Character Assassination

Character Assassination

When authors break your heart…

Found shared on Facebook, author unknown

I came across this image on social media yesterday, and it both made me smile, and got me thinking. The thing is that I cried my eyes out when Dumbledore, and Hedwig, and Dobby died. I couldn’t understand it at the time. Sometimes, I still can’t, but it’s just something that I have to put up with.

As a writer, I know that the author has every right to both kill, and allow characters to live, and I can pretty much guarantee that JK Rowling also cried as she wrote those scenes, but she would have known that it was necessary for the story. Harry’s life is characterised by loss, and the only way to keep this thread is for him to continue to experience more and more loss until the eventual, and final battle and ultimate conclusion. The fact that, throughout all of this, Harry maintains his compassion, shows exactly why he is the hero of the series.

Truthfully, as writers, we have to make these decisions, and however much we joke about it, I can tell you that we do not take these decisions lightly. Only the most callous and heartless author will kill off characters with little to no thought.

I’ve been working on a novel now, for about eight months, and I already know that one of my characters must eventually die, and the thought of writing those scenes is so painful. And I haven’t even introduced the character yet! Yes! I am aware of how stupid this sounds, but I know that if you are a writer, then you will understand me.

I guess, in the end, as readers, we have to trust that the author knows their characters best, and knows what’s best for them, and the story as a whole. As writers, we must learn to trust our own instincts. They very rarely steer us wrong.

What struggles have you had as a writer? Or a reader? Which characters have you cried over? Let me know in the comments.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

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