For those of you who love HBO’s TV series “Game of Thrones” but have never read the books, here’s the way “A Song of Ice and Fire” author George R.R. Martin writes his fantasy novels: each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character, and he regularly jumps from one section of his widespread world to another. As you know from the first season, a majority of the characters began the series together in one place but were quickly torn apart, meaning that if Martin wanted to keep tabs on what was going on in a certain region of Westeros and there was only one main character alive in that area, that was as close as you were going to get to an assurance that they’d remain alive for just a little while longer, just so he wouldn’t have to lose his window into that part of the world.
But from the moment Ned Stark – spoiler alert – had his head separated from his shoulders, fans have been on edge, wondering who was going to make it out alive. The infamous Red Wedding took the lives of a few main characters, and this past season of the show saw the death of the insufferable King Joffrey and also the murder of the calculating Tywin Lannister by his own son, Tyrion. But for Martin, who’s further ahead in the story than the show (but not for much longer), things are now coming to a point where he’s going to be able to start offing some of your favorite characters who have survived this long. Buzzfeed was on hand at an event this week in which Martin spoke alongside fellow author Robin Hobb about their careers and different approaches to writing, and here’s what Martin had to say on the subject of killing off more beloved characters:
The way my books are structured, everyone was together, then they all went their separate ways and the story deltas out like that, and now it’s getting to the point where the story is beginning to delta back in, and the viewpoint characters are occasionally meeting up with each other now and being in the same point at the same time, which gives me a lot more flexibility for killing people.
Uh oh. I had a feeling that might happen, but it’s still a little chilling to hear Martin say it out loud. He holds all the power when it comes to the future of these characters, and as we’ve seen before, when we become attached to any of them, it means that there’s a good chance they’re going to bite it before they ever get the opportunity to sit on the Iron Throne.
The only potential safety net that show watchers have which book readers won’t? The fact that the show is going to start diverging from the books in a big way starting next season, and though Martin has told showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss the broad strokes of how his books will end, they still have the autonomy to change those characters’ fates in order to make what they consider to be the best television show they can.
Are you reading the “Game of Thrones” books, or just watching the show? What do you think about Martin’s plans? Does this make you put up a bit of an emotional barrier between you and the characters you love, or are you giving it everything you have only to be devastated if they die?
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