Storytelling thoughts: sacrifices

Another post when I am thinking about memorable moments from books and films, both fantasy and science-fiction. There are few things that bring strong feelings like character that sacrifices himself or herself, for whatever reason – to allow the others to escape, to take the bad guys with him or any other reason. Sometimes, the character even goes through.

I am now going through some cases that were memorable for me, this time mentioning three from films I saw and enjoyed. I’ll cover books and games in future.

Kyle Reese, Terminator

Okay, I have to start with this. Kyle Reese was going into his mission to travel back in time to stop the Terminator from killing Sarah Connor knowing that he not only won’t be able to get back to his timeline, but knowing that he’s very likely to die in the process. Thrown into a world he never knew and completely unarmed, he did his best to keep the Terminator from killing Sarah and with great deal of improvization, he was able to slow him down, eventually giving up his life to critically damage the cyborg, allowing Sarah to eventually finish him off.

John Constantine, Constantine

One of my favorite darker films, John Constantine is a man who can see demons and angles trespassing into our mortal world, fighting for influence and dominance. He is fighting the demons for quite selfish reason: as someone who committed suicide as a kid, his soul would go to hell after death, and he hopes that sending demons back would grant him God’s mercy and afterlife in heaven. And with terminal stage of ling cancer, he knows that his time is coming short

Eventually, he uncovers the plot of Mammon, Satan’s son, to take over the mortal world. To stop that, he eventually kills himself, knowing that Satan would not pass on the opportunity to come claim his soul personally. When Satan arrives, he sends him to stop Mammon’s plan as Satan would like to claim mortal world for himself, in time. When Satan asks him about his reward, he only wants Angela, the girl that was to be sacrificed to summon Mammon, to be saved. Giving up his life would eventually give him afterlife in heaven, something Satan can’t accept and eventually tears out the cancer cells from John, giving him a “chance to prove that he belongs to hell”.

James Norrington, Pirates of the Caribbean

Here comes one even more controversial character, which is why I like and mention that. Intent on capturing Jack Sparrow, he loses his crew in the chase ans is eventually forced to leave his post. The story gets him to the end of the chase for Davy Jones’ chest and after a fight, he eventually runs off to create a diversion, Davy Jones’ crew on his heels. After short pretended escape, he gives up the chest, knowing it’s already empty, and is left to his own.

Returning with heart of Davy Jones, he is restored to command of IOC’s navy and leads the fight against pirates. When Elisabeth Swan, who he was in love with, is captured by his crew and attempts to escape with her crews of pirates, he eventually lets his better side win and allows them to escape, only to be mortally wounded by Davy Jones’ crew.


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