THE CHANGE: Sometimes the small stuff is the stuff you sweat the most. Why change Theon's sister's name from Asha to Yara? Supposedly it's to avoid confusion with Bran's wildling mentor Osha, but is this really a show whose audience can't be trusted with confusing names? Why not have Renly taunt Stannis by eating a peach during their tense negotiation? It's his single most memorable moment, and surely there's room in the show's peach budget. And if you're gonna have a big wide shot of Renly's shadow in his tent, why not do what the book did and make it Melisandre's shadow baby in disguise, so that it can stealthily peel off the wall and attack rather than rolling into the tent like a Lost refugee?
THE VERDICT: Look, unless you just plop the book in front of the camera and slowly turn pages for ten hours, any adaptation from a novel to a TV show is going to make changes both big and small. But because they're small, these changes are all the more difficult to understand, even though they're clearly not a big deal in the long run. Everyone's gonna fixate on different details they remember fondly, and while it's a bummer to have lost these ones, it's something you can put up with if the overall quality stays high.