I want to push back against this perception that GRRM kills off characters in ASOIAF for shock value. Or that he’s killing off characters willy-nilly to fuck with his audience.
We may find many of these deaths shocking, but we tend to be shocked because we’re accustomed to seeing characters live or die based on a particular moral framework, and GRRM is using a different moral framework. His moral framework isn’t cynical, or nihilistic. It’s pragmatic.
In particular, GRRM has NOT established a pattern of killing off POV characters for no good reason. Of those POV characters who are significant enough to have a presence on the show, the only ones who’ve died in the books are Ned, Cat, and Jon. That’s it. And Jon hasn’t even stayed dead. (Cat, I’m calling a real death. Everything good about Cat died at the Red Wedding and stayed dead.) Robb Stark was never a POV character. Robert Baratheon, Viserys Targaryen, Jeor Mormont, Tywin Lannister, Rodrik Cassel, Oberyn Martell? Not POV characters.