If there's one thing Game of Thrones is known for (besides its critically acclaimed storytelling and memorable characters, that is), it's the show's tendency to kill off characters both great and small in service of the larger tale at hand. In fact, the show's ever-increasing body count has arguably made the series the very epitome of TV spoiler warnings.
However, for fans of the George R.R. Martin A Song of Ice and Fire book series on which the show is based, Games of Thrones' various twists and turns haven't been nearly as shocking. After all, this is a story that has been told before, and there's no reason to think the show would veer so far away from its source material as to take out anyone particularly integral to the main story. Not anymore.
Making a surprise appearance at the Writers Guild West Awards, Martin himself made a bold claim about season 5 of Games Thrones. According to Showbiz411, here's what the author had to say:
"People are going to die who don’t die in the books, so even the book readers will be unhappy. So everybody better be on their toes. [The show's co-creators] David [Benioff] and D.B. [Weiss] are even bloodier than I am."
Considering that a number of the show's primary cast recently signed up through season 7, fans might be primed and ready to breathe a sigh of relief. However, the fact that the show is also set to include flashbacks in the upcoming season may be setting the stage for several noteworthy deaths. Going forward, even if an actor is contracted to appear, there are no guarantees that his or her character will still be an active participant in the latest happenings in Westeros.
We know that Martin already has an endgame in mind for the book series, and it's almost certain that he's communicated at least some of those details to the showrunners so that they can plan their narrative accordingly. However, anyone who isn't absolutely essential to how the story comes together would, presumably, be fair game for the Game of Thrones creators to kill off.
There's always the chance that even characters that feature heavily in the story's conclusion could simply see their roles transferred to other characters, but smart money is that Game of Thrones will keep Martin's select few free from an untimely demise.
Game of Thrones season 5 premieres on April 12, 2015 on HBO.