Last night, Game of Thrones fans witnessed what is arguably the most horrific scene in the entire series: The Red Wedding. Readers of the A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) book series have been anticipating (and dreading) the scene for some time now, but many still can’t stop asking why the slaughter of the Starks and the Northern army had to happen. George R.R. Martin, the author of ASOIAF, recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly about why the scene was necessary.
When writing ASOIAF, Martin wanted to avoid common fantasy fiction tropes. As he told EW, “I like my fiction to be unpredictable. I like there to be considerable suspense.” He elaborated, “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... but that’s not the kind of fiction I write, in most cases. It’s certainly not what Ice and Fire is ... I think the best fiction captures life in all its light and darkness.” Emphasis on darkness when it comes to the Red Wedding, we think.
Martin also explained why Robb in particular had to die. Again, it came back to subverting what readers would expect: “I killed Ned [Stark] 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.”
It sounds to us like Martin takes the George Costanza approach to writing: just do the opposite. Of course, it keeps us on our toes!
And that's why Martin doesn't regret writing the scene, even though many fans were so upset and even offended by it: “It’s probably the most powerful scene in the books. It cost me some readers, but gained me many more.”
The most powerful scene and maybe the most shocking, too. The show still has many twists and turns ahead, so the lesson here is always expect the unexpected on Game of Thrones.
For more from George R.R. Martin, read the full interview here.
Catch the Game of Thrones Season 3 finale on Sunday, June 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
Source: Entertainment Weekly