If you’re anything like me, the first character death that affected you happened shortly before you started to understand real-life death. For me, it was a certain Jedi Master in The Phantom Menace. It’s probably different for you.
I’ve been thinking about those characters lately, the ones who in a just world would have had the happiest of endings. Unfortunately, no one in this world is interested in stories about just worlds, so instead they got various forms of killed. We can’t go in the past and change their author’s minds, but we can gather their names here and acknowledge that they deserved better.
There will be spoilers.
Many, many spoilers.
If you’re still reading, I have permission to spoil any and all books/films/shows that become relevant.
Proceed at your own risk.
Leslie, Bridge to Terabithia.
I loved Leslie. She brought happiness to so many people, even the ones who weren’t nice to her. She was a nonconformist, which isn’t always a good thing, but in her case probably meant that she would change the world massively for the better as time went on. Instead, she drowned. It was sad.
Aslan, The Chronicles of Narnia
Technically, he came back. But still.
Wade, Michael Vey: Battle of the Ampere
Sure, when we first meet him he’s a bully, and a hard home life is no excuse for that. But I’m pretty sure being kidnapped, tortured, shocked, and shot for the kids you bullied those couple of times makes up for it. Wade’s death was saddest for me because he’d finally found a family of sorts, and to have him ripped away from them was not cool.
Even if my cynical writer’s side is saying why it was necessary.
Ohh, look, I can make the words cross out!
Cedric Diggory, Harry Potter
I’m not sure when I’ll be able to be articulate about this one, honestly.
Ferrin, Beyonders Trilogy
Why is it always the smart-mouthed guy with the divided loyalties that ends up dead when he finally shows which side he’s on?
This is the first TV show on the list, and it’s from the 90s so not everyone’s probably heard of it. Andy spent so much time helping these witches and jeopardizing his career as a homicide detective, being the nicest guy on the planet, and that whole time the last thing he wanted was to deal with demons in the attic…or the sewer…or posing as Internal Affairs agents… and he really didn’t want to think about his best friends being witches. Still, he helped them, and he got himself killed and wouldn’t let them bring him back!
Uncle Ben, Spider-man
Yes, the Spider-man origin story is a bit overdone, but it’s still sad that the nice uncle who raised his nephew like a son and tried to do right by the world is dead.
Interesting fact: Uncle Ben is one of the few people in the Marvel multiverse who isn’t allowed to come back from the dead. Bucky Barnes used to be on that list, but then a comics writer found a way to bring him back that was more heartbreaking than leaving him be.
Rudy, The Book Thief
Little kids shouldn’t have to be casualties in war. Especially little kids with hearts as big as Rudy’s.
Bree Tanner, The Twilight Saga
We don’t actually see much of Bree in the main books, but Meyer wrote a novella from Bree’s perspective, and I’m of the opinion that Bree deserved a happy ending more than most of the main characters. She was torn apart and turned to ash by the Volturi instead, while the Cullen coven who might have protected her felt obliged to watch. Then, just a book later, they assembled an army to protect another innocent girl from the Volturi, too late to help Bree. Double standards, much?
Yes I know there’s more to the situation. I just don’t care.
Tien, The Stormlight Archive
Again, little kids shouldn’t have to be casualties in war, especially a war as stupid as the one that killed Tien.
Sister Carlotta, Shadow Subseries (Ender’s Game universe)
She was probably the nicest person in that whole universe, except for Valentine.
Basically Everyone, The Hunger Games
Except President Snow.
Isn’t there a contract between reader and writer that the viewpoint character doesn’t get to die?!
There are others, of course. There always are. Let me know which ones were worst for you in the comments section, and tune in next week for characters who deserved worse!