We bookworms like to become emotionally invested — probably way too much for our own good — in the lives of our beloved fictional characters. No, of course it’s not a wrong thing either but things turn really ugly when you discover that your favorite character is killed off. Or die of some kind of disease. Just how sadistic an author can be? I’m pretty sure we all have those fictional deaths we will NEVER recover from. Especially if it’s a favorite character and your heart just break to pieces each time you remind yourself that they will never get their fictional happy endings.
Despite the immense pain I feel in my heart, I admit that sometimes it is necessary for the story to progress. Often times death can be the reason for our protagonist to undergo such massive change, making him/her a much more multidimensional character. (Yeah, it’s only one of the many plot points. 🙁 ) And before I realize it, fictional death has become something that helps me determine whether a story is realistic or not, especially if it’s a dark fantasy or science fiction or dystopia. I mean, you’re rallying up against the evil government yet there’s not a single casualty? That would be amazing but unfortunately such things don’t exist in real life. Sacrifices have to be made and it’s the kind of death that touches my heart the most.
Before I got into reading though, I used to hate when my favorite fictional characters die. I mean, a movie could start so well until my main guy got eaten by monsters and it was all it took for me to hate it. “What’s the point of creating a character if you’re gonna kill them off anyway?” I guess that logic really stuck with me until I reached middle school age. I didn’t understand back then, that a character’s death can be more than meets the eye.
The pain I experience during my “fictional death hangover” phase still doesn’t lessen and it’s nice to read about your favorite characters surviving and conquering their difficulties. But throughout the years I have formed an understanding that fictional death can be essential depending on the story. It’s death and loss which evoke more emotion from me and being emotional is a proof that I care so much — for the story and the characters.