Killing Off Secondary Characters

I want to go ahead and post a **SPOILER ALERT*** for this blog. If you haven’t read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, I will potentially spoil some deaths for you. So you’ve been warned.

I read The Hunger Games trilogy last week. I want to start off by saying I loved this series. I couldn’t put these books down and even after I did, the story stayed with me—for days afterward. That’s some good reading, folks.

When you read books like The Hunger Games, you know people are going to die. It’s just the way it’s going to be. The same is true with The Harry Potter series, especially the last book when every fan knew there was a huge possibility that one of their favorite characters may not make it to the very last page. And as expected, tons of deaths occurred. Each was hard to take, but you power through, knowing this has to happen to get to the end.

Then there’s that one death.

That. One. Death.

And an invisible line has been crossed, and you’re no longer sad, you’re devastated.

In Harry Potter that was Fred dying. I saw no reason why Fred had to die. Why Fred? Why? Out of the characters left alive, why did it have to be the one that had a twin?

I know why I feel like this. I have twins. They are each others world and the idea of one of them losing the other so young makes me feel like I can’t breath. So it’s really no surprise that I had such a strong reaction to his death.

Well, I had the same reaction last week during The Hunger Games. This death bothered me. Like really sent me into some sort of weird depression after it happened bothered me. Again it was a death I didn’t feel was needed to get the author’s point across. The point was already made. So why did we need this extra yank on our heartstrings?

So my questions are:

When does a death in a book become gratuitous? And have you ever felt an author went a little too far with one?

Esme

www.esmereldabishop.com

3 Responses
  1. Fred really did me in too. And Dobby. But the one that really stayed with me was Dumbledore. I don't know why. I knew he was going to die, had to even, so I can't say it was gratuitous. But, man did that bug me the entire day.


  2. KC Burn Says:

    I used to read a mystery series where the main character's husband (who was a very necessary foil for the MC's flaws) was killed off, for NO good reason. And, it mostly happened in between books. She spent much of the book (when she wasn't solving the stupid mystery) waiting for confirmation that yes, her husband had fallen overboard in another country, and no, he hadn't been rescued. I still haven't forgiven that author (it's been *years*), which is such a horrible thing to say, but it's true.


  3. KC Burn Says:

    I used to read a mystery series where the main character's husband (who was a very necessary foil for the MC's flaws) was killed off, for NO good reason. And, it mostly happened in between books. She spent much of the book (when she wasn't solving the stupid mystery) waiting for confirmation that yes, her husband had fallen overboard in another country, and no, he hadn't been rescued. I still haven't forgiven that author (it's been *years*), which is such a horrible thing to say, but it's true.


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