And just why does the second husband always die?

Like many of you I trundled along to see one of the big hits of 2009, 2012. (Yes, that does look odd written that way, doesn’t it). And since I’m a great fan of totally ridiculously impossible action-adventure stories featuring feats of magnificence no mere mortal has a hope of reproducing (aka we have no MacGuyver abilities whatsoever) I thought it was pretty good.

But I walked away from the movie with one big disappointment.

Why-oh-why did the nice, turned-out-to-be-quite-the-hero second husband have to die? It would have been rather refreshing to have a story where for once the poor second husband didn’t get gypped for taking on the first marriage baggage and making it work anyway.

Maybe I’m projecting too much reality into my movie watching desires, after all the amount of divorces that end up in a remarriage are rather slim. I would very much believe a ‘we’ve been able to become friends again’ scenario though.

Especially in 2012, as husband #2 might have been a little bit of a milquetoast safe-bet of a partner after the ups and downs of husband #1, but he stepped up to the plate when push came to shove to save the ones he loved (and some he didn’t). In fact, the story hinges on husband #2’s abilities to be able to fly a plane; yet die—and pretty dramatically—he does.

Do scriptwriters think it’s impossible for viewers to expand their view to encompass an ending where marriage #2 is a winner? Do they think all divorced people are secretly still moping over partner #1?

And why is this the polar reverse to Romanceland?

In Romances it’s traditionally the other way around. The first husband dies (sometimes of a banal reason like she was married off to an old codger and his heart gave out; others because they deserved it for their violent behaviour/actions) leaving the floor clear for that first young love to come back and take his rightful place. It’s not a commonly found story where the heroine was quite happy with marriage #1 and looks back with fondness, love and heartache at having lost their first husband.

Movies often have marriage #2 only exist until partner #1 pulls their head out of their arse, Romance has #1 existing only as a placeholder (and giver of angst/drama) until husband #2 comes along to save the day. I wonder why such different points of view about marriage (and subsequent divorce) #1 from movies to romance reading?