What is the right way to kill the main character of the story? Looking at the series “Game of Thrones” and “Vikings”

I think we can all agree that killing people is very interesting; Of course, if these people are fictional characters in the story. There is no doubt that sometimes killing off characters close to the main character is expensive, difficult, yet necessary in order to move the story in the direction you want it to go. But there is another question that very few stories even try to answer: What if it is necessary to kill the main character?

BingMag.com What is the right way to kill the main character of the story? Looking at the series “Game of Thrones” and “Vikings”

I think we can all agree that killing people is very interesting; Of course, if these people are fictional characters in the story. There is no doubt that sometimes killing off characters close to the main character is expensive, difficult, yet necessary in order to move the story in the direction you want it to go. But there is another question that very few stories even try to answer: What if it is necessary to kill the main character?

In this article, we intend to answer this question. Just be aware that important story points about Game of Thrones and Vikings will be revealed later.

In Vikings series, King lla of Northumbria, Ragnar Lothbrook, the main character. He captures Seri, throws him into a pit of snakes, and thus kills him. In the Game of Thrones series, Ned Stark, the main character of the first season of the series, is executed by order of Joffrey Baratheon.

Before we continue, it is better to explain that What does the main character (or protagonist) mean? The main character is the one who is the main motivating factor behind the story in most moments of the story, either because of his decisions or because of the importance he has because of his identity or fish.

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Harry Potter is an example of both. The reason why he is at the center of the story is both his identity and his decisions. On the one hand, he is the child who defeated Voldemort, and because of this, he is of great importance in the world of the story. On the other hand, he makes decisions that push the plot forward.

Of course, there are other characters around the main character who make important decisions, but their decisions are dependent on the main character's decisions. Ned Stark is a great example of this type of main character. At the beginning of the story, there are many characters around him: Sansa, Arya, Bran, Jon Snow and Robb.

BingMag.com What is the right way to kill the main character of the story? Looking at the series “Game of Thrones” and “Vikings”

Although many of these characters have their own book chapters and storylines, their role - at least at the beginning of the story - is completely determined by the decisions of their father - Ned Stark, the main character of the story. Because of their father's decisions, Sansa has to marry Joffrey, Robb has to become Lord of Winterfell, Arya gets permission to practice swordsmanship with Syrio, and Bran... well, Bran goes into a coma. This one case has nothing to do with his father!

The direction and focus of the story is also overshadowed by Ned Stark. Ned solves the mystery at the heart of the story (the truth about who is the real father of Robert Baratheon's children) on his own, and he makes all the important decisions in the story, such as:

  • Going to South to become the Hand of the King
  • Confronting Joffrey after Robert's death
  • Threatening Cersei Lannister

Literary works, especially children's literature And teenagers are full of such characters. Like Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen and Beatrice (the main character of the Divergent series). One exception to this is Bella from the Twilight series, as she never makes a critical decision during the story. In a way, it can be said that the story only happens to him. However, it should be noted that Bella is the second type of main character, that is, a character who becomes the main character because of her nature (that is, something or someone she is).

My point is that important events in the story They occur when these characters are present. In addition, the story may have several main characters, but I will not talk about such stories according to the requirements of the article, because in such stories, killing one of the main characters does not seem like a very extraordinary thing.

Killing the character Your lead may convey the sense that your story is about to descend into chaos. Your audience will probably say to themselves, What happened? But someone has to wear Plot Armor! Considering that killing the main character seems to cause a lot of problems, how can the story be continued? What to do when the character that the audience was following for most of the story is no longer present? In such a situation, there is no longer a character that the audience has emotional investment in, especially considering that most of the victories and climaxes of the story up to that moment could be attributed to that particular character. It's because of these complications that few stories kill off their main character, or even if they do, they do it at the end of the story so they don't have to deal with the consequences.

For most writers, this situation seems terrifying. It comes, but for the Vikings series and the Song of Ice and Fire series, this decision was deliberate. Although many authors try They are trying to minimize the effect of the death of their characters and, for example, do not pay attention to the difference between "a world with Regnar Lothbrok" and "a world without Regnar Lothbrok".

BingMag.com What is the right way to kill the main character of the story? Looking at the series “Game of Thrones” and “Vikings”

An incident that changes the main character's life and sets the events of the story in motion, as an Inciting Incident. Is known. Rising action is often a problem that needs to be solved or puts the main character in a situation where he has to do something or adapt.

In Game of Thrones, the rising action of Jon Erin's death story. (Jon Arryn) was. This incident motivated Ned Stark to go south. But if we want to determine an ascending action for the entire seven volumes of the book, this action is the death of Ned Stark, because the stories of Sansa, Arya, Robb, and Catelyn will start after the death of Ned Stark.

In the Vikings series as well Regnar's death acts as an uplifting act for his family. After his death, the Great Heathen Army becomes a serious threat to Europe, and a civil war breaks out between two brothers, Ubbe and Ivar, and between King Harold and Legartha. .

Dealing with the consequences of a main character's death can not only be interesting, but also vital to maintaining the realism of the story. Using the death of the main characters as an ascending action makes these characters still be present in the story even after death and the effect of their decisions can be felt. In other words, dealing with the consequences of the death of the main character is the right balance between the presence and absence of that character in the story.

It may seem that the most logical decision after the death of the main character is to put another character in his place. In other words, it introduced a new main character to the story, but neither Game of Thrones nor Vikings even attempt to do that. The focus of the story does not change from one character to another, but is divided between several other characters. Of course, this does not mean that you have to have a bunch of characters to kill the main character like in Game of Thrones, but the large number of characters makes it easier. For example, Vikings has much less characters compared to Game of Thrones, but this series also managed to do this.

BingMag.com What is the right way to kill the main character of the story? Looking at the series “Game of Thrones” and “Vikings”

One of the reasons this approach worked for these series was that most people don't appreciate a new character taking the place of an old character who left the story or died. In The X Files, when John Doggett replaced Fox Mulder - as a male lead character who had a family member kidnapped, but not the kind of kidnapping that Mulder's character was. - The fans did not react well at all. No matter how much the writers tried to make these two characters different, it didn't help, because the presence of this character in the story seemed very wrong. It was like a new stepfather or stepmother trying to put themselves in the place of your real father or mother; At some point you get fed up and yell at him: "You are not my real mom/dad!"

BingMag.com What is the right way to kill the main character of the story? Looking at the series “Game of Thrones” and “Vikings”

Of course, I have to stress that this is not an absolute rule in the world of writing. In the world of superhero comic books, it is often the case that a new character dons the costume of a previous superhero, and this approach often works. For example, the replacement of Wally West with Barry Allen as the new Flash is one of these examples. Stories explained: One of the main themes of such works is that anyone can be a superhero, so it is natural that these works also follow this slogan. Following this motto does not mean that the author is trying to force you to accept a new main character as a replacement for the main character that came before him in the story. It is true that the readers may be objectionable, but at the same time they are loyal and it is difficult to convince them to accept new characters, so this formula is not perfect.

Connor Hawke (Connor Hawke) successfully replaced Oliver Queen. (Oliver Queen) and took on the role of the new Green Arrow (Green Arrow), but after Queen's death, people's general interest in comics decreased. However, killing the main character is not limited to the consequences of killing the main character and what happens after their death. Setting the stage for their death is also very important.

There is generally a fairly reliable (and I say relatively, because there are always exceptions) formula for making an audience cry. The more time the audience spends with a character, the more tears will be shed after their death. There's nothing wrong with making the death of a main character a big, dramatic moment, but if you frame the moment of death as if the whole story was supposed to end at that moment, the entire plot threads were supposed to make it happen and The entire story revolves around the role of the character who was killed, this approach creates a particular problem.

BingMag.com What is the right way to kill the main character of the story? Looking at the series “Game of Thrones” and “Vikings”

If When the death of the main character and its consequences are the final result of the entire story that was told before his death, this issue makes the audience ask themselves: "Well, what is left for me to care about now?" The whole story was a setup to get to this moment, and now what else is left?

The Vikings series has a clever solution to this problem. As the story of the series progressed, the story of Bjorn, another main character, becoming an adventurer became independent from that of Regnar Lothbrok, and we get to know this side of his character well before Regnar's death. Also, the story of Lagertha is developed without the need of Regnar's presence.

Although the stories of Ivar, Ube, Hvitserk and Sigurd are all related to Regnar's death, but before Regnar's death. The series also spends a lot of time dealing with their fight with Lagertha and the sibling rivalry between them, thus laying the groundwork for the continuation of the series' story after Regnar's death. In fact, in the half-chapter that leads to Regnar's death, the strong will and authority that Regnar had are taken away from him and transferred to other characters. The events that lead to this death are directly or indirectly caused by the main character. But in Vikings, at the point in the story where Regnar is about to be killed, the control of the events of the story is clearly in the hands of Obe, Witserk, Sigurd, Bjorn, Lagertha and King Ecbert, not Regnar. For this reason, when Regnar is killed, the audience also knows that the will and authority to control events is in the hands of the characters who are going to continue the story. Therefore, continuing the story after the death of the main character does not seem like a reboot story.

It can be argued that spending time branching out the story lines that depend on the role of Ragnar as the main character of the story. They aren't, it's a way to eliminate Regnar as the main character of the story, even before his death.

Another good example of this technique is The Mentalist. The first six seasons of this series are generally used to establish two things: 1. Patrick Jane's competition with Red John 2. Patrick Jane's romantic relationship with Elizabeth

But after the death of Red John, the series did not give up its 12 million viewers and continued. I think part of the reason is that the whole story was not dependent on the competition between Patrick Jane and Red John and the development of this romantic relationship was also involved. Ned Stark was not attached as the main character of the story. One of the most prominent examples is the storyline of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. In fact, at the end of the first volume of the series, when Jon Snow decides to leave the Night's Watch to defend the Starks, he is stopped, as if by George R.R. himself. "No, not all storylines have to be related to the main character's storyline in some way," Martin says. He was killed in an episode, not in the final episode of the season. Killing the main character in the middle of the story changes the expectations of the audience. In the series of ice and fire, Ned Stark is killed when there are still 100 pages left to the end of the book. Something is ending, but if he is killed in the middle of the story, it creates the impression in the mind of the audience that there is still a story left to follow and explore. The conclusion can be drawn:

  • Killing the main character is complex, difficult, fun and risky, and using it as an escalation of other storylines is a great idea (except when it's not!)
  • Trying to fill your main character's void with another character will almost always backfire (except when it's not; like superhero comics)
  • Successfully killing off the main character not only It depends on the consequences of this work, but also on the context for its occurrence. Transferring the will and authority of the main character to other characters before his death can be an effective role to prepare the audience for this happening.

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