Can Stranger Things avoid the Game of Thrones effect?

The following contains spoilers for Season 4 of Stranger Things.

The long-awaited fourth season of stranger things is finally over, and in its wake, fans are already speculating about what might come in the fifth and final season. The Season 4 finale was pretty intense, and the stakes in each season keep rising, so it’s safe to assume that Season 5 will be a doozy. With each passing year, as the main characters age and the tone of the series becomes even darker, stranger things seems to be getting more comfortable putting its main characters in danger and even potentially killing some of them.


While the show is no stranger to killing off the occasional supporting character, Season 4 was the closest to the death of the main kids (with Max being finally possessed by Vecna). Even fan-favorite character Eddie Munson was not immune to the writers (although they had no way of knowing how beloved he would become when they wrote when he died). Fans are starting to speculate which main characters might be killed off in the final season. But does the series have to kill a main character to raise the stakes?

RELATED: Stranger Things: Why Might Be Even More Important In Season 5

Popular TV shows are often compared to game of thrones when fans start discussing potential character deaths. game of thrones was notorious for its character deaths, and even the main characters were at no point safe from being offended to advance the story or (more likely) provide an element of shock value. Because game of thrones was so well known for it, and because it became so popular, other shows apparently started taking notes. It has become increasingly common for main characters to be killed off and for character deaths to occur in general.

game of thrones obviously wasn’t the first show to do this, but it’s one of the most well-known current examples. It’s an example of how many modern TV writers don’t seem to know how to raise the story’s stakes other than by threatening the characters with mortal peril. While this is often effective and works for many stories, audiences have come to expect character deaths in most shows, even when not entirely necessary.

Sometimes killing a central character is a way to make it clear to the audience how dangerous the situation is, or even to add a bit of realism in that the main characters aren’t magically shielded from harm. They are as vulnerable as anyone else – and maybe even more so, because they are usually the ones who face this danger directly. When done right, it can be a very moving story beat and really add something to the show. But when it’s not, it feels like a bad decision that was made purely for shock value.

So far, stranger things only really killed secondary characters. Bob, Billy, and Eddie all died at the end of their respective seasons, and it looks like the writers were using those deaths to give the story a bit of gravity and sadness without having to sacrifice any of the main children. It mostly works, but it gets repetitive as viewers study the pattern. Plus, it makes deaths like Eddie’s in season 4 kind of pointless.

In the finale, it almost seems like Max won’t make it, which would have been a huge choice since she would have been the first main character to be killed off. However, Eleven manages to save her with an unexplained power of resurrection, but it looks like she will have a lot of lingering effects from her near death if and when she wakes up from the coma. In the Season 3 finale, Hopper was also made to believe that he was dead, but the show pretty quickly lets it be known that this is not the case.

Many fans are wondering if a main character – i.e. one of the main child actors – will die during season 5. Judging by the patterns of shows like this, it’s possible that the writers could kill off Eleven as some sort of final sacrifice to get rid of the Upside Down for good, or a main but still supporting character like Steve could also be killed off. Obviously, this is just speculation, but at this point fans are kind of expecting one of the characters to die, which says a lot about how TV show structures currently work.

Killing off the main characters just because it feels like that’s what should happen in a series finale is just lazy writing. Character deaths should mean something and should add something to the story rather than just being a quick shocker. Fans don’t appreciate deaths like this, and it’s not a satisfying ending when it feels like a main character’s death comes out of nowhere.

Due to the ever darker tone, it seems that stranger things might feel like it has to kill off some of its characters in order to give the finale the proper gravity, but that might end up being counterproductive. Obviously there has to be conflict and the characters have to be in danger for things to be exciting, but it could be a more satisfying ending for viewers if the main cast manages to make it out alive. At the very least, any death should be meaningful and deserved, not just thrown around to subvert viewer expectations for no real reason. stranger things has been a trailblazer for media since bursting onto the scene, and perhaps it’s time for the show to reverse the idea that characters have to die to make for an exciting finale.

MORE: Stranger Things: How The Time Jump Could Work For Season 5

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: