For example, in the book, Marianne goes to see Connell play football and thinks to herself about it: “It occurred to Marianne how much she wanted to see him having sex with someone; it didn’t have to be her, it could be anybody. It would be beautiful just to watch him. She knew these were the kind of thoughts that made her different from other people in school, and weirder.”
In the Normal People TV series, these thoughts become dialogue that Marianne expresses to Connell while they are in bed together, saying: “You know when I was watching you play football, you looked so beautiful, I kept thinking how much I wanted to watch you have sex, I mean, not even with me, with anybody, how good it would feel. Is that really weird?”
Connell responds to this sentiment, saying: “Yeah, that’s really weird, Marianne, but I think I understand it.”
This may seem like a minor change, but for a story that is so much about Marianne and Connell’s inability to express their honest feelings for one another, it is also relatively monumental.
The Phone Call
Guiney mentions: “There are virtually no ideas or scenes in the series that aren’t in the novel.” This is true, but there are ideas that are expanded on for the series. One example of this comes in the scene that shows Connor calling Marianne after the Debs to tell her that he misses her. In the book, Connell calls Marianne but Marianne deletes the message before listening to it so we never hear what it contains. In the TV series, we are with Connell as he makes it, so we get some greater insight into where he is emotionally after breaking up with Marianne that first time.