Should he live? Should he die?

I am finishing up the last few chapters of a three-book, four-year series entitled “The Champion.” My protagonist is a pastor who is called by God to accuse a corporation of wrong doing and thwart their efforts. In the process, he is tried and sentenced to prison as a terrorist, not once but twice. In between, he raises up an army of followers who continue the efforts while he is in prison. In this final book, he is in solitary confinement in prison, and confronted by the main bad guy. The bad guy tells him that he will die in 24 hours (or maybe 48, I haven’t decided). So the big question is, should he die?

On the side of letting him live, he has a wife (and now a son) who has been looking for him for 22 years. He has an army of followers who have been doing their best to find him during that time. And after a life of disappointment, it would be nice if he were rewarded.

On the side of killing him off, it would make a statement as to the plight of true heroes. It would be ironic that someone who has affected so many lives would die in secret, with no one there to see him die.

So what shall it be? Should I kill him off, or not? I welcome your comments, but rather than just voting for living or dying, please give me a reason.

His life is in your hands.

9 thoughts on “Should he live? Should he die?

  1. i vote for letting him live. i like to have some optimism, especially after a character has endured so much. the irony of his death would be interesting, but it would also be depressing. so my vote is to let him live.

    you know… whatever that’s worth. πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks Patty. I still haven’t decided, but I will take your words of wisdom into consideration.

  2. While I may vote for “live” I’m also a fan of the work who is biased towards the characters I like.

    If you decide he should die then I would just advise to make sure his death is bitter-sweet, not just bitter. While straight bitter may be more true to reality, fiction in general is an author placing his stamp on our perception of reality. There is nothing wrong, in fact most everything right, with giving his death some meaning or victory through or despite of that fact.

    And he needs to see his family again, at least once, even if they don’t recognize him, or aren’t able to actually spend any real time together.

    That’s my two cents.

  3. Martyrdom is far more compelling than sentimental happily-ever-after endings. Romeo and Juliet wouldn’t have become the timeless masterpiece it is if Shakespeare had left them living in domestic bliss in a nice flat with a great view of the Castelvecchio Bridge. I say kill him.

  4. You are very aware of my opinions of killing off characters. However, I will admit that there are times that killing a character is not only integral to the plot but sometimes the character needs to die. However I’m not a fan of the whole martyrdom to be honest, I actually despise Romeo and Juliet, but that is mostly because it is a terrible love-story that almost appears generic and cheesy, although Shakespeare was a genius, he must of taken leave of his genius when he wrote Romeo and Juliet. I agree that if a character is killed off, especially if he is the “hero” of the story of even just very important, that he dies in a bitter-sweet way. It is more satisfying for not only the reader, but for the character that you, as the writer, has come to cherish.

    1. “I actually despise Romeo and Juliet, but that is mostly because it is a terrible love-story that almost appears generic and cheesy”

      I think you’re Jaded ^_^

      Also, this is the template of tragic love ever since. If it feels generic, it’s likely because everybody has been copying it ever since. πŸ˜›

      1. I am jaded, very much so actually. πŸ™‚ I do see your point, however what I meant is that love isn’t really like that. Romeo and Juliet, is so. . . .I don’t know. . . over done? A professor of English once dubbed me a sentimental cynic, which I think describes me very well. I don’t think love is all happy and full of rainbows and unicorns, but also it isn’t so ridiculously tragic.

  5. Tthat’s the nature of cliches. They become cliches because they are such a good idea that they are overused to the point of becoming highly predictable. The idea is to come up with and use your own cliches before they become cliches…. πŸ™‚

    1. Hmm well I wouldn’t go so far to say that Romeo and Juliet was a good idea, but it was well written and I will admit it had some good lines. But is it a cliche if it hasn’t become one yet?

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