on Fiction University:
The worst that can happen isn’t always the best thing for the plot.
For many stories, the worst thing that can happen to the protagonist is that they die. The threat of death looms over them throughout the novel, they face it time and time again, and in the end—surprise surprise—they don’t die.
Which is the problem with death as a stake.
With a few rare exceptions (looking at you Orson Scott Card and George R.R Martin), authors aren’t going to kill off a main character, let along their protagonist. It kinda defeats the purpose of the novel.