Characters and How They Affect Us

February 7, 2010 at 10:35 pm (Uncategorized)

Characters die. And it really, really sucks.

It’s kind of silly to feel sad thinking about these kinds of things, but they happen. We get attached to characters and stories. The nice thing is, most of the time we just get to close the book and be able to go back and restart the story, revisit the characters and see that things progress the same. We’re given only part of their life story, the part that’s exciting and that people want to know about, a critical moment. Ideally, they continue with their lives. Sometimes it’s exciting enough to write about again, in a sequel or in fanfiction. (ok, the last one is user-generated excitement, but still)

But characters do die, or it’s implied that in the span of their normal human lives (assuming the characters you’re reading about are human. If they aren’t, then… well, everything dies somehow, even gods, so… in the span of their lives, whether they die naturally or have to be killed) they will die at some point. I mean, look at Lord of the Rings. I’m pretty sure that at least four times through the series it is explicitly stated “Hey, Aragorn/Arwen, this is what it’s going to be like when you/he dies”. (I’m fairly certain this happens… it does in the movies. It’s been several years since I’ve perused LotR. Hey, we can’t all be Christopher Lee and read them once a year. It’s a heavy, time-consuming read, with all the ‘and he was begotten from him, who was begotten from her, who was begotten from these people’ references, though not nearly as bad as The Silmarillion) And even in the epilogue/later years chapters at the end of Return of the King, it talks about when the characters die. Like how after Aragorn dies, Legolas and Gimli leave across the Grey Sea to Valinor.

(I don’t even want to get into the whole age thing in LotR… Aragorn’s 87 during the whole War of the Ring, for heaven’s sake)

Unless you’re either a) heartless or b) don’t get nearly as emotionally invested in books as I do, you feel something when you read about a character’s death in a book. The ONLY reason I didn’t cry at the end of Return of the King was because I was sitting in first period health class in 8th grade. Oh, I wanted to, but I didn’t. You feel anger or sadness, or maybe even happiness, depending on how you feel. It’s seriously weird how people who don’t exist outside of our imaginations can have such a huge effect on how we feel. Even places. I get depressed at times that I don’t live in the town that Boy Meets Boy takes place in. It’s a magically perfect place. It’s not unlike the people who are depressed and raving that they can’t go to Pandora from Avatar, because it’s so perfect. (hint: stop destroying the environment and the Earth shall be healed, creating a Pandora-like place)

Books make us think and feel. If they don’t make you feel… you don’t have a soul. Or you should get your emotional capacity checked. Or you watch too much TV. I like books waaaaaay more than TV or movies, just because you get involved so much deeper into a world than you can in a TV show or a movie. You get inside of the narrator’s head. It’s a nice escape to pretend to be someone else for a while, instead of merely viewing how someone else’s life is going for them.

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