posted by Joe Anaya on May 18th, 2015

**Contains Spoilers** Recently, I wrote about how much I enjoy HBO’s Game Of Thrones. One of the best parts of the show is that you never know who’s going to die. I know the series is based on the novels but come on. Main characters get killed left and right. And it’s really awesome.

Other shows know they can’t kill the main character, so in the back of your mind you know the hero will get out of this latest danger somehow. But on Game of Thrones and the modern shows like it, everyone’s fair game. Just ask Ned Stark, Khal Drogo, Katlin Stark, Rob Stark, well, lots of Starks.

The old rules of keeping your main characters just don’t apply anymore. And it makes for some powerful television. There’s the extra tension of whether your favorite character is going to make it out alive.

M*A*S*H from the 70s, was the first time I remember a main character dying. One of the actors quit the show so the writers were forced to have his character killed by enemy fire. But previously, when Darren Stevens left Bewitched, the show simply tried replacing him with a new actor, hoping nobody would notice.

Somewhere in the 90s, maybe as other writers who grew up on The Twilight Zone reruns became professionals, all those twist endings, people heading to their death or sacrificing themselves, main characters started dying off. Obviously, you could never kill the star of the show, but everyone else was fair game. Kiefer Sutherland’s 24 had main characters dying around him just because it fit the storyline. No contract squabbles, no difficult actors, just because it made good drama.

My son already knows I love it when characters die. I raved about how good was the novel Of Mice And Men. He asked, “Does someone die in the end?” We argued about the novel The Giver because he accused me of harboring the desire for the main character to be dead. I’ll admit it’s a way better story if he does die. But so are a lot of stories. Thankfully, television has come around to my way of thinking.

File Under Mr. Cool