June 11, 2014 9:30am PT by Aaron Couch
George R.R. Martin 'Astonished' Donors Paid $20,000 to Be Killed Off in Future Book
George R.R. Martin turned heads last week when he offered to kill two people in a future novel for $20,000.
To his surprise, the two spots in his charity contest sold out within hours, and another eight people soon joined a waiting list, with all begging the author of A Song of Ice and Fire to take their money and kill them off, too.
"The outpouring of love and support has been far greater than I could ever anticipate, and has left me astonished and at a loss for words," Martin tells The Hollywood Reporter of the response to his Prizeo charity campaign, which has already raised more than $350,000 for a wolf sanctuary and food pantry in Santa Fe, N.M.
The author has a reputation for killing characters, but he insists he doesn't relish doing so.
"Despite my sinister repute, I actually find it hard to kill off characters that I've been writing about for some time. Good guys or bad guys, they're all my children," Martin says. "But this time the slaughter should be easy, since the victims will be laying down their lives in a good cause. I will do my best to make their ends memorable."
So, who are the lucky people Martin will kill off?
Dave Goldblatt, a Facebook employee who snagged one of the prizes, tells THR it took him just 10 minutes to decide to pull the trigger on his big donation.
"I’m fortunate enough to be in a position to do this cool thing, and it's going toward a good cause," he says of his donation. "I don't think I'm doing anything extraordinary."
After entering in his financial information on the Prizeo website, Goldblatt was presented with a box in which he could specify what type of character he'd like Martin to create in his honor -- and he picked an interesting one.
"I want to be a Valyrian if at all possible," he says, referring to the long-dead (or are they?) race in Martin's books. "But he figures it out himself. I wouldn't want to impinge upon his creative process."
The contest came together when Prizeo pitched the idea to Martin's manager, who passed it along to the author. The Prizeo team visited Martin in Santa Fe and suggested offering up the rights to name a character, and to their surprise, Martin agreed.
"The minute George got it, he started pitching these crazy ideas of what he could do. The helicopter tour was all him," says Prizeo co-founder Leo Seigal of the contest's grand prize -- which includes dinner with Martin and a helicopter ride to his favorite wolf sanctuary.
Seigal say they have been fielding offers (some for significantly more than $20,000) from people who want to be killed off in Martin's novels. For Martin, the campaign easily exceeded the $200,000 he'd been trying to raise.
"We have already met and exceeded our original goals, and the donations are still pouring in," Martin says. "Every gift, large or small, is much appreciated, and will help feed hungry people and provide shelter, habitats, and care for the wolves and wolf-dogs at Wild Spirit. I wish we had enough prizes for all our donors."
Prizeo promises Martin has plenty of surprises in store for his campaign, the latest of which was announced Wednesday: a trip to San Diego Comic-Con, including entry to a party hosted by Martin's publisher, Penguin Random House. One spot is available for $20,000. The contest benefits the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and The Food Depot of Santa Fe. It runs for 38 more days, with plenty of other prizes up for grabs.
Martin also can add another honor to his list: Prizeo says he is on course to beat Justin Bieber and One Direction as the highest grossing Prizeo campaign ever. How does Martin feel about beating the young heartthrobs?
"It is good to be the king. Of course, no man sits easy on the Iron Throne."