writing

Dying Off-Screen

I find it strange when characters die off-screen. Maybe it’s the genre fiction I read or the comics I grew up with, but for me, if you don’t see the body, the person isn’t dead.

At least, that’s how it feels.

Sometimes, I understand it. Given why The Ranch had to part with Danny Masterson, I can see why you wouldn’t have a body.

The fate of Squire Roland in the Riftwar series, on the other hand, always bothered me. Such a big part of the early series, he dies completely off-screen, written off in an almost afterthought.

And he was a fictional character. No personal issues to make his character controversial. Only a sudden decision by Raymond Feist to off him in a throwaway paragraph, a random casualty of war.

I never quite understand that. I don’t think you need to wallow in every death, but if say, Squirrel Girl were to bite it in Marvel Comics, it wouldn’t just be a throwaway panel in the Champions book. They wouldn’t just mention it in passing.

(That said, I am not at all a fan of Squirrel Girl. Should I ever become large enough to write a Marvel comic and they give me creative control over her, I will probably murder her in the worst way possible – eaten by Galactus or smushed by the Hulk or something. It will be epic and it will be deserved.)

All I’m saying is do your characters justice. Because as much as I loved Magician, Squire Roland’s death will always bother me, for being so inconsequential and so easily dismissed.

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