I’ve recently picked up the Gone series by Michael Grant. I actually don’t know much about the books, except I hear they’re very good.
I’m barely ten pages into the first book and there’s already a very strong Lord Of the Flies/Battle Royale vibe to it.
What tipped me off is when the fifth graders burst into the teacher’s lounge and announced, “WE RULE THE SCHOOL!” Lord of the Flies begins with similar subtle hints at the barbarity and lust for power hidden in away in not-so-innocent children.
I can only assume Quinn’s going to die.
I mean, Sam’s the protagonist, so we all know he’s not going to die until the last book (if at all). Best friend though? Totally expendable. Fodder for a really emotional scene.
…you know, after I get irreversibly attached to his character.
Is it morbid, that I’m expecting all this gore and death and writing off characters so easily?
Is that a sign of my suppressed barbarity?
(Whoa, this got kind of Freudian.)
But seriously, why is it that we anticipate character death? And not just of the evil characters, but of the characters we love? Readers speculate the deaths of their most beloved characters all the time. I sepeculated the death of Percy Jackson, Peeta Mellark, and basically everyone was freaking out that Rowling might kill off Harry.
And why do we want the death of characters we hate? Some deserve it coughVOLDEMORTcough, but what about the Umbridges and Octavians and Cerseis of the book world? Shouldn’t we be a little more compassionate or at least merciful towards these characters, who technically meant well but did awful things? (You know, like communism.)
Readers and authors are actually really sadistic people. We create these characters we can’t help but get attached to and then we put them through the gauntlet of heartbreak, emotional trauma, PTSD, monsters, and speculated death and for what? Our own amusement. Because it would be super boring if all they did was have picnics and gush about how awesome it all is.
Dang, this got real dark, real fast.
And yet, it’s all very true.
I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, so I guess I’ll ask for help. Why do we speculate character death and hardship? Let me know in comments!