I was describing The Hunger Games to someone and the first thing out of their mouth was “well obviously the girl makes it out alive,” and I was reminded that I assumed the same thing before I read it. Do we take “Happily Ever After” for granted? I’ll be first to admit, I do.
When Becket was shot at the season finally of Castle, I wasn’t worried. You’re not going to kill off Becket because doing so would tank your ratings and kill the show, just like you’re not going to kill Castle or the Alexis. You’re just not. In every book or movie, there are certain characters I peg as being safe and yes, it does affect the level of tension when reading or watching the story unfold.
It’s the same for books. If it’s written in first person, unless it’s written in the style of Dracula, you’re not going to kill off the narrator.
Do you assume there’s going to be a Happily Ever After? (Ignoring certain obvious genres) Does it improve or distract from the story?