Today’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Have you ever thought of writing a respectful, but angry letter to an author to ask them WHY they killed off one of your favorite characters in a novel?
…no. I don’t think I ever have! I also don’t seem to run into this too often. I don’t think I read that kind of a book typically (there’s a reason I have never picked up Game of Thrones).
No one dies in L. M. Montgomery books except angelic children who are too pure to live to be adults (it was a trope of the time…), elderly people who have lived a full life, and, of course, parents, who are usually ushered off before or at the beginning of the story. No one dies in Edgar Rice Burroughs books except villains and inconvenient obstacles to the love story (though I was angry with him about Clayton, rival to Tarzan, come to think of it). And the only person who dies in retellings of the Phantom is, sometimes, the Phantom and, well…so it goes. That’s not my preferred ending, but it was Leroux’s ending so I can’t object too much.
The Harry Potter series provided a host of tragic deaths–the only one that really got to me was…oh dear. The twin. I say this is the death that bothered me, and yet I can never remember if it was Fred or George. And that’s kind of the point, it was the breaking of the pair that made me sad. That and the line about dying with the ghost of his last laugh on his face. Sigh. But I get it, you know? Fighters and mentors and serious people can die and that’s just the norm, but when the funny guy dies, then it’s serious. Serenity is a good movie example of that too.
A character death can be sad, and sometimes it can just be unrelentingly grim. Kira-Kira, a Newbery medal winner where the heroine’s sister has a long, sad illness and then dies, was just exhausting. But that’s the thing, I usually find books like that unpleasant or depressing, not rage-making.
I don’t know that I ever get angry with a writer about a character death. Sometimes a character has to die. I’ve written at least one book like that (not a published one). I’d have trouble articulating why the hero had to die at the end of that one, but he really, really did. So I get it, when an author kills a character, usually it’s a necessity. Or it’s the whole focus of the book (again, Kira-Kira) which means I probably won’t like the book but, eh, tastes differ.
I get angry with writers about other things, and if I was ever going to write an angry letter it would more likely be about abusive relationships presented as romance (yeah, I’m still kind of mad at Meg Cabot). But it probably won’t be for killing off a character!