The Ruben Conundrum

Minecraft Story Mode fans all know Ruben. Of course, Ruben is the cute pet pig that’s been keeping everybody company for eons until … (spoiler alert!) Ruben dies.

Characters in books die. Villains, secondary characters, even main characters die sometimes depending on the story being told. But should beloved characters die?

The foreshadowing in a book can take readers right to the edge of being able to guess the outcome of a character’s surviving or not. It can prepare them for what’s coming. That foreshadowing can fool a reader too, which can be annoying rather than endearing. The writer has a difficult task when he’s gained the reader’s trust only to reveal the death of a favorite lovable character mid-story.

Every book won’t appeal to every reader, and naturally every reader is subjective. And most certainly not every beloved character will live every time. The trick is for the writer not to pull a ‘Ruben’. The shock is unpleasant, the outrage is palpable and the disgust at an outcome without that special character having survived will last. We can’t help but love the ‘Rubens’ in the books we read. Let’s let him live! Mostly!