Sunday, June 1, 2014

SUNDAY SEVEN: DEATH IN FILM AND FICTION

Sometimes a death hits you pretty hard. You stop reading or watching, maybe fast forward convinced it was all a bad dream. But then they don’t get up. There is no magic to revive them. Its final and you sit there shocked, maybe you start to sniffle a bit. You hate the author and the writer even while you love them for affecting you this way…that they even can. And if they are lucky (or is that unlucky) their deaths had such an impact that even thinking about it now makes you want to go hug something fluffy. Sure this all a bit depressing, but after watching The Neverending Story this weekend, I am perhaps in that sort of mood. Come on, sob with me in remembrance. It is safe to say that this Sunday Seven will be filled with spoilers. Neverending Story, Futurama, Whedonverse, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Spiderman and more. If you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading and looking right now. You have been forewarned. Anything I missed? Who would you have included? Which character are you still grieving or denying?

Artax (The Neverending Story) Neverending Story played an important part in my childhood. Of course it also ruined my childhood when Atreyu’s horse Artax gives up in the Swamps of Sadness. No, no don’t give into despair I screamed…possibly like Bastian as he sinks further and further into the Swamp. It wasn’t expected. Though none of these deaths were really expected I guess, that is why they gut you. Horribly. Makes you put Old Yeller in the freezer. Animal Runner Up: Seymour (Futurama). Seymour Asses was Fry’s dog. When Fry disappeared Seymour didn’t give up hope and waited for his master for years and years and years. Sniff.

Ellie (Up) Pixar why do you hate me? You gave me a perfect little taste of happily ever after when Carl and Ellie fell in love. But you didn’t give me that did you. Oh no, you had to take Ellie away just as Carl was getting around to arranging their perfect holiday. Carl has to say goodbye to the love of his life. You broke my heart Pixar. Damn you. True Love Runner Up: Solomon (Solomon and Gaenor) Boy meets Girl. They fall in love. Families try to keep them apart, but they persist. Boy does something stupid and they are reunited. Yea, I get my happily ever after…nope. Stupid Welsh movie….that I love to pieces.

Joyce Summers (Buffy) While I trust in Joss he has taken many a beloved character away from me. Some of them I adore at first sight (Wash) and then others I spend episodes trying to like and just as I fall in love with them, they are cruelly ripped away (Jenny Calendar and Tara). Buffy faced a lot of death being the Slayer. When you live on the Hellmouth you kind of expect to be taken down by one of Sunnydale’s more shadowy denizens (Vampires, demons, etc). You don’t expect your body to just fail you. But that is what happened to Buffy’s mom. She just died and there is nothing you can do about it. To this day “The Body” episode remains one of the best hours of television. Buffy couldn’t slay the brain tumor. The reactions from the cast are stellar and I still have to be in one of those moods to watch it because it affects me that much. Parental Runner Up: Marvin (How I Met Your Mother) When Marshall’s dad died it was sudden. Marshall was so happy, he couldn’t wait to tell his dad the good news and then he sees his wife’s face. His dad has died of a heart attack. "I'm not ready for this". And damn it that last cell phone message. I want to go hug my dad now.

Ianto Jones (Torchwood) Ianto was my favorite. Not just because he loved Jack, but because I related to him. He was sweet and quiet and charming. He drank tea. He made Jack better. As Jack holds his dying body, whoa nelly was I in utter and complete denial. He had to come back. I mean this is Torchwood (though I should have known better as main characters died). There would be an alien something or Jack would come up with something. I mean Jack is immortal. But he never did come back. This Cant Be Happening Runner Up: Wash (Firefly/Serenity). He’s my funny, Zoe’s honey, and the most devastating part about his death was there was no time to mourn. He was there making a funny and then…not there. His wife couldn’t mourn him because the Reavers were already cornering them. His friends had to fight for their lives. They had to leave his body. Damn it death sucks ass.

Fred Weasley (Harry Potter) Having Snape die sucked a lot, but losing the Weasley twin was devastating. It wasn’t just that he was a Weasley, that the Weasley family was finally back together, but that he and George were the snarky jokesters. They brought humor, but an odd little wisdom as well. Thick as thieves Fred and George always felt authentic, good natured despite their pranks and then one of them is taken away quite suddenly. For George losing that other half of yourself, that doppleganger…that other you that is always there for you. Sniffle. JK Rowling took a lot of characters away from me (Sirius, Remus and Tonks), but this death was so unexpected and hurt more than I ever thought it would. Fictional Runner Up: Gwen Stacy (Spider-Man) I may not be a huge Spider-Man fan, but Gwen’s death certainly had an impact on me. Peter loved Gwen, but sometimes you cannot always be the hero. When the Green Goblin throws Gwen off a bridge, Spider-Man saves her by catching her leg with his web. He thinks he has saved her, but when he brings her up she is already dead. Peter is left wondering if Gwen was dead before the fall or if his attempt to save her by breaking her fall snapped her neck. In the end we discover that in trying to save her, he killed her.

Data (Star Trek) Data spent an entire series and a couple of movies trying to become more human. He wants to understand love, pain, humor, sorrow…everything that makes him different than his fellow crewmates. He wants to know what it means to be human. In Star Trek Nemesis Data discovers sacrifice. We have watched him become an individual and when he is lost, you truly feel that loss despite his heroic end. We know that B4 will never be Data. He may learn what Data knew, he may look like him, but as we know from Orphan Black even if you are a copy you are different in your own unique way. B4 may have Data’s memories and learn what he knew, but he never went on that journey of self-discovery and he may take his own journey, but he will never be Data. It Isn’t the Same Runner Up: 10 (Doctor Who) This is mostly due to David Tennant and his awesomeness and it would have beat Ianto, but technically it is not a true death, but the Doctor will never be him again. 10 understands this. He doesn’t want to go. He hasn’t finished yet. Sob. I would put a picture up but then you would be sniffling like I am.

Kim (Miss Saigon) Damn Shonberg and Boubil, they just know how to get me. In Miss Saigon Kim falls in love with a US soldier, but is separated from him during the fall of Saigon. She hopes upon hope that they will be reunited once again and that she can have her true love back and together they will raise their son. But fate is a cruel bitca. Chris thought for sure that Kim died during the fall and eventually remarried. When his best friend tells him that Kim is alive and Chris has a son he and his wife go to Thailand. Kim, thinking that she is being reunited with Chris and can finally have her happily ever after, discovers that he is married and is heartbroken. Knowing that the only way her son can have a better life is to be with his father she pleads Chris’s wife to take her son, but Ellen wants children of her own. Kim feels like her only option is to take herself out of the equation and then Ellen will have no choice. She shoots herself and Chris runs in asking her why she has done this. Why is she breaking his heart? I blame this musical for having me sob all the way home on the tube after watching its premiere in London. Stupid musical. Musical Runner Up: Eponine (Les Miserables) She begins as a spoiled and pampered child, but then redeems herself. In the musical version she is very sympathetic and has been in love with Marius since she was younger as they have been friends for quite a while. However, he has fallen for her once ‘sister’ Cosette. Eponine pours out her heart, mourning an unrequited love, in her songs and they get me every time. After she takes a bullet meant for Marius, she dies in his arms telling him that she feels no pain. I am as devastated as Marius is by her death as I always liked her more than the perfect little Cosette. Sigh.

Honorable Mentions Fred (Angel), Rita Morgan (Dexter), Ned Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire)…heck all of the Starks, The Iron Giant (Iron Giant), Satine (Moulin Rouge), Augustus Walters (The Fault in Our Stars)

1 comment:

Barry Shaffner said...

It had always been a strange trip watching Buffy TVS for me. I entered Divinity School just before it began. The idea of a chosen one was impactful as I answered my own call to Ministry. My life would be relatable in so many ways as the show continued. The episode The Body aired weeks before my own mom died. I have the DVDs and to this day have not been able to watch that episode because of the way it really carried the emotions of being helpless.