Spoilers ahead for No Time to Die.
All the wonderful stories I came across in novels, short stories, movies and tv series had one of the principal characters getting killed at the end. We often wonder about the need to kill that character after all the adulation we showered on it.
After thinking about stepping into the shoes of a fiction writer, I realized that authors often feel or urge themselves to kill the character to impact the senses of the audience. It might sound sadistic for the readers, but for an author, their success lies in how deeply have they triggered the emotions.
I have watched the latest Bond flick, No Time to Die in which James Bond sacrifices himself in the end to save his world. It made me furious. How many times didn’t we watch Bond across 25 films escaping from danger and saving the world? Why kill him now after all he started having a beautiful life which he never thought he would get?
The author and producers might have thought it was the best possible send-off for Daniel Craig, to hit him with a missile.
Authors take advantage of the audience psychology. Humans can empathize, and therefore can be manipulated emotionally. We sit in a movie for a couple of hours watching the character evolve beautifully. We enjoy him/her, we root for him, and we connect to him and death happens.
It took me one complete day to restore normalcy in my heart after watching The boy in the Striped Pyjamas. The story had an exceptional buildup to an unexpected tragedy. The author uses the psychology of humans to maximum levels to tear down our hearts. The love and affection we have towards kids, their innocence, the beautiful world they imagine for themselves in future will make us all place them at a soft corner in our hearts to safeguard them. Any disturbance we have in our life are forgotten or healed with the sight of a beautiful smile on the face of a child. Alas, we would never imagine that this brave writer will pierce through our hearts to conquer those bonds of affection.
Let’s delve into another kind of character assassination. Killing a good villian. Severus Snape’s death would have been satisfactory had his past was not been revealed to the audience. Kudos to J.K Rowling for an exceptional reveal in the penultimate moments of the story for reminding us that love is of different forms and will never vanish any time, it will be there ALWAYS.
There are several other movies and novels where the characters are killed in the end, and there is Game of Thrones. You also have a decade long universe building spending millions of dollars, only to kill the Iron man with a snap, whereas Captain America had everything in his life, and I felt content with the conclusion of his story. Same is the case with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed and Blood Diamond.
Happy endings are rare in reality. There are few characters whom I never understood why they must suffer all the time? Rajinikanth in Aarulinthu Aruvathuvarai, Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars and many more.