Thursday, September 7, 2017

Just for Fun: Death

No, this isn't a plea for help or even a "Suicide is Painless" kind of thing. Nope, I want to talk to you about fictional portrayals of death - namely, sharing my favorites. And which is my most favoritest of all of them? I don't even know. Ask me again tomorrow and I might have a different answer.


Death of the Endless (Mostly from the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman)

In this universe, the personifications of ideas have pretty much always been there. They are perceived differently by different species, but each of them - Destiny, Dream, Delirium (originally called Delight), Desire, Despair, Destruction, and Death - are essentially the same being throughout. Though  I love each of the Endless, I think Death is my favorite. She is never cruel, but is instead always kind. However, she is not to be denied. When she takes an extremely long lived person in the course of the story arc, and he starts to complain, Death responds, "You get what anybody gets - you get a lifetime."

Incarnations of Immortality

This series has a similar idea - that these abstract ideas are actually a person - but with a very different twist. The book about Death is the first in a series that also encompasses Time, Fate, War, Nature, The Devil, and God. (For those of you who've read the series - I refuse to acknowledge, except in passing, the book about Night.) In this series, these roles are jobs that each pass on in particular ways. Death has to kill the previous incarnation to get the job.


I'm in the midst of a reread of the early books in this series. I had been putting it off for a while, not wanting to run out of Terry Pratchett books, but I did it for so long that I forgot enough details that I decided to start over. Regardless, I'll never forget how much I love Pratchett's Death. He is fascinated by humans, and cats, and is kind when needed but also ruthless when it is called for. One of my favorite things about him is that after a particularly nasty problem that caused a bunch of different little deaths to start roaming around, he reabsorbed all of them except Death of Rats.

So how about you? Do you have a favorite fictional portrayal of Death? What should I read or watch next?

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