Obviously, in the Silmarillion, most of our characters will eventually be killed off. Círdan, Celeborn, Galadriel, Elrond...these characters will stick around. Everyone else? Not so much. In most TV shows, the audience hates when beloved main characters are killed off. But we'll have a rotating cast, introducing new characters to replace those who die off, background characters stepping forward to new prominence as the show progresses. In this way, our show is somewhat like The Walking Dead or The Tudors. But without the main through characters who will survive through all the events... But, despite the catastrophic death toll of the Silmarillion, deaths aren't actually all that frequent. We'll only kill off a handful of named characters each season, for the most part (with a few exceptions). We will have 'Hamlet' events where there are no bodies left standing. But for the most part, we should have the opportunity to focus on a character's storyline before they die and make the most of it. During today's session, 'fridging' came up. For those who are not familiar, this is the complaint/outrage that a character is murdered or has something horrible happen to them (typically torture or rape) for the sole purpose of making the main character horrified and need to seek revenge. It's generally a very contrived plotline, and is most likely to be associated with comic book villains targeting the good guy's gf/wife/mother/daughter. Mostly, viewers complain when a situation is created in which a character could easily survive, but they die to further the plot. Most of the time, it's an extraneous minor female character who dies in this way, simply to add tension to the story of the main characters. It's like she isn't even there, and the story is just about the villain and the hero's need to avenge her. Three (3) examples: In Thor 2, Dark Elves invade Asgard. During the attack, they corner Queen Frigga. She has been established as a master of illusion magic, and she's armed with a blade. She's also not their real target. But, yes, you guessed it - moments before Thor bursts in to save the day, she's stabbed and lying on the floor. Apparently, there's nothing even Asgard's amazing high tech medical advances can do to save her. She's dead. Why? Because nothing short of her death was going to get Thor and Loki to work together. And that was what needed to happen in the film. She wasn't important and had no further role, so killing her off was fine....from a plot viewpoint. It felt like a cheap shot, character-wise. In Into the Badlands, Sonny is a super skilled marital artist who can take out literal legions. He of course has a pregnant girlfriend who is in danger and kidnapped and at risk for a large part of the story. She is a character in her own right - you learn her back story right away, and she is medically trained, having her own storyline. So, she's not 'just' a damsel in distress to motivate his plot line. But. In the end of her story, Sonny has infiltrated the stronghold where his enemy is keeping her and the newborn baby prisoner. He fights the villain, takes him out (but forgets to double tap), and rescues the girl and baby. Then...the villain isn't dead! He grabs the girl and threatens her with a blade to the throat. She tells Sonny not to give in to the villain's demands, then grabs the blade and stabs through her own throat to stab the enemy behind her. Naturally, she does not survive this fight scene. While the storytelling did a few things right (made her an actual character who was more than just 'pretty' or 'in love with the hero' and gave her agency in her own death), it *still* felt stupidly pointless. Because after a zillion fight scenes where this guy survives no matter what is done to him, and while he is able to take out every foe effortlessly, he somehow fails to make sure that his foe is dead, and she just dies? It seems like a cheat, and that he only needed her to make the baby for him. In Supernatural, every love interest who is ever introduced for Sam Winchester dies horribly. It tends to make sense for the plot, and lots of people die in that show, but, still. The pilot involves both his mom and his girlfriend burning to death on the ceiling (22 years apart, but the point is pretty clear). The most blatant example of bad storytelling with this trope is the character of Sarah Blake. She is in a single episode in Season 1 ('Provenance'), and she and Sam hit it off, go on a date, kill a ghost together. The usual. Dean is thrilled and is hardcore pushing his brother at this girl. And...they never see her again. That's all fine; their story was that they were both giving the other person confidence/permission to move on from grief and start dating again. And then....7 seasons later, they brought her back. Just because Crowley was killing off everyone they ever saved, he targeted her, let the brothers reunite with her, and...she was dead by midnight. It was a pointless death, one that no one was able to prevent, and was merely supposed to...make them hate Crowley more? It seemed extremely unfair to reintroduce her just to kill her. This issue is extremely common in shows with long running times. Apparently, the idea that someone could actually get married, settle down, and have a family is antithetical to American TV storytelling - the whole point is 'will they or won't they?' and if they actually were to decide to get married that would ruin everything? So, lots of shows have confirmed bachelor/bachelorette characters who are unlucky in love as a string of love interests come and go. Apparently Bonanza was notorious for this, but they're not the only ones. One example of a show that kills a lot of female characters, but does not seem to be guilty of doing this: The Tudors. It's no secret that Henry VIII's wives were wildly unlucky. Two of the six manage to outlive him, but for the rest.... And yet, being based on a historical story, the characters' motivations do not feel arbitrary. They are victims of political intrigue and their own mistakes (and the failure to produce a male heir), but in general, their stories make them feel like real people. It's not bad storytelling to kill off the love interest. It's bad storytelling to do so arbitrarily or simply to create tension. Considering the Lord Chamberlains are about as short-lived as the wives, it's clearly not the case that there is a static male cast with a revolving female cast. Deadly outcomes all around! So, our goal is to avoid making our audience say, 'oh, come on!' when our characters die. Their deaths shouldn't feel like we're just conveniently eliminating people once they have served their role in the story. You die in Game of Thrones as soon as you are no longer needed. We don't want to do that. The deaths have to make sense, and they have to work within the rules we've already established. Just as someone can't survive a ridiculous situation simply because we need him later, no one should die just because it would be heartwrenching for the other characters.