Friday, July 25, 2008

No exit but one

When you kill a character you love it is awful, a loss of self and hope and promise and delight. You want to ask forgiveness of something; you want to believe you can still go back and make the words disappear. But that choice doesn’t really exist. If you’ve done your work right you’ve already tried to let that person escape, through any and every door, and found at last that they’re all locked, and locked for a reason. You’ve locked them yourself—or the story has, if you prefer. That’s no solace, though. The character won’t ever dance with you again.

5 comments:

Adonis Nimbus said...

I'm surprised at the lack of comments, particularly to this post, although, the others too. The very thought of this little public musing terrifies me. I've fallen in love with every named member of the I.M.S. Chathrand. The notion that one of the ones that is likeable being killed worries me. No doubt it will still end up fantastic, but still. I wait with bated breath.

Robert V.S. Redick said...

You're very kind indeed. My editor Simon Spanton made the very wise remark that when a character dies, you suddenly realize how much they mattered. Seems to happen in real life, too.

This makes me think of a stray comment towards the end of The Great Gatsby, when an unloveable character stands up and suggests that we learn to show our appreciation for people while they're alive, rather than in eulogies. But that's rather a lot to ask of human beings, no?

Anonymous said...

I have just finished The Rats and the Ruling Sea, and I am devistated by the death of a certain character!! Thank you for writing two amazing books, I am eagerly awaiting the 3rd... but I think I've got a long wait to go!!! Felthrup is my favourate character! :-)

Simon said...

I've just finished and I too am shocked at the death of a certain character - It takes the story in a new direction to the one I had pictured in my head, but I'm looking forward to reading the next book, especially after learning today that the series now has four not three books!

William Spademan said...

This was the character I loved the most, the one with whom I most identified. S/he thought my thoughts, cared my cares, and made the same choices I would hope to be brave enough to make. S/he felt like part of me. So for me this loss was nearly as disorienting as the death of the narrator in Le Guin's The Word for World is Forest. It hurts like real life.