Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin has been sitting out on the show while he finishes writing the still-delayed The Winds of Winter, the sixth book of ice and fire and dragons and boobs and such. But Martin did have time to grant an interview instead of finishing the book gaaaah will winter just come already?
In a lengthy interview printed in the May 2016 issue of Galaxy’s Edge magazine, Martin talks about his childhood as an aspiring writer — selling monster stories to other kids to get nickels to buy Milky Way candy bars — and how he eventually broke into professional writing. Near the end, he talks a bit about Game of Thrones, specifically in response to the question, “How do you use death in your writing?”
I don’t think of it in those terms, that I’m using death for any purpose. I think 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. Particularly if you’re writing about war, which is certainly a central subject in Game of Thrones. […] If you want to be honest [death] should affect your main characters. […] They go into battle and their best friend dies or they get horribly wounded. They lose their leg or death comes at them unexpectedly.
Martin has spoken in the past about honestly depicting the horrors of war, and this interview just gets ever more cheerful.
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. […] 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.
George R. R. Martin’s hall of faces (and lake of tears) is getting more filled every day, but look on the bright side. Jon Snow is gonna whoop some ass, and it’s not too late for Martin or HBO to give us a friendly dragon named Gary and an unseasonably cozy winter.