'Game of Thrones': George R.R. Martin on Who Might Die in Season 5 — and Why (Video)

George R.R. Martin takes a lot heat for all those deaths on HBO's Game of Thrones, but it isn't always his pen striking the killing blows.

The series has a history of killing off characters who are still alive in Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books, and the author has confirmed the same will be true in season five. Perhaps the saddest example came in season three, when Robb Stark's (Richard Madden) pregnant wife Talisa (Oona Chaplin), died at The Red Wedding after being stabbed in the stomach. Her book counterpart Jeyne Westerling wasn't even at the wedding in the novels and lives on. 

In season four's "The Watchers on the Wall," the deaths of Pyp (Josef Altin) and Grenn (Mark Stanley) added an extra dose of pathos when the two brothers of the Night's Watch died while defending the Wall's gate from a giant. But both are "alive and well in the books," notes Martin.

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"I consult on this, so I give my opinions, but I don't have any right to veto or approval," Martin tells The Hollywood Reporter of the changes
The author said those digressions sometimes come down to budgeting. While it's easy to create and kill off a dozen characters in a battle for the books, the show doesn't have that luxury. 

"Writing books, I literally have a cast of thousand," Martin said. "We don't have that many named characters in the Night's Watch on the TV show. We can't afford to cast that many. So they'll kill Pyp and Grenn and get an emotional response because the viewer knows who they are."

See more 'Game of Thrones': What Happens After You're Killed Off?

Looking for clues as to who might die in season five? Pay attention to characters who die in the books but for whom there is no direct counterpart on the show. Characters on the series just might have to die in their places, says Martin. 

Who do you think is headed to the chopping block this season?

 
Who Will Die in 'GoT' Season 5?
Arya
Brienne
Bronn
Cersei
Daenerys
Jaime
Jon Snow
Littlefinger
Margaery
Sansa
Tommen
Tyrion
Varys
Other
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