I can’t tell you the number of times I have cried because my favourite hero/heroine has died in a book or movie series. It is gut-wrenching, especially if you have followed the characters from the beginning and watched them grow. They become your family and friends in this awesome journey and when they die, they take a piece of you with them.
But just like the way people come to your life for a reason, a season and a lifetime, characters have a purpose in a story. They either inspire or teach you a valuable lesson. As a writer, you do what is best for the story, not the character- the characters are there to tell the story.
In this post, we will look at some of the reason why you are justified to kill a character. Since I am a sucker for DC comics and the Arrowverse, we will be citing examples from these amazing characters. If you don’t know who those are, too bad. Maybe I can motivate you to go and watch it? Excited? (Says in an Oliver Queen voice) Let’s go!
It advances the plot
One reason why we kill off characters is so that we can advance the plot. These deaths mostly occur at the beginning of the story. For example, in Arrow Sn 1, Oliver Queens’s father had to die so that he could become The Arrow and right his father’s wrongs.
It fulfils the doomed character’s goal
Oh well, the thing about these superhero movies, comics or romance books is that they are predictable. (Sigh). The bad guy dies, the hero and heroine kiss and makeup and live happily ever after. But I have to say, when they are well executed, it is awesome to watch. I like what they do in DC. The last episode of the series is usually intense, and mostly it is my nails that end up getting the brunt of it all. The flash Sn 3 ending was epic! First knowing Savitar was indeed a version of Barry Allen, then Barry having to kill someone who looks just like him. That was both painful and awesome to watch.
It motivates other characters
Yes, we have seen movies where a loved one’s death is the motivation for why people are, the way they are. It is no excuse, but we are different, and we deal with pain differently. In most cases, whether someone decided to be a good or bad person is motivated by the death of a loved one. For Example, the decision for Bruce Wayne to become Batman was motivated by his parent’s death. See? Motivation!
Emphasizing the theme
Well if a book or movie is violent, there are bound to be casualties. An example is the horror or action genre. Arrow Sn 1 had a dark theme, with the Starling City Vigilante killing off his enemies indiscriminately. I still think his line, ‘You have failed this city’ what us viewers waited for- to know who had failed it and how. Plus, the voice sounded hot too.
Creates realism within the story world
Books, movies or any pieces of writing are a depiction of the world we live in, or, the world we want to live in. Just like the world is not perfect, movies shouldn’t be either, no matter how much we want them to. Arguably, one of the worst deaths in the DC universe was the death of the main character, Martin Stein from Legends of Tomorrow. I cried, like a lot of tears. Remember when I said that these characters become a part of you? Well, this is one of those cases.
Do you have any other reasons why and how we kill a character? Who were your favourite character deaths? Talk to us!