Any Game of Thrones fan right now is still likely in shock over what they witnessed on Sunday and/or Monday night (country of residence allowing). Those who have already read the books knew what was coming, but it didn’t lessen it’s impact. Watching as Catelyn and Robb Stark – as well as the others around them – were brutally slain, multiple feelings of anger, sadness, maybe even some perverse excitement took over. But for the creator of the series, their shocking deaths were known almost from day one.
George R.R. Martin, speaking to Entertainment Weekly, explained how early in the writing process he knew he would be killing off part of the Stark clan.
“I knew it almost from the beginning. Not the first day, but very soon…I like my fiction to be unpredictable. I like there to be considerable suspense. I killed Ned 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.”
“That was the hardest scene I’ve ever had to write. It’s two-thirds of the way through the book, but I skipped over it when I came to it. So the entire book was done and there was still that one chapter left. Then I wrote it. It was like murdering two of your children. I try to make the readers feel they’ve lived the events of the book. Just as you grieve if a friend is killed, you should grieve if a fictional character is killed. You should care. If somebody dies and you just go get more popcorn, it’s a superficial experience isn’t it?”
Reaction to the scene – both in the book and on-screen – has been divisive, to say the least. But Martin states that he doesn’t regret writing it.
“No [I don’t regret writing it]. Not as a writer. It’s probably the most powerful scene in the books. It cost me some readers, but gained me many more. It’s going to be hard for me to watch it [on the show]. It’s going to be a tough night. Because I love these characters too. And in a TV show you get to know the actors. You’re also ending that relationship with an actor that you have affection for.”