A common quest in fantasy series is the concept of ‘Resurrection’. A hero has fallen and the remaining warriors go to revive him. The main villain has been killed and there is now a plan to bring him back to life through a dark ritual. The funny thing is that a lot of people groan about this quest. It’s almost like you can’t win if you kill a character off because people will be upset if they stay dead and others will be upset if you bring them back. Others will get annoyed if you refuse to kill anyone off. Let’s face it: death in fiction is a heavy burden for the author, especially if the story continues after the character in question is killed.
So, how can you kill a character and have a suitable ‘resurrection’? There are many methods that you can use and here are four of the easier ones:
If it’s good enough for Obi Wan Kenobi then it’s good enough for nearly everybody. A ghost can be used in multiple ways. Either as a mentor or an enraged spirit that has it in for former allies. This isn’t a true resurrection because the character remains dead through the events. An alternate of this is a zombie that can appear randomly or enslaved to the opposing side.
A funny thing in fantasy is that average characters aren’t always the best at telling when someone is dead. At least without a clear wound. I refer you to the picture and video above for more explanation of the details. Plots like this can result in a quest for an item to revive their fallen ally or they’re forced to leave the afflicted behind. The character is removed from the story with an opening to return if people want it. Yes, this is the ‘in a coma’ storyline.
There’s a rule in fiction: No body, no confirmation of death. Though, I think there are a few real world jobs that this refers to also. A character might fall into an abyss and everyone assumes he or she is dead. Then the character returns later and explains a harrowing survival. Best example would be Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. I will warn you that this is a trick that you probably only want to do once in a short series. Twice is a possibility on a long series, but you have to be careful.
A character truly dies and is somehow reborn through a ritual. This is typically a villain approach when a main villain or top minion dies. Normally, this takes up an entire book and there’s an established system of magic to support this. If there has been no magic or ritualistic ceremonies in the world then it’ll be harder to rationalize this. A very important part of the Rebirth Ritual is that you need a combination of components, a rare item, and a special location. This isn’t something that should be accomplished with kitchen ingredients in the living room.
Can you think of any other resurrection methods?