Investigated – Character Deaths

Posted November 11, 2013 by Emily in Investigated / 5 Comments


Today’s topic is character deaths. If you are into popular books and series, you probably know why I picked this topic. But someone spoiled it for me and I felt I needed to talk about it. There are two clear types of character deaths – the good and the bad.

The Good
The good type of character deaths are when you are happy a character dies. It’s when you are cackling evilly and giggling with glee that a certain character has died. Usually that character just happens to be a villain i.e. Voldemort in Harry Potter. How many of you were happy that he died? (Hopefully you all were.)

The Bad
The total opposite of the good type, the bad type of character deaths is when a favorite character is killed off and you are left screaming “WHY?!? WHY?!?” and sobbing hysterically. This happens more than I would like in the Hunger Games. In these cases it appears that the author enjoys making us, the reader suffer. It makes you think… authors have to capacity to be evil.

But there are also other types of character deaths that are less defied. Sometimes characters appear to just die because the author feels like being mean. Other times it is obvious, as sad I am to say this, that character deaths had an important impact on the story, that the death of a certain character had a purpose to influence and move the story along.

That being said…
I have mixed feelings about character deaths. On one hand, I admit, I take great enjoyment reading about the deaths of villains and characters that I just despise and have a burning hatred for. On the other hand, I really, really hate it when nice characters die, especially if they just so happen to be one of the main characters. AND, I hate it even more when I feel that sometimes the author is taking the easy way out by killing a character. I get it if they had to do if for the better of the story. Like, for instance, they used the death of one character to motivate another, but sometimes that isn’t the case.

There are many times where I wonder why a character was killed. Sometimes it really does feel like the author is saying “Ha! Take that!” to his/her readers. And I don’t know, so they can say they murdered someone? In a book? What I’m trying to say is that there happens to to be a lot of, what I feel are, unnecessary character deaths. Like for example when a character that is involved in a love triangle dies, so make the protagonist’s decision on who to pick easier. That is just ugh, so annoying. I would much rather the other guy just had fell in love with someone else or even move to Antarctica (hey, at least we would know he is still alive…) But to kill him off just to get him out of the picture? What makes it worse is that I really wanted the character that died to end up with the girl… (If you read the Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer, you probably know what I’m talking about.)

But seriously, character deaths are okay, as long as there is a need for them. If it comes across as the author just being a meanie, then I probably won’t like it. But if it’s the death of a horrible villain, I will gladly read the page over again.

What do you think about character deaths?


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5 responses to “Investigated – Character Deaths

  1. I think that it takes guts for an author to kill a main character in a book and a respect authors a lot more when they do, because lets face it, the hero doesn’t always make it out alive. It’s unrealistic to say otherwise. However, I agree with you in that some authors are too lazy to try and come up with a solution to their plot, so they just kill them off. Ew. That’s when a start rolling my eyes at books and walking around talking to them like a whacko 😉

    TRQ @ We’re All Mad Here

    • Hmm, I’ve never thought of it that way before. I guess I always looked at it through a reader’s perceptive. I never thought of what it takes an author to kill off a character. And I agree, if characters didn’t die, it would be unrealistic. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. For me the definition of good character death is the unpredictable one. That’s what I feel when I read Game of Thrones and Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin.

    As for the bad death, I believe it’s the unnecessary one like in The Hunger Games. It’s just death with nothing added to the story.

    Good topic, Emz!

    • I agree! Good character deaths are usually the ones you don’t see coming. And you hit the nail on the head with The Hunger Games. Some of the character deaths in that book were way unnecessary (to me at least). Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  3. For me it really depends. There are deaths that make sense, even if they make me incredibly sad and have me sobbing or even ugly-snot-crying while I’m reading. You know, the ones where it would have been too much suspension of disbelief if the character actually survived what happened to them.

    Then, there are the deaths that I call the ‘shock-and-awe’ deaths. They don’t further the plot. They don’t make the surviving characters grow. And they don’t really impact the story apart from making a part of it very sad. Needless to say, I hate those deaths. And I hate them even more if later on in a series that character somehow comes back to life *sighs* all those tears for nothing.

    I have a discussion post about character deaths this week as well, please feel free to stop by 😉

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews