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Books, stories, and character deaths

Okay so I still feel the need to get this off my chest because although I'm not as angry as I was two days ago it's still bothering me. (Note: I won't say what book it is unless you point blank ask me, I don't want to spoil it for anyone who wants to read it).

First off there should always be a reason that you kill off a main character (or a side character for that matter). It needs to play a part in pushing the plot forward. I don't ever feel that there is a reason to simply kill a character just because you can or you want to make your readers sad (or love the fact that it's so tragic ... I feel like the readers/viewers who feel that way have never actually experienced loss -- I used to be one of those before anyone jumps on me). So getting to why I'm ranting about this, it's a book series that I just finished and I totally disagree with how the author ended the story. She killed the main character and there was NO reason for it other than to make the other characters suffer. That's sick. I'm sorry but it is and I'm still pissed off over it. The story was so good up until the end. *sigh*

Now a lot of people complain about certain authors killing off characters and doing it many times over. I can't speak on George R.R. Martin or Stephen Moffat (because he's never actually killed anyone on Doctor Who), but I can speak on J.K. Rowling and Joss Whedon (the apparent king of killing characters). First off: both of these writers' characters' deaths were calculated and pushed the story forward (for the most part). I'm going to start with three of Ms. Rowling's decisions (Fred, Tonks, Lupin) -- many people think that their deaths were pointless; however they I argue that they were not -- if memory serves me correctly what Fred's death did was to make his mother angry so I guess that would be a viable reason (I may be wrong about this one, it's been a while since I read it). The other two were just cruel, but casualties do happen in a war and that I can understand -- they also weren't the main characters; however, while reading the book for the first time, I did have problems with the fact that she killed them. I remember thinking 'why did she do that? Why can't they live and let nameless ones die?' Well the answer would be that the ending wouldn't have been as powerful if she hadn't. Their deaths were justified. She understands the gravity of choosing to kill off a character and how hard it can be.

Now onto Joss Whedon. Everyone loves to fuss about how he relishes in killing his characters, but anyone who has read any interviews with him would know that he does not enjoy it. He makes calculated decisions based on where he's going with his story. I could sit here and go through each character death from Tara (Buffy TVS) to Coulson (although that's not his character and Coulson lives so ...); however, I will just simply say that I get tired of people saying things like, "don't get too attached, the moment you do they'll die", which happens in real life, but like I said before, each character death is calculated -- not to cause the most pain, but to push the story forward.

Back to why I'm writing this. When I read the last scene in which the main character was in, I continued to think that there's no way she was dead because it made no sense, but then as I read on I realized that she had killed her. There was no reason for it. It didn't help the story one bit, all it did was make me dislike the book. In the Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins could've easily killed Katniss in that last battle, but she didn't ... Katniss lived. Why didn't she kill her? Because it didn't make any sense, and in this particular book it was basically the same set up, it was the final battle and she had completed her mission to protect her friends and allow everyone to choose their own way of life, but instead of waking up in a hospital bed from her wounds she DIED. Why? I don't know. The last part was the man whom she loved saying that knowing her had changed him and that he was better for having known her. I understand that, but I don't see why she had to die. Maybe the whole purpose was to make you angry and to appreciate everything because it's fleeting. I don't know, but I'm still mad.

To sum up: I will NEVER kill a character unless there is a good reason behind it, and it will be at an appropriate time. Truthfully that story should've ended with her death, not gone one for about 40 more pages. Hopefully I can come to terms with this and move on ... actually writing this out has made me kind of accept it, but not really.