30 Day Book Meme: Day 29

Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)

Character death is a subject I have some strong opinions on, as anybody who’s heard me rant about Joss fucking Whedon can attest.

The example I always use of the right way to kill off a character is Boromir in The Lord of the Rings. To sum up: Boromir is gradually seduced by the Ring and attacks Frodo in an attempt to take it. Frodo escapes and Boromir is horrified to realize how he has betrayed the trust placed in him when he was made a part of the Fellowship. A bunch of orcs attack and he dies trying to save Merry and Pippin. He fights valiantly, taking many arrows. He speaks briefly to Aragorn one last time, and the two of them reconcile the tension between them (a vast over-simplification: Aragorn is the heir to the throne which would otherwise be Boromir’s).

So, Boromir’s death enables him to regain some of his lost honor and go out doing the right thing on all sides. It’s a necessary, cathartic death (his actions toward Frodo were appalling and unforgivable), which makes it satisfying even while one grieves the loss of a man who, while imperfect, was in many ways very good and honorable.

Good stuff.