What’s with all the dead family members?

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I almost didn’t write something today! I’m getting in just under the wire here. Phew.

So, since I was just playing around with this “Fright Yourself” website to ‘turn a picture of myself into a vampire picture of myself, I got to thinking about the ‘vampire genre’ and why I enjoy it. But, I’m not entirely sure of why I like it so much, really. I’ll tackle that one another day. Instead, there’s another trait or background note I often use for characters I play in RPGs and that I write into stories.

I didn’t notice this for a while, but I have a tendency to create characters with missing or dead family members. Usually it’s someone in the nuclear family–a parent or sibling–and the loss of this person changed the character and their family in marked and very permanent ways.

My long-time Buffy RPG character was a Slayer named Taryn, who’s father died suddenly a year or two prior to the game’s opening. Of course, she didn’t know at the time that he had in fact been turned as a vampire, which lead to further complications as the first season progressed. But, his death marked her family fracturing.

For one of my 7th Sea characters, I choose a background that meant my character’s family had been very specifically hunted down by the sidhe. He believed them all to be dead, except maybe one (a younger sister was still alive, it later turned out), and had himself fled and taken on a new name and life to escape the same fate.

In Ghostlight, Bette’s brother died under strange and partially unexplainable circumstances three years prior to the story’s opening, an event that influences just about everything she does and who she is at this point. As well, it lead to her parents separating as they tried to deal with their grief, and like Taryn, the death in general marked the fracture of her family.

Finally, a character I’ve written a number of pieces about, but never quite a fully-realized story, is the shapeshifter Silver. When her family and home community learn about her true nature, even as she saves their lives, they reject her completely. I don’t entirely know how her story goes, but I know it focuses on trying to find something that finally feels like home again.

I’ve never lost anyone in my immediate family. I’ve never really lost anyone very close to me to death at all, in fact. My family is very close, however, and it scares me to contemplate losing one of them in that way, permanently. I can only imagine that this kind of loss has to be…well, scarring.

From what I can figure, I think I tend to choose that character quirk because of how much that scares me. I have a hard time seeing a family functioning the way it once did when one of their own is lost, dead, and taken unexpectedly. That feeling of the emotional rug being pulled out from under you, leaving you entirely at a loss for how to feel.

There’s more I’d like to say, and more eloquently, but now I’m falling asleep at the keyboard. That’s what I get for putting it off. Maybe late,y I can elaborate as desired.

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