Well it’s been a few days since the new Avengers has hit theatre screens and as there are many comic book and movie fans amongst our number, it is no surprise that we’ve all seen – some of us more than once.

What has been most interesting about the movie isn’t how brilliantly Joss Whedon and his Avengers cast did in putting together the film, (which they did, and if you haven’t read Kevin Smith’s comments about it on twitter – you should!) but what the end of the movie has meant in terms of the Avengers moving forward.

We won’t give the game away to any one who hasn’t seen the film yet, but it has sparked a debate in the office about how we feel about a book series with a staple cast of characters. With books like the Game of Thrones series and Raymond E. Feist’s books, it is clear that there are some authors have no problem in killing off their characters at the drop of a hat – no matter how attached their readers might be to them. Then there are others who keep the same characters, book after book, which creates a comfortable retreat for readers to hide in. But which works best for books, or is there no magic formula as long as the author can keep the story from going stale?

We couldn’t come up with a hard and fast rule, the Secret Seven and Famous Five books for example were wonderful and had the same characters and fairly similar plots that are enjoyable, even now, especially with the nostalgia factor. The Swallows and Amazons books by Arthur Ransome walked a different line, with the same characters in different combinations and moving on with time so that they changed as the characters got older and there were even some books that some of the characters were missing from. Then there are all those books out there where no one is safe, not even the narrator. But, for the most part, there seems to be a pattern that authors employ in their books and that is to create a central core, a safe set of characters that you can be almost certain that, no matter what happens to them, they will manage to survive.

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