There aren’t many comics that will dare kill off one of the main characters. Even attributing in the tendency of fantasy comics to resurrect deceased villains and heroes at the drop of a hat, it’s a line that is seldom crossed. Of course, The Order of the Stick never was a strip to blandly stick to traditions, as it utilized a mixture of meta-gaming and fourth-wall breakage to tell a story that gaming geeks would love, and non-gamers could still often understand. Still, I’ve found it curious that with the death of warrior and leader Roy Greenhilt, we’ve not moved on to see how the rest of the cast are doing, but instead are focusing on Roy’s “adventures” in the Seven Heavens.
I must admit, few comics focus on the afterlife. The basic idea is that there are Pearly Gates and angels singing and peace and comfort and great joy. Instead, Roy gets to encounter such things as angelic accountants who judge his life (and I must voice disappointment that we finally have verification that halfling menace Belkar is in fact chaotic evil. I felt it would have been far more amusing for him to end up being chaotic neutral instead, and the whole time he was yanking the paladin’s leg with the sheet of lead was for personal amusement rather than hiding actual deadly malice), the revolving door of the afterlife, and cherubim that are traditionally tipped as you go through the Pearly Gates for the first time.
This latest update has me a touch disturbed, however. The thought that an evil adventuring party can pop into someone’s divine residence and slaughter the people there for XPs… well, you think of the afterlife as a time of peace and reflection. Instead, it seems almost a continuation with some of the same dangers they faced when mortal. Still, that’s a minor worry when you consider the fact Roy’s been introduced to his mom, a baby brother we never suspected as to existing, and the grandfather who inspired Roy to become a warrior and whose blade he carries. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop… and yet Roy’s time in the Heavens works. I barely wonder how the others are doing. We’ll reach that point in due time. Meanwhile… there’s lego castles to build, and kid brothers to play with. Rest in peace, Roy. You deserve it.