Months ago, I was going through my reader and came across a post on Asti’s blog for the Feature and Follow meme. The question asked what your guilty pleasure was and Asti’s was when characters die in a story. Now, I normally HATE IT when characters die in a book, especially if they’re my favourite characters, but when I went about my days and kept reading the books (you know, same old, same old …) I noticed something: not a lot of authors seem really comfortable in killing off a character and letting them stay dead.
There have been QUITE a few books that I’ve read (and I’ll refrain from naming any of them — I’ll leave you to wonder which books I’m talking about!) where the character dies, but then they’re not dead! And then they die … and then they’re STILL not dead. I mean, what?!?! Some of these instances have been with characters I absolutely despised, so when they came back, I was less than thrilled.
Or, there are the cases where an author brings back a character as something else, not a human, but some other supernatural-type creature. Like in vampire books, a character dies, but then is miraculously saved as a vampire! Or maybe they come back as a werewolf! There’s ALWAYS a way, it seems, to bring back a dying character.
Does this make me sound morbid that I actually WANT my characters to stay dead once they die in a novel? I mean, obviously there are characters I love and feel ALL THE FEELINGS towards when this happens — I mean, of course with THOSE characters they stay dead (at least, in my experiences, more times than not). I feel like it’s a brave thing to kill of a character in a story and let them stay dead — if you’re just going to bring everyone back, what’s the point?
I do wonder if authors are just trying to keep fans happy when they do this, or if they’re just not brave enough to really give up a character. When an author brings back a character, I feel like it’s a cop-out — I want that author to be able to LET GO of a character and maybe bring in new ones I can come to love.
Of course, this is only in stories where characters NEED to die. This happens mostly, I find, in books with a supernatural slant as opposed to contemporaries or modern-day-type stories.
Do you find that authors are copping out by keeping their characters alive, or bringing them back after they have supposedly died?