Talk about harsh. The idea of wishing death upon any character, even fictional, is a tough pill to swallow. I’m not sure who made this original list, but it’s been rather unforgiving so far. I’ll try to keep it light, but since we’re talking about character deaths, maybe avoid this one if you don’t want spoilers.
Fair is fair, so I’ll warn you now. I will be discussing Violet Evergarden. If you haven’t seen the entirety of Violet Evergarden (series, OVA, movies), then this discussion will contain spoilers. So don’t scroll down.
I’m approaching this a little creatively. Rather than go for the literal interpretation of “this person should have died instead of this person,” I’m going to simply go with “this person should have died.” Maybe my choice will be surprising; maybe it won’t.
Violet Evergarden spends a lot of time working to mature herself as a human being. Some of her earliest memories are that of a child soldier; proper emotional development was ignored to make her more effective. That is, until she meets Major Gilbert. Gilbert adopts the role of caretaker (essentially a father figure), and Violet spends her most significant time in the war alongside him. It is when he’s on death’s door that he says those fateful words: “I love you.” And it is those words that propel her into her longest journey yet to learn what it means to love someone. It’s a cornerstone moment for who she is and who she becomes.
But as it turns out, he didn’t actually die.
And this is the moment on which I build my argument. Major Gilbert should have stayed dead.
The final movie spends most of it’s time reuniting Violet and Gilbert, ultimately giving us the reunion which Violet had been hoping for from the moment we met her for the very first time. It’s definitely a touching reunion. But I couldn’t help feeling a little…robbed.
To me, the strength of Violet’s character is her will to learn, move and grow without having Gilbert around as a life jacket. She’s forced to strike out on her own and use what self-motivation she has to learn the meaning of the Major’s final words to her. She worked hard, earning every single moment of growth through sheer determination. By the end of the series, Violet had blossomed into a mature adult, having learned to not only understand “I love you,” but also a whole range of formerly foreign emotions. It’s part of what makes the series so special.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the movie undid all of her progress. But it does feel like it cheapened the victory just a little bit. For me, there was one final step of growth that Violet needed to complete her transformation: she needed to learn to accept personal loss. After witnessing and helping so many others through triumph and bereavement, the last piece of the puzzle for Violet would be learning to accept Gilbert’s death and moving forward. If the movie had given us that moment, it would have earned a perfect 10/10 score from me. While I still wholeheartedly recommend this entire series to anyone who asks, this is my one character who I wish had died instead of lived.
What characters do you guys wish had died instead?