George R.R. Martin has never been afraid to kill even the most beloved of characters in his “Song of Fire and Ice” novel series, better known as the basis for HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
But during an interview on PBS’ “The Great American Read,” the fisherman’s cap-wearing Martin essentially told audiences that if they’re still angry at over him over the Red Wedding, it’s all “Lord of The Rings” author J.R.R. Tolkien’s fault for killing Gandalf.
“I can’t explain the impact that had on me at 13,” Martin said, while discussing the “Lord of the Rings” book series, which was ranked by PBS as one of “Americans’ favorite 100 novels” (the whole trilogy made the cut). “You can’t kill Gandalf!”
Known fully as Gandalf the Grey, the wizard sacrifices himself at the end of the first novel, “The Fellowship of the Ring.” Martin explained that seeing such an important character get taken off the chessboard influenced his own murderous writing.
“The minute you kill Gandalf, the suspense of everything that follows is a thousand times greater. Because now anybody could die. Of course that’s had a profound effect on my own willingness to kill characters at the drop of a hat.”
However, Martin left out the fact that Tolkien ended up reviving up the character, played by Sir Ian McKellen in Peter Jackson’s film series, in the next novel when he was “reborn” as Gandalf the White.
The HBO series, which wraps next year with its eighth and final season, has already surpassed the source material Martin’s novels (he’s been working on “The Winds of Winter” for what feels like an eternity). But maybe there’s still hope left in the pages for the lengthy-list of dead characters.