GEORGE RR Martin has dropped a bombshell on Game of Thrones fans ahead of the season five premiere, warning them to "be on their toes" and expect some big shocks.
*This article contains possible spoilers*
The US author has hinted that even those who read his A Song of Ice and Fire novel series will be surprised by the TV storyline, with not one, not two, but four characters set to meet their makers.
"People are going to die who don't die in the books, so even the book readers will be unhappy," he said at the Writers Guild West Awards on Saturday.
"Everybody better be on their toes. [Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] are even bloodier than I am."
Martin revealed on Conan last year that Daenerys' handmaiden Irri, Walder Frey's wife Joyeuse Erenford and Qarth merchant Xaro Xhoan Daxos were among those heading for the chop, but really, anything could happen.
Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones, has already told fans to expect a "traumatic" season five.
"There's some massive moments, perhaps even more shocking than the Red Wedding type of thing," she told The Huffington Post.
"There's a lot going on this season. There's also, you know, a lot of blood, a lot of death."
The Red Wedding from season three is widely considered to be the most brutal moment of Game of Thrones to date. In brief, it involves the bloody slaughter of several major characters at a wedding feast, including the horrific murder of a heavily pregnant woman.
Martin has two more books in the pipeline - The Winds of Winter, which he is working on at the moment, and The Dream of Spring - both of which will be around 1500 pages long with ample material for multiple TV seasons should Benioff and Weiss wish to use it.
Game of Thrones returns to Australian audiences on Foxtel's Showcase channel from Monday April 13
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