Thursday, July 13, 2017

You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your Resurrected Character

Hello lovelies!

I AM NOT DEAD!
I don't know what happened, honestly.  Blogging just....hasn't been a thing.  I didn't post a thing for ages.  The end of this month will have a "what I've been reading" though, because I went and got ten books from the library two weeks before the start of the school year because I AM COMPLETELY SANE.



So going with the "not dead" theme, RESURRECTED CHARACTERS!

Seriously though.  These are everywhere.  And I mean everywhere.  Here's a helpful list.  Spoilers, obviously.

The Lord of the Rings -- Gandalf
The Avengers -- Agent Coulson, Loki
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes -- Sherlock Holmes
Harry Potter -- Voldemort, Harry Potter
Doctor Who -- Jack Harkness, The Doctor, the Daleks, the Master, various other aliens.

And those are just off the top of my head.

In other words, at this point I just assume that a character could come back.  I'm not in denial, I've just had experience.  Especially if they die early on in the book, movie, series, what have you.

Now don't get me wrong, bringing a character back to life can have some awesome side effects and shouldn't be ignored.  In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf's return was fantastic and probably one of the best resurrections out there.  And if Voldemort hadn't come back to life after trying to kill Harry, the entire series wouldn't exist.  But this is insanely over-used.  I mean to the point where we should just make everyone immortal because THEY CAN'T FREAKING STAY DEAD ANYWAY!


So I'm going to try to create a helpful list for why this is annoying, and then try and mention some times when it's okay to bring your character back to life.


1. Eventually, no one believes you anymore
So you know the story of the boy who cried wolf?  Yeah.  Same deal here.  After you've done this once, people start hoping their favorite character isn't really gone.  Do this twice, people start assuming recently killed characters aren't actually gone forever.  Any more, and you've basically doomed the entire cast to immortality.  It completely looses it's effect.


Now in the case of Gandalf's resurrection, it was a one-time thing, and Gandalf was already basically immortal.  I mean he'd been around about as long as the elves, so it's safe to assume he's really hard to kill in the first place.  Plus, none of the other characters pulled that stunt, or had pulled it up to that point, so you know, it was pretty important.   A long enough span of time lapsed between him dying and him coming back to life that we had the chance to be sad for him and get over it somewhat, which means we weren't expecting him when he did arrive, and when that finally happened, he'd clearly "leveled up", and wasn't just good ol' Gandalf, being a silly old wizard again.


2. No one is impacted by the death of a character.
In Doctor Who, the only reason people cry when the Doctor regenerates is because they had a personal attachment to his old face.  We're not sad because he's dying, because we know he's not really dying, he's changing.  In The Avengers, Loki's died often enough that people aren't going to cry the next time it happens, even if he really is genuinely and permanently dead, because they won't believe it.  Of course when it finally sinks in, lots of people will be devastated.  Because Sherlock came back from the dead, there are lots of people who watch BBC's TV version who firmly believe that Moriarty and Mary are still alive somewhere.  This is also because the show is written by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat and to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't trust them with any character or plotline.  They're known for ruining souls.




3. The explanation behind the resurrection can be very poorly done.
If a character is brought back to life purely because the writer felt like bringing him back around or because the fan base demanded it, there's often only a half-baked idea behind their return.  I mean, I'm one of those people who gets frustrated when there isn't a thorough scientific explanation for everything (Doctor Who is exasperating), so I'm never satisfied with a "just because".  I always have to look deeper and investigate the reasons behind the "just because", until you can't throw that excuse around anymore.  That being said, I'm often fairly peeved when a character comes back to life without a decently researched and well-grounded reason.




So when is it okay for your character to come back to life?

1. Doctor Who
Regeneration is a part of a Time Lord's biology, and it's something everyone in their race does (unless there's some minor detail I'm missing and there's like one person on Gallifrey who can't).  Therefore, it's not a surprise and it's not weird.  The Master is also a Time Lord, so regeneration isn't strange for him either.  Not only that, but because The Doctor changes a little every time he regenerates, it's less like him coming back to life....AGAIN, and more like him rebooting.  In fact, he doesn't really die, because the regeneration energy keeps him from doing that.  That's it's exact purpose.


Because regeneration is a part of his character and his race from the very beginning, it's less like cheating when he comes back to life for the twelfth or thirteenth time in a row. 


2. The Harry Potter series.
Voldemort had horcruxes, or things that hold a part of your soul for you so that while it's still intact, you can't fully die.  He picked pretty obvious horcruxes and made some very poor decisions in that respect, but he still couldn't die until they were all destroyed.  Next time pick something like a penny Voldemort.  Or maybe like, a Nokia phone or a single grain of sand.  NOT A FREAKING TIARA. Or, I WONDER WHERE VOLDY'S HORCRUXES ARE.  GOSH THAT SNAKE IS WITH HIM CONSTANTLY.  HE'S LIKE, BESTIES WITH THAT SNAKE.  SURE CAN'T FIND ANY HORCRUXES.  

I mean in his defense, there's a reason why Harry wasn't put in Hufflepuff.  He's not a particularly good finder.  

Back to not dying, when Voldemort killed Harry Potter in the final book, Harry is sent to a kind of limbo area between the world of the living and the dead.  There he meets Dumbledore, who allows him to go back to complete his task of killing Voldemort.  After that he continues living a normal and pretty happy life.  In this situation, we actually see what happens to Harry after he dies and see that he is allowed to return to finish what he was chosen to do, so his return isn't exactly cheesy, and because we see how it happens, we get background and an explanation.  (Although sometimes I wonder if Neville, who technically could have also been the Chosen One, couldn't have just finished the prophecy.  That would have been cool.)  




BUT ANYWAY

There's the blog post.  Sorry that took exactly 100 years, guys.  I was also tagged in a writing prompt post like ages and ages ago and have I done anything about that?  OF COURSE NOT! Although I have an idea and things are spinning about in my head.  

Let me know what you think about characters coming back to life!  Do you still cry if they've already died ten times, or are you like me and you just assume they're not really dead?


The rest of the series:
You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your Strong Female Lead
You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your Universal Language
You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your Superior Race
You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your Chosen One
You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your Redemption Arc
You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your Love Triangle






Sunday, July 2, 2017

What I've Been Reading -- June 2017

Hey everybody!
I've been a bit quiet, and I'm not sure why.  My blogging mind has taken a nap, I suppose.  Plus, Blogger has been stubborn about saving posts, so a lovely thing I'd written up has entirely disappeared because I didn't realize it didn't save.  However, I've been tagged in a post so you should see something soon!  In the meantime, here are a few of the books I've been reading this month.




The Princess Bride
William Goldman

I grew up with the movie, but I didn't know there was a book until a friend of mine said she'd read it.  It's much better than the movie, with a lot more backstory and scenes the movie couldn't include, but I found that a lot of scenes in the movie were taken verbatim from the book, which made me happy.  The book begins a little oddly and I was confused at first, but after getting a few chapters in things began to make sense.  I loved it, and would recommend it to basically anyone.

“Inconceivable!"
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” 

“I’ll tell you the truth and its up to you to live with it.” 

“When this is over we will see who is right, and who is dead.” 




Where the Woods Grow Wild
Nate Philbrick

I borrowed this book from Faith, and when I started reading I thought "well, there's some epic-fantasy style stuff in here, but it sounds like a sweet story about a boy and a girl".  And then it got intense.  There were character twists, all kinds of unreliability, and they were so close to finishing the story so many times, BUT NO, one of them takes the wrong path or follows the wrong clue and they're off again.  There was a delightfully happy ending, and although I was a little disappointed because my evil mind thought one of the characters could be A LOT darker than she was written, I was satisfied, and it was nice to read something light.  It actually reminded me a bit of The Princess Bride, although I wouldn't say they were the same book by any means.  I'd recommend this book to anyone, and to a very broad age range.




Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams is one of my favorite authors of all time, and The Hitchhiker's Guide series is fantastic, so I was looking forward to reading this book.  It started out a little slow, but Adams' signature weirdness was there the whole time, and the story picked up during the second half of the book.  The characters were quirky and strange, and the plot made about as much sense as I expected from one of his books.  I loved it, and might look into the rest of the series at some point.  I'd recommend it to someone who's familiar with his style, but I wouldn't call it the book to read to be introduced to him as an author.

“There is no point in using the word 'impossible' to describe something that has clearly happened.” 

“He turned slowly like a fridge door opening.” 

“I commend you on your skepticism, but even the skeptical mind must be prepared to accept the unacceptable when there is no alternative. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family Anatidæ on our hands.”

 “Deep in the rain forest it was doing what it usually does in rain forests, which was raining: hence the name.” 

“The sky which had started out with such verve and spirit in the morning was beginning to lose its concentration and slip back into its normal English condition, that of a damp and rancid dish cloth.” 

“He put some more cold pizza into his face.” 



Ta-Da!  My books.  Sorry this is a day or two late, I had friends over this week so blogging didn't really happen.  The next few posts should be one I've been tagged in by the same Faith who let me borrow her book, and another installment of "You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your ______".  Not sure when exactly they'll be going up, but they will be at some point.