Don't read any further if you're reading 'Distant Shores' by bostonchickadee on FF.net and have not yet read Chs 19 and 20
One of the things I've noticed from reading a lot of RH fic from an LJ-fangirl POV (that's Little John, not LiveJournal) is how frequently John is the one who doesn't make it. He's like the RH fandom equivalent of cannon-fodder.
I got an update notice today for a fic I've been reading on FF.net and yup - guess which member of the gang doesn't make it? It's a wonderful story, very well written, good plot and it's definitely a good death (takes an arrow in the chest saving Robin from a sniper in the final showdown) but still, beyond adding a little poignancy to some advice he's earlier given another gang member, would it really have killed you to not kill John?
Of course I've answered my own question there - for this particular fic at least - it's hard to get mad when it's done well but still, the number of fics I've read, both long and short, good and bad where the ending could be summarised "...and they all lived happily ever after...except John who died" starts to just get depressing after a very short while.
I can only think of one multi-chapter fic I've read where only one member of the gang dies and it's not John (Will in a G/M fic that barely mentions Robin or the Gang, in case you were wondering.)
Some of them are good deaths; heroic, self-sacrificing, well-written and fitting to both the character and within the context of the fic in question, like the above mentioned.
Some of them are almost literally one line throw-aways. I remember in particular one epilogue detailing the gang and their kids all getting together a few years down the line and almost in passing they mentioned that John had been killed in the final battle where they defeated the Sheriff.
I get it - he's older, he's set up from the start to be a tragic figure and you can count on one finger the number of confessed fangirls he has (if there's another similarly afflicted person out there, I ain't found them yet*) but FFS - could we give him a warm wife and a peaceful death in bed at a ripe old age just once?
The original legend lets him live, even the show let him live - why is the fandom so intent on killing him off?
(*I know a lot of my f'list have a soft spot for John as well - but he's not your favourite is what I mean.)