Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Ones Who Die

I've been on a 'Peter Pan' kick lately that for serious has nothing to do with my 'Once Upon a Time' kick. Yeah, I'm super into pirates. Yeah, OUaT's Hook is the hottest thing to happen to piracy since eyeliner became appropriate for men.

But, no, seriously, this is just a natural thing that happened*.

I just finished watching 'Neverland,' one of the super cheesy made-for-TV shows that I absolutely live for. It was about---you know what? No. If you can't guess what it was about, you should probably be reading a different blog.

Anyway, a character dies in Part I of 'Neverland,' and he is super important to the main characters, and he is much beloved, and he is never. Mentioned. Again.

Alright, they mention him once. ONCE. And then never again. Not even in the credits.

Maybe in the credits. I wasn't actually paying attention. That's what wikipedia is for**. My time it better spent watching nerdy TV shows and consuming ill-advised snacks***.

Anyway, this has got me thinking about fictional deaths. We've all experienced that one that hit us all the way through our esophaguses (esophaugi?) and straight through to our shriveled little souls. Maybe it came through the deceptively gentle packaging of Harry Potter. Maybe it hit us straight up through The Hunger Games. Perhaps it slammed us right in the reproductive bits through The Game of Thrones.

Whatever your poison, at a certain age, you have experienced the pangs of fictional death. You probably didn't like it. You may have even written fanfiction where your fictional hero lives to see the end of the day and totally macks on their love interest and, like, unites the entire kingdom into Awesomeville, full stop.

This brings me around to my novel. Most things do, of course, because I am a phenomenally self-centered being and ze book is the core of all that I do, because I have no personal life. The point is: I kill people.

Fictional people. I kill 'em right up. Sometimes quickly, sometimes terribly, sometimes with a vengeance****.  But always memorably.

That's more or less what I'm getting at, here.

People die CONSTANTLY. Wars. Plagues. Famine. Darwinism. It doesn't actually matter how you go. Eventually, we all go. And even the most hermity of hermits (and especially the Kermitiest of Kermits) is remembered. Even if only because your trademark was not allowing anyone to get too close to you--if your ultimate goal in life was to go unnoticed--it'll be noticed when you go the route who's ever died.

If what you leave behind is 'nothing,' then your passing is marked with regret. Grief. Pity. If your passing leaves thousands directionless, vulnerable, and open to invasion, then you leave behind regret. Grief. Pity.

But no one just...vanishes. Even if the only mark you leave on the world is traumatizing some hiker when they find your shriveled demi-mummy, you have left a mark on the world that does not fade. That hiker tells their various offspring of the day they tripped over you when reaching for an abandoned gluten-free Nummy Bar. The story spreads. The legend grows out of the seeds of shock-tainted memory. Your essence spreads out into the ghost of Being. The day-to-day activities that made you the individual who dwelled, alone, in the mountain moss caves, become the facets of fact.

We, as people, have a much greater effect on the world than we can ever anticipate in the dizzy daydreams of our living hours.

Fiction is nothing but reality reflected on a fantastical mirror. So it is with death.

No one just...disappears. You cannot know someone for your entire life and then only be affected by their gruesome murder when the plot says it's important.

If someone matters, acknowledge the effect their absence has. If someone does not matter, acknowledge the fact that none of the jackasses around them notices their absence.

Does this count as a rant? Sorry. Go watch Pirates of the Caribbean, to make you feel better. Don't watch the second two movies, though. The fourth one's okay.

J Larkin out.


**I'm not wikipediaingn. I have a novel to write. No time for fact checks.

***Welcome back, Twinkies! I just ate a reunion Twinkie and I might throw up. Not Hostess' fault, though. This one's on me.

****Do you have Dayjob? I blame every violent fictional event I have ever orchestrated on the customer service industry that pays my rent.

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