Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Top Ten (Or So): Anthropomorphic Personifications of Death

Death, and also the other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In fact, I like Anthropomorphic Personifications of pretty much everything, but Death occurs most frequently, and is often the best.

Ok, so in approximate order of awesomeness, here goes:

--Death appears in every single Discworld book except The Wee Free Men. But usually it's only cameos, except in his own books, which are Mort, Reaper Man, Soul Music, Hogfather, and Thief of Time, the latter of which also stars the Four Horsemen (and also a Fifth Horseman). Death has a granddaughter named Susan who takes over his job sometimes, and is also awesome. This Death is grandfatherly and rather sweet.

--Neil Gaiman has an amazing Death in his Sandman comics. She is female this time, which is cool. (In French, Death is la mort, which IS female, so I think we should get more female Deaths.) Unfortunately, I started reading the Sandman books, and didn't like them. So I'm not going to recommend them. Basically everyone says they're fabulous, though, so don't take my word for it.

--Neil Gaiman also wrote a book with Terry Pratchett called Good Omens, in which the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse appear. Death is the same Death as in TP's books, I think. And besides him, Pestilence is the best of the other three.

--Jackie Morse Kessler has a series starring the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Hunger, RageLoss, and Breath. Here Death is funny and guitar-playing and looks like Kurt Cobain.

--The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. Narrated by Death. A slightly less human Death than usual, but still anthropomorphic. I liked this WWII book well enough. Most people loved it.

--Keturah and Lord Death. Quite Romantic. But I don't mind! WOW! It must be because I love Death so much.

--"Meet Joe Black", a movie with Brad Pitt. Not my favourite movie ever. This one is not only Quite Romantic, but up to the level of Uber Romantic. I finished it, though, so that's something, I guess. But it does star Death as a character, so it deserves to be on this list. Plus Anthony Hopkins is in it, so there's that.

--The TV show Supernatural has a Death character in a couple episodes. I think this Death wins for best entrance, what with all the slo-mo and creepy "O Death" song.

--And there must be more. There SHOULD be more. Does anybody know of any more? (I started reading On a Pale Horse by Anthony Piers, but didn't finish. There are also many good books and some TV with people who have Death's job, but none of them are actually Death himself as an Anthropomorphic Personification. Thus Hades from The Lightning Thief series doesn't count.)


Christina said...

Supernatural has a great Death.

Aquinas' Goose said...

Meet Joe Black is a remake of the 1934 film Death Takes a Holiday (which also is a play). While you may not have liked Sandman (which was written primarily for an older teen / adult audience) you may want to check out his Death: The High Cost of Living and / or Death: The Time of Your Life (which stars Death, but I haven't had the opportunity to read them yet). Death also has her own story in The Sandman: Endless Nights (a collection of 'short story' comics, each one staring a different member of the Endless, which I enjoyed).

Manga comic author Jill Thompson adapted NG's Death into manga format with Death: At Death's Door (takes place during 'Season's of Mist' when all the denizens of Hell need a place to go... time for a house party!)

Finally, there is the A Death Gallery which isn't a book but rather a collection of illustrations of Death.

And for an older read, returning the male format, Thanatos (Greek for 'Death') is a character in Euripides' play Alcestis.

RED said...

Christina: Yes, I agree completely. I will add him.

AG: I've been meaning to watch Death Takes a Holiday, but haven't got around to it yet.
Thanks for all the other recommendations. I'm especially interested in the manga, as I tend to really like manga. I did end up reading quite a bit of Sandman before I decided I didn't like it. It was quite a while ago, so I don't really remember what it was that caused me to decide to eventually give it up. I thought it was quite well done, though.

Anonymous said...

Although you never actually see Him (or Elle) the Death in final destination is quite fun and inventive in his catching up.

Anonymous said...

Although you never actually see Him (or Elle) the Death in final destination is quite fun and inventive in his catching up.

Robert Bowker said...

One entry for Death, quite a lot of people miss is in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Clue: He rides a pale horse

RED said...

Ahhhh, interesting! I’d never thought of that before!

Robert Bowker said...

It was the scene at the end that made me see it. He takes her to on ethereal looking castle.

Robert Bowker said...

Also love the angel of death in Hellboy II