When Good Characters Die (spoiler alert)

MasterharperPernHave you ever been reading a series of books that were so good, you felt the characters were like old friends? You get to know them, you like their wit, you get invested in their fictional lives and then WHAM…the author kills them off! Most readers realize that in a long running series there can be some collateral damage, like the red shirt guys from the old Star Trek TV series. It’s just that you expect it to be a character you are acquainted with, not someone you have become emotionally invested in as the series progressed.

If you are anything like me when a favorite character dies, it hits you hard. I actually cried when Masterharper Robinton, from Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern series, died. He was so wise and kind.… And while my friend and I discussed this topic, she had a slight quaver to her voice as she talked about one of Agatha Christie’s characters, Detective Poirot, dying.

CurtainWhy does it affect us so much? My guess is it’s because these authors are just that good. It is their talent for making realistic and sympathetic characters that keeps bringing us back. What is a story without a compelling protagonist or antagonist?

As a reader, have you ever experienced this before?

-KK

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