you said you “had some ideas for potential character deaths” can you talk about them?
I sure could!
At the beginning of the arc, I thought it was time for a parental figure to die. My choices were Makarov or Gildarts. Makarov’s been hanging on by a thread. It’s time for the poor guy to be left off the hook, and die or retire. Gildarts is just TOO powerful, so Mashima makes it so that he’s not around much. Imo, he’s a problematic character, so dying heroically might be the best way to deal with him.
But Makarov needs to wrap things up with Ivan before he can exit, stage left. Gildarts is probably not going to show up at this late date, and Silver fulfilled the “parental death” role.
Moving on to the younger generation.
I really think the FT younger generation is going to be safe. The dragon slayers all have parts to play in a dragon-centric arc. Lucy, Erza, and Gray are too important to die. I think Juvia, Levy, the Strausses, etc. are all safe, too.
The one I have my eye on for a potential character death is Minerva.
I feel like Mashima is pushing Minerva’s redemption really hard, especially in the chapter before this one. He’s gone out of his way to make her likeable, and I’m seeing parallels between her situation and redeemed villains sacrificing themselves in his previous work, Rave Master (RM spoilers coming up!).
Redeemed villains wanting to sacrifice themselves is not new in FT. Both Jellal and Urtear were suicidal. And Urtear DID end up giving her life to turn back time much later on.
Here’s Reina from RM, talking about how she sold her soul to the evil organization, Demon Card:
And Minerva, too, chastises herself for succumbing to darkness:
This panel of Minerva looking all winsome and domestic?
Reminded me a lot of Reina fantasizing about the life she COULD have had with Musica if she’d taken a different path in life:
Another villain in RM, who also sacrificed himself, was turned into a cyborg and asked Haru (the hero to kill him):
Haru refused, just like Erza did when Minerva wanted to die because she couldn’t stand her demon body any more:
But Branch did end up dying later on.
Erza and Minerva are bound to run into Kyouka again. Kyouka’s the de facto head of the Nine Demon Gates, and I expect her to pull out some crazy-powerful curse. It could be that she has control over Minerva’s demon body because she *made* Minerva into what she is right now. Or perhaps Kyouka will inflict a powerful pain curse on Erza, and Minerva will jump in to save Erza and die in the process.
It would be a fitting self-sacrifice in a way for Minerva, who used to torture others for her own pleasure, to save Erza from pain—at least physical pain. Erza would take it very hard that someone she helped redeem died for her.
Now, just because I’m seeing some parallels to RM doesn’t mean that Mashima will ALWAYS resolve similar situations the same way. There are also valid storytelling reasons for Minerva to survive: Erza’s already had 2 people die for her (Rob & Simon); Sting & Rogue came especially to get Minerva; there’s unresolved issues with Jiemma as well.
But she’s looking like the most likely candidate for another character death this arc to me. If anyone else has other suggestions, I’m all ears!