According to George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones season 5 will feature the deaths of many characters who have not (yet) been killed in his books.

Martin, author of the epic A Song of Ice and Fire series on which Game of Thrones is based, promised that viewers of all stripes will be surprised.

“People are going to die who don’t die in the books, so even the book readers will be unhappy,” Martin said recently. “So everybody better be on their toes.”

Repeating a sentiment he has expressed with increasing frequency as Game of Thrones has progressed, Martin added that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss “are even bloodier than I am.”

Of course, the phenomenon of Game of Thrones characters pre-deceasing their literary counterparts has already begun. Pyp, Grenn, and Jojen Reed all met their ends prematurely at the conclusion of season 4, much to the surprise and dismay of book fans.

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Meanwhile Martin, who is no stranger to surprise or dismay, expressed uncertainty about the future of Game of Thrones. Last year, the epic fantasy series was renewed for its fifth and sixth seasons by HBO.

“After we do season 6, maybe we’ll get a renewal for seventh and eighth,” the author mused, noting that HBO rarely orders more than two seasons at a time. “That all depends, Television is a very changeable medium.”

“Hot shows come and go and television changes,” Martin continued. “I’ve lived through that before. I certainly hope that we get to tell the entire story.”

But fans can take comfort in one promise from the notorious character-killer.

“Whatever happens with the show I’m going to finish the books,” Martin said. And in spite of rumors to the contrary, the completed A Song of Ice and Fire series “will be seven books.”

“I have two more books, the one I’m writing right now, The Winds Of Winter, and after that the last book, The Dream of Spring,” Martin said. “Those will be the two final books. But we’re talking 3000 pages of material. How many seasons that translates to? That’s up to D.B. And David.”

Game of Thrones season 5 will premiere on Sunday, April 12 at 9:00 p.m. on HBO.

Which characters are you afraid for in ‘Game of Thrones’ season 5?

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