Killing Them Softly

coollogo_com-23326655How many of you read/watched GAME OF THRONES? Were you expecting all that bloodshed and death? Judging from the internet uproar, I don’t think a lot of those watching the show were ready. For those of you who knew what was coming, are you snickering at them?

I haven’t seen or read the series. I don’t know, it’s just not my cup of tea and now that this has happened, I’m kind of glad I didn’t get involved. Hell, I’m still upset they killed off Andrea on WALKING DEAD, but as a writer I understand that sometimes these things happen. Whether to motivate the other characters, or to remove/invigorate a stale/stalled plotline, sometimes beloved characters have to make the ultimate sacrifice. My question is; in the case of Gof T and WD, how much is too much before reader loyalty is called into question?

Readers like to connect to characters, that’s the first thing writers are told. Readers chose their favourites and don’t take it well when you kill them off. This means they have to pick a new favourite, and what happens if the author decides to kill that one off? Should the reader invest more time and energy into connecting with another character, just to get to the end of the book? Or will they put the story down and not bother anymore?

I’m not an idiot, I understand that the two examples I used have worlds that are harsh and that death is a natural by-product of those worlds, but it does make you think.

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About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal it to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing or working with crystals, she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and very loud music.

6 Responses to Killing Them Softly

  1. Renee says:

    I’ve read the books and I watch the show, and I found it hilarious to witness the reactions of viewers who haven’t read the GOT series. That Martin has made them so invested in these characters that they’ve reacted in such extreme ways speaks to his talent, IMO. If you’d read the books, the Red Wedding makes sense. Martin doesn’t favor any particular character, and the cast of characters in these books is so diverse and massive that each reader has her favorites, and those favorites are probably different than most other readers. My point is that he kills characters as the plot demands, including popular ones, and although some readers might stop reading at that point, most won’t because there are a handful of other characters they shift their support to.

    As a writer, you have to consider the reader and killing characters for shock value will lose them fast. In the Walking Dead and GOT, this isn’t the case. It’s not about shock value. It’s about the realistic worlds they’ve created and keeping the story true to that, not coddling the reader’s tender feelings.

    Man, I hope I make sense. I’m rushing. 🙂 I’m waiting for the latest installment in the book series, but I have to say there is only one way I’d be angry with him, and that’s if he killed off Jon Snow AND Jaime Lannister. I couldn’t live in a world, even fictional, without those two. 😉

    • This is my point, that we, as writers have to be VERY CAREFUL about such things. You don’t add a character for just one scene, and you make sure the death of one is important.

      Thanks for stopping by! 😀

  2. I’m not invested in GoT, but I am into Downton Abbey. They killed off two of the core family members in this last season. One was bad, but two…that had everyone SO upset. Neither of the actors renewed their contracts, so I guess it makes it a little easier to take, but if they’d just been killed off because the writers wanted to boost ratings, it would’ve ticked me off even worse. As far as killing off characters in books, it makes me not want to read the story if I know someone I begin to care is getting the ax. But then again, some of the most heart-wrenching stories are the best…so I guess it’s a double edged sword.

    • I’m with you. If I become invested in a character and he’s killed off, I may keep reading, but my interest and loyalty would be severely compromised. I loved the Star Wars books and was gutted when they killed off Chewbacca. Especially as it was in an almost ridiculous way. I read a few more books, but with a few more deaths and the foundation of the whole series shifted, I left.

  3. I must admit to reading the last couple of pages of a book to make sure the characters that were in the beginning were still there at the end. I don’t like to invest myself in new characters if I’ve been rooting for another one all along. I feel cheated.

    • Maria, I think a lot of people feel the same way, especially in certain genre’s like Romance. The first rule we’re taught as writers it to create a character readers can connect to, so why kill them off?

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