Alphabetical Movie – The King and I
Two characters, separated by over forty years. Both of them are characters who died tragically – perhaps before their time. Both died for the same reason. Both of them leave their audiences asking the same question.
“Wait – what did they die of again?”
I’m talking, of course, of the King of Siam and Padme Amidala.
Think about it now. Why do they die? Both of them die because they lost the will to live. Amidala loses the will to live because her husband crossed over to the dark side and force choked her. The King of Siam lost the will to live because the woman he secretly loved convinced him to show compassion.
OK, so the circumstances are slightly different but the point is with each character we see them in a pretty good, if mentally troubled state and the next time we see them, they are dying. It’s as if the writers reached a point where they knew the characters were supposed to die but they just couldn’t come up with a good way to kill them.
I guess they killed The King of Siam that way because The King and I is a musical and it’s pretty tough to write a good bouncy number about a King dying from malaria. In the case of Padme Amidala, I assume that the writers’ decision that went something like this:
“But Mr. Lucas, Padme can’t die because in Return of the Jedi, Leia says she can remember her real mother, which means her real mother must have been alive when Leia was four or five years old.”
“She needs to die for Vader’s journey to the dark side to be complete.”
“Uh…couldn’t the Emperor just tell Vader that Amidala is dead. The Emperor is a pretty deceitful guy…”
“No, she needs to actually die.”
“So how does Leia remember her mother, then.”
“The Force! Duh!”
“Um….OK….so how do you want her to die?”
“Why are you asking me? I hired you guys to write the movie!”
At that point, they just threw their hands up and figured that she lost the will to live because they’d lost the will to write the movie.
Now, I’m not saying that this is a completely impossible way to kill off a character. I’m sure that many people die because they simply have reached the end of their ability to fight whatever malady is afflicting them. They simply decide they aren’t going to fight any longer.
But that isn’t what happens to either of these characters. They die because their life has become too difficult to continue living. It’s a sort of passive suicide. They don’t put a gun to their heads or slit their wrists, they simply decide that it is time to die. And so they do.
I admire the amount of power they have over their own bodies. It’s truly impressive. One wonders if they couldn’t have used that power for something a little more useful that simply deciding it was time to die and orphan their children.
They could have, perhaps, decided that it wasn’t time to die. It feels like that would have been a better use of their unique skill set.
Instead, these two characters are inexorably linked by the fact that nobody could come up with a more creative way to kill them off.
Which, I guess, is no dumber that the fact some guy decided to write a blog entry about it.