George RR Martin: All men must die — even if you’re the cute kid or hero

Martin said that stories in which the ‘cute kid’, ‘hero’ or ‘hero’s best friend’ all live happily ever after, especially in a story about war and conflict, are ‘such a cheat’. — Reuters pic
Martin said that stories in which the ‘cute kid’, ‘hero’ or ‘hero’s best friend’ all live happily ever after, especially in a story about war and conflict, are ‘such a cheat’. — Reuters pic

LONDON, May 18 — Game of Thrones fans, if you’ve been holding out hope that your favourite character will be spared from the Grim Reaper, think again.

In an interview with Galaxy’s Edge, George RR Martin was asked about his approach towards death in his writing — and his response was characteristically brutal.

He told writer Joy Ward that “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”.

Martin said that stories in which the “cute kid”, “hero” or “hero’s best friend” all live happily ever after are “such a cheat”.

The author was quoted as saying, “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.

“That’s such a cheat. It doesn’t happen that way. They go into battle and their best friend dies or they get horribly wounded. They lose their leg or death comes at them unexpectedly.”

Good writers should have no qualms about tackling the subject of death, especially if they’re telling a story about war or conflict, Martin added, because “death is so arbitrary. It’s always there. It’s coming for all of us.”

“Once you’ve accepted that you have to include death, then you should be honest … and indicate it can strike down anybody at any time. 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,” said Martin.

But how does Martin really feel when he decides a character’s time is up?

“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.”

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