George R.R. Martin Explains Why He Likes His Readers to Be Afraid

Posted on June 6, 2013

Bestselling fantasy author George R.R. Martin was a guest on Conan O'Brien's show to talk about the shocking last episode of HBO's Game of Thrones which featured the infamous Red Wedding scene. Conan asked George why he keeps killing off everyone's favorite characters. George replied, "You write the kind of stuff you like to read. I like unexpected things.... I want my readers and viewers to be afraid when the characters are in danger." He doesn't like it when the hero is in danger and you know he will be fine because he's the hero.

George said he went to the season 3 premiere at Graumann's Chinese Theater and he was talking with three actors from the show that he had not met before. He suddenly realized that they were all dead. He said one knew because he read the books and knew what was coming, but clearly the other two did not. At the HBO party, one actress begged him not to kill her off, because she loves to do the show. Unfortunately, her character is slated to die.

George says it's much easier to kill off characters on the page. When it's real actors you like and you're putting them out of work, it makes him feel guilty. He did note that if they all just read the books, they would know whether they would live or die. Although that's not really true, because the series isn't finished yet. George also told Conan who he would kill off on his show if it was a book. Take a look:

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