Before I get into this post, we must first define J.K. Rowling.
J.K. Rowling (n) 1. the author of the modern classics, Harry Potter 2. an author that kills main supporting characters that are much beloved. Synonym: Suzanne Collins, Veronica RothThis is becoming a common phrase around the blogging universe. While Rowling is not the first person to have done this, she has become the most famous for it. We all weeped when Sirius, Lupin, and George died. We even cried for Snape, though most of us still despised him at the time of his death. Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth both pull J.K. Rowlings. Suzanne kills off Finnick (I'm still fuming about this one), Prim, and Rue. Veronica kills Will, Tori, and Uriah. And we all pick up our pitchforks and mob against these deaths. Everybody (including me) hates it when beloved characters are killed off by their cruel author. But should we be up in arms about it?
Do we not take into consideration that all three of these authors write about war? The Harry Potter series is all about Harry trying to defeat Voldemort. The Hunger Games is the course of the districts overthrowing the government. Divergent is about a civil war within a community.
What is war? War is defined as "a situation in which people or groups compete with or fight against each other." And what happens when you fight with dangerous weapons such as guns, bombs, and magic wands? People die! When you're a soldier, it's not like everybody who dies in the battles isn't anybody you know. No! Their your friends, your buddies, the people you count on to have your back no matter what. Each person who dies in war has somebody who loves them, who kows, who weeps for them when they die.
Now imagine a book that had a war and everybody who died was an insignificant nameless person. Would that book be believable? Would the world and the war feel real? Yes we all love, George, and Finnick, and Will, but if they never died, if no significant character ever died, would these three series still be our favorite series of all time? Of course not! Because who wants to read about the perfect life of somebody who fights in a war, wins, and manages not to lose anybody close to them? Nobody does. It's not realistic. It doesn't appeal to our emotions. I don't know about you, but I love books that make me cry. I love books that are dark and gritty, yet that still have that ray of hope shining through the darkness.
J.K. Rowling does an amazing job of killing off loved characters, which is probably why the act of doing so is named after her. All the characters that dies felt like they had a purpose for dying. Their death rallied the DA or pushed Harry into making an important decision. Suzanne Collins does a good job, too, but I don' think she was quite as successful as Rowling. Finnick's death, especially, felt meaningless, like there was no purpose for his death except that she wanted to kill a character. But sometimes that happens in war. We don't why they die and we agonize over. And Veronica Roth does an absolutely stunning job of it at the end of Allegiant. It just felt like so much something that that character would do.
So tell me how do you feel when an author pulls a J.K. Rowling? Which authors do you think do it successfully? Which do it unsuccessfully? I want to hear your musings!