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Committing to the Death of a Character

Committing to the Death of a Character published on No Comments on Committing to the Death of a Character

​For now I’m going to keep this brief as at the time of writing this I am exhausted. I’m going to be vague here to try and limit spoilers for those who don’t know what happened. Chances are by this point many people know of that big death of a character in a beloved ongoing series. You all know who and what I mean. It was a shocking thing that people hoping wouldn’t happen. And yet it did. Immediately there were a number of fans who were compiling evidence claiming that the death was a fake, that it was all smoke and mirrors. That it didn’t happen. They claim that not everything is as it seems. That there is reason to hope that this character will be alive for us to continue to enjoy.
Not me. I for one hope this character is, in fact, dead.
To be clear, it’s not because I dislike this character. I want this character to be dead because if it was some bullshit fake-out it diminishes everything that happened before. This will not be some miracle that pulls the character through; it will be the creators not being able to commit to a dramatic change to the status quo. That’s where my problem comes into play. There have been many examples of a popular character dying only to be brought back and given some dumb reason to have made it out of an impossible situation.
I don’t like that.
If creators want to leave a mark they have to commit to the death to leave a lasting mark. If they don’t; if they cave into fan pressure or their own insecurities about what may happen it cheapens and often times invalidates the experiences of the character and dilutes the effects for the fans. If a character is going to die there needs to be a commitment to that fact from the creators. Everything about the character has led to this. This should be the culmination of their arc. This should be where everything comes full circle. Everything the character has done and the choices they made led the character to this moment. The death itself may not be the presented perfectly; it may not be what the character deserves. If it’s a popular character surely the fans will rage or fell saddened. But that’s the point. Not everything plays out how we want it. For all that to be undone because creators can’t stick to a decision bothers me. For a character seemingly to die only to show up later with a lame and implausible reason for escape cheapens everything for me.
I don’t have a problem with my favourite characters dying. My problem is when the people calling the shots are afraid to commit to the fact.
In all likelihood I’ll revisit this idea in greater detail. Preferably when I am not exhausted.

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