Entertainment Weekly has a big spread on Season 5.
WatchersOnTheWall.com has a full report on it with notes: http://watchersonthewall.com/hbo-wants-more-than-seven-seasons-of-game-of-thrones-new-inside-information-on-season-5/
I have also fully read an illegally scanned copy, though I thought it would be inappropriate to just link to it. Mostly I just read this to confirm or expand upon some points that WOTW.com made, clarifying some issues. (I don't really pay for things - I am after all, a starving unemployed Historian holding only a Master's Degree in Medieval History).
Be that as it may, I made this list to summarize all points of note -- a lot of the other stuff is just "Isn't Season 5 amazing?!" without real content.
This is the earliest manuscript outline that Martin sent to his publishers. It changed DRASTICALLY in later drafts and has little resemblance to the final version.
Keep in mind that even, say, in Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings, "Strider" (Aragorn) started out as a Hobbit named "Trotter" who had wooden feet, because he'd been a prisoner in Mordor for a while and had his feet cut off. Tolkien had no idea who Aragorn was and it just popped up as he made later and later revisions. Also in the original Lord of the Rings outline Aragorn ended up with Eowyn, and Arwen didn't even exist. In later drafts he realized that Eowyn's love for Aragorn was really obsession, and …Read more >
The Season 5 trailer: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152715877082734&set=vb.74133697733&type=2&theater
We don't clearly see any Dornish characters (they are in it, but not slow lingering headshots)
...judging by Varys, it would seem that the entire Bastard of Blackfyre subplot with Young Griff has been cut.
...Jon Snow's thing with Hardhome (I guess) seems expanded a bit (Hardhome is a large wildling settlement on the east coast, the closest thing they ever had to approaching a "town" in size, but it was destroyed some centuries ago -- though now in desperation wildlings have fled to the ruins).
Inaccurate reports said that the Pyramid of Meereen is destroyed. It is not. They're simply pulling down the harpy statues from the top, wh…Read more >
It took me only a few minutes to dash this off just to clear my head.
But I was trying to make a general listing/ranking of the worst changes the TV show made from the books. No, the argument that "the show is just different, like The Walking Dead" is facile and not really applicable here: The Walking Dead openly admits that it only loosely follows some general ideas from the source comics. The TV show is an adaptation and will be judged as an adaptation.
Now that being said, some find it odd that I actually play devil's advocate a lot with the TV series. My general philosophy is that we need to keep our complaints "focused" on the most egregious things....the things that cannot reasonably be defended. If you lump in the reasonable changes …Read more >