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George R. R. Martin explains his approach to reviving characters in Game of Thrones



George R. R. Martin on reviving characters

Despite so many characters dying in George R. R. Martin’s Ice and Fire novels, rarely does he allow them to return. He has good reasons for killing so many characters, but he also has an approach for when he does decide to revive a character, to the sheer delight of fans. This unique approach is a testament to his exceptional literary skills.

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Martin explains how he revives characters

In an interview, Martin revealed his procedure for bringing characters back from the dead:

“I do think that if you’re bringing a character back, that if the character has gone through death, that’s a transformative experience.”

Martin then mentioned the revivals of Marvel characters like Wonderman and Gandalf from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Expressing disappointment with their return, he believed their deaths held a “powerful” significance. Martin had wished for them to remain deceased.

He moved on to describe his way of reviving characters, expressing how his revived characters differ from their former self:

“My characters who come back from death are the worse for wear; in some ways, they’re not even the same characters anymore. The body may be moving, but some aspect of the spirit is changed or transformed, and they’ve lost something.”

Case in point: Beric Dondarrion

George R. R. Martin then gave an example of one of his well-written minor characters: Beric Dondarrion. He addressed how he loses parts of himself with each revival:

“One of the characters who has come back repeatedly from death is a minor character named Beric Dondarrion, the lightning lord; each time he’s revived, he loses a little more of himself, and he was sent on a mission before his first death, he was sent on a mission to do something, and it’s like that’s what he’s clinging to and he’s forgetting other things, he’s forgetting who he is or where he lived he’s forgotten the woman that he was once supposed to marry, bits of his humanity are lost every time he comes back from death but he remembers that mission. It’s like his flesh is falling away from him, but this one thing, this purpose that he had is part of what’s animating him and bringing him back to death. I think you see echoes of that with some of the other characters who have come back from death.”

Read Next: George R.R. Martin’s show Dark Winds wins two Vision Awards


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Aryan, a freelance writer with a profound passion for the English language and literature, also happens to be an ardent fan of "A Song of Ice and Fire" and its television adaptation, "Game of Thrones." Fascinated by the intricate world-building, compelling characters, and rich storytelling of these epic sagas, Aryan finds great joy in delving into the depths of their narratives and analyzing the nuances they offer.

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