“Game of Thrones” fans have been suffering since the airing of the Red Wedding on Sunday, and many book readers recorded their unsuspecting friends’ reactions and posted them to the Internet. When Conan O’Brien had author George R.R. Martin on “Conan,” he took the opportunity to show the “A Song of Ice and Fire” scribe the way he’s breaking his fans’ hearts.
“Of course all of those clips were set up by people who had read the books 13 years ago and knew it was coming and wanted their friends and relatives and loved ones to do that,” Martin responds with a laugh. “I saw one of them saying in comment, ‘Now you know why your nerdy friends were really depressed 13 years ago.'”
When asked why he felt the need to write such a terrible, tragic event, Martin explains that he just writes “the sort of stuff you like to read.”
“As a reader or as a viewer of television and film, I always like unexpected things. I always like the suspense to be real. We’ve all seen the movie where the hero is in trouble, he’s surrounded by 20 people, but you know he’s going to get away because he’s the hero. You don’t really feel any fear for him,” he says. “I want my readers or my viewers to be afraid when my characters are in danger. I want them to be afraid to turn the next page because the next character may not survive it.”
Of course, it’s not just readers and television viewers that fear for the “Game of Thrones” characters. Many of the show’s cast members only read the book of the season that they’re currently filming, and thus don’t know what will happen farther along in the series. Martin recalls an awkward moment at the Season 3 premiere where he found himself talking with three “Game of Thrones” actors, all of whom are now dead in the novels.
“You know, they would know it if they’d read the books,” he quips. “It’s one thing to kill these characters when they’re just people on paper, but when you actually meet the actors who portray them and you’re actually making people unemployed, it does bring up a certain amount of guilt feelings.”
There are still two “A Song of Ice and Fire” books to be released, and Martin has had a tendency of taking a very long time writing the large tomes. Because the television show is quickly catching up to where he is in the books, Martin admits he’s “writing [‘The Winds of Winter’] very fast.”
“My great fear is that [showrunners] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] will catch up with me,” he says. “It took me like six years to do the last one and do a season a year, so they’re moving like a freight train.”
“Game of Thrones'” Season 3 finale, “Mhysa,” airs on HBO at 9 p.m. ET on June 9.