Once more into the ice and fire for Game of Thrones

Spoiler alert: This story contains spoilers from previous episodes of Game of Thrones.“When you play a game of thrones, you win or you die.”George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire — on which the TV series Game of Thrones is based — has always been, at its most elemental, an epic game of Survivor.Take away one game show host, add a few dragons. And let the carnage begin. The show’s dispassion in killing off beloved characters in service of plot is almost sociopathic. But good sociopathic.RELATED:Article Continued BelowHow beloved secondary characters helped make ‘Game of Thrones’ a cultural forceWhat makes this literary stew work is that Martin’s writing for his book series counts influences as diverse as Byron, Beowulf, Homer and even the lowly comic book.“Maybe Stan Lee is the greatest literary influence on me, even more than Shakespeare or Tolkien,” the author once told the BBC.