1. Sammy
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    Sammy Member

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    Main character being killed???

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Sammy, Jan 20, 2009.

    Does anyone else get annoyed reading books where the author kills off their main character without any real reason?
    I just read a blog by one of my favourite authors and he's decided that he's going to kill off one of his 'major characters' at the end of the series! There are still four books left for him to write so i wouldn't be surprised if this changes but i don't know if i want to read the rest now (and i've been waiting for his next book to come out).
     
  2. Aristocrazy
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    Aristocrazy Member

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    killing off main characters at the end is sometimes the best way to bring stories to an end depending on the personality of the hero... if everything is paradise at the end of the end of the novel and you have an action oriented hero you have to answer "what does he do for the rest of his days" and in many cases it can be hard to answer this as a lack of conflict to some characters is as good as death itself.

    in this case, it is often best to kill of the character to give things a fulfilling closing rather than leave such an uncomfortable loose end hanging there right in your face

    of course, on the flip side, stories with loose ends after everything is said and done often feel more realistic.

    ~~~~

    and don't forget to mention main character being killed before the story is close to over... now that's annoying! (unless they're brought back right away... in which case the whole attempt to try and establish vulnerability is a failure anyway lol)
     
  3. Sammy
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    Sammy Member

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    I see your point. I guess they are 'action' books but every one of them ends (there's been four so far) happily ever after (if you count nuclear things blowing up etc).
    I just feel cheated when i've read all about the characters for so many books and the author just kills them! I do know there are times when this is necessary but overall it drives me nuts...
     
  4. BG_Hambone
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    BG_Hambone Member

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    if there turns out to be no real reason for it, then yes. Killing a character just to up the body count is always a bad Idea...but you said it's at the end of the series, so maybe there really is a purpose for it.

    I don't know if you've read the Harry Potter series, but it is known for the deaths of main characters. These deaths, however, move the story along by giving the MC motivation to continue(especially towards the end.)
     
  5. Sammy
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    Sammy Member

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    No i haven't read them. I have seen a couple of the movies but i'm not a big fan. Does she really kill the characters? I didn't know that. Interesting fact...
     
  6. Aristocrazy
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    Aristocrazy Member

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    i don't think it's always a bad idea

    I've read a series where two of the three main characters die as well as every supporting character so that all that remains is the MAIN main character half way though... it was seemingly a pointless amount of deaths just to up the body count... however from that point on I knew that every character introduced from them on could be cannon fodder quickly and it definitely upped the intensity.

    killing a character, no matter how pointless it is to the storyline, can be a powerful tool in just changing the overall feeling of the reading experience.
     
  7. Show
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    Well, why shouldn't they be killed? In real life, people die. Life doesn't spare you because you are the main character, because in your life, you are the main character.

    And if characters become immortal, we loose appreciation for them. The story loses it's intensity because you know that SOMEHOW, they're going to find a way out of this.

    As much as it pains me to kill off main characters, I often do it because it is necessary, creates a proper emotional impact, and also brings the story to a close. One may also appreciate the characters more if you lose them. Now, if you are going to kill a main character, make their death meaningful. I try to do that in my novel and in my serial.
     
  8. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    If this particular writer is already planning their character's death, who's to say they DON'T have a good reason for doing it...?

    I killed off one of the main characters in one of my serials a long while back. He was one of the first two characters introduced and his presence seemed necessary to the story at first glance. This got a reader or two REALLY mad. But it needed to happen. The character, although important, was becoming redundant, and even though it takes a while to see it (since it's a serial), his death has a great impact on the rest of the story and propels the plot along much more than his life could have. Plus I was getting tired of him. I had all sorts of reasons, personal and plot related, for getting rid of him, though if one of the angry readers had stopped reading right then they never would have realized this and would have assumed, like you, that his death was "unnecessary."

    Without being in the writer's mind how can you really say if a character's death is necessary or not? Think it over. The writer might have more reasons than you believe.
     
  9. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    Honestly I feel like the question here is "Why the heck is the author posting this on their blog?" Doesn't that ruin the story to tell which characters are going to die even before the book is out? Their leaking their own novel. What's that supposed to be? That's why I would be mad at the author...not because of the character dying.

    I really have nothing to add to the rest of the debate, I agree completely with Thoth up there. Who are you to judge if the character is being killed off needlessly when you haven't even read the book? I get mad at authors all the time because they don't kill their characters, just to appease fans, even when it would be better for them to die.
     
  10. BillyDee
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    BillyDee New Member

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    In Jasper Fforde's "Thursday Next" series of books, he does something very clever
    In the second book, a woman turns up claiming to be Thursday's grandmother. At the end of the third novel, we discover that Grandma is in fact Thursday Next from the future, who came back to make sure Thursday got her husband back. Grandma Next dies in the third book, and the story ends tying up all the loose ends (as Fforde at the time wanted this to be the last story) However, he has now published a new book, which he can now do logically as "present day" Thursday is not dead.

    However, killing off protagonists can add a great shock factor to a piece of writing. It's not really related, but when "Scream" was being advertised, Drew Barrymore was publicised as being the lead role in the movie. Therefore, when her character died in the first scene, it was shocking for the audience as we thought she was going to be in the whole thing.

    Personally, I don't mind the protagonist dying so long as it adds to the canon and is logical, as opposed to just a lazy way for an author to tie up all loose ends.
     
  11. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    If killing a main character can achieve some literary purpose or further the goal of a story, it is fine.
     
  12. Penny Dreadful
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    Penny Dreadful Senior Member

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    I usually can't kill off a character unless I write them with death as their intended fate. I have attachment issues :rolleyes:. IMO, each novel (assuming it has an element of action to it) needs, at least, one major death to keep the reader concerned about the remaining characters.

    Even then, I don't agree with killing off characters when it doesn't serve to move the plot forward. The seventh Harry Potter book, for example... what pathetically useless deaths. -.- I really did buy that she was trying to demonstrate the horrors of battle. It really just came off as lazy; killing major characters "off-camera" like that. Then again, I felt she sort of phoned in the whole second half of that book... but that's another story.
     
  13. cwpcreator
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    I agree with "off-camera" deaths. How friggin annoying. Especially when they're main characters like that. They deserve better deaths than just showing up after the battle in a body bag.

    In any case, main characters dying is good, in my opinion. Otherwise, you get a situation like James Bond where you know he's going to escape no matter what the situation is, just because he's James Bond and he CAN'T die. Plus, sometimes then you get books bloated with tons of characters and most of them are meaningless.
     

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