'Game of Thrones' Author Talks 'Red Wedding' Episode on 'Conan' (Video)

Defending character deaths, George R. R. Martin says he likes to surprise but feels guilty making the actors on the hit HBO show "unemployed."
George R. R. Martin

Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin, whose books are the basis for the HBO fantasy series, defended the controversial Red Wedding episode, "The Rains of Castamere," in a guest appearance on Conan O'Brien's talk show Wednesday.

"As a reader or as a viewer of television and film, I always like unexpected things and I always like the suspense to be real," he explained. "I want my readers and I want 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."

The blood-soaked Red Wedding episode aired Sunday, angering many fans who were caught off guard by the gory murders of major characters. (Some took to Twitter to direct insults at Martin.)

The scribe is unapologetic about his decisions, but does admit to feeling guilty over the fates of the series' actors.

"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 know you're making people unemployed, it does bring up a certain amount of guilt feelings."