(FYI, there may be a spoiler or two in here if you’re a person that’s not yet on “GoT” but who plans on catching up at some point)
Game of Thrones is not your typical television show. Thanks to HBO’s deep pockets, it watches more like a movie that goes on and on and on, and if you’re a fan of the show this is just fine by you. The more GoT, the better. People go nuts for this show sharing theories and making predictions, and one thing that took some getting used to for most of us was the fact that a main character can be killed at the drop of a hat. Robert Baratheon? Killed in a hunting accident. Ned Stark? Beheaded. Rob Stark? Slaughtered at his own wedding. Joffrey Baratheon? Poisoned at his own wedding. Tywin Lannister? Crossbowed while sitting on the can…. You get the point. This show doesn’t follow standard-issue, Hollywood-style character development. Oh, characters are developed, but the good guys don’t always live to see the happy ending. In fact, most all of the good guys get killed, and there is no happy ending.
In a recent interview with Galaxy’s Edge, George RR Martin (the man who wrote the books that GoT was based on) was asked how he uses death in his writing and fans of the show might find his answers quite telling and interesting.
“You can’t write about war and violence without having death. 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.
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.
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. You have to write about it if you’re going to be honest, especially if you’re writing a story high in conflict. Once you’ve accepted that you have to include death then you should be honest about death 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.
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.”
Season 6 is just starting to get rolling with the reunion of Sansa & Jon Snow and Daenerys rising from the ashes (again), and if the show stays true to its roots one of them will be dying any week now. Enjoy!