JK Rowling, author of the series of Harry Potter novels, recently revealed that she considered killing off Ron Weasley midway through the series.
“Funnily enough, I planned from the start that none of them would die. Then midway through, which I think is a reflection of the fact that I wasn’t in a very happy place, I started thinking I might polish one of them off. Out of sheer spite.”
While I am glad that Ron survived, I’m happy to know that I’m not the only author who is occasionally motivated by spite.
This revelation has launched an interesting online debate about whether or not Rowling’s series would be better if Ron had died.
Jeff O’Neal at BookRiot argues that Rowling missed an opportunity to elevate her series in allowing Ron to live.
Characters that are at the center of readerly interest and value don’t always die in adult literature, but they always can. I’m not sure if this is the central thing that separates children’s literature from adult literature (or if there really is anything tangible at all), but it sure feels that way.
I’m not sure if I agree with O’Neal. While I am not surprised that Rowling’s three protagonists survived, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Harry died in the process of defeating Voldemort.
In fact, I thought he probably would.
O’Neal also requests a list that I would also very much like to see someday:
List I Want: Secondary Characters Who Die To Give A Story “Emotional Depth” Without Having To Kill The Main Characters. Such characters from here on out are to be known as “Fred Weasleys”.
The only character that I can think of to start this list comes from film:
Goose in the film Top Gun dies for reasons that could only be characterized as providing the story with emotional depth.
Anyone care to add to this rather pathetic attempt to launch this list?