If you’re a comic book character or a Transformer death is rarely perminate (especially if you’re Optimus Prime…at least Bumblebee grew out of it), and in comics death can be overcome by any writer who just really wants to write a certain character or wants the shock value of killing a character they don’t like and isn’t popular enough to demand a return. In other media however death can be forever…especially if your book or movie series is over.
Why kill a character? In addition to the aforementioned shock value it can be used to heighten the drama or clear the board, or show how series the situation is. Done wrong, that death just becomes quick shock before moving on, and shows you may not really care about those characters. I bet I could put more weight into killing Wolverine, a character I’m on record as hating and has already done the death/resurrection bit recently, than some of the deaths YouTube poster Uniquenameosaurus does in the following video, where he takes the Harry Potter franchise to task for some of the many deaths in the books and novels, pointing out which were good writing and which were just kind of cruel to the characters. Oddly this also ties to Full Metal Alchemist and Disney’s Ratatouille. Note that there is swearing.
Catch more from Uniquenameosaurus on YouTube
“Fridiging” is a term usually used for female characters who are killed for no other reason than to make the male character react, but I don’t think it’s reserved to that dynamic. It doesn’t even have to be romantic; you can have the victim or hero male or female and it’s still the same problem. What reallylongname is showcasing here is somehow worse than fridging because we DON’T get to see the reaction to some of these deaths, like they’re just clearing the board. It’s not a noble sacrifice, it’s not character death for the sake of later drama, it’s just death to have someone die, like cutting off an arm in a Star Wars production. (George Lucas really hates arms for some reason.)
What you end up with is showing that you don’t care about the character. Fridging already showed that, killing a character off just to have a shock death shows it even more, but in both cases you can get something out of it. A noble sacrifice to encourage the others to keep fighting on, a last redemption for things they did wrong, perhaps even a realization of how wrong the villain really was. It sounds like in the Potter stories you don’t always get even that. If there’s no mourning period you’re telling me you were done writing that character and had no other excuse to get rid of them. Simply don’t have them around, let them move to Florida, something to not kill a character unnecessarily. But if this is the last book or episode in the series, then you just really hated the character and wanted them to die unloved. I’d still give Wolverine a better send off than that, and I hate that guy.
It’s just another example of something that I’ve been noticing in other areas. You’re telling me you don’t care about these characters, and if you don’t care, why should I? And why waste both our times with characters nobody cares about?