Warning -- This post will contain spoilers from the following: Stranger than Fiction, Divergent, Insurgent, Mockingjay, Delerium. While I typically white out the spoilers, the below post contains too many for this to be possible. I will post a small warning before each spoiler.
Last night the Mister and I watched Stranger than Fiction together. Now I’d seen the movie in the past, but that was before I admitted to my dream of becoming an author, before I really let the stories in my head and heart come to life. I’m in the middle of a rewrite of my current WIP right now, and I know that somewhere along the line there are certain characters I’m getting to know, becoming close to, falling in love with, who may die.
For those of you who may not remember the film (SPOILER ALERT - STRANGER THAN FICTION), Harold Crick discovers he is a character in a novel. He must find the author before she kills him. When she discovers that Harold is a real person, she chooses to change the ending rather than killing Harold. This made me wonder which characters’ fates I might change if they were real people. But beyond this, I wondered about the value of death—what purpose it really serves and what it costs us and our other characters.
SPOILER ALERT - MOCKINGJAY) by Suzanne Collins, I felt Prim’s death was wasted. The whole driving force behind Katniss’ choice in The Hunger Games, is to keep her family safe. By killing Prim, this is ripped away from her, making me question if it wouldn’t have been more merciful to kill Katniss in the end rather than let her suffer this fate. Perhaps if Prim’s death had come at some other point in the story—say the end of Catching Fire—it could’ve served as an even stronger force for Katniss’ actions in Mockingjay. To me, that would have done Prim’s life and Katniss' choices more justice. Instead, Prim's death felt forced and wrong. The timing didn’t line up with Katniss’ character growth. It just seemed like another stab in the wound that had been three books building. Perhaps that was Collins plan all along, and if so then I applaud her for achieving the goal. But as a reader, this left me unsatisfied. I’m curious as to what your thoughts are on this.
SPOILER ALERT - DELERIUM) by Lauren Oliver, I’m not sure what to think. As a note, I’m not actually going to include the spoiler. For those of you who’ve read it, you know what I’m referring to. I finished the book over the weekend and plan to have a review up later this month. But I’m curious as to where the series will go from here. I think it’s too soon to tell if the death at the end of this book was wasted. I’m guessing it will drive Lena’s growth as a character, but I’m interested to see if it will be the sacrifice Oliver intended or if it will fall short for me the way the previously mentioned death did.
What about you? What do you think about these deaths? Are there others that seemed wasted? Necessary? How do you deal with death in your own stories?