Characters Deaths – Sometimes Characters Should Just Stay Dead

(This blog is brought to you by the latest episode of BBC’s Sherlock so expect spoilers for that. There are also small spoilers for character deaths in Harry Potter and The Hunger Games)

sh_203-53aSo I’ve caught up with Sherlock and it appears that Moriarty may have returned. I don’t want him to though. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’s Moran playing with old footage of Moriarty and that Jim Moriarty hasn’t somehow managed to survive blowing his own brains out.

I loved Morairty’s death in Sherlock. It surprised me and it suited the character perfectly – of course he would kill himself if it meant that it would force Sherlock to do what he wanted. To bring back the character now though… I’m really not a fan of that idea.

If Moriarty does indeed return will the show’s creators even explain how he survived? We got three different ways in which Sherlock survived his fall with no definitive answer (I personally don’t mind this too much but it would have been nice to know for sure.) It works for Sherlock’s “death” because of the time delay of Sherlock jumping and John Watson (and the audience) reaching him but Moriarty shot himself in the head, there was blood on the floor and it all happened in front of Sherlock’s and the audiences eyes – how is anyone supposed to come back from that? I will definitely want an explanation for Moriarty’s survival.

What I’m trying to say is I like it when characters die – even when they are some of my favourites. Character deaths are supposed to mean something. There’s a reason I was in tears over Fred Weasley’s death when I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the first time (and why I get tears in my eyes every time I reread the book). It has far more resonance that he died and stayed dead – even with all the power of the magical world, no one can bring back the dead. Finnick Odair’s death is often seen as pointless in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay but it shows how violent and unpredictable war can be. No one is safe in conflict not even your favourite characters, not even the good guys.

Moriarty is clearly not one of the “good guys” but he is an interesting character that shouldn’t be turned into an immortal pantomime villain just to pull in viewers or keep up with the tradition of end of series cliff-hangers.

In real life when someone dies (no matter how much you may love them) they stay dead. While I won’t deny that the world of TV, films and books is a place of fictional escapism the laws of nature and realism should really still be applied. This is especially true of Sherlock – a series set in present day London. It isn’t a world full of super powers or magic, so the show has no excuse why its characters won’t stay dead.

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