Of all the unanswered questions in DN, the one that sticks with me the most is this: at the beginning of the series, Light is ready for Ryuk to take his soul or kill him- in fact, he even expects this. And yet at the end we see him groveling and “undignified,” begging for his life. Why? What changes? I’ve been poking around to find my own answers to this question and I invite you to come join me on this dark psychological adventure! (warning: this is wordy, and by wordy I mean it takes up like 15 pages in Microsoft word including the images. I study literature. I can’t help it).
To simplify some of what I’m about to say, I think the most important distinction in these two situations is that over the course of Ryuk and Light’s time together, Light finds more ways to justify his actions. When Ryuk first appears, the reason Light is more reconciled to his own death is that he thinks he deserves to die. His own death is then a form of necessary punishment, the penalty for murder. By the time he gets to the warehouse, he’s deluded himself into godhood. And gods don’t die, for if they do, they are merely mortal. Is it death Light fears, or is it forcible acceptance of his own guilt? Meta time now. Come with me on this wild ride.