'Game of Thrones' fan wins charity prize to die for

Author George R.R. Martin will kill off a fan as a character in an upcoming book after a $20,000 gift to charity.

Story highlights

  • A fan gave $20,000 to charity to be killed off as character in a George R.R. Martin book
  • Report: Martin says he's been astonished by the support
  • The fan wants his character to be a Valyrian
"Game of Thrones" fan Dave Goldblatt is preparing to die -- and by the pen of George R.R. Martin no less.
Goldblatt, a Facebook employee, is one of the generous contributors to Martin's recently announced charity auction benefiting the Wild Wolf Sanctuary and the Food Depot of Santa Fe in New Mexico.
As announced last week, the author of the "Song of Ice and Fire" books -- which have been adapted into HBO's über-popular series "Game of Thrones" -- is offering a selection of prizes for fans who donate money to his chosen causes. A donation of $25 would be met with a thank you e-card, while a donation of $100 gets a campaign T-shirt and a thank-you video.
And for a contribution of $20,000, Martin offered to create a character in honor of the donor and put him or her in an upcoming "Song of Ice and Fire" installment, with a bonus of the character meeting one of Martin's famously ghastly deaths.
Only two people could win that prize, and Goldblatt is one of them. As part of the deal, he gets to choose his character's "station" in the world of "Thrones," and the 30-year-old really wants to be a Valyrian, because "for whatever reason, I thought the Valyrians were cool."
"I'm just lucky enough to be in a position to do this," Goldblatt told ABC News of his $20,000 contribution. "Obviously, the money is going to charity, so it's an added bonus. I didn't immediately seek to help wolf sanctuaries, but the more I read about the charities, I learned it was a worthwhile cause."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the two $20,000 prizes were gone within hours, much to Martin's surprise.
"The outpouring of love and support has been far greater than I could ever anticipate," the writer told the magazine, "and has left me astonished and at a loss for words."
Perhaps Martin shouldn't be so shocked. "Game of Thrones" is now HBO's most-watched series of all time, surpassing even "The Sopranos."
For the most part, the reclusive author has been happy with how his epic "A Song of Ice and Fire" has been translated for TV, although he would make a few changes if he could. For example, instead of just 10 episodes a season, Martin told The New York Times he wishes HBO would grant "Game of Thrones" 13, so that "we could include smaller scenes that we had to cut, scenes that make the story deeper and richer."
As it is, the highly acclaimed "Game of Thrones" draws an average of 18.4 million viewers per episode -- and that's even with gruesome scenes such as a recent death by exploding head.
"Despite my sinister repute, I actually find it hard to kill off characters that I've been writing about for some time. Good guys or bad guys, they're all my children," Martin told The Hollywood Reporter. But with these two new characters, "the slaughter should be easy, since the victims will be laying down their lives in a good cause. I will do my best to make their ends memorable."
Goldblatt isn't sure what his character's name will be in Martin's book, or how the character will meet his inevitable grisly fate, but he's nonetheless satisfied with his choice.
"I want to be a Valyrian if at all possible," Goldblatt told the magazine. "But he figures it out himself. I wouldn't want to impinge upon his creative process."