The death of Lord Eddard ‘”Ned” Stark in the first season of “Game of Thrones” was still eliciting gasps at Comic-Con. As for George R.R. Martin, the man who penned the character’s killing, it was not easy to write. That holds true for all the characters who meet untimely ends in his story.
“I mourn all the characters as I kill them,” Martin said to a roomful of fans of the books and the HBO-adapted series. In fact, judging from the at-capacity turnout in Ballroom 20, it seemed like everyone in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros might well have made the pilgrimage Thursday to San Diego for the “Game of Thrones” panel, which featured the show’s cast and producers and which was moderated by Martin.
But it’s that ability to tug at emotions and provoke such strong reactions that compelled producer David Benioff to adapt the fantasy book series with D.B. Weiss into a TV series.
“I remember the scene when Bran gets out the window and from that point on I was completely hooked,” Benioff said. “It’s like crack on paper.”
And it’s been like crack on TV for many fans. The series recently snagged 13 Emmy nominations, a tough act to follow as it gears up to embark on its second season. So what can we expect when the show returns?
“Everyone dies,” Benioff deadpanned.
“ It was all a dream,” fellow producer Weiss added.
In reality, viewers will finally be introduced to the Red Priestess. And they’ll get to see those wolves and dragons age slightly. And some new characters will join the mix. Benioff, though, has his sights set on a third season and he offered a cryptic reason (for those who haven’t read the books) on why that is:
“’A Storm of Swords’ is too big to do as one season,” Benioff said. “There’s a certain scene in ‘Swords’ — if we can get to ‘RW’ we’ve accomplished something. I think we can get to ‘RW.’”
Martin called the scene the “hardest thing” he ever wrote, even skipping it to complete the rest of the book before finally tackling it.
“It was very emotionally wrenching to write,” he said.
And should the series be renewed for a third season, Martin said he would have to arrange to be out of the country to avoid rehashing those emotions. Perhaps, then, he can finish writing the follow-up books in the series. But let’s not rush that. When a fan asked if Martin was still concerned about “pulling a ‘Lost,’” the author was coy and frank.
“Well I think Damon Lindelof is in the room, so I have to be careful what I say,” he said. “Yes, I am concerned about the ending. I’m juggling a lot of balls. I’m going to juggle as fast as I can and bring everything together in the magnificent way I see it in my head. In terms of making people happy, hopefully it will make some people happy. I’ve always been a fan of the bittersweet ending.”
– Yvonne Villarreal
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