The eighth episode of HBO's Game of Thrones series aired last night, and it was another fine one, full of wit and high drama. One particular scene in the episode, though, prompted an English language question in my mind that stuck with me. In the dialogue, one character, in fear for his life, but known for his wit, puns on the meaning of the sentence:
How would you like to die?
by replying, "in my bed, at the age of eighty, belly full of wine..." so as to mean in what manner would you like to die? However, that's not the only way the sentence can be interpreted — his accoster obviously meant it in the sense do you want to die?
My question is: What is how doing there? It seems almost superfluous; I can't see how the meaning changes from asking would you like to die? Is there a grammatical term for its function in the sentence in that first meaning?