Many fans of the HBO series "Game of Thrones" are still in shock after the bloodbath in last week's "Red Wedding" episode. With the final installment of Season 3 coming on Sunday, they may wonder if any characters will remain alive to populate Season 4.
George R.R. Martin, author of the swords-and-sex fantasy books on which the TV series is based, keeps readers riveted by his willingness to send even the most prominent characters to their deaths. That became obvious at the end of the first season of the show when the epic's central character, Ned Stark -- played by the series' biggest star, Sean Bean -- had his head lopped off.
In last week's bloody episode, though, the series' showrunners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, outdid Martin by killing off a character played by Oona Chaplin who was pregnant with a royal heir. In Martin's book, the character was not even present at the slaughter, and lives on.
Martin is still writing books in the "Game of Thrones" series. What happens when the filmed story diverges too far from the text? Will Martin accommodate the changes as he writes future books in the series? And will Benioff and Weiss run out of storylines before Martin completes his string of books?
The rotund Martin, who, with his white beard and Greek sailor's cap, looks like a Macy's Santa run off to sea, does not rush his writing. Still, during an interview on Wednesday with Conan O'Brien, Martin said his "great fear is that David and Dan will catch up with me," so he is hard at work on the sixth of seven planned books in the series.
In the meantime, it might be wise for members of the "Game of Thrones" cast to read the books to see how soon a bloody demise will force them to start shopping around for a new gig.