Trope Talk: Personifying Death

Trope Talk: Personifying Death

Happy spooky season! In celebration, let’s take the day to unpack how crushing grief can spice up YOUR storytelling!

MUSIC: “Passing Time” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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46 Responses

  1. Tor Nordmark says:

    “Despite rumor, Death isn’t cruel–merely terribly, terribly good at his job.”
    My favourite interpretation.

    • Connor's Corner says:


    • Folker46 says:

      One of the best movies to do this was “Meet Joe Black” with Brad Pitt. He’s death, he’s cool, he’s tragic, and he’s just doing a job he has to do. Why is never explained, he hints at an afterlife but refuses to say anything about it, and hints that evil spirits are real and then explains he’s not evil. The scrip has some minor problems but overall, I found it interesting and strangely hopeful. The message of the film is that you are going to die, but that’s not a bad thing. Kind of like Tolkien, death is not a curse or an evil thing. It’s a gift from God.

    • Nothing yet says:

      You mean “her” job. Jk 😀 Or am I?

  2. Jose Perez says:

    “Pistols at dawn and I don’t need any backup.”

    I imagine Terry’s Death standing to the side waiting for any takers like “she really doesn’t. Sorry.”

  3. SgtSax says:

    “Oh cool, new trope talk! What whacky fun will we have today?”

    16 minutes and 22 seconds later I’m staring at my computer screen half-tearing-up at this video. Wonderfully done Red, thank you.

  4. Stillmagic says:

    Sir Terry’s Death announcement on twitter gets me every time I read them. Three tweets:


    “Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.”

    “The End.”

  5. Bethany Brookes says:

    I love how the two notable authors for making death a main character are also the two authors notable for bringing us good omens.

    • Jacob Walsh says:

      Well part of it all was just that Gaiman was a big Pterry fan, which lead to that collaboration and aspects of how Death of the Endless was characterised.

  6. John DeMonja says:

    My mom is in the ER right now, and this was really reassuring. I don’t know if you guys will see this comment, but there was at least one person who really needed to see this video today.

  7. Ella Stevens says:

    “We don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time we remember that it’s turning” is such a raw line.

    • Ryn says:

      And the lack of a closing song… beautiful, and I’m crying now.

    • SpyCzech says:

      by “the wheel” does she mean a traditional or literary way to face our mortality or what? too deep bars trying 2 undersand

    • ZaberFangAT says:

      @SpyCzech “The wheel keeps on turning” is an expression for talking about cycles that keep on going, no matter what. Most often, it refers to the cycle of life (think circle of life philosophy from The Lion King)

    • s0nicsilver says:

      But also, “reinventing the wheel” is used in critique to refer to authors re-treading old ground, trying to create from scratch what already exists. Usually, authors tend to do this because they don’t expect the audience to understand, and much of the time, they’re wrong.

    • Gabrote42 says:

      This has big Alexis Kennedy energy

  8. Billionai says:

    “catharsis is not the same thing as happiness” That line cuts me deeply. I have just gone through a personal crisis and finally understood what it actually feels like to write because you need to put a visual to what you’re seeing, and I couldn’t understand why writing out that horrible story didn’t make me feel good, despite it making me feel better. I think that single line explains it… thank you for being the gift to the world that you are red.

  9. Darwin Candidate says:

    “Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?”

    I’m sitting here ugly crying, and smiling while I do. Thank you.

    • Sean McFadden says:

      Funnily enough, I remember that one of the parts of what we’d call someone’s Soul in Egyptian mythology was their name, making remembering someone’s name important. If someone was particularly hated, as many records of their name as possible were destroyed after they died.

    • saberstrike000 says:

      GNU Terry Pratchett (someone had to do it)

  10. Jane says:

    Learning that terminally ill people hope they meet Terry Pratchett’s Death is so damn sad, oh god. I hope he met his Death

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