• My “favourite” death

    14 May 2021





    A fan called Matthew wrote to me recently, to ask a question about the deaths of three characters in my Cirque Du Freak and Demonata books. If you haven't read all the books in those series, you should probably STOP READING THIS POST RIGHT HERE as the question contains major spoilers from the later books in each series...


    "I'm curious, for you, which death was most upsetting, Mr. Crepsley, Bill-E or Dervish? I found all three extremely sad, though Larten's definitely shocked me the most as I was pretty young when I first read that. I really didn't see Bill-E's coming either, though, and it was that death that made it clear to me that no character was safe. I kind of knew Dervish's was coming, but I re-read the first chapter of Hell's Heroes recently and I was really moved, I think that was the saddest death of all for me."


    It's a rare week that passes, even all these years later, when I don't get a sad or angry post from a reader referring to Mr Crepsley's fiery end -- there's no doubt that's the death that has affected my readers the most! But as for ME...


    To be honest, the deaths of my characters usually don't hit me as hard as they hit my readers, because I normally know about them far in advance, and I'm too focused on the mechanics of drawing the emotional response that I require from my readers to actually FEEL those emotions. I often refer to it as being a bit like a puppet show -- the audience gets to see everything from the front, all the puppet and costumes, the colours and movements -- but if you're the puppet master, you're looking at it from overhead, and all you see are strings going down.


    Having said that, the death that DID succeed in tugging at this wizened author's heartstrings comes in the final book of my Mr Crepsley series, Brothers To The Death. There's a scene near the end, where a major character dies, that had me blinking away tears when I wrote it, and every time that I came to edit it. I won't say whose it was, as I know not everyone reading this will have read the prequel series, but anyone who's read the book will know the scene I'm referring to, and hopefully it had the same impact on YOU that it did on ME.



    Catch up with all the latest Darren Shan news in the May issue of my monthly newsletter: https://darrenshan.com/news/shanville-monthly

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