Ever wonder why George RR Martin kills off your favourite characters in Game of Thrones? We finally have a reason, from the man himself. Turns out, the guy you need to blame is JRR Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Martin told PBS in an interview that Tolkien’s killing of major characters in his novels had inspired him to do the same for Game of Thrones.
"Tolkien's greatest invention was the characters who struggle with the temptation of the Ring and what to do with it," Martin said. Martin added that the characters were shown to be fighting an internal battle in their hearts, which could take place anywhere, anytime and in space of history.
“…and then Gandalf dies. I can't explain the impact that had on me at 13. You can't kill Gandalf! Conan didn't die in the Conan books. Tolkien just broke that rule," said Martin, adding that he loves the author for that reason. “The minute you kill Gandalf, the suspense of everything that follows is a thousand times greater, because now anybody could die. It's had a profound effect on my own willingness to kill characters at the drop of a hat,” he said.