One of the Most Powerful Tools

Caution: Spoilers from Harry Potter. If you have not yet seen/read this wonderful story then I do not suggest you read this post. Farewell.

...Why are you still reading this? There are spoilers!

Are you gone yet? Good.
One of the most Powerful Tools aka Why Sirius Black Broke My Heart.

Death is one of the most powerful tools of a writer. It is the motivator for most novels. It is the turning point in the hero's life, or it is the shaping of villains.

Death is a wild card.

It's can be the inciting event in a story, the climax, or even the tragic backstory, but the trick is using the wild card properly.
But how can a wild card be used "properly"?
It would easier to explain how this wildcard can be used improperly. When a death is used as a device to increase drama or simply to try and tug on the reader's emotions, most of the time it comes off as a cheap gimmick, and it doesn't have the desired effect.

But when properly employed, death can be the turning point in a story. In Harry Potter, Sirius Black's death was devastating for many different reasons.

#1. It was a big turning point in the story. It was right around there that things became truly serious. It was no longer a fun story about a boy who had dangerous adventures. It became a tragedy in it's own way.
#2. Harry was losing everything. He had lost his parents. He had lost so many people, only to find someone...and then lose them too. 
#3. His death was that of sacrificing himself for the safety of his godson. He made sure that Harry was safe instead of him. 

This was a death that not only marked the beginning of the new "grownup" tones of the story, but it also forced Harry to grow up just a little bit more.

When you are writing your tragic deaths, don't use this wild card just to add drama or tragedy to your story, use it as it was meant to be used, as a furthering of the story.



  1. I agree. Harry Potter and Arrow are two of the best examples for how to kill characters properly in my book. :)


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