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In a book A Clash of Kings from the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, I found this sentence and can't understand the meaning of have had in it.

I should have had him killed after he did the others.

I understand the meaning of the sentence, but I can't understand the grammar. Please explain it to me.

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Aug 8 '15 at 14:38

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

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    Please ask this question on our sister site, English Language Learners. – Dan Bron Aug 8 '15 at 11:29
  • To have Sense 6: to cause to, as by command or invitation: Thus, Simple Past I had my hair cut yesterday, becomes in Present Perfect I have had my hair cut. If I didn't actually do this even though I was supposed to, I can express that by including the modal I should have had my hair cut. – FumbleFingers Aug 8 '15 at 11:34
  • @Dan Bron - Actually this is a really tough sentence to understand for a non-native speaker. - even the part about 'as he did to others'. I think it belongs here. – chasly from UK Aug 8 '15 at 12:44
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    @chaslyfromUK Many questions which are difficult for a non-naive speaker are illuminated at ELL; in fact, they make something of a specialty of doing that. – Dan Bron Aug 8 '15 at 12:46
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    @chaslyfromUK The site is for "linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts". ELL is for non-native speakers trying to learn English. That's all. Just because a question is difficult for an ELL doesn't make it a good fit for this site. – Dan Bron Aug 8 '15 at 12:52
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I should have had him killed after he did the others.

You ask about "have had" but that is not an idiom. It is simply the present perfect of the verb, "to have".

The construction behind the sentence is "to have someone killed". This means, "to cause/order someone to be killed"

The whole sentence means:

"I should have caused him to be killed after he caused the others to be killed."

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