Game of Thrones Season 5 - Cersei Lannister and Meryn Trant

Part of the fun of Game of Thrones is that you never really know who’s going to die next. That is, unless you’ve read the books — then you already have a pretty good idea of who’ll survive or perish. But George R.R. Martin warns that won’t be forever.

The author teased that the upcoming season of Game of Thrones will kill off characters who remain alive in the books, calling out the producers for being “even bloodier” than he is. More on the Game of Thrones character deaths after the jump. 

Martin offered that little tidbit in a chat with Showbiz 411. “People are going to die who don’t die in the books, so even the book readers will be unhappy,” he said. “So everybody better be on their toes. [Showrunners] David [Benioff] and D.B. [Weiss] are even bloodier than I am.”

In fact, Game of Thrones has already killed off a few characters who are still living as of the most recently published novel. (Spoilers through Season 4 follow.) Those included Jojen, Grenn, and Pyp, who died near the end of Season 4, and Daenerys’ handmaiden Irri, who was murdered all the way back in Season 2.

In addition, Robb’s TV wife Talisa fell victim during the Red Wedding, whereas her book counterpart Jeyne Westerling still lives. However, all of these have been fairly minor characters. It’d be a much bigger surprise if someone like Jon Snow or Tyrion met a premature end, but Martin hasn’t promised a shocker of that magnitude.

What this means for the books, and the show’s relationship to them, is unclear. Benioff and Weiss do know Martin’s intended ending for the books, and apparently plan to follow it through. “If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it,” said Benioff last year. “And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up.”

Consequently, fans take these deviations from the novels as hints about what’s coming next. For example, if Talisa and her unborn child could be killed in Season 3, they theorize, Jeyne’s pregnancy in the books must not play an important role in the plotline going forward.

On the other hand, Benioff and Weiss have seemed more and more comfortable switching up the source material. The Season 5 trailer puts certain characters where they aren’t in the books, and entirely omits other characters who were key figures in the books. They may plan to follow Martin’s intentions, but they aren’t necessarily obligated to.

Personally, I take it as a net positive that Benioff and Weiss are willing to stray from the books. It suggests they’re doing what’s good for the show, instead of slavishly translating Martin’s text for television. Plus, as a person who’s read the books, I enjoy the rare moments when I’m as surprised by a plot twist as my non-book-reader friends are. What do you think? Which characters do you think will or won’t survive Season 5?

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