‘Winds Of Winter’ Spoilers: The Next Book Will Have Fewer Deaths Than ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 6

The-Winds-of-Winter-book-cover
George R.R. Martin will continue to work on his A Song of Ice And Fire saga at his own pace. HBO's Game of Thrones reaching the end before hime won't speed up his creative process. winteriscoming.net

Winds of Winter isn’t out yet, and gods know when it will be—George R.R. Martin isn’t done writing it. Most questions about the next book are a matter of sheer speculation, but we can surmise some plot specifics while still standing on relatively solid ground. Here’s one of those things: The shocking death toll of Game of Thrones season 6 won’t be fully replicated in Winds of Winter. The deaths in the show were a dime a dozen this year, and the next book will dole them out more gracefully.

Deaths In Winds of Winter: A Reprieve For Many

The-Winds-of-Winter-book-cover
George R.R. Martin will continue to work on his A Song of Ice And Fire saga at his own pace. HBO's Game of Thrones reaching the end before hime won't speed up his creative process. Photo: winteriscoming.net

Game of Thrones season 6 killed off a major or minor named character in basically every episode. The list of casualties ranges from Doran and Trystane Martell to Osha the wildling, Rickon Stark and Ramsay Bolton to the entirety of House Tyrell besides for the Queen of Thorns. By the end of the season—heck, by the third episode—the deaths were increasingly numbing and meaningless. There were just too many; the show is famous for shocking deaths, but with one every episode, it was no longer shocking in the least.

And so much of that was driven by the show’s budget—which is why the same thing doesn’t have to happen in Winds of Winter. The coup in Dorne made no sense at all, except from the perspective of cutting down on characters and largely eliminating an area we otherwise might have seen a lot of (we only saw one more Dorne scene after the coup, after all). Same deal for Osha, a character GRRM has said he wants to do more with in the books after seeing her in the show. They killed her to save money. Likewise the Tyrells—Natalie Dormer is a medium-sized star, and there were a lot of other Tyrells who had to get paid too. It made sense for the show to get rid of some of its huge cast before launching into two shorter, more focused seasons.

Winds of Winter doesn’t have to be like that. For one, there are no pressures on George R.R. Martin to cut down on the size of the cast; it’s not like there are talent budgets in place for the books. For another, a lot of the deaths didn’t make a ton of sense narratively… or they only did in the show. The sheer scale of the conflagration at the Great Sept of Baelor probably won’t be equaled in the books. There are other Tyrells around in the books who aren’t in the show, so it’s not like he’s going to kill all of them. Margaery may not make it, but the house won’t go almost extinct. And some characters, like Kevan Lannister and Grand Maester Pycelle, are already dead anyway, killed in their own unique ways rather than en masse.

Oh, there will be deaths in Winds of Winter—deaths aplenty, of khals and princesses and kings (well, probably just Tommen). But don’t expect the wholesale indiscriminate killings of the show. And thank goodness. The Blackfish will have another chance.

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