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Usually performed during a suspenseful part in a book where a character is at risk, or a future risk is explained. Though perhaps helping to set aside fears of the fate of a character, this can often ruin a book by either warning you that said character will indeed die, or by revealing too much of what will happen. However, it is often hard to resist.

Of course, it's much harder to find out a character has died than to find out that they have lived. After all, you only need to find one subsequent line of dialogue or action, and hey presto, they're still there. But if they're dead, you either have to find a reference to "gosh, it's a terrible thing that Mabel/Butch/Old Yeller died, isn't it" or comb through the rest of the book to determine they are indeed gone. (I will leave comparisons with proving scientific theories as an exercise for the reader.)

Easier to just read the damn book correctly.

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