"The first [witch], by name Asha, was sick of a malady no Healer could cure. She hoped that the Fountain would banish her symptoms and grant her a long and happy life."
The ill girl is almost inevitably a sympathetically cute girlnote
. The disease can be anything from anemia to organ failure. Smart writers avoid such specifics, making it a Soap Opera Disease
. It will never disfigure or impair her cuteness, but usually prompts an older brother or sister figure into shady business to help pay the medical bills
. Or prompts them to rush into some dangerous/brave deed while she cheers them on.
A common cliche
is that the dying character is trying to hold on until some distant, significant day has arrived. For example, she might be lying sick in autumn, noticing leaves falling off a tree by the window
, and hoping she will live long enough to see the last one fall. You can see this one subverted
in the O. Henry story "The Last Leaf
This character type is probably indirectly descended from the Western romantic "consumptive heroine
" (Nicole Kidman
's "Satine" in the film Moulin Rouge!
is a contemporary example). If the afflicted character has any Mary Sue tendencies
, she may suffer from what Roger Ebert
called Ali McGraw's Disease
(after Love Story
): "Movie illness in which only symptom is that the sufferer grows more beautiful as death approaches
Becoming this character is a common side-effect of Victorian Novel Disease
. Only occasionally related to Definitely Just a Cold
. See also Littlest Cancer Patient
, Bandage Babe
, Too Good for This Sinful Earth
, Incurable Cough of Death
and Soap Opera Disease