It is a sad fact of life, but where there is a fandom of fervent fans who absolutely love a TV show, movie series, or video game… There is going to be deaths so tragic that it just brings a tear to your eye at the mere sound or sight of their name. Those characters that will always be remembered tragically and with contempt for the creators for taking our beloved treasures away from us. This list is to commemorate 5 of those characters who left us with a void in our heart that simply could not be replaced.
So here are the Rules
One character per franchise. Harry Potter has a plethora of tragic deaths… But only one can be chosen.
The character has to stay dead or have a complete character redesign.
There is no rhyme or reason to this list. It is just ten characters whose deaths hurt the most.
If I missed someone from your favorite fandom, I’ll be honest it might just be because I missed it… Or I just don’t care about that particular fandom.
There are spoilers from this point on. So if you get upset… Oh well, not my problem.
T-Dog (Walking Dead)
Rob Stark (Game of Thrones)
Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)
Agent Phil Coulson (The Avengers)
Joss Wheadon you dirty son of a bitch. This isn’t the first time a Wheadon character is going to appear on this list. The guy certainly has a knack for creating beloved characters and snatching them away, leaving us hollow and empty inside.
One of the minor flaws of the Marvel series is the fact that the majority of characters in the series are a little unrelatable. Sure, we can understand the demons of alcoholism that Tony Stark feels, but I don’t think there are many of us who can see ourselves as a multi-billion dollar playboy or as a Norse Demi-God. I’m sure there are a few people ready for some cheeky jokes, but on the whole it isn’t a highly relatable field. Agent Coulson on the other hand… Now there was someone I think everyone could see themselves as. Sure, he was in a super secret government organization, but all things considered, the dude was just a nerd and a dork. He loved the idea of Captain America and truly wanted to make a difference in the world. So to see him killed was heart breaking because the person who we have grown attached to is no longer with us.
Rue (The Hunger Games)
At the end of the day, this one came down between Rue and Primrose. While Primrose’s death was surprising, tragic, and cathartic considering the implications that a lot of Katniss’s efforts were completely for not, her death still did not have the weight and impact that Rue’s death had in the first book of The Hunger Games.
One of the things that The Hunger Games does better than Battle Royale is setting up characters before they start to kill each other. There is a good portion of the book and the movie where you just get to know the people who are taking part in this game. You get to know who Katniss is connecting with, who she is not connecting with, you know that there is a relationship built in with Rue before the whole thing gets going. So when Rue actually dies in the story, it is tragic. Even with these other somewhat nameless characters being bumped off, none of it feels all that real. But Rue’s death is the moment when everything gets brought home. Shit is happening and this little girl just died for no real reason other then for a government to make a statement and to entertain the masses. It is excellent and tragic all wrapped into one.
The Tenth Doctor (Doctor Who)
I’m cheating here, I know, the Doctor regenerates. But you will be hard pressed to find a more solemn and depressing goodbye than David Tennant’s Doctor got in Doctor Who. Matt Smith may have given him a run for his money, but that was about it. David Tennant was dynamite in the role of the Doctor and he became so iconic that he is often seen competing with Tom Baker for the best incarnation of the Doctor.
In his last appearance, the Tenth Doctor let’s out one final goodbye proclaiming “I don’t want to go” before regenerating into the Eleventh Doctor. It was a heartbreaking moment and one that Whovians more than likely never wanted to see. But regardless, it tore out our hearts and brought tears to our eyes.
Hoban “Wash” Washburne (Firefly)
You knew it was coming. You knew when you started reading this that one of the most tragic and hated deaths in fandom history is everyone’s favorite goofball of a pilot from Firefly. Wash can be considered by many, myself included, as being their favorite character from the show. He was a genuinely good person, who was great at his job, who was a funny guy, and a person who was truly devout to his wife Zoe no matter what the situation.
Which is why Wash’s death was just a thick kick in the teeth for all of us watching Serenity. Sure, we expect someone we love is probably going to die. Hell, we know Weadon. We know someone is going to bite the dust. But man, to see Wash go so quickly and so suddenly was painful. The worst part is that it was in the middle of the climax which meant we didn’t have time to even mourn before we were barreling into a Reaver attack. It is so bad that many people have outright denied the death as canon, including actor Alan Tudyk who has asked that his death be retconned from the mythos.
Fred Weasley (Harry Potter)
Jesus tap dancing Christ this one was hard. Yes, George RR Martin has deaths in a book in terms of quantity. But when it comes to establishing an emotional connection to characters and add in the loss of innocence that these characters face, JK Rowling leaves you with all the cathartic feels. Each death hurts as you watch a character disappear to never return. I struggled on which person to put here. Dumbledore, Sirius Black, Hedwig, Dobby, and Severus Snape all competed for this spot. But ultimately there the winner of the most devastating death goes to one half of the Weasley twins. Dumbledore, Snape, and Sirius you kind of expect to go at some point. Dobby and Hedwig were devastating, but primarily tertiary in the book, only appearing at certain plot relevant times. But Fred… Fred was someone that nobody expected to go. He was a secondary character, a friend of Harry, and a mainstay throughout the books to just disappear hit home for all parties.
Fred may very well be the most devastating loss in the Harry Potter world because it is the most personal for all people. Hedwig meant the world to Harry, yes. But to the readers, Hedwig was Harry’s pet. Fred though was someone who was always there, who was always with the characters in one way or another. He, along with George, became big brother figures to Harry and felt as if he was a protected character. Not someone to be the target of a random spell directed by Augustus Rookwood in the middle of fighting. It was the death that truly brought things home to the characters that this was the pinnacle of shit getting real.
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