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Why does George RR Martin kill off Game of Thrones characters?

'The only ones who die are extras. That’s such a cheat. It doesn’t happen that way'

By Jack Shepherd

Published 18/05/2016

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark – photo Macall B. Polay/HBO
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark – photo Macall B. Polay/HBO
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei and Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen – photo Macall B. Polay/HBO
Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy and Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark and Max von Sydow as the Three-Eyed Raven – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Michael McElhatton as Roose Bolton and Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Patrick Malahide as Balon Greyjoy – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
John Bradley-West as Samwell Tarly and Hannah Murray as Gilly – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Dean-Charles Chapman as Tommen Baratheon and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark - photo Macall B. Polay/HBO
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen – photo Macall B. Polay/HBO 
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister and Conleth Hill as Varys – photo Macall B. Polay/HBO
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister – photo Macall B. Polay/HBO
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Hannah Waddingham as Septa Unella – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Carice van Houten as Melisandre – photo Helen Sloan/HBO

Game of Thrones is infamous for killing off main characters ungraciously. From The Red Wedding to various beheadings, beloved characters who would, in any other series, have plot armour thicker than dragon scales have been murdered, butchered, and literally fed to the dogs.

So, what makes George RR Martin, writer of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, so comfortable with killing off some of his greatest fictional creations?

“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,” he told Galaxy’s Edge Magazine. “Particularly if you’re writing about war, which is certainly a central subject in Game of Thrones.”

He continued: “We’ve all read this story a million times when a bunch of heroes set out on an 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.”

The author goes on to explain, slightly morbidly, that we’re all going to die at some stage as mortality is inevitable. “Once youve 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.”

Martin also admits that it is often hard to kill characters: “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.”

In other Game of Thrones news, episode four of season six has just aired, furthering the gap between the books and the show. Recently, theorists have spoken about Loras Tyrell’s confession to The High Sparrow and how it may cause a civil war in King’s Landing.

Source: Independent

Emilia Clarke attends the season six premiere of
Emilia Clarke attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Maisie Williams attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Iwan Rheon attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Lena Headey attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Kristofer Hivju attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Maisie Williams attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Hannah Murray attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Sophie Turner attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Emilia Clarke attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Peter Dinklage attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor John Bradley attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Alfie Allen attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Eugene Simon attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Michael McElhatton attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Peter Dinklage (L) and Erica Schmidt attend the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Lena Headey attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Michael McElhatton attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Kristian Nairn attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Liam Cunningham attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Joe Naufahu attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Dean S. Jagger attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Michiel Huisman attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Hannah Murray attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Sophie Turner attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Lilakoi Moon attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Kevin Dunn attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Peter Dinklage attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Comedian Tim Minchin attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Dean-Charles Chapman attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Isaac Hempstead Wright attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Faye Marsay attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Finn Jones attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Tom Wlaschiha attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Daniel Portman attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Finn Jones attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Alex Borstein attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Owen Teale attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Emilia Clarke attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Kristofer Hivju (R) and Gry Molvær attend the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Lena Headey attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Isaac Hampstead Wright attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Amanda Peet attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Faye Dunaway attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Michiel Huisman attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Lena Headey attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor DeObia Oparei attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: (L-R) Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani, Thomas Middleditch, and Mollie Gates attend the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Alfie Allen attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Regina King attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Jonathan Pryce attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

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