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George R. R. Martin reveals why he kills so many characters in the Game of Thrones books




A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin is known for his willingness to kill off major characters in his stories. This has become a trademark feature of his work and has left readers and viewers alike wondering why he does it. In an interview with The Wheeler Centre, Martin revealed the reason why he kills so many characters in his books.

Valar Morghulis

George RR Martin on Why He Kills Characters

Martin answered regarding the death of so many characters:

“I do think it needs to be done. You know Valar Morghulis: all men must die.  I think it’s part of life, and art needs to reflect life, particularly if you’re writing a fantasy novel, an epic fantasy novel.”

Martin then referred to Tolkien, whom he is a big fan of,  and his novels that have represented the state of war. Martin had an opinion regarding the depiction of war in epic fantasy novels.

George R. R. Martin on writing about war

“I’m not saying you have to write about war. There are many other interesting things to write about, and I’ve written about some of them. I don’t have a war in all my books, but if I’m gonna write about war, if any writer is gonna write about war, then I want him to treat war honestly.”

Martin then preached the reality of wars:

“One thing I know about war from people who served in Vietnam and served in other Wars is, you know, it does bring out the beast in men, and anybody can die. It doesn’t matter if you’re the hero. I think everybody who died in any war thought they were a hero right to the moment that the bullet blew off the top of their skull.”

Martin then expressed disappointment with writers who do not kill characters when writing about the hardships of wars in their plots. In contrast, he expressed his approval of Tolkien and his tendency to kill  a lot of characters, which inspired him:

“God, I really don’t know what’s gonna happen in this book (Lord of the Rings). Anyone can die, and it became so much more exciting at that point because anyone could die; that peril was real, and that’s the feeling I want my readers to have.”

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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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