Die-hard Game of Thrones fans know that the forces behind the series made a pilot that never aired well before the hit show debuted on HBO. Given that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss agree that the original episode is irredeemable, it's unlikely that it will ever see the light of day. However, the original pilot script was recently unearthed by an intrepid reporter.
Huffington Post reporter Bill Bradley cisited George R.R. Martin's special collection at Texas A&M's Cushing Memorial Library and discovered the script, revealing a treasure trove of differences between the series' first episode on paper and what eventually aired. While many of the changes between script and screen were clearly for the better, saving one scene from the cutting room floor would have saved years of complaints from A Song of Ice and Fire fans.
In the unaired pilot, like in the books, the sex between Daenerys and Khal Drogo on their wedding night was consensual. The show changed the doomed couple's early encounters into a series of traumatic rapes that Daenerys overcomes via the advice of Drogo's handmaidens. The decision raised the hackles of book readers and women's rights advocates who felt that the rape scenes were gratiutous (a lingering critique of the series).
That's far from the only change between the original script and the eventual aired pilot. Key moments that helped shape the tone of the show would have been wildly different if they followed the original text. For example, in the opening scene showing members of the Night's Watch running from White Walkers, the North's boogeymen were supposed to talk. The idea of talking White Walkers apparently got so far that the show's creators created an entire language for the monsters. However, the idea was eventually scrapped in favor of the menacing zombies being mute and consequently more terrifying.
Take a look at all the changes between the two pilots over at HuffPo, and thank the gods that we ultimately got the show in its current form.
The final season of Game of Thrones premieres April 14 on HBO.