood. She also mentions that she never had much luck in the betrothal department and even tells Pod, Game of Thrones‘ most wholesome character, that the only man who was ever kind to her was Renly Baratheon.

In the books, she had three betrothals. Her first betrothed died from the chill when he was still young, and her second one rejected her because he considered her “a freak.” Brienne defeated the third one in combat, humiliating him and effectively ending the arrangement. Her father made no further attempts to find her a match.

Brienne Joins Renly’s Rainbow Guard

Renly wearing his Baratheon crown and smiling in Game of Thrones.

In the books and the show, Brienne is fiercely loyal to Renly Baratheon and harbors a deep-rooted love for him. She becomes a part of his guard, although the details vary. In the show, Renly makes Brienne part of his Kingsguard after defeating Loras in combat.

In A Clash of Kings, Brienne becomes part of Renly’s Rainbow Guard, his adaptation of the Kingsguard. The Rainbow Guard, called so because the rainbow is a symbol in the Faith of the Seven, comprises seven knights, each dressed in a single-colored armor, coming together to form a rainbow. Brienne represented the blue. Originally, Renly wanted to give her place to Ser Barristan Selmy, one of the all-time best Kingsguards in Westeros.

Brienne Goes To Riverrun

A wide shot of Riverrun castle in Game of Thrones.

Following Renly’s assassination by Melissandre’s shadow baby, Brienne and Catelyn return to Robb’s camp in the show. There, Cat releases Jaime Lannister and tasks Brienne with escorting him safely to King’s Landing, hoping to ransom him in exchange for Sansa and Arya.

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In the books, Brienne indeed leaves with Catelyn but toward Riverrun, the Tully’s ancestral home. Brienne helps during the Battle of the Fords and remains at Riverrun under Catelyn’s service. Her storyline then progresses the same way, as Cat sends her to King’s Landing with Jaime.

Brienne And Jaime Don’t Travel Alone

Jaime and Brienne pointing their swords in the same direction in Game of Thrones.

Jaime and Brienne have one of the best relationships in Game of Thrones. The show develops their bond throughout their journey together, using their isolation to develop a strong connection that eventually changes them significantly.

In the books, Brienne and Jaime have a third companion, Cleos Frey, Jaime’s cousin who serves as an envoy. Cleos dies when the group gets ambushed near Maidenpool, leaving only Jaime and Brienne to finish the journey. The show gets rid of Cleos in favor of Alton Lannister, but he dies long before Brienne and Jaime begin their travels.

Jaime Has Brienne Arrested

Jaime Lannister in golden armor in Game of Thrones.

In the show, Jaime and Brienne arrive at King’s Landing at the end of season 3. She stays for the royal wedding between Joffrey and Margaery and leaves shortly after, armored by Jaime and accompanied by Pod to search for Sansa and Arya and fulfill her oath to Catelyn.

In A Storm of Swords, Loras is in King’s Landing and confronts Brienne over Renly’s death. To protect her from harm, Jaime has Brienne arrested and arranges a meeting between her and Loras. Thus, she clears her name and is free to carry on her mission without fear of capture.

Pod Joins Brienne Under Different Circumstances

Brienne and Podrick talking in an open field in Game of Thrones.

Brienne is one of Game of Thrones‘ most honorable characters. She keeps her oaths and treats everyone with respect. In the show, Podrick becomes her squire when Jaime asks her to take the young man into her service. She initially opposes the idea but eventually forms a deep bond with Pod.

However, Pod joins Brienne willingly in A Feast for Crows. He follows her after seeing her on the Duskendale road, and she reluctantly allows him to tag along on the journey. Their result is the same, as Brienne takes Pod under her wing, but the reasons behind their arrangement differ significantly.

Brienne Never Finds Sansa

Sansa Stark and Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones season 5 has Brienne run into Sansa Stark at the Inn at the Crossroads. She pledges to Sansa, but the young girl rejects her and chooses to remain with Littlefinger. Nevertheless, Brienne follows her to the North, where they eventually reunite after considerable hardship.

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Brienne never finds Sansa in the books because the girl never travels to Winterfell to marry Ramsay Bolton. Instead, she remains at the Eyrie under Littlefinger’s protection. Sansa’s storyline differs significantly from the source material starting with season 5, and so does Brienne’s.

Brienne Becomes The Brotherhood’s Prisoner

Beric Dondarrion, Melisandre, and Thoros of Myr standing in a forest in Game of Thrones.

The Brotherhood Without Banners plays a major role in season 3 of Game of Thrones. They capture Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie but sell Gendry to Melisandre, prompting Arya to run away. However, their paths never cross with Brienne.

In A Feast for Crows, Brienne becomes the Brotherhood’s prisoner after her small group gets ambushed by the Brave Companions while at the Inn at the Crossroads. Gendry is still with the Brotherhood at this point and plays a role in Brienne’s rescue from the Brave Companions.

Brienne Runs Afoul Of Lady Stoneheart

Catelyn Stark looking serious in Game of Thrones.

One of the show’s major departures from the source material is the absence of Lady Stoneheart. After the Red Wedding, Beric Dondarrion gives his life to resurrect Catelyn Stark, who returns with her wounds half-healed and unable to speak. Now known as Lady Stoneheart, Catelyn assumes control of the Brotherhood Without Banners and exacts bloody revenge against any Lannister soldier she finds.

When Brienne becomes the Brotherhood’s prisoner, Lady Stoneheart considers her a traitor seeing her in full Lannister armor. She dares Brienne to prove her loyalty by killing Jaime Lannister, to which Brienne says no. With the noose around her neck, Brienne yells an unknown word, possibly choosing to kill Jaime to spare the young Podrick from death. Brienne later appears in A Dance with Dragons, convincing Jaime to accompany her to rescue Sansa, albeit speaking cryptically and insisting he travel alone. It’s unknown what happens afterward, as The Winds of Winter is still not out. However, chances are Brienne is luring Jaime away, possibly toward Lady Stoneheart.

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