Let’s Discuss is a weekly post hosted by Thoughts and Pens. Since she took over, Charlotte has changed the name to Thursdays with Luxa if you want to find it on her blog. The discussion posts are supposed to have something to do with books, but you can pretty much choose your own topic. You can link up to your discussion post at Charlotte’s blog, and also visit other posts and participate in the discussions they are having. When you link up, it should be to a post made in the past seven days, even if Thoughts and Pens post hers every Thursday. You don’t have to post weekly discussion posts, and you can participate when you feel like it.
Let’s Discuss: When a Beloved Character Dies
I have thought about this lately, since there has been a lot of talk about a well-liked character dying, what it did to the story, and how it disappointed (or not) the readers. I have to admit that most of the time, when a character I love dies, I am very upset! I cry just as if one of my good friends has passed away. To make things worse, deaths in the books I read are often quite violent, too. No old age and just fading while sleeping in my favorite stories! Nuh huh! But even with that, sometimes, I have different reactions as well, because sometimes, it just pisses me off. Like, it has happened that I thought a death was completely unnecessary. It didn’t move the story forward. It didn’t make the remaining characters truly grow. And it certainly looked like a plot-point just to shock the readers.
If I feel like a character’s death is simply added to the story to shock me, I am not a happy reader. At all! And this very plot device has ruined a series I really loved before. Now, I’ve had the latest released book in that series on my kindle for a few weeks, and I’m not even sure if I want to read it. That series isn’t on my pre-order list anymore either. And I think that the book I have yet to read might very well be the last one I, personally, will read in that series.
Then, there are the character deaths that bring out so many emotions it’s almost impossible to deal with. I am sad, angry, going through all the stages of grief right along with the characters in my book. And I can see how the characters deal with this death differently. How some are reminded of another death close to them. Or for others it’s the first time someone they cared about died, and they are so devastated, but at the same time trying to be strong and be there for their friends. Those deaths, even if they break me and I’m a snotty, red-eyed, crying mess kind of make sense to me. Those deaths make the characters still living realize how fragile life is, how important it is to always tell the people you love that you do, indeed love them. They grow through their pain, and they honor the memory of the one who is no longer there.
Sometimes, reading a sad and snot-inducing book with heart-felt grief feels cathartic, and I actually get to work through stuff that might have lingered in my mind for too long without release. I have to be in the right mind to be able to deal with that kind of grief in a book, though. I mostly want to be in a pretty happy place myself, and feel strong enough to go through grief that can happen because a character I really loved as if s/he was real isn’t an easy feat. Most of my favorite characters feel like they’re my friends, you know?
How about you? What do you think about stories where a character you love dies? Does it piss you off or make you sad? Or don’t you care one way or the other?
Thanks for stopping by! I hope I haven’t made you too sad by bringing up this heavy topic.