Are Your Favorite Game Of Thrones Characters About To Die?

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George R.R. Martin isn’t exactly known for his sentimentality. Ned Stark, the stand-up guy and uncomplicated hero of season one, was beheaded for his trouble. Robb, his son and successor, was stabbed to death at a wedding. So it should come as little surprise that Martin’s attitude towards character death tends towards the unfeeling. Martin broke down his thoughts on the issue in an interview with Galaxy’s Edge Magazine.

He says that he doesn’t just use death to advance plot.

“I don’t think of it in those terms, that I’m using death for any purpose,” Martin tells Galaxy’s Edge. “I think a writer, even a fantasy writer, has an obligation to tell the truth and the truth is, as we say in Game of Thrones, all men must die. Particularly if you’re writing about war, which is certainly a central subject in Game of Thrones.”

That’s all well and good, but the rest of the Stark family is safe, right? Martin would caution against getting comfortable with that notion.

“You can’t write about war and violence without having death,” Martin tells Galaxy’s Edge. “If you want to be honest it should affect your main characters. We’ve all read this story a million times when a bunch of heroes set out on adventure and it’s the hero and his best friend and his girlfriend and they go through amazing hair-raising adventures and none of them die. The only ones who die are extras.”

It’s true. We can’t count the number of movies or TV shows or books that end with the travelling party substantially intact. In Lord of the Rings, the only significant character to meet his demise is Boromir, who betrays the party before his death.

“It doesn’t happen that way,” Martin tells Galaxy’s Edge. “They go into battle and their best friend dies or they get horribly wounded. They lose their leg or death comes at them unexpectedly. Death is so arbitrary. It’s always there. It’s coming for all of us. We’re all going to die. I’m going to die. You’re going to die. Mortality is at the soul of all this stuff.”

Martin goes on to say that we shouldn’t feel safe about our heroes making it to the end.

“You don’t get to live forever just because you are a cute kid or the hero’s best friend or the hero. Sometimes the hero dies, at least in my books. I love all my characters so it’s always hard to kill them but I know it has to be done. I tend to think I don’t kill them. The other characters kill ‘em. I shift off all blame from myself.”

Those are strong words, but we should note that characters have been resurrected and survived a burning building in the last three episodes alone. Maybe Martin is getting soft. Or maybe David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have used their newfound control, having outpaced the books, to keep some of our favorites around for a while longer.

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