George R. R. Martin is a Steely-Eyed Hard Ass, or I’m a Wimp

George R. R. Martin seems to kill characters willy-nilly and seems not to suffer overly much from those deaths, or if he does then he is a masochist of highest order, because I killed a character today, and I feel like shit. I figured out that the death was coming earlier today and knew exactly why my page count had slowed to a crawl, it always does just before I have to lose someone on paper. I walked around in dread for most of the day, and then finally sat down to write. I wrote, then a few tears, and then I finished the scene. I wept, no exaggeration, I freaking sat at my desk and wept, and then I realized it wasn’t done. The death wasn’t enough, there had to be the grief, the reaction of those left behind and that made me cry harder. I wrote in near hysterics, and even now the reaction of everyone isn’t finished, because this death will haunt and effect the rest of the book, and any book that comes after it in the series for that matter.
I found the Kleenex box, and used several, then I printed the pages off for my husband, Jon to read, since he’s the only one that’s read the book besides me, at this point. My dogs decided to be amazingly cute at that moment, because they seemed to know I needed it. They made me laugh, then we all left my office and went to the main part of the house, and then I did something that I’ve never done after writing anything. I got a hard cider from the fridge, opened it, and took a swig. I hardly ever drink, I don’t like the taste of most of it, and don’t need anything to lower my inhibitions, thanks, but today I made an exception. It was the most my husband had ever seen me drink at one time, and I still didn’t finish the bottle. I got to that warm, tingly, rush point and stopped. I wasn’t sure it helped, but it didn’t hurt.
Cupcakes next, because almost everything is better with cupcakes. One a piece for everyone in the household. Got something for dinner I hadn’t had in months, maybe a year – Domino’s pan pizza just cheese. It’s been one of my comfort foods for years. I don’t usually give into food cravings, because it totally kills all the effort at the gym, but tonight I indulged in the pizza. My cupcake remains untouched, the pizza seems to have filled me up. Now watching the musical, 1776, with my family, because it’s been a feel good movie for us for years.
I’m feeling more peaceful, not happy, but calmer. But if I killed off characters the way George does, apparently I’d be an alcoholic, and weigh about three hundred pounds. Good thing I don’t write too many death scenes of major and beloved characters.

Posted by at 9:55:27 pm on January 29, 2014

46 Responses to George R. R. Martin is a Steely-Eyed Hard Ass, or I’m a Wimp

  1. Pegi says:

    I’m feeling surprise, even shock, without knowing anything. Your characters are so loved by all of us I think we will all be where you are once we read it. As I look ahead I’m wondering who, which series (think I might know), what circumstances, the scene, and WHYYYY! Ok, I’ll hold it together for now.
    We love you (Steve my husband and I) and send you strength to get through to the end. Pegi

  2. Danielle Dodwell says:

    Maybe that is why George is a bit on the large side. He comfort eats when he kills people off. The Red Wedding alone must have been good for 30 lbs.

  3. Nadia Hassan says:

    Wow, I’m really dreading that moment in the book and yet I’m still excited to finally read it. June cannot come soon enough!

  4. Lynn Powell says:

    We, readers, can somewhat prepare for this in the book when we read it. If nothing more than to have our comfort foods/items on standby.

  5. I cringed when I read this! From what I understand, you’re writing Merry’s latest book. If it’s a tear-worthy death then I’m already preparing to be upset!

  6. NancyLynn Southard says:

    I cried for Phillip, I even cried for “Cookie Monster!” Death, it just has that effect, or is it affect on us.? Even if we only like the character a little, if we don’t like the character it’s easier. We feel the death is justified, somehow and we are either glad or unable feel. You, my dear lady, are definitely NOT a wimp, at least I don’t think you are, if it matters.

  7. Rick Schultz says:

    WARM FUZZIES for you, Ms Laurell !!! Very Brave of you !

  8. Alex says:

    I feel for you. I haven’t had to kill a main character yet, but I can imagine it is like losing a friend. To truly feel little remorse , or to enjoy it as George seems to, I think that you would have to plan that character’s death from the beginning, otherwise be a masochistic sociopath. Peace be with you, and I’m sorry for your loss.

  9. Perk Chop says:

    That’s what I love most about your series. I know when it comes time for me to read it, I’ll be hysterical. I’ll probably go to my fridge and pop open something to take the edge off. I’ll need some comfort food and maybe even a cupcake. I’ll be bleary eyed and red faced sitting with friends and family on the couch avoiding the book like a plague when all I really want is to keep reading, but it will color my view of everything left. And your a wonderful write to make me want that. Thank you.

  10. Cathie says:

    If there is a reason for the death…or it moves the story forward I can handle it. I stopped reading John Patterson’s books after he killed off a character. As a fan, I felt there was not enough of a reason for this death. When Laurell K. Hamilton kills off a character, I learn something. Cisco reminded us that only some shifters are strong, while others are cannon fodder. Haven had to die before he killed more people… not before he wrecked the relationship, but before he killed. If a character in the Mercy series has to die…Well I trust Ms. Hamilton to make that death mean something.

  11. desire g. says:

    oh my gosh!!!!!!! I think we all can totally understand you reacting like that, Because we are all probably going to be doing our own reactions when we finally get to read which series and to whom you are speaking of…I am so anxious but at the same time I kind of don’t want to know…you know? But………yeah I can’t wait to read more of your GREATNESS!!!! I love that you make us feel so much emotion while reading your work, you make it so easy to connect and relate to all the people in your books.

  12. LPC says:

    I cried when Frost died, I cried when Phillip died (or was even mentioned in later stories) and I shed a tear for Anita when she had to kill Cookie. I even had a bit of twisted sympathy for Vittorio. As much as I have read and loved every character, I can only imagine how much worse the feeling of actually writing the pages as opposed to reading it. **squeezes hand** (but not on your dominant side!)

  13. Rayanne Staubly says:

    That is why I love your books I can invest in the characters knowing if they die they will be missed and the loss will be acknowledged. Thank you !

  14. Galtshrugged says:

    I think in many ways, Martin probably handles it better because A Song of Ice and Fire is a completely different type of series than yours. He knew, going into it, that he was writing a blood bath. I imagine that makes it easier. He wants to tell a certain type of story, and that requires a lot of death. Your books, on the other hand, are all about growing attached to, and following the lives of, characters. So don’t beat yourself up for being emotionally attached to your characters. It makes sense that it’s much harder for you to lose one.

  15. Kimmy says:

    Oh no… have the cupcake too. Thats what I do when I have that reaction. It’s a comfort thing. And from your reaction I know that it’s gonna be hard for slot of us. You are no whimp bc you truly Care for your characters. Hold that cupcake high and know that most of your fans will be blurry eye with tissue in hand following suit.

  16. I was writing the third book in my series and I was going to kill off a main character from the first book, then wimped out. I thought my readers would hate me. My daughter told me to go ahead and do it. Sometimes a death is needed.

    I’m sure if you felt like that’s the direction your story was headed, then you had to do it. I’m sure I’ll grieve too when I read your next book. Hang in there.

    Janice~

  17. Margaret says:

    Ok, now you’ve got me scared and nervous on who you’ve killed. Of course this makes me anxious to buy the book so I can find out who. I’ll also make sure that I have a box of tissues handy. I get so invested in characters that when they are killed off it just tears me to pieces. It’s like losing one of my best friends or someone I’ve myself fallen in love with. I can imagine how you feel if I feel this way. It’s got to be 10 times harder on you. I’m glad you don’t kill off a lot of your main characters. I really much prefer the bad guys doing all the dying.

  18. GabbyNight says:

    It’ll be okay, sometimes your characters just need to leave you. I know how it feels to sit down then refuse to write anymore because you just can’t let them go. But eventually they escape and move on to be another’s inspiration.

  19. Mish888 says:

    The thought of you killing off one of your main characters is disheartening…I’m not sure what series you are writing now, but I will anxiously await it with bated breathe…If you feel this deeply, then your fans are going to be devastated…I agree with a previous blogger – If it moves the story forward and has a purpose, then it will be more palatable to everyone…I feel for you…I love your main characters and the thought of anyone of them being killed off is extremely sad…Can’t wait until the book comes out…You know, we’ll all be rushing out to buy it even more now…Death is a necessary part of life and should be reflected in literature too.

  20. kerrielyn says:

    Please dont kill Galen or Ryhs. I think my heart would truley break of merry lost these two. Not that i dont love all the boys but those two are my absolute favorites. I might end up needing a drink or two if they go,But i also know you have to do what you have to do and im sorry it hurts so bad.

  21. Loeeaine says:

    I kill at least one person in each of my stories. Maybe I should step up the killing.

  22. Heather says:

    NO.NO.NO.NO.NO. I don’t know WHO you killed, but NO. Even more NOPE considering you were so upset which meant it was an endearing character.

    I’m re-reading the Merry series knowing you’ll have a new one out soon. I’m halfway through the second book and I remembered which character already died in this series later on. And that tore my heart to shreds just thinking about it, and I broke a little inside when I actually read it the first time. So. NOPE. NO. NO. NO.

    Don’t do it. Go back. BACKSPACE. DO A THING. SOMETHING. SPARE MY POOR HEART.

  23. Jodi says:

    I’m glad to hear you grieve the characters as much as we do!! And I’m very upset to hearer are going to lose someone I’m sure we all love!! I can’t wait to read what you have in store for us!!

  24. Angela says:

    oh no… ::wipes tears away:: not a regular loved character…I’m always a wreck after reading those. It hurts. In a way, I’m glad to hear that you are as emotionally invested in your characters as I feel like I am, but why, oh why?! I refuse to whine, but just so you know I’m already heartbroken and I don’t even know who it is!

  25. Mysie says:

    I saw that headline and knew you had just had a rough day. I remember you once said that you picked up something to buy for a character for Christmas. You don’t just write your characters, you know them. You love and breathe them. I’m sorry for your loss. Our loss. It’s going to hurt, I can tell. But we’ll manage.

  26. Yvette says:

    Oh, no! This means I’m going to be bawling like a baby (again) on the elliptical at the gym. My heart is already aching just in your description of your grief. And even knowing what I will endure, I cannot wait to live in Merry’s world again. I have issues (that I lovingly embrace)! lol! ;-)

  27. vania bushman says:

    Hence the reason that he is overweight and we rarely see him in public.

  28. Deborah says:

    knowing how hard it is to read when a character is killed off and my emotional ties to them I can just imagine how much harder it is for you to have to write their deaths and feel it even more as they are even more of a family to you.

  29. Brenda says:

    I wish I knew who! I’m thinking it might not be a Merry book because I would assume it’s done (or mostly) since it’s coming out in June (and all the finishing, editing, etc to go)? I’m probably wrong though. Since you’re this emotional though, I think it must be a very major character. I’m already upset over the loss and I don’t even know who! I’ve read all the Anita books but not all of the Merry yet , and was a little upset to see that Frost died (in a quote above). I liked him a lot. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to wait and see who it is.

  30. Kathie says:

    Assuming it’s not Merry my only other comment is – anyone but Doyle! Although he isn’t the most warm or the most endearing he is the rock of the group. And I always see he and merry as the main couple.

  31. jelehan says:

    Death comes to us all. I perceive it like to be in the yin-yang situation. It saddens me that you felt the need to kill off one of your characters but without sadness can we truly understand what it means to feel joy at the birth of a new character. I know these words are not the comfort we seek in these times of sadness; they are to be only a reminder for us to revel in the joy of birth when it happens. I can only hope I can remember these words when I read who you knocked off. ;-)

  32. theresa says:

    I’m not sure how worried i need to be. If it was a kill off in an Anita book then i would be frantic but if it’s in a Merry book then i am going to devastated. Every person has a place. Then there is the time when something major is happening and someone must die so the story can go on. I will have major tears while reading when it comes out.

  33. Kelly says:

    I’ve read and re-read all my Merry books just recently, and every time Frost turns into the Stag it’s like my heart is being ripped out. So in June I will get all my comfort foods, a case of Puffs, and my book. Still can’t wait to read it, it’s been too long.

  34. Cassandra says:

    Thank you for being such a creative genius! By reading these books, I’ve found myself able to get through my hardest of times without losing what little sanity I had left! last year was particularly difficult for myself and my family. We lost my sister and brother- in- law, unexpectedly, but when I had the time to relax and read, I found myself going for your books. Thank you for giving us Anita and Merry and if you keep writing, I’ll keep buying!!

  35. Jodi says:

    Everytime I reread this post I get anxious wondering who it will be. I can’t wait for the new Merry book and I don’t know which book you are working on right now and can’t decide which would be hardest losing someone, from Anita or Merry!! I’m going to be on the edge of my seat until I know!! Just know we are with you through whichever it is!! I love both series!!

  36. Patty Baker says:

    It is sad when you kill off a character in your books and I do cry when that happens, but not when it is the bad scary monsters. I can’t wait to see what you write after Affliction, it was the best that you have wrote as of yet.

  37. Amanda says:

    I can not remember if I cried at the death of Philip, but probably i did. Until today I’m sad, but how much more characters die, the better. Who will be would you killed?

  38. Stephanie says:

    This makes me nervous. But as your dedicated fan and reader, I trust you. My emotions are in your hands. I cannot wait for the next book!!! <3

  39. lucy says:

    Hi Laurell, I love both Anita’s and Merry’s worlds and I’ll be very sad to see any of the main characters go. but that being said, the way you write is amazing. And I cant wait for what’s to come in both worlds. Very happy that you have started writing Merry’s little world again. Missed her. And cant wait to see what happens next. I know a lot of Merry fans are/will be very happy that you are continuing her story. I know I am. :) Thank you for writing these AWESOME books! Loads of love! Lucy xxx

  40. LuxiLovesBooks says:

    I know!!! Grrm is such a hard ass masocist. Everytime I turn the page of one of this books and come across a character death I’m like….O.O …. X( NOOOOOOOOOO

  41. Dre says:

    When I read your response for this post I have to admit I was slightly perplexed but relieved. While reading Affliction, I had this “Oh my god” moment, where I could not put the book down because of the anticipation that one of the main characters may die. And it was actually a let down when it didn’t happen.

    Sometimes the best moments in writing and drama occur in that moment after the death of an important character. Like on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (sorry for the comparison but I was addicted to this show in high school)… in the finale of Season 2 Buffy was forced to kill her lover who had turned evil, right before she killed him, her friends were able to restore his soul making him his usual normal caring self. Needless to say, she kissed him goodbye before plunging a sword in his heart (something she had to do to stop a portal from continuing to expand that his blood opened and only his blood could close). Same episode but earlier, she was expelled from school and kicked out of her house, so the death was the icing on the cake. But the really dramatic part was afterward when she broke down and left town making the finale that season EPIC.

    No character can be happy all the time. Happiness like that is boring. There has to be ups and downs. Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy, was notorious for not letting his characters be happy for too long, the second they were, he would take it away.

    Food for thought.

    I’ve been a fan since I was in high school. Now even more, I can’t wait to read your next novel :)

  42. Noelle says:

    Oh, great… I think it’s already time to start stocking some Kleenex box. I might need them soon…

  43. Miss H says:

    If it is Doyle, I will not recover.

  44. Deirdra Gray says:

    PLEASE not Doyle, Frost, or Galen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. Tera says:

    I am assuming it is a Merry book, actually hoping a little, because as devastating as that would be an Anita character would probably put me on antidepressants. :) I am a faithful reader of both series and cannot imagine losing Doyle,Frost or Rhys. Any others in Merry’s world would be terrible but I would recover. I just can NOT lose a major character of Anita’s. And under all of her hard exterior we all know our actually vulnerable Anita might not recover either.

  46. wlk68 says:

    “But if I killed off characters the way George does, apparently I’d be an alcoholic, and weigh about three hundred pounds”

    Have you SEEN George? He’s a very large man. If he’s not 300 pounds he’s close. I say he’s stifling his feelings about killing all those characters with food.

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