By now all fans know that Game of Thrones is a cut-throat affair. Unlike in many TV series where you can bank on the lead characters surviving against the odds, author George RR Martin has said that he believes shows where only periphery characters die are "such a cheat".
Martin spoke to sci-fi magazine Galaxy Edge about why he has made such a clear choice to portray as honest an account of life and death as possible:
"A writer, even a fantasy writer, has an obligation to tell the truth and the truth is, as we say in Game Of Thrones, all men must die".
The writer opened up about what he clearly thinks is a duty to give a realistic depiction of war, adventure and combat
"Once you've accepted that you have to include death, then you should be honest … and indicate it can strike down anybody at any time. You don't get to live forever just because you are a cute kid or the hero's best friend or the hero. We've all read this story a million times when a bunch of heroes set out on adventure and it's the hero and his best friend and his girlfriend and they go through amazing hair-raising adventures and none of them die. The only ones who die are extras," said Martin.
"That's such a cheat. It doesn't happen that way. They go into battle and their best friend dies or they get horribly wounded. They lose their leg or death comes at them unexpectedly."
Despite his penchant for mercilessly murdering our favourites, Martin likes to think he isn't doing the dirty work.
"I love all my characters so it's always hard to kill them but I know it has to be done. I tend to think I don't kill them. The other characters kill 'em. I shift off all blame from myself."