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George R. R. Martin on How ‘Lord of the Rings’ Inspired ‘Game of Thrones’ Deaths

Photo: HBO

One of the major common themes that remains constant throughout George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series is most certainly death. Martin has made it quite clear that no character, no matter how loved they might be, is safe from meeting an untimely demise at the hands of another. In the fight for the Iron Throne, no one is safe, and it turns out that Martin’s inspiration for his savage storytelling came from another iconic author.

Martin was recently featured on The Great American Read on PBS, where he talked about how reading the Lord of the Rings inspired him on his journey to becoming a writer. More specifically Tolkien’s death of Gandalf in The Fellowship of the Ring taught him how to write great suspense by killing off one of the main characters (or in Martin’s case, all of the main characters).

Speaking about Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings in the clip below, Martin says:

“They’re all fighting these battles inside their hearts. That can take place anywhere, in any time, in any space in all of human history, and then Gandalf dies! I can’t explain the impact that had on me at 13. You can’t kill Gandalf. I mean, Conan didn’t die in the Conan books, you know? Tolkien just broke that rule, and I’ll love him forever for it.

The minute you kill Gandalf, the suspense of everything that follows is a thousand times greater because now anybody could die. Of course, that’s had a profound on my own willingness to kill characters off at the drop of a hat.”

Check out the full segment with Martin below.

Here’s hoping our favorite Game of Thrones characters make it through the upcoming eighth and final season. The final season of Game of Thrones is by far one of the most highly-anticipated television series events ever as fans wait to learn the epic conclusion of the battle for the Iron Throne.

In addition to the eighth and final season, HBO previously announced that one of the potential Game of Thrones spinoff series received a pilot order from the network giving fans comfort that, though the original series might be coming to an end, there is still more story to be told once the final chapter of the HBO series airs. It was previously thought that the pilot for the Game of Thrones spinoff prequel series would begin filming this fall, however, Bloys confirmed it’s now expected to begin filming next year.

What do you think about Martin’s inspiration for killing off his beloved characters? Are you excited about the final season of Game of Thrones? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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A karaoke junkie, craft beer enthusiast and lover of all things pop culture, Denise enjoys all facets of entertainment from Broadway to box office blockbusters. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, concerts (lots and lots of concerts), volunteering, reading and playing with her rescue kitten, Samantha (who rescued who, right?). Denise currently resides in New York and is honored to be a part of the Fan Fest News team!