Forget Jon Snow, George Martin Thinks This LoTR Character Would Be Better Off Dead
The author of A Song of Ice and Fire knows a thing or two about major characters’ deaths.
George R.R. Martin is known for his mercilessness toward almost all of the characters in his book series A Song of Ice and Fire, which is why the concept of killing off the main characters is now firmly associated with his name. Martin himself admitted that he borrowed it from The Lord of the Rings.
The author spoke about the influence of John R.R. Tolkien on his work as part of The Great American Read campaign. According to Martin, his family’s poverty prevented them from going on vacation, while books allowed young George to go anywhere. His favorite book as a child was The Lord of the Rings — although it initially put the 13-year-old boy off (via PBS).
George wanted to read about sword fights and half-naked women (and we totally understand him), but in the end he got a dissertation on pipe-weed and a birthday party for an old man.
But then Martin was drawn into the plot, and when the story reached the depths of Moria, he realized he was reading the best book in the world. The death of Gandalf completely changed the future writer's ideas about fantasy and literature:
"Tolkien just broke that rule, and I’ll love him forever for it. The minute you kill Gandalf, the suspension of everything that follows is a thousand times greater, because now anybody could die. Of course, that’s had a profound on my own willingness to kill characters off at the drop of a hat," he shared.
Later, as you know, Gandalf was resurrected, but George Martin no longer liked Gandalf the White. According to the author, he should have stayed dead.
George believes that the impact of Gandalf’s death and his last words "Fly, you fools" was so enormous that the subsequent story would only have been stronger if the wizard had remained dead.
Although one can understand Martin’s point of view, it is worth noting that The Lord of the Rings is a fantastic fairy tale that lives by the classic laws of the genre — the good is stronger than the evil, and no matter what trials await the heroes, they will prevail thanks to their pure hearts.