The Importance of a Good Character Death

Everyone knows when they read a book or watch a movie that there is a chance a character they really love is going to die.  Either the character was the funny/supportive friend, the wise mentor, or even a love interest, no one is safe!  If one show/series of books has taught us that, it’s Game of Thrones.  George R. R. Martin is notorious for killing off many good characters that we all loved or came to love.  First example would be Ned Stark, as played by Sean Bean.  Ned Stark was the perfect character: loyal to king and wife, a devoted father and a good master.  That’s probably why he needed to die (per Martin’s logic).  But then, that set a precedent for most of the character deaths on Game of Thrones.  They were all good characters.

Now, everyone who has read/watches Game of Thrones, has probably also read/watched The Lord of the Rings.  J. R. R. Tolkien created a world and any good characters; most of whom live to see peace come to Middle Earth.  Honestly at the rate GOT is going, who is going to be yet living at the end of this final season?  Nobody!  Of course, GOT is on a larger scale than LOTR simply because there are more books in the series.  So, I guess there are more characters to kill off, but they are usually the good guys.  That’s my problem.  Tolkien understood the importance of having a well placed death of a good guy, but he didn’t do it often.  Obviously in The Fellowship of the Ring, we believe Gandalf has perished, and Boromir sacrifices himself to save Merry and Pippin.  In The Two Towers, Hama is slain while defending Helms Deep (this is from the book, not the movie, where he still dies, but in a warg attack).  In The Return of the King, we see Theoden die in combat at the Battle of Pelennor Fields.  Also, if you recall, Halbarad, one of Aragorn’s Dunedain Rangers, also dies in battle.  That’s four good characters who died.  That’s less than one hand by a finger.

For GOT, you’ve got the characters as follows:

  1. Ned Stark
  2. Khal Drogo
  3. Robb Stark
  4. Catelyn Stark
  5. The Blackfish
  6. Commander Mormont
  7. Pyp
  8. Grenn
  9. Osha the Wildling
  10. Rickon Stark
  11. Benjen Stark
  12. Talisa
  13. Hodor
  14. Jojen Reed

And probably a couple of others we’ve all forgotten.  Many, many, many deaths.  It is important for certain, key people to die in order to give the heroes or heroines a reason for finishing the job as it were.  There have to be deaths so that somebody can say, “Their deaths will not be in vain.”  Just, don’t kill everybody who ever showed a whiff of goodness and decency.  That’s why there’s this meme:


And on that note, it’s been real!


The Zodiac: How My Books Came To Be

The first time I contemplated writing a book, I was around twelve-years-old.  I my head was filled with the Greek tales and epics, and my first concept of the story was more of a Greek spin on things.  I had names like Andromeda and Heracles and so on.  It was more ancient and I was going farther back.  I wrote things down on paper and tucked them away because I didn’t have a dedicated computer.  We only had a public computer, and I could get kicked off any time.

About three years later, I saved up for and purchased my own laptop.  I started writing short stories, but my mind eventually wandered back to that idea for a novel.  I dug those notes out, looked at them, and went, “What the heck was I thinking?!”  I trashed the idea and went back to the ‘old drawing board’.  At that point in my life, I had read The Hunger Games trilogy, and two of the three Divergent books.  I enjoyed them, but at the same time, the two lead female characters had a flaw I could not abide by: they hated killing their enemies.  Now, note that I said, ‘they hate killing their enemies,’ instead of, ‘they hate killing.’  There is a difference.  Somebody comes at you with a gun or a knife, are you going to stand there and mumble, “But I don’t want to kill them.”  It doesn’t matter!  They want to kill you!  It’s your life against theirs, your future opposing their own.  There is no pausing to think; there is only fight or flight.  Both Katniss and Tris got on my nerves because they didn’t have the guts to do what was necessary.  They thought too much instead of using their instinct.

When I created the medieval world ruled over by Orion, my mind fashioned Zodia.  She believes she is common and nothing special; but she is so much more than that.  She becomes a source of inspiration to others, she teaches and is taught, and she fights for everything she holds dear.  Zodia is young and looks to others to guide her: her pet lion, Fangrus; her right hand, Zentii; her shadow, Kator; her father, Prince Horun; and her mentor, General Tiron.  She had a support system, but still followed her own judgment and gut feelings.

I shaped her and honed her and other characters for three books.  It was a pleasure and a joy to do so, and when I self-published them via Amazon, I was happy to think that other people could enjoy them as well.

And on that note, it’s been real!