The king is dead. Long live the king!
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July 14th, 2013

The king is dead. Long live the king!

I see the “posthumous letter good-bye” trope in so many films and tv shows, that I wanted to get back at it. To me, it highlights how the author is manipulating the reader/viewer while still expecting a powerful emotional reaction. They’re giving their characters a super power, but one that serves to make a dramatic story, not one that helps the character. Sorry, Character X but you can predict your own death, write a message good-bye, record it/write in a perfect first take, time it perfectly so your loved one reads it as you are about to die and can’t stop it, but you can’t get out of the enemy base before the self-destruct goes off or whatever. Boo. Hiss. At best, it means the dying character is a fatalist who wanted to die, and not even try to escape. And that sort of suicidal character is not an archetype I want to celebrate either. Boo. Hiss.

Anyone seen this trope done in an interesting way?

Also, get ready, because next week is the final strip!

5 Awesomes Comments!

  1. Ribusprissin

    Adventure Time has a neat episode called Dad’s Dungeon that is all about playing with this trope.

  2. ColdFusion

    Star Trek once acknowledged that people were writing those basically every time a mission was a tad risky. and then they just deleted em each time. kind of morbid.. you imagine after the 5th or 6th one it’d just be like going through the motions

  3. admin

    Ribuprissin – I have been meaning to watch that show. I saw the first episode and it was alright. I will seek out that episode. I hear they’re hit and miss.

    ColdFusion – Yeah, that’s weird to think you might make hundreds of those in a lifetime.

  4. Proteus

    It isn’t really that different than writing a will, is it? I think Futurama did something with a ‘whacky video will’, actually.

  5. Steve

    I think generally, the character in question just sets it up before so that when they die it will be viewable. It isn’t necessarily that they expect to die any time soon.
    The Stormlight Archive has a rather interesting take on it.
    admin: Nice Coldplay reference in the title.