Movie/TV News

George R.R. Martin and the "Game of Thrones" interviews that got me back into the show

Game of Thrones The Red WeddingTwo days after I’ve been able to decompress from “Game of Thrones'” shocking “The Red Wedding” episode and wrote one of my more passionate non-review posts, I had a chance to read some interviewers from the series’ creators, which — along with some equally passionate, more logical responses from some of my Facebook readers (and my dear friend and defender of all things “GoT” Rocky Hadadi) — has changed my “never ever EVER gonna watch this show a-gain!!!” stance. spoke with the showrunners and series creator George R.R. Martin about what has now become the show’s defining episode and their comments are very interesting.

If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t click ahead as it’s filled with spoilers:

TV series co-show runner David Benioff:

“…just because somebody has a tragic end doesn’t turn the character from a hero into a victim. I don’t think Hector of Troy was a victim because he lost to Achilles. He’s still one of the great heroes of that epic. I just don’t even know how you make that argument.”

-That’s an interesting comparison on a couple of fronts for me. I always rooted for Hector in the story and was very upset with his death, how it virtually ended The Trojan War and Achilles’ desecration of his body. Troy Brad Pitt as Achilles and Eric Bana as Hector

Watching it play out in the movie “Troy,” with Eric Bana as Hector and Brad Pitt as Achilles somehow made it worse despite the fact I knew it was coming and the film’s portrayal of Achilles as more of the film’s protagonist. Robb was one of several protagonists in the show, but rather than having an honorable heroic death, he gets killed at a wedding reception. Hardly the glorious ending I envisioned for the King of the North.

GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: I’ve said in many interviews that I like my fiction to be unpredictable. I like there to be considerable suspense. I killed Ned in the first book and it shocked a lot of people. I killed Ned because everybody thinks he’s the hero and that, sure, he’s going to get into trouble, but then he’ll somehow get out of it. The next predictable thing is to think his eldest son is going to rise up and avenge his father. And everybody is going to expect that. So immediately [killing Robb] became the next thing I had to do.

Game of Thrones Arya StarkI try to make the readers feel they’ve lived the events of the book. Just as you grieve if a friend is killed, you should grieve if a fictional character is killed. You should care. If somebody dies and you just go get more popcorn, it’s a superficial experience isn’t it?

I get what Martin is saying here, although for me after killing off the “avenging son,” the next most obvious conclusion is that Arya Stark redeems her family or Daenerys Targaryen reclaims her family’s throne. Jon Snow’s a non-player, Brandon can’t walk and Tyrion is #1 on the “let’s kill him off to shock everyone hit list” and I just can’t picture Martin having Arya and Daenerys being so savagely dismissed as poor Robb.

Martin also addressed the readers/viewers (like me) who were completely angered and upset with Robb’s demise.

What can you say to someone who says they’ll never read your book again? People read books for different reasons. I respect that. Some read for comfort. And some of my former readers have said their life is hard, their mother is sick, their dog died, and they read fiction to escape. They don’t want to get hit in the mouth with something horrible.

And you read that certain kind of fiction where the guy will always get the girl and the good guys win and it reaffirms to you that life is fair. We all want that at times. There’s a certain vicarious release to that.

So I’m not dismissive of people who want that. But that’s not the kind of fiction I write, in most cases. It’s certainly not what Ice and Fire is. It tries to be more realistic about what life is. It has joy, but it also had pain and fear. I think the best fiction captures life in all its light and darkness.Daenerys-Targaryen-Game of Thrones

I’m in the “real life is hard” camp, but I appreciated that Martin wasn’t prickly dismissive of people who want to get away from the harsh realities of life so now I have a better sense of what to expect, I’ll put myself firmly in the Daenerys Targaryen camp as there’s absolutely no way nothing bad will happen to her*

*And yeah, that may be an “announcer’s jinx,” but I’m pretty comfortable with it.