SPOILER ALERT. Contains spoilers on Harry Potter series and A Song of Ice and Fire (up to book 4, Feast of Crows). (As if many will really be spoiled with this after all the publicity, popularity and following it has attained thus far). And maybe the title gave it away already?
But believe me, in spite of the popularity of these series, many still just follow the movies/ TV series, and not the book, or neither of the two (they just get updated by word of mouth). Or they’re delayed in the scheme of things. So if you’re like that, just be warned.
JK Rowling, George RR Martin, JRR Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) and CS Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia). Four authors whose books I love to read, whose works I very much appreciate, whose works of art I very much recommend.
Let me focus on the first two, Rowling and Martin. Both have a knack and the gift of killing supposedly main characters, those who have grown close to the hearts of its readers. Somehow, they are not afraid to finish the roles of these characters and risk the boycott of uber-sensitive readers and clingy viewers.
They say creating endings in movies is very difficult. Aside from the usual happy endings (which tends to be boring), it’s very difficult to end well wherein character development is not sacrificed. So some creators (writers, directors, producers alike) resort to the easiest ending of all – killing the characters.
Author’s Lethal Weapon
But Rowling and Martin have a very different use of their lethal weapon – they don’t necessarily kill the characters to get them out of the storyline, in fact they kill the very characters that readers and viewers would expect to save the day for them. They tend to kill characters that are very promising, those who are bida. And sometimes, the murder just happens in one line. No drama. Cold as ice. Dead. End. So unfair really.
Rowling in her Harry Potter series surprised me initially, starting book 3 where she killed Sirius Black. (I grew up with Toklien and CS Lewis you know and they don’t kill too many main characters).
And then I knew that the series was becoming darker and darker. Then Cedric, then Dumbledore (didn’t see that one coming promise). Many more, Hedwig, Mad Eye, Ron’s brother, Lupin and wife Tonks, etc. Dobby!!! And just when we have grown to love Snape by book 7 (after 6 books of wanting him dead), he gets killed. Wow. At least Harry survived through it all while the dead friends and relatives got to help him still through the magic of love. I think there were even rumors that Rowling considered to kill Ron as well, but it did not happen in the series. Whew. Or killing Hermione might have caused so much outrage.
I got hooked with Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire (more popularly known as the Game of Thrones series) because he’s a more serial killer than Rowling. Martin’s style is like Rowling killing Harry and Hermione in the series, then Uncle Vernon, then some more. And that’s what makes him very interesting (at least for me), aside from all the political, familial, sexual and gender and honor issues, conspiracies and darkness and naturalness of human behavior.
He starts off by killing Ned Stark (whom I thought was the main character) and then heroes just keep on dying one by one. And that’s one of the review comments about him as well, which I think is his strength: the main characters expected to save the day, the likable relatable ones get killed and leaves us asking, who will now save and rule Westeros? At 48% of book 4, the main victims whom I can still recall are Robert Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, Balon Greyjoy, Theon Greyjoy, Tywin Lannister abed with Shae! (tsk tsk) , and (oh yes, finally), Joffrey Lannister-Lannister este Baratheon. The Hound, The Mountain, Lady Lysa, Khal Drogo, Ygritte.
Catelyn and Robb Stark and preggy wife who were murdered brutally at a wedding! I think Martin also considered killing Jon Snow but fans begged him not to do it. So far, he’s still alive, but who knows there are 3 books left (2 are yet to be released). And many many more named but less significant characters.
I’m pinning my hopes on Daenerys and her dragons (book 5 is entitled Dance with Dragons so maybe?) on saving the day or maybe Bran?… Roose Bolton betrayed my trust while Tywin dying with Shae was a shocker but not a heart breaker. Haha! How about the adulterous twins Cersei and Jaime? I think Jaime is starting to show a moral side in his character lately. I think Stannis will also get killed eventually but please not Jon Snow or Bran! More new characters, more characters to be killed. Just 3 pages ago another Dornishman got killed. And oh, the Knight of Onions..Anyway…
Season 4 will not start until 2014 so I have enough time to finish books 4 and 5.
Power of Words
Great best-selling authors really have such power to create entire worlds, land and seascapes, cultures and languages, even family trees, banners, maps and rich histories. Best friends Tolkien and Lewis are among the classics when it comes to these. Sometimes though, so powerful they hook us with great admirable, intriguing or irritating characters, follow their tales through pages and chapters then poof!. They then leave us hanging, with jaw dropping by reminding us that death is inevitable and often times unexpected. A touch of harsh reality in our escapist fictional world.
PS. We were discussing Harry Potter back then and as part of the conversation, it was mentioned that Dobby was killed. Apparently one colleague did not know this since he stopped following the series at book 4 I think. He sort of cried upon hearing this unintentional spoiler. So imagine his reaction when we mentioned that Dumbledore was murdered too! Torture! Haha!