The 100: The Books vs The TV Show


Warning: there are spoilers in the comparisons below.

The 100 is a post-apocalyptic story that is set after a worldwide nuclear disaster happened on Earth. To save humanity, several countries launched space stations filled with people to survive in the sky. When life upon the spaceships become unsustainable, 100 underage criminals get sent to the ground on a desperate mission to see if the Earth is survivable. They discover that all humanity did not get destroyed on the ground.


One of my favourite television series to watch on Netflix is The 100. While I was watching the show, I heard that the show is loosely based off a series of books by Kass Morgan. As a lover of books, I knew that one day I would want to read these books. Then, last summer, while exploring a used bookstore in my neighbourhood, I found the second and third books of the series. At the time, I had a gift card leftover from Christmas to Indigo, so I immediately ordered the first and the last books of the series.

When I was reading, I noticed that there were a lot of differences between the books and the first 2 seasons of The 100. I meant to share a comparison between the 2 mediums when I first read the books in October but I thought that I should wait to write it and release it on the day that the new season of the show comes out. Tonight, season 5 of the 100 premiers. So, in honour for my love of both the book and the show, I wanted to share some of the differences between the two stories.

The Survivors of the Apocalypse

In the book, the humans survived in space on the Colony, which is made up of 3 ships called Walden, Arcadia, and Phoenix. The group is known as the Colonists. The first people that were sent to Earth by the Colonists were 10 adults. The 100 were sent to the ground later. But, in the TV show, the first group to get sent to the ground was the 100. They were sent to the ground by the council of the Ark. The Ark is a 12-station spaceship that includes Alpha, Farm, and Mecha Stations. Once on the ground, the group is known as Sky People, and then Skaikru. 
In the book, the people who survived on Earth are called Earthborn. Like the show, there are 2 distinct groups of Earthborns. But this is because the Earthborns split into 2 groups a year prior to the start of the novel. About 50 years prior, the Earthborn had survived for 250 years in Mount Weather before moving outside. But, in the TV series, the people who survived in Mount Weather and the people of who survived outside are 2 distinct groups. The Mount Weather people are called the Mountain Men and the ones who survived outside are called Grounders and are divided up into clans. Upon the discovery of the Grounders, the Mountain Men tried to leave Mount Weather 56 years before the 100 came to Earth. But they soon discovered it was fatal and started capturing Grounders (and later the Sky People) to experiment on to survive through the remaining radiation.

The Inciting Incident: The Apocalypse

In the book, the nuclear apocalypse is called the Cataclysm by the Colonists and the Foresakening by the Earthborns. The 100 are sent down to the Earth about 300 years after the Cataclysm. After a catastrophic failure on the colony, drop ships are launched to Earth in a panic. Anyone who remained on the Colony died of lack of oxygen within hours of the departure. But, in the TV show, the 100 gets sent down to Earth 97 years after the apocalypse due to low oxygen. After an even greater failure in oxygen levels, 320 people were willingly sacrificed in the Culling. Later, all of the original spaceships from the Ark get sent down to Earth, in the hopes of continued survival for what they thought was left of mankind. Skaikru has no special name for the Apocalypse but the Grounders call it Praimfaya.

Clarke, Her Parents, and Their Treason

In both the book and the TV show, Clarke was a medical apprentice and she was arrested for her knowledge of her parents’ crimes. But the rest differs from there. In the book, when Clarke goes to Earth with the 100, she works as a medic, even after the adults come down. Clarke’s parents were named Mary and David, both prominent scientists on the Colony. They were forced to do radiation experiments on unregistered children. They were supposedly arrested and executed, but later it is exposed that they were secretly sent to the ground with an earlier expedition. In the TV series, Clarke’s parents are named Abby and Jake. Abby is the Chief Medical Officer and a Council Member; Jake was the Senior Environmental Engineer. Jake and Clarke were arrested for plotting to tell the Ark about the oxygen issues. Jake was executed in front of Clarke and Abby, and Clarke was detained in isolation for her crimes. Later, Abby was arrested for exposing the oxygen problems but she is not executed because people volunteered for the Culling because of her.

The 100’s Relationships

In the book, Wells and Clarke met as teens and formed a romantic relationship. Wells tells his father, Chancellor Jaha, about Clarke’s parents and gets her family arrested. Later, Clarke and Bellamy form a romantic relationship. In the TV series, Bellamy and Clarke’s relationship is formed as a friendship and they become co-leaders of the 100. As for Wells and Clarke, they were childhood best friends. Wells lets Clarke blame him for her father’s execution even though it was Abby who told Chancellor Jaha.

In both the book and the TV show, Bellamy and Octavia are maternal half-siblings. In the book, their mother’s name is Melinda. She committed suicide 9 years prior to the series. Bellamy and Octavia were put in a Care Center for orphaned children. Octavia was later arrested for stealing drugs. To get onto the ship with Octavia, Bellamy makes a scene and accidentally shoots Chancellor Jaha in the commotion. It is later revealed that Bellamy’s father is Chancellor Jaha. In the TV show, Bellamy’s father is never revealed and his mother’s name is Aurora. Octavia was arrested for being a second child and her mother was executed. To get onto the ship, Bellamy makes a deal with one of the council members to get onto the ship. He purposely shoots Jaha in exchange for a guard’s uniform.

Skaikru and Earthborn Romances

In the book, Sasha is an Earthborn who spies on the 100’s camp. She is caught and held prisoner by the 100. Later, she starts a romantic relationship with Wells. Sasha later dies from being shot by Colonist guards. In the TV show, the Grounder who spies on the 100’s camp is Lincoln. He is taken prisoner after Bellamy finds him for taking Octavia captive when he finds her injured. Later, he and Octavia start a romantic relationship. Lincoln is later executed by Pike after his takeover of Arcadia, the main camp of the Skaikru.