Fans of HBO's "Game of Thrones" are still reeling from last week's Red Wedding shocker, in which the often unlucky Stark clan got a bit unluckier (and smaller), but they shouldn't look to author George R.R. Martin for sympathy.
The man behind the "Song of Ice and Fire" tales simply laughed when late night host Conan O'Brien showed a video clip jam-packed with extreme fan reactions that were captured as the episode aired.
"Of course, all of those clips were set up by people who had read the books 13 years ago and knew what was coming and wanted their friends and relatives and loved ones to do that," a clearly amused Martin said of the roundup. "I saw one of them saying, in a comment, 'Now you know why your nerdy friends were really depressed 13 years ago.'"
But what about the ones who are depressed today? As O'Brien pointed out, Martin has a way of getting "us to really care about characters, love them, think that they're central to everything" before brutally killing them. And it's tough stuff to watch.
The writer, who pens those murderous moments because that's just what he likes in a story, saves his sympathy for the actors on the show.
"There was one actress -- I won't say her name -- who, at (the season premiere) party, said 'Oh, please don't kill me! Please don't kill me! I don't want to die. I love doing this show.' And I know she does die, so… ."
"I felt very, very, very guilty," he admitted. "It's one thing to kill these characters when they're just people on paper. But when you actually meet the actors who portray them, and you know you're making people unemployed, it does bring up a certain amount of guilt feelings."
Find out if the author has anything else to feel guilty about when the season finale of "Game of Thrones" airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.