Today is Easter and originally I was going to write a wholesome message about taking care of yourself (which you should) but then I was like “NAHHHH, let’s talk about characters dying and coming back.”
I know the wonderful Tantz_Aerine wrote an article on it here but I wanted to expand upon it and give it my own personal thoughts.
What are the conditions in which bringing back a character is okay? To be honest, there isn’t a concrete answer to this, everyone has different opinions and I have many thoughts but I think that generally depends on the story. Personally, I believe if you’re going to bring back a character, it should be for a great reason, a bigger purpose/ulterior motive, not the “I miss this character/everybody loves this character.” reason. (I’m staring at you Supernatural and like any other franchise that literally just wanted to bring their characters back for no reason other than they were loved by the audience.)
Death is a very big part of life that should not be made little of. Death affects everything. Like Tantz stated in her article, “Death may not be permanent, but it does leave permanent change.” and I couldn’t agree more. Whether this affects your other characters or just the character that is resurrected, there is change. It shouldn’t be a “flip of the switch and everything is dandy.” there should be weight to it, there should be a purpose. And if there isn’t a purpose to the resurrection, then what is the point in bringing them back? Was there ever a point?
Normally it’s unfinished business or a deep love for this deceased character that has brought them back to life through unholy means. Maybe someone, be it a deity or a necromancer of some sort, has some plans for this character, don’t let the resurrection just be a resurrection. Give this once lifeless body a purpose or a reason.
I do very much like it where when someone brings a character back, that character loses something in the process, maybe feeling, maybe memory, maybe they’re on borrowed time and in the long run their physical and mental abilities will be hindered by this “borrowed time,” but they’re not entirely themselves and some times this takes a great toll on the characters affected by said-character’s death, some times it takes an even greater toll on the character that’s been brought back.
An example I can think of is one of many Frankenstein movies, Dr. Frankenstein created his monster but his creation dearly wanted love/a wife/companion, and he saw Dr. Frankenstein’s wife and wanted her, in the process of wanting her he also killed her, now I cannot remember if this was intentional or not, but Dr. Frankenstein did everything in his power to bring her back and when he did, she did not like herself, she hated herself and I believe attempted to take her own life by fire, I forget if she succeeded. (I was a wee-bab when I saw this movie, but that scene always stuck out to me.)
Death shouldn’t be meaningless, if I were to bring a character back from the dead, there is definitely a reason, the means of their return could be scientific such as getting shocked back to life or it could be magical like a healer casting Mass Resurrection, and depending on the situation, there will always be a consequence planned.
My advice on bringing characters back to life:
- 1. It must make sense/fit the story.
2. It must be possible in your story, whether the audience knows it immediately or not, you must know it and should plan&understand the conditions of such a thing.
3. It should never be done more than once (unless your comic is like a D&D game where if you’ve got the means you can do the deed) – bringing back a character or multiple characters more than once will eventually numb your audience and I’m sure it would numb your other characters too – “Oh, OC is dead? I’m sure they’ll be back tomorrow!”
4. There should be a long-lasting effect of the death and the resurrection.
5. Decide if there is a consequence, such as: If a necromancer brought the character back, is this character now undead? They have their mind intact but maybe they’re decaying? Or maybe they’re a zombie and they’re mindless AND decaying? Did they make a deal and now they’re forever in servitude to a greater being? Or maybe the consequence lies with the characters now affected by this.
There is quite a bit to decide and a lot of questions that need answering, like my last article, these are simple questions where the answers carry a great weight on your story.
Now, NO EGG-SCUSES! go rest, take care of yourself, relax and regenerate.
If you want, tell me your thoughts on life-after-death/resurrection. What is a scenario where you’d bring a character back? Does it fit to do such a thing in your story?
I carrot wait to see you next Sunday ;)
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