George R.R. Martin, the writer behind the fantasy series that inspired HBO's Game of Thrones, says the main reason he kills off so many beloved main characters is because anything else would be considered "cheating."
In an interview with Galaxy's Edge, Martin said, that as a writer, he had an "obligation to tell the truth," meaning he had to acknowledge the fact that everyone dies, not just side characters. He also pointed out that those writers who do only kill off extra characters in order to keep their main character alive throughout a series were cheating themselves and the readers.
"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," Martin told the magazine. "The only ones who die are extras."
Martin, whose reputation for killing off some of the biggest characters in the series has evolved into an actual meme, makes no apologies for his controversial decisions. He said that just because you're "a cute kid" or a "handsome hero" doesn't mean that you're immortal.
Martin added that he loved all of his characters — although that love for Ramsay Bolton has to be questioned — and he found a coping method to deal with their inevitable deaths.
"I tend to think I don't kill them," Martin said. "The other characters kill them. I shift off all the blame from myself."
Martin is currently working on the sixth book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, but has caught some slack from fans over the delayed release. For the first time since the television series has been around, the show has outpaced the book and Martin has apologized to readers for some spoilers that will be included in the new season of the show.
Game of Thrones airs on HBO at 9 p.m. ET.