If you watched that scene, we all know why we don't want the hero to die. It's heartbreaking, heart rending, and we feel the loss as if they were our own. Typically, by the time the hero gives his last breath, we have traveled with him through an entire novel (or movie) and more than the just the hero is lost.
Striving for something. A hero is reaching for something, needs to conquer something, or is overcoming insurmountable obstacles. In the movie Pearl Harbor Danny already lost his best friend Rafe, or so he thought -- he fell in love with Rafe's girl, and then Rafe returns from being MIA to find his girl committed to Danny. It's betrayal of the worst sort. Not just to Rafe, but to Rafe's memory. Danny wants his best friend to return, but insurmountable turmoil both emotional and the toil from war, keep them from overcoming the bitterness. Until this last scene, when Danny gives his life for Rafe and Rafe shows forgiveness and grief as he tells Danny that Danny is going to be a daddy. "No -- you are". It's the ultimate love, the ultimate gift ...
BUT! In Pearl Harbor, it was necessary to communicate the horror of war, the sacrifices our heroes made in one of the darkest times in American history, and -- one of the boys had to get the girl, they couldn't both have her.
Which brings to mind Nicholas Sparks. He's certainly carved out his niche of faithful followers. But in reality, a lot of readers want to escape reality and not dwell in the sadness that is grief and loss. But even in Sparks' novels, the character's death serves a purpose. Without it, the story could not happen. But I swear, every one of his novels is riddled with that bittersweet, throw your shoe, type of romance. And he's a best selling author.
So as a writer, here is my question for you as a reader: How do you feel when a main character dies in a novel? Are you a Sparks reader, or not?
I'm just trying to gauge that balance between the bittersweet tragedy vs. the happy ever after, as both seem to be very popular.
Jaime Jo Wright
author of spirited turn-of-the-century romance, stained with suspense
March 2016, "The Cowgirl's Lasso", The Cowboy Bride's Novella Collection, from Barbour Publishing
August, 2016,"Gold Haven Heiress", The California Gold Rush Brides Collection, from Barbour Publishing
Visit Jaime's web site: jaimejowright.com
Email Jaime - jaimejowright at gmail dot com
Like Jaime on Facebook
Friend Jaime on Twitter
Meet Jaime on Pinterest
Don't forget Instagram