Saving Lives

I am, by nature, a very indecisive person.  I generally waffle over various scenarios of a decision needing to be made, choose only when absolutely necessary and then question the intelligence of the choice I made.

I cringe at the “favorite” questions, trying to narrow down something with millions of options into one absolute.  I haven’t tasted all the foods in the world, heard all the songs, read all the books, watched all the movies, seen all the colors: therefore, how can I expect to name one as the best?  And besides, there are so many good qualities in such a diversified group as food, music, books, movies, colors, etc., that trying to pick just one to laud as the “best” seems almost an inane notion.  Even my favorite movie, which is one of the few things on which I will state a “favorite”, is actually a series of three movies that I claim as one (those would be the real, ORIGINAL Star Wars).

So, when reading literary agent Janet Reid’s blog and stumbling across the question “If you could save the life of any one fictional character who would it be and why?” I was both intrigued and mortified.  Trying to pick ONE literary life to save, of the countless characters whose deaths have made me sigh, sob, growl and throw various items across the room: it’s a task to which I feel unable to rise.  Thus, I wash my hands of it.  However, I will state a few of the more obvious ones.

One person on Ms. Reid’s blog stated: “Sirius Black, hands down.”  I must admit, this is a strong option.  I hated his death; it caught me off guard and I’m pretty sure I yelled about it a bit.  However, there are several others in the “Harry Potter” series that were equally as painful.  And, I think, perhaps not as “necessary”.  Had Sirius Black lived, I think the books would have turned out differently.  His death had a profound effect on Harry.  However, there were plenty of other horrendous deaths from which to choose:  J.K. Rowling has a propensity for killing off great characters.  Chief of those whom I would save (and whose living would not really affect the story) are as follows: Remus Lupin, Fred Weasley and Dobby.

In Lord of the Rings, I would spare Borimir.

Matthew from Anne of Green Gables.

Rudy, Hans and Rosa (but especially Rudy) from The Book Thief.

From The Hunger Games (and there are certainly plenty from which to choose), I would have to pick Finnick and Prim (specifically, I think Finnick’s life could have been spared without altering the book too much…Prim’s death, I can understand from a writer’s POV more, but it was still horrendous).

These are a few of the awful deaths that I might prevent if it were given to me some magical literary power to do so.  Then, of course, there are some of my own characters who fall prey to the emotional powerhouse that their deaths bring about.  However, if you think I could prevent their demises any better than those in other books simply because I am the author, please see the post “Character Hijacking”.

There is, of course, a Catch-22 here.  For these books are powerful, and part of what makes them so emotionally strong is the reality, in which happy endings do not come without a price (if at all).  If we prevented the deaths of all the characters to whom we grow so attached, the books would lose some of their power and, strangely enough, we would probably not love them so much.

And now, I put it to you.  Answer the question, if you dare: “If you could save the life of any one fictional character who would it be and why?”

Perhaps you can be more decisive than I.

– S.D. Bullard


~ by sdbullard on April 20, 2012.

2 Responses to “Saving Lives”

  1. Ok.. that is a good question. But a hard one too. There are too many characters worth saving.

    I would save Fred Weasley…. no.. Primrose Everdeen… hmmm… maybe Ned stark…

    You know what, I wont answer that question. I cant choose.

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