We have been warned. George R. R. Martin, with a cruel smile on his face, has announced that when the fifth season of Game of Thrones begins this April, it will be killing characters who don't die in the A Song of Ice and Fire books (although it's probably more accurate to say they haven't died yet).

Here's Martin's grim pronouncement, which he made at the Writers Guild West Awards on Valentine's Day:

"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. David and D.B. are even bloodier than I am."

GRRM is of course referring to showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, so... shit. First of all, which characters could be killed off? Any main characters who have major narrative arcs to complete, such as Daenerys, Tyrion, Jon Snow and presumably all the other Stark kids should be fine... probably. But anyone who's consumed with the game of thrones itself — Cersei, Stannis, Margaery, Littlefinger, Davos — I'd say they're fair game for a shocking death.

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Secondly, bookreaders have always been secure knowing what was pretty much going to happen on the TV series, but now anything is possible. We'll be stuck worrying that Brienne could be offed any given moment, just like regular viewers! Watching the show in constant terror is going to be a very new experience for a lot of people, including myself. Non-bookreaders, feel free to taunt us about this — we probably have it coming.

[Via Winter Is Coming]